“BECAUSE…” SEEMS TO BE THE HARDEST WORD – First Part

For my birthday a month ago, a friend of mine gave me a special treatment, something I had never tried before (oh, yes, there are still things I haven’t tried!) and that he judged was appropriate for the great period I was (am?) living.
Three months of backpacking in Asia have taught me a lot of things. About the world, about people and, above all, about myself. I came back with the clear realisation that I’m stronger than I think, more resourceful that I have ever imagined, and feeling so empowered about the whole experience where, for 80 days, I was the master of all my moods.

For the first time in years I was able to really believe with my heart that I don’t need anyone to be happy. Strong words, I know, that I’ve repeated myself many times in the past, believing them rationally, but not emotionally. Now I FEEL THEIR TRUTH. I would love a special someone in my life, and I hope I will meet him soon, but I don’t need him to make my life great. It already is so beautiful.

This is really a great place to be, emotionally. All the self-help books tell you that once you don’t move from a position of neediness, that’s when you are attracting the right people for you. They tell you that when you are happy with your life, you allow near you only people that can add value to it. So my friend, in light of this, thought that the best gift he could give me was… (WARNING: hippiness overload ahead)….
The best gift he could give was guiding me in an astral journey (yes, it’s a thing). Through visualisation techniques, he led me to the seventh plane of existence. Here, in front of the Creator that created everything, he commanded that one of my soulmates had to enter into my life within 3 months.
When asked to list how this soulmate had to be, together with the usual: “Tall, emotionally stable, have a sense of humour, be generous, kind, etc”, I surprised myself by saying: “He must not to be afraid”.
Yes. I’ve met too many men who were afraid of too many things. And I’ve had enough. Now I want someone who is not afraid. He must not be afraid of giving, nor of receiving. He must not be afraid to share, to open up. He must not be afraid at the glimpse that his life can change, and for the better. He must not be afraid of my contradictions and dark sides. He must not be afraid to be happy with me. He must not be afraid.
I could have added: “And, if he is, he must not be afraid to talk about it”, but that whole astral journey caught me by surprise and I had not prepared properly. Who knows, maybe things might have been different, if only I had added that little clause.

Four days later, at my birthday party, 20 minutes before the club closes, I meet A., a 37 years old Englishman with whom the conversation flows easily. Truth be told, litres of wine had easily flown all night long, so I only have a vague recollection of what we said, but I remember the good vibe, the friendly chats and, more importantly, the fact that while I was talking he kissed me, out of the blue. A chaste, sweet kiss, that I indulged, after which I resumed talking as if nothing had happened. And then, again, more kisses. Maybe an attempt to stop me in my drunk talking, but nevertheless a very sweet one, that I enjoyed. He holds me tightly when my friends reach us outside and want to change my shoes into flat ones. Because, of course, making a very drunk woman wearing heels stand on one leg only is a great idea.

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We exchange numbers, and he writes me 3 minutes later, so that I have his number, too. The day after I send him the picture above: “Thanks for supporting me when I most needed it”.
We start with a smile,  and our chat is a pleasant mixture of light flirting and gentle taking the piss. After one hour, he asks me out, ready to change his plans with some friends if I cannot make it another day of the week. Good start, he’s eager to see me.
We have our first date on the Friday, and for 5 hours we talk about a lot of stuff. He kisses me again, always in this very sweet and almost anachronistic way for our age, and I enjoy it. It’s new territory for me. No snogging, just two mouths that want to be close. When we are walking on Tower Bridge, he asks me to stop and he holds my hand, looking at Southbank with all its beautiful, romantic lights. I try to repress the soft bang at my heart: a sweet, romantic guy that is not afraid to show it. And a bit cheesy too, which I love. And just when I think that it’s too good to be true, he does one of the best moves in modern dating: he pays for my Uber to make sure I get home safe. Wow.

I wake up the day after, ready to play the usual boring, waiting game, instead not only does he write me in the morning to thank me for a very good first date, but in the evening asks me to join him to watch the football match. The day after I’m supposed to work, but I decide to wake up at 7am on a Sunday morning so that I can make space for him. At 12, however, he hasn’t turned up yet, so I text him first and call him, but no answer. I then receive a text where he apologises, he’s not gonna make it and he’s sorry to have messed up with my plans, but in the end I had to work, right?
Just when I’m looking at myself in the mirror, saying: “You stupid, naïve Roby that once again…”, he calls me. He apologises profusely, ok, and I tell him that I’m a bit annoyed, that I had made an effort to be free for the football match.
Out of my past experiences, I’m done with people who don’t respect my time. They will do it again, and clearly they don’t respect me by doing it. I put the phone down, and when I’m telling myself that despite the great first impression it’s probably better to stop things there, he calls me again and says: “Sorry, I just realised how rude that would be, and that’s not the person I am. Sorry again. I’ll be there on time”. Boom. From -20, to +50 in no time. This is a move that speaks volumes about what kind of guy he is.

No need to get into details of each of the six dates we had. But some things must be said. In a city like London, where spontaneity is killed by the fact we are all so busy and live far from each other, he made me feel very special when he decided out of the blue to join me two evenings later, knowing I was eating alone in Brockley.
Someone that is not playing games and is not afraid to show he is interested”, I think to myself. Wow.
He took things slowly, which gave me the impression that he is serious and looking for something real. I was actually the one pushing to move things horizontally, and when we did, the chemistry was so good.
A guy that comes to see me after travelling back from Birmingham, who hugs me tight when I share with him a painful event of my past, a guy that suggests we should go to the open air cinema and make plans for future dates, a guy that pays me many compliments, that stays up talking with me until 3.30am on a Sunday night… a guy that stops kissing me to tell me: “I’ve known you for only ten days, but I’ve never met someone like you. You are amazing.”

Not a single time I think there is something about him that I don’t like, or that could cause problems in the future. He mentions twice that he is a commitment phobic, but I don’t go too much into it, I think it’s still early days. Rather, I tell myself to take things equally slowly, leaving him space. The hours with him pass quickly, and every time I’m left with the desire to get to know him more. There is a good connection, on many levels, and I know he feels it, too. I mean, who would take your feet spontaneously to rub them, saying that: “Even your feet are beautiful!”?
A foot fetish, you might answer. Good answer, actually.

Anyway, I don’t see any clouds at the horizon when he leaves me on a Monday morning after a great night spent together. And that’s what worries me a lot: that I might have lost the capacity to read people, to have an objective view of reality. It’s like, really, maybe I don’t understand men anymore (if I have ever understood them).

A hug and kisses at my gate, and off he goes to work.
England is due to play Croatia on Wednesday night, so in my mind that could be our next date, but I want to wait for him to suggest it. We exchange only a text that day, he is so tired after sleeping only 3 hrs that night. The day after, Tuesday, I wait for him to write me first, for a change. And I keep waiting.
In the end, I write him a light-hearted text where I ask if he has plans for the English game.

Two hours later, I receive his answer….

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