On our first date we met Downtown at a bar after my first week of work. I had known you for years peripherally and for the first time in our history of knowing, the timing matched up perfectly for us to partake in this date – free of guilt. I hadn’t seen you in at least a year and you looked sharp. Hair combed, smile bright, and those eyes which so often in the past had looked sullen and tired were lit up with zeal and excitement that night. We sat across from each other each with a drink, then walked down the street with approximately 2.5 feet between our bodies, to share a dinner then end the night abruptly as my self-enforced curfew quickly approached. You did not ask to kiss me, which you had often done in the past to which the answer was always no. We parted ways, each pulling out our phones immediately and texting our friends about the date.
On our sixth date I revealed to you my story, or rather, my mother’s story which is the sole reason for my existence in this place today. You were entranced, bewildered, and reacted in a way that I had never seen before. You were bemused, asking questions and not blinking when I revealed the answers. You were intrigued by the strangeness of my beginnings, and you were captivated by my words. Beneath the table our shoes would touch and find themselves enraptured between one another for the duration of the dinner. We took two starkly different photos of the same tree while sitting at the same table and shared it on Instagram with each other tagged. We laughed a lot, for I do not believe that you were ever serious when you spoke during those dates in the beginning. Humor was your wall, your shield, to deflect the emotions that were building high.
On our thirteenth date you surprised me with tickets to see Ben Gibbard play an intimate acoustic show that I did not even know about. You first told me of this surprise in an e-mail that I opened during one of my busiest day of work – to which made me happy to no ends. To this day I still believe this to be one of the most thoughtful things anyone has ever done for me. We held hands for 5 hours straight from the moment you picked me up, letting go only to get in and out of the car. I could not have been happier than I was that night there with you.
On the 46th morning we had woken up next to each other, you with an interesting look on your face. Something told me that we would be there for a while as we spent the next several hours talking softly, and touching lightly – immersed completely in each other’s realms. You took a photo of me on your phone, in your bed with my hair all over my face. We laughed together at the silliness and you claimed this was your favorite photo ever taken. That moment was beautiful, and right in the midst of it all, you stopped and asked me to always think back of this memory when I thought back of “us”. No matter where this all would end, and how, and why – this memory should be the only one to endure and I agreed.
On our nineteenth date we sat discreetly in a small local eatery. Facing each other, yet I didn’t even look at you once. I felt distant, withdrawn, like our time had passed on long ago. Your eyes were tired once again from working too much, and they were left with nothing to say to me. I was resentful at your lack of self-control, because we had taken a trip that weekend with friends and it had all gone awry. Beneath the table the tips of our feet could not have been any further apart, and above the table our hands acted mechanically to diligently bring food to our mouths quickly so we could finish and go our separate ways. Weeks later I would end it entirely while neither of us felt much of a loss and we continued on with our busy lives. The text messages stopped coming, the mid-day e-mails at work were no longer sent, and Instagram the tags became void of purpose or existence. No favorite photos of me were ever to be taken again on your phone. But we scraped by, still staying connected and unwilling to defriend each other. Still tracing each other’s lives from afar with the occasional “likes” as reminders of hellos, as we continue further and further into separate paths.
Just another chapter swept away, just another typical romance in our digital generation.