Amelia, the waste
“They say when you meet somebody new, not to get too excited. It probably won’t work out and you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment. Because really, even if everything lines up – you have similar interests, you’re looking for the same things out of a relationship at that point, you each have the same level of attractiveness – the dance is so intricate, someone’s bound to fuck up one of the steps.
“So even when we meet people we really like, we stay detached. Keep them at arm’s length, maybe explore other options at the same time. We tell ourselves to take it slow. So many people want to prove themselves capable of independence that they stay independent to a fault. No one wants to put their chips on one number.
“Well, I think I’m getting too old to keep playing it cool and I’ve been hurt too many goddamn times to be scared of having it happen again. I think I must have met you at the perfect time, because even though we don’t know each other very well I like you, Amelia. A lot. And I let myself feel my attraction to you deeply. I don’t want to stay on the market. I don’t want to take our time. I want to crank the intensity up to 11 from the goddamn start. What do you say, doll?”
I told Amelia all this on our third date. She’d been gone at some architect’s conference for the last week and I’d been stewing in my attraction to her. I came up with the idea that I wanted to pull some kind of grand gesture for her, to win her over completely. The idea of laying my cards on the table with a long diatribe came to me as I was tossing and turning in bed. I pulled out my moleskin and started jotting down my thoughts, stream-of-conscience, about the problems of modern relationships and how I was already convinced that she and I could be different. The next day I pulled the best little gems from my rambling thoughts and composed it like a monologue. Hell, I even practiced saying it in front of the rusty mirror in my bathroom. I was all geared up with what to say to Amelia. I had in my mind that it was one of the gutsiest things I’d ever tried with a woman and this was the turning point. From here in out, I was going to live my life more powerfully, with a greater sense of agency…
“Knox,” Amelia said, reaching across the table to touch my hand. We were at an old school Italian restaurant, with the checkerboard tablecloth and the wine bottle candle holders. It was an iconic moment. “That was beautiful, and I don’t know how to say this – but it made me want to call my ex.”
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