We were two beers into our third date, about the time where conversation slowly tests the true singleness of the person across from you. It’s a subtle dance: you don’t want too many details, just enough to know whether you’re about to walk across an emotional land field.
I was, and remain, an open book, so I went first. Most recently, I’d broken up with a man over email, following a fizzled attempt at dating the friend of a mutual friend and a short relationship with a friend of my brothers that I ended while unlocking our bikes. Normal stuff.
Aaron shifted uncomfortably and offered up that he had recently ended a long-term relationship that had apparently taken up the better part of a decade.
I laughed in his face.
The day after my first date with Aaron, I had sat in my coworkers office and given her the full recap. I wasn’t giddy or giggly, but I told her the craziest thing I’d ever said about a first date: this guy has significance. Our first date had ended with a handshake instead of a kiss, but something inside me had told me that this weird dude who didn’t want to kiss me was going to play an important role in my life, whether he was the guy I married or the one who crushed me forever.
And now that role was clear, apparently. He was my dating karma: for all the men I’d crushed, the world would make me pass on the one who felt like home.
“Well, we clearly can’t date.” I responded after picking my jaw up from the table. I’d reassembled the pieces of enough broken men, had taken out my relationship issues on plenty of unsuspecting paramours to know that a good long-term relationship never directly follows a failed one.
“We’ll be friends,” I said, and wrote him a prescription for whiskey and casual flings to help him get that other lady out of his system before he gave me a call again.
One week later, we had our fourth date.