The one that got away…

Most all of my friends know that I’ve been dating – well, trying to date. I’ve written about some of my adventures; however, since my last attempt at writing about the hell of meeting someone in the awkward world of online dating, so much has happened. I thought I should update the manuscript. So many misadventures for this fish – so many “almosts” and plenty of “near misses”. I try to tell my friends about the things I see and the things that happen – they are in tears from laughing – Seriously, it’s more like I’m doing stand up. People, I really can not make this shit up!

Once I figured out the mechanics of the online dating world, I thought I had it figured out. Actually, once I met my big Fish, I thought the whole thing was ridiculous and I would never have to do this again – note: this and not that. Yep, I’m in the sea of fish again.

First, I should pick up where I left off. Last fall I actually met a very nice fish. Richard. He and I had so much fun together and laughed more than any two people I have ever known. He loved cooking out on his grill and he loved smoking meat and I, in turn, became the master at making whatever it was that we would have with the entree. It was perfect synergy. We cooked together, drank a few beers, laughed, ate our culinary masterpieces then proceeded to do what “the kids” refer to as Netflix and chill.

He worked on the road all week and I worked in an office all week. The weekends were our time together and we made the most of it. One weekend we took his son on a trip to the museum and we stayed at my apartment. Richard smoked a turkey, I made mashed potatoes and it was perfect. Later that night we came up with “Thanksgiving Pizza” – I made it – it was awesome! Good times.

Richard also had a lot of sadness and regret. He opened up and told me so many things that I actually started to believe that he really cared about me. I knew I was catching feelings for him, but I didn’t want to scare the big fish off. I just kept reeling him in slowly. One night he even hugged me and kissed me just because he felt like it! You see, he wasn’t the “touchy feely” kind of guy, but he knew that I was that kind of gal – I was floored.

The closer we got toward the holidays, the scarcer my big fish became. He would get mad at me for things that never bothered him before – like my incessant texting. I did that – and it was like I couldn’t help myself. (Needless to say, I don’t do that anymore.) Then right before Thanksgiving, he just disappeared.

I was hurt, but I had other things to think about and keep me busy. I just thought maybe the holidays were a time that he needed to be alone. Some people are like that. I was still really hurt. Then on my birthday he texted and said that he was sorry about not reaching out to me. He needed some time to refocus on his work and his son. He called it “dealing with head worms” and he needed to “go off grid” to deal with them. That phrase, “going off grid”, will haunt me for the rest of my life.

The following week Richard showed up at my door. He was so handsome in his blue shirt and wool jacket – I couldn’t breathe. His blue eyes were twinkling and he flashed that smile – yeah, he had me. I wanted to cry, but I didn’t. I was just happy to see him laughing…who am I kidding? I was just happy to SEE him!
We had so much fun that evening and on into the next few weeks.

Then I got super drunk and did crazy drunk girl texting one Saturday night – Richard happened to be one of my victims. Poor guy. I knew he’d be upset with me, so I was totally prepared to apologize. Instead I got a long text message from him lecturing me on the evils of technology and that I would never learn and that yes, he was going “off grid”. I tried to coax him back with funny memes or apologies, but eventually I just gave up. I figured if he couldn’t accept an apology and only wanted to make me feel bad then he could just jump off his damn grid.

For weeks after I would think of him. It was hard not to. I truly believe we had a lot of fun. Anyone I met after him – even now – doesn’t measure up to him. I couldn’t handle the hurt of just being dropped and no goodbye. No closure. I took to writing about it in my journal.

I wrote about all the fun, the laughter, the cooking, the stars, counting airplanes – how I screwed up and how he screwed up. I just let my pencil fly – afterward, I cried. I mean really, really cried. I didn’t know I was that hurt and I had spent the past few months being so angry at him for not saying goodbye I couldn’t cry. But I did. I thought he was just a page in my history book. (A little 80’s for ya.)

Richard never told me he loved me. He said he liked hanging out with me. Not the same as “I like you.” He never reassured me that things were fine. I had to do that on my own. He never promised me anything. He never even said that he was catching feelings for me. So, I never really understood where all the seriousness, head worms and grids came in. I thought things were fine. I had my feelings, but I kept them to myself. Sure, they were written all over my face – I’m not very good at hiding how I feel – but I just never understood the “going off grid” and never saying goodbye.

The same day I had written my own closure of my time with Richard, I saw a tv commercial for some insurance company. The guy in the commercial looked exactly like Richard! It was so weird! They never showed his face, but everything about that man screamed Richard. I knew he was working on moving to a new company, so I thought “hey, he did it! Good for him!” For whatever reason, I looked him up online thinking I’d see his handsome face on an insurance ad – but instead I saw his handsome face on his obituary.

I felt my entire world crash down. This goofy man who was so full of life was gone. No one told me. Why would they? No one knew about us except for his son and my friends and family. And he was off grid before he died, so how would I have known. Talk about the feelings swell up like a river during a torrential downpour? I felt like I was drowning!! I went through every stage of grief in a matter of hours. I couldn’t go too crazy because we had only been dating a few months and we were done (at least I tell myself that) before he died.

So much happened in the weeks following that revelation. I stopped dating for one. I was grieving for a guy that couldn’t even communicate his feelings for me. Then, I was focusing on myself and getting my head right. I had to stop the nonsense and be real with myself. Look back and take the good from the experience and move on.

So, that leads me to where I am now. I look back on our time as a fun experience. I let go of the bad – well except for to write this – and I’m focusing on me. My life is changing every moment of every day.

I can’t sit on the shore and wait for some stupid fish to take the bait. I’ve decided to just throw myself out there and forget the rest. Life is honestly too short.

That’s the story, well, most of it, about Richard. Now on to the fun stuff…I can’t wait to tell you all about some of the fishes that have tried swimming in my waters!

Go big, or go home.

I’m doing both.

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