The truth is that eight years ago I thought the kiss of joy had grazed my cheek. On that particular evening, I had sworn off renewing my online membership. I was going on my absolutely last online date. Then I would try to meet people the old-fashioned way—at parades, a party, a pot-luck, or a dimly lit library table, which is exactly when I met the one. Isn’t that how it always is?
People proselytize that once you stop looking for something, the universe finally cuts you a deal. We went to a Spiderman movie together (not exactly a library table, but it was dark), and laughed before the coming attractions and long after the credits. He was on the short side with a brilliant smile and strong hands and wasn’t shy about taking mine into his own on our first date.
Guys talk about fetishes. I have a hand fetish. I look for the cut of nail, the length of finger, smoothness of palm, and for the feeling of flesh on flesh, which is what happens when someone takes my hand into his for the first time. Later, he ordered drinks and opened my car door when I went home. On our second date, he brought me a motorcycle helmet, and showed me a catalog where I could order a black leather jacket. Pick out any one, he said.
He wasn’t really a bad boy type, more like a southern guy who’s been riding motorcycles since he started to pitch newspapers on peoples’ front lawns. He wanted a friend to join him for the ride and I did. We had one of those honeyed amber courtships. Everything was fun, even asking him to repeat what he said because I couldn’t quite understand the bayou in his southern lilt. He made love to me with his beautiful hands. After a long spate of disease, death, and disappointment, for the first time I felt cared for, nurtured, and loved.
So why did it end? I’m still asking myself that question. My counselor says that soul mate relationships don’t bring along too much longevity. I don’t really believe that. I resent having to see a therapist and also in abusing my friends’ shoulders, but I don’t know any other way out of this. For months, I woke up sobbing. Everything reminded me of him. Now I’m beginning to feel numb. I suppose that’s progress. One day I decided to try the online dating thing again, a sort of chain that I could cinch to my waist and pull myself out of the mud. Wish me luck.
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