Around the middle of April I was sitting at work, firing up the computer screen to do another webinar that, I expected, would not be very crowded. They hadn’t been lately (and still aren’t), but that didn’t make me any less responsible for them – though it did mean that I had more time for texting and chatting.
I’d been doing that a lot… I’d installed, finally, the Facebook messenger on my phone. More or less because I was beginning to see the necessity for it. I don’t have any Facebook friends that I don’t know personally and, certainly, none that I would feel uncomfortable giving my phone out to, but there’s something about being able to type your chats from a computer keyboard rather than that ridiculous phone touchscreen if you possibly can – and I recognized this, preferring to do it myself. At any rate, I installed the messenger.
1.0 and I had been chatting a lot lately. Getting to know each other again. I was glad to have my friend back, and, further, glad to have someone to talk to when the days at work were particularly long (and they were particularly long very often). We’d run the gambit on conversations – work, why I moved, his current college goals, and had finally stumbled into the familiar territory of relationships. We talked about the ones we were currently pursuing. He told me about a woman he was getting ready to break things off with because she’d stopped talking to him. I told him a little about Botboy, how I was waiting, why I was waiting, and had mentioned that he hadn’t really talked to me in months, but how I was, more or less, continuing due to the principle of the thing.
Finally, one afternoon, just around the time his finals were ending he asked what I had planned for May. I told him nothing, really, except for the last weekend in May, since I needed to be in Kentucky that weekend for my sister’s wedding that I really didn’t want to go to. He mentioned wanting to come down, to get away from the city for awhile, to take a break from finals. I was fine with that – and of course after I said that was okay with me, he pretty much invited himself to stay at my apartment. Again, I was fine with this this time. It wasn’t like the last time… my divorce was a long time ago now, and I have a futon in my living room. He bought his tickets, sent me the itinerary, and I now had something to look forward to during mid-May (which was great, since I was really dreading this wedding).
He wouldn’t have been here long, but nearly immediately, I started getting my house ready for his arrival… making sure the sheets on the futon were clean, moving my paintings from the patio into another area so we could use the patio for sitting, just general straightening… oh, and making sure that Metalhead had a place to go for that weekend since he was still staying with me then due to some heart issues. 1.0 and I continued to talk nearly daily… I started to suspect that he wanted more than just to come down here to visit, and I didn’t know how I felt about that, yet I continued to entertain the idea of him visiting. After all, it was only going to be for a couple of days… true, Botboy hadn’t said anything to me in ages, but how much damage could someone do in two days?
So I began to make plans with him. I was going to show him the abbreviated version of Tampa… downtown, maybe a beach, Ybor city… the high points. I had enough planned to show him for two days until he asked, one afternoon, if I minded going to Orlando to see his friend. I didn’t mind visiting. It’s always nice to meet new people that live in Florida, as I know so few. But when he told me that we’d be staying there with him, possibly, since he had room in his apartment, I started to get a little edgy about it. I’m not much for spending the night in places I’m not familiar with – at least without proper accommodations. Having plenty of money to stay on my own, in hotels, I don’t find shacking up with strangers to be something that is particularly necessary anymore. But I didn’t argue… it was one night, at the worst. And at best, perhaps I could simply say, later, once he got here, that I would rather sleep in my own bed.
The thing is… a week later… this came up again. But this time it didn’t have to do with Orlando. A week later, he asked me if I’d ever been to California and what did I think of it…
“I went once,” I answered, “for a day. I didn’t stay long enough to form an opinion honestly, why?”
And that’s when he dropped a bomb and invited me to go on a two week vacation with him, touring the West Coast. I was tempted for a minute. I really was. I love to travel and I get to do so little of it these days, since I don’t like traveling alone. But then when I started to ask for details he told me about how we’d be seeing all of his friends and relatives and how we’d be staying with him. Immediately I started having 3.0 flashbacks. I started remembering how 3.0 had taken me to Tennessee for a wedding, how we’d tried to stay with his friends, how the accommodations had been severely lacking (like, I’d had to stay up until 2 a.m. just to make the bathroom liveable) and how I’d been blamed for “freaking out” when I’d asked him, nicely and before we went, to get a hotel for us to stay at instead of with his friends or twin brother.
I’ll be the first to preach against not letting past experiences affect the present or the future, but you know what… I know how I am… if I do not feel comfortable in a place, be it due to hygiene, the company, whatever, I am not good company. And on top of that, I like my space. I understand, coming from New York that his life is full of constant roommates (something I could not do at thirty) and parties and company. I understand that shacking up with people he knows, family, friends, is a no brainer to him. But I do not have a roommate. I have not had a roommate in years and, given my way, at the end of the day, I need my space to come home to. To decompress in. Someplace where I am not required to “put on a happy face” and be sociable when all I want to do is relax.
Besides that, though, he was moving really, REALLY fast. Like, I hadn’t even been in the same room with the man for ten years. I didn’t know that we’d even get along the way that we used to. I was apprehensive about it. When Metalhead told me I needed to chill and take it as it came, because, of course, here was 1.0, putting in effort, where Botboy was not (and had not since he left), I agreed, and I tried to put it out of my head… but I couldn’t.
Finally, in an attempt to be political and tactful about it, I simply put off making a decision by saying, “Why don’t we see how your visit goes here and then I’ll make a decision re: California?” Thankfully he agreed and didn’t say any more about it. I meant it, too. I wanted to see how we interacted for a couple of days, first, before I made a commitment to spend two whole weeks with a man.. not just 1.0, but ANY man.
So I continued to make preparations. I continued to make sure that Metalhead had someplace to go, other than his car, for those two days and I told him, no matter what, that if it came down to a situation where he had nowhere to go, that I wanted him here. I’d put them both somewhere, though I had no idea where. And I simply hoped that, when he came, he wouldn’t put me in an awkward position that I felt uncomfortable with… after all, I wasn’t the same girl I was when I’d known him in 2002.