April 3, 2019

The Last Tinder Date: Chapter 3

I didn't know what to do when he left. Do I text him? Do I wait for him to text me? Do I add him on Facebook? I didn't want to play games to find love. But at the same time, I didn't know if I was just an Eastern European woman he wanted to conquer but ran out of time.

 

Playing on the safe side, I lowered my expectations, assuming we would only talk for a couple of days. And like most things, it would fizzle out, and be added to the list of spontaneous encounters leading to nowhere.

 

But, that didn't happen. From the minute he texted me, we spent every day, all day on the phone. And yeah, I liked him, but I'm also the queen of self-sabotage.

 

After my track record, you begin all relationships looking at the obstacles. And there were a lot of things going against us. He was Jewish; I was not. He lived in Israel; I lived in Serbia.

 

His family was religious; I learned about religion from The Davinci Code.

 

Were these obstacles really impossible to defeat? No. But, as much as I wanted to find love; I was fucking terrified.

"Who are you talking to?" my mom asked suspiciously as I was curled up on the couch, intensely focused on my phone.

 

"No one."

 

"Are you still talking to that guy?" she sat down on the couch at a distance which gave off an I'm-not-invading-your-space-but-I-need-details vibe.

 

I hesitated to answer. I didn't want to see the oh look, another victim of Natasha face. My mom called the guys I dated "victims." When a new guy would pop up, she would say, "it looks like Natasha has a new victim."

 

I prided myself on the fact my parents thought they were victims. It gave me the illusion I could never get hurt. Though each guy left their scar on me, I never noticed until I met him.

 

"His name is Nate," I looked up from my phone with bright eyes. "and it's crazy. Since I met him, we haven't stopped talking." I looked back down at my phone and texted him a quick message.

 

I looooved the good morning voice message you sent me today. I think I've listened to it 100 times already. Hehe.

 

"He says he wants to come to see me," I said, as I sent the message.

 

"Mhm," my mom's brow furrowed with slight concern. "Your father and I... well, your father and I think maybe you're trying too hard to meet someone. We know you want to find love, but maybe you're rushing into things too much. You know what happened last time..." she hesitated for a moment as she waited for my response.

 

I stared at her in silence, she continued. "We just want you to be happy."

 

No one wants to remember the itchy moments from their past. And no, not STD itchiness. I'm talking about the itchiness of shame, rejection, and disappointment.

 

"We're saying this because, well...your father isn't going to tell you, but it's important you know how we feel. We just see you giving so much of yourself, and you keep getting hurt. Maybe taking it easy would be good for you."

 

My mom gently placed her hand on my knee, "it's just you haven't had much luck in the love department. The Turkish guy didn't show up at the airport. And then you had the guy before that, the Macedonian idiot..." She placed her hand on my knee lovingly, "we know you want to find love, but it hurts seeing you going through this."

 

I could feel the heat rising in my chest, "give me a second." I had taken a deep breath in hopes of calming down. I remembered everything. I remembered the nights I would wake up crying, going for walks, talking to myself endlessly as I tried to find the moment where they decided to throw me away.

 

Oh, I fucking remembered. But deep down I didn't give a shit about those guys. This isn't to say they didn't fuck me up, because they did. Each chipped away at my ego and self-esteem, one by one. But, I let them out of the fear of not experiencing love and yet, being absolutely terrified of it.

 

"Mom, let's be honest. I'm twenty-seven and haven't been in a relationship before and that's because of me. I just kept meeting idiots because I wasn't ready. And I don't know if I'm ready now, but I have to try. I'm taking it slow with Nate, I mean, I don't really have a choice. But I want to find love; I really do. So, I have to stop running and try."

 

I started biting my nails vigorously, "And yeah, maybe I'm trying too hard." I rubbed my forehead. "Maybe you and dad are right. But I don't think I'm really trying, I think I'm just being a pussy."

 

She nodded and as her eyes glazed over. "You know, back when I was in college, I met this guy. His name was John, he was a good looking guy. Tall, blonde, real Canadian looking. I went to this bar after work with my girlfriends, and I met him there. We had a great time that night dancing together. And he asked me for my number."

 

I imagined my mom dancing to disco music as she continued. "And back then, do you think we had cell phones, Natasha? We didn't have any of it. He told me to be home around eight on Friday night because he was going to call me. So, Friday night came, and I was at home, sitting next to the phone all dressed up, waiting for his call."

 

Her cheeks dropped slightly, "but I got impatient and left the house to look for him. I thought he stood me up, so I tried to see if I could find him out around town." Her voice quivered softly, "I don't know why I did that. And while I was out looking for him, he called my house."

 

"Did he leave his number?"

 

"No, he didn't," she said softly.

 

"Why wouldn't he just leave his number?" I sat up, "and did you ever see him again?"

 

"No," she shook her head. "And, of course, life goes on, I moved to Vancouver, and then I met your father a couple of years later." She wiped her eyes with an old kleenex she took out of her pocket. "But sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I just stayed home that night."

 

I didn't know what to say. After a couple of seconds, the silence broke with a soft giggle, "who knows, your name would have probably been Victoria or a Samantha." She smiled, rubbed my leg tenderly, got up from the couch and walked into the bathroom. I sat for a moment in silence; I needed to make a decision. Fuck that. I grabbed my phone and texted Nate.

 

I want to see you.

 

He read the message and replied immediately, haha, I was just about to ask you what you're doing next weekend?

 

I covered my mouth in partial shock and excitement, it looks like I'm going on a second date.

 

To be continued...

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