On Saturday, the man I liked told me he did not want to date me. We only went out twice, but they were both good dates, and I even had dinner with him and his daughter. Anyone observing from the outside would think we were moving in the direction of something serious.
But Saturday he came clean and said he had never wanted to date anyone in the first place, so for the remainder of that afternoon I cried at random times in front of complete strangers, including the poor man seated next to me at an outdoor concert.
Sunday, The Man Who Doesn’t Want Me spent almost the whole day with me to assuage his guilt. He was raised Catholic, if you need an explanation. He made lunch for us, went to a scary movie (that he previously said he did not want to see) with me, and made dinner for us. It involved two separate trips to the grocery store, and he paid for the movie, though I said I would prefer to pay for myself.
We talked all day in the kitchen, and I had a chance to ask why he invited me into his life when he wasn’t at all interested in dating me. His explanation did not and still does not make sense, but it doesn’t really matter because the fact remains that whatever he may want, I am not it. I don’t know if I can or should be his friend, given that he will never want the same kind of relationship that I had wanted from him, but if yesterday was the last day we ever see each other at least it was a lovely end to a short-lived relationship.
At one point during our conversation, I joked about never finding someone to love me. “I suspect a lot of people love you,” he said.
“You are right, a lot of people do,” I replied. “But not in the way you love that one person who is different from everyone else in your life.” It has been a very long time since I was loved in that way. I held back tears, and he changed the subject.
This afternoon, I visited my sister and her children to have some play time with my nieces and nephew. I was sitting on the couch by my six-year-old nephew, John, watching “Ryan’s Toys Review” on YouTube. He quietly slid over and lay his head on my shoulder, and I felt all the love that a young boy feels for his aunt–even if he won’t let her kiss him anymore. I have had a special place in my heart for John since before he was born, and I think he has a special love for me, too. I just sat and took it all in so I could save it for later.
Maybe I will never again experience romantic love, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am indeed loved by many people. For today, that’s all I need.