The divorce was less than two months past and, not surprisingly, I was still in major emotional backlash mode. I kept having this sense of desperately sorting though 30 years of unmatched socks. Dirty socks. While wearing a blindfold.
But never one to leave a scab un-picked, I kept at the dating sites, constantly re-evaluating my search criteria, wondering if there was maybe just one particular factor that was knocking out all the good ones*. I did have slightly better results when I expanded the distance beyond my initial 50 foot radius, but that's about it.
Then... one day at work, a year ago to this very day, something caught my eye.
That one guy... doesn't he look familiar? Is it..? Oh man, you've got to be kidding me!
Waaay back -- almost 25 year ago, when Lovely Daughter was barely a toddler -- I was a young Navy wife working in a civil service job Back East. Being young and still fairly sociable, I soon found a kindred spirit, also married with a young child and a wicked sense of humor, who became my Evil Twin in short order. Oh, the fun we had!
Bit by bit we expanded our clique. One of our additions was this young single guy. As a really smart guy with a quiet demeanor (although he did have the requisite wicked sense of humor) he didn't date much; at least not that he told us**.
Wasn't long before we began including him in our Girls' Nights Out. He played a great straight man for our "female humor" and was very tolerant of our verbal abuse. He was a safe date for two married women, and we were safe dates for him.
Well, things changed, as is their wont. We had a couple of really good years before job changes and moves broke up the old gang. But I kept in touch with Evil Twin and she kept in touch with Our Guy.
Fast forward fifteen years. Hubby and I had recently moved cross-country, Young Son was an infant, and I'd just celebrated my 40th birthday. I managed to lure Evil Twin out for a visit to help me celebrate. She mentioned that Our Guy, married and divorced in the interim, was flying solo in the Big City; should she look him up? The notion of a Girls' Night Out Reunion with Our Guy was too much to resist. Emails were sent, plans were laid, and the three of us managed to meet for dinner. The Reunion was a success!
So... seven years later, there he was. Or at least I thought it was him. I clicked on the photo and read the profile.
Oh yeah, it's gotta be Our Guy. I have to tell Evil Twin -- she's gonna shit!
To: Evil Twin
Date: Feb 23, 2007 11:20 AM
Subj: OMG... could it be?
Do you think this is him?? I just saw the pic on Match.com
and it *freaked* me out! The profile mentioned something
about chasing icebergs. It has to be him, right?
From: Evil Twin
Date: Feb 23, 2007 2:10 PM
Subj: Re: OMG... could it be?
OF COURSE that's him!! Who else has that forehead?
What fun! Hubby was standing behind me when the photo
opened and knew who it was right away.
I think this is kismet. I'll have to go on Match.com
to check him out. You lucky girl***.
To: Evil Twin
Date: Feb 23, 2007 2:31 PM
Subj: Re: OMG... could it be?
Yeah, of course it is him. I must have been in
denial. Sigh. Maybe I'll email him through match.com
and freak him out.
So I pondered and pondered. I pondered all afternoon and into the evening. Since I was only a free member of the site, I couldn't email unless I paid for the privilege. Grrr! And what would I write, anyway? He would have no way of knowing that I was single. Hell, last he knew, I'd just had a baby. I certainly didn't want him to think I was trying to pick him up or anything (I wasn't, was I?) But it would be fun to chat about old times and maybe learn a little about the single life from a master practitioner.
After further pondering, several hours, and more than one rough draft, I was ready. I waited until Young Son was abed, plunked down my credit card ($35 for one month! Yikes!) and fired the first shot:
To: That Guy
Date received: February 23, 2007
How the hell are you? Long time no see, fancy meeting
you here, and all of that. Why am I here? Long story....
Anyway, just wanted to wave hi at a familiar face
in a sea of unknowns. Nothing like a blast from the
past to shake up your day.
Did you ever build that house?
Would love to catch up some time...
And so it began. Would he write back? What would he write back? Why was I doing this? And what was I doing in this handbasket?
Part III: In which our protagonist learns if, what, and why.
* Yeah, I know.
** Can't blame him; I certainly wouldn't have told us.
*** She was yanking my chain big-time here, in case you couldn't tell. She's like that.