It has been 945 days since I left him. It has been 1,036 days since I separated us. It has been 2,846 days since my last first date. It has been 334 days since the judge slammed the gavel on the divorce. No matter how many days pass, there don’t seem to be enough between Donkey and a date.
In my office, there are only two of us who are unattached. During the hours of eight to five, we talk business and not gossip and drama. We don’t talk personal lives, other than what books we are reading. It’s a mutual we just don’t care.
For whatever reason, last week he asked me if I’ve been going out on dates. Maybe after six months of working together the pleasantries, how are you, fine, how are you, fine, have run their course. I don’t know. I like my walls, but I answered the question. “No,” I said, “I haven’t gone on any dates.” He asked why not, and I just shook my head for several seconds before finally coming up with, “I would just be going for free dinners and that’s not right.”
He shook his head and retorted, “if that’s what you think, you need to think differently.” He explained, using himself as an example, that he’s taken several women out for free dinners and that men really do enjoy taking women out. That it’s not necessarily about finding the next relationship, but about the company, the conversation, and the impression. If it’s mutually enjoyed, there’s another dinner; if not, then not.
He made it sound so enjoyable. He made it sound like it was not if you order chicken you have to kiss and if you order steak you have to fuck. He made it sound like dinner was just that, dinner, and not day one of a five-year relationship, not step one to the sack.
All this to say, he got me thinking that maybe dating wouldn’t be the end of me. Could I gather the courage to expose myself to the pain and gain that is dating, and find someone not only willing to accept me, but to accept that Donkey is part of the package? Could I actually lift my head and notice that those feet belong to a man?
I starting thinking maybe it might be enjoyable to get out, go out, and have adult conversations that don’t require typing. Thinking someone might be able to make me smile, that I might be able to make someone smile. Thinking I might be able to laugh, and laugh with someone who is also laughing. Thinking I could feel good for being me even in the presence of another. Thinking there might be someone who doesn’t think changing me would make me better. Thinking I could appreciate someone, and someone could appreciate me. And then I thought better.
I still think in terms of Donkey. I worry I will meet his clone. I don’t want to bring him into anyone else’s life. I can’t fathom the abuse he will heap on me if someone does come into my life. Though the respect wouldn’t be afforded me, were someone to become significant I wouldn’t want to introduce him and the kids without first telling Donkey. That isn’t something he should hear from the kids.
I don’t trust myself, and that makes it hard to trust someone else. I’m still happy being single.