I got to DC almost exactly six months ago. In my first couple weeks of house hunting, I saw this really cool place that I really liked. I was saddened not to have gotten in, but the message informing me of that fact was interesting. It was one of the housemates telling me that she’d pulled for me hard, but it didn’t work out. What made it interesting was the undercurrent of flirtation. So, I responded with something peppy, brushed off the rejection and dropped a few questions. A conversation ensued and soon I found myself in a relationship.
I liked this girl quite a bit. She was smart, candid, adventurous and sexual. We had a really good time together seeing the city getting to know each other. I won’t say it was a storybook romance, but it really was about as free and open as I have felt in a relationship.
Round about three months our intimacy and familiarity had continued to the point that I started having the impulse to tell her that I loved her. I’ve never been the first one to do this and honestly Africa left me a little jaded. When the feeling would come up I’d just sort of enjoy the feeling, but never say the words. I figured that was what was important and that the words were just secondary.
But they’re not, of course. If the words didn’t matter it wouldn’t be hard to say them. What I didn’t realize until the feelings started to change is that I wasn’t just deciding not to say, “I love you:” I was deciding to play it safe and not make myself vulnerable to this other person.
The image that comes to mind now is a little fetus growing in its mother’s womb. As time goes on legs and arms and eyes and a nose grow. Sometimes though something goes wrong. Maybe mommy smokes or some of her chromosomes don’t line up like they do in most people. For whatever reason something gets off in the development process. Maybe one of the arms comes in crooked or whatever. As time goes on these little problems effect later things until eventually the sick little baby just quietly passes away.
The image is a little dramatic, but that’s what I keep seeing. Not because I want to compare my relationship to a miscarriage, but rather to something delicate and growing and, I’m afraid, having been dealt a fatal blow through a bad decision.
Because I like talking to her and doing things with her and generally being her boyfriend. How I feel affection for her has changed though. I feel like I’ve got a really good friend that I have sex with, but I’m not sure that I’ve got a lover. While I certainly enjoy having a good friend to have sex with, it matters to me that the relationship has the potential of going somewhere. I’m old and I want kids. Every decision is going to take me closer or farther away from the life I want to be living after another thirty years. While this is fun in the here and now, I just can’t weigh that against what I feel like I’m giving up on.
So, we’re going to have a talk. We’ll see how that goes.