It was a day or two after our second date that I rode the subway home in a panic.
And it was a really good second date.
He had a walked into the bar--all 6 feet, three inches of him, wearing a smart navy sweater--and I thought, Yeah, okay, this guy.
But two days later, riding the subway home, I was in a panic. Maybe he’s not the guy. Maybe...yeah, no, I don’t know. What if I don’t fall in love with him--what if I’m not able to fall in love with him? What does it say about me if I’m unable to fall in love with a person who is so clearly good and kind?
I was unsure from the start. Totally perplexed as to what I was feeling and what I might feel and what I would eventually feel and all the unanswered questions were crushing.
And yes, spoiler alert, that early in, there should be that many unanswered questions.
But I had never known a slow-growing affection.
So two days after our second date, I was in a panic of unease at the discomfort of not-knowing.
The muddled middle. The gray. The great, gaping unknown.
With anyone else, at any previous point in my life, I would have jumped ship immediately. The in-between being so uncomfortable as to be avoided altogether.
But for that small voice this go-round that said, keep going.
You see, of all the men I have felt tremendous affection for (a whopping two of them) there was a sense, when looking at them, that I had known them before. They were, somehow, from the very start, not strangers--they never felt like strangers.
But he was. I didn’t recognize his face. There wasn’t some cosmic awareness of a history. He was totally new new to me.
I wrote that the point of our small mess was his goodness. Which is true. But his goodness was only part of the point. And frankly, the guy before him was good, too, so I’m getting closer.
I sat in that unknown until it passed. Or rather, until my discomfort in relation to it, passed. I grew comfortable with the not-knowing. I made space for affection to grow. And it did. Slowly, it did. And I came to regard his deep brown eyes as very lovely things to be beheld by. He’d take off his glasses, take a deep breath, and smile as if he was just catching up to himself, and I’d think him so handsome.
Not-knowing doesn’t mean no, it just means not-knowing. Which is an important distinction.
The ability to grow comfortable with discomfort. That was the point. And a very good point, at that.