D. certainly threw me for a loop–both when he appeared and when he unceremoniously left (and then, of course, began doing the very same thing to another woman while lying to me about it, but that’s another story). Despite the short time we’d known each other, his leaving without any acknowledgement or offer of closure hit me harder than perhaps any other dating snafu since my early twenties. I had stopped eating, started drinking, and was pretty much a mess overall.
But I quit my full-time writing job in November and still had to make ends meet somehow, so I agreed to work a festival downtown for one of my old agencies this past weekend. Liquor promos always were good money.
Friday was a long, loud nine hours of taking the most tedious job because the other women with me didn’t want to do it. I was still exhausted by the next evening and my voice had not fully recovered. But Saturday night, I caught sight of T. behind the bar. Tall and handsome with a chiseled body and smooth skin the color of cocoa…I couldn’t resist. I thought he was wearing a UT-Knoxville hat (the mark of my old in-state rival), so I had one of his fellow bartenders call him over so I could hit on/lecture him real quick.
“Hey gorgeous,” he had said…though he told me later he was trying to figure out whether he was “in trouble” and I was about to chew him out for something. It wasn’t the first time I had been called intimidating.
After reassuring me that the cap had nothing to do with east Tennessee–and then getting my phone number–he sneakily began plying me with inconspicuous drinks that he wasn’t supposed to give and I wasn’t technically supposed to accept on the clock (but my manager had instructed that we just not drink “too much,” so I didn’t feel bad).
I finished work around 2 a.m. and he met me outside to talk (although first I insisted on buying bacon-wrapped sausage from the food truck, because that’s what I do). And then he kissed me…and I kissed him back, quite enthusiastically. How strange, to kiss a man you’ve just met! But I felt comfortable with him, safe. And though I’d found out earlier that evening, I still couldn’t believe he was nearly a decade older than I! Melanin is tricky that way.
And when he asked for my address to come by after his shift, I told him maybe sometime soon. I was tired, and I really didn’t do things like that. But then I thought a bit as I got ready to drive home…and sent it to him anyway. I couldn’t believe I was really doing this.
He arrived as promised around 3:30 a.m. through the uncharacteristically frigid Texas temperatures that were somehow down in single-digits.
“This is weird…but um, can I use your shower? I know it’s goofy, but it just always feels like the fastest way to get warm.”
“Go for it,” I had said.
He reached out his hand. “You coming too?”
I went for it (after realizing he wasn’t talking to my cat, which was my first impression). And I’m glad I did: if there was anything that would help me put D. and the lack of sexual chemistry I felt for him in person due to my nerves in perspective, it was this man. Sweet, caring, and passionate, T. marveled at each curve on my body as he alternately kissed and lathered and made conversation.
We had an easy chemistry, both physical and verbal. At some point during our late-night adventure, there were things he confided about his family life that clearly were kept tightly bottled most of the time. I admitted to being cautious, very briefly summarizing what happened with D., my voice catching despite my best efforts.
And this man, unlike his predecessor, more than understood the importance of foreplay and making love to a woman’s whole body. That had been my big shock with D: he sure talked as if he understood it, but that was definitely not the case when he arrived. As for T., I was more “his” in that exchange of just his lips on my neck than I ever was D’s…even after that odd assurance he had made that he wanted to “feel my spirit” when we made love (note: I had told D at the time that it wasn’t my “spirit” he was about to feel, but I had successfully avoided rolling my eyes).
After the intensity with which D. had come into my life, talked about our supposed future, made me fall for him, and then left without so much as a heads up, T. was exactly the treat that I needed to really start healing.