Tony said he was sorry. He joked he’d better finish that job so we could have that dinner since it no longer “interfered with anyone”.
I will admit: being in the middle of an emotional mess is not the time I make the best decisions. My logic and my otherwise rigorous ability to think about the consequences of my actions, act with restraint, and be measured in my responses goes out the window. Especially when my focus is elsewhere. I can also rationalize like a mofo (Ed note: why isn’t it mofu??)
My focus was completely on Fox, yet my brain found some room for Tony, as a way to think about Fox. And my thought process went something like this:
- I need to make a decision about whether to try again with Fox.
- I don’t miss him and would love to have a quick answer to my core question: is he the right man for me.
- In the past, if I’m trying to figure out how I feel about someone, sometimes being with some else helps me understand (See: Johnny Id).
- Maybe one way to gauge my feelings for Fox will be to see Tony. If I see him and think “no thanks”, that will tell me something. As will the opposite response.
- Another benefit to seeing Tony is I can gauge how I feel about Tony, after some time and space (it had been two months since our goodbye and almost three since the last time I’d been intimate with him).
So that’s how it worked. Flawed or not, I knew after having dinner with Tony I would have more clarity on Fox. And maybe Tony as well – bonus insight. In the heat of all the emotion, when I’m the one yearning for more, it’s easy to get caught up in all the reasons I want something, and lose sight of the negatives.
Relationship challenges aside, Tony isn’t a slam dunk, and I knew it.
Armed with my logical (maybe) approach, I looked at my calendar, and sighed: only one free weekend night until the end of the month. Which in some ways was welcome; there’s only so much I can be alone with my thoughts and “Breaking Bad”. My two child-free weekends I had girlfriends visiting. I had theater tickets (at the time) and wasn’t going to invite Tony; I wasn’t prepared to start inviting him to events.
I told Tony if he wanted to have that dinner, the upcoming Friday was my only free night until the end of the month. He said it was a date and good motivation to finish that job.
The next day, Fox asked me to meet that Friday. Tony aside, I didn’t want to; I had no answer for him as yet and didn’t want to set up a potentially romantic dinner just to tell him I didn’t know what I wanted. When I said I couldn’t meet him, he asked why – what my plans were. I lied; what else was I going to do?
Tony made dinner arrangements; I had taxi issues and was late. Roles were reversed and that was okay. He stood up when I joined him at the table (as all men should) and greeted me with a big hug.
Since my life isn’t a Hollywood movie (even though it feels like there’s enough drama and comedy to fill several scripts), we didn’t immediately gaze into each others eyes longingly and express our undying love for one another (sorry, Team Tony).
It was actually ever so slightly awkward. Not enough that anyone listening to us would notice, but was what I would expect after a couple of months of no-contact and neither party really knowing what the ground rules were.
I actually had a moment where I thought hey, this is cool. I think I’m okay to not take him home tonight.
My internal monologue kept up a good clip as we chatted and laughed over a long and delicious meal and a few drinks. I realized the ease of conversation and the banter was something I really had missed with Fox, and I had it with Tony. It’s not everything, and there was a lot I didn’t get from Tony that I got from Fox, but it drove the point home.
We finished our dinner and he had planned where to go next… the last bar we went to on our first date. It was unexpectedly sentimental. This little bar holds maybe 20 patrons and is wonderfully low-fi. He bought our drinks and we stood by the heater at the door until we had spots at the bar.
Maybe it’s because we weren’t face to face anymore, or maybe it was due to his fourth drink, but he started to talk about…well…me.
He told me he’d been taking trips down memory lane lately. He looked at the media we’d shared via text and saw all the pictures I’d sent him. He had spent time interacting with some women on POF and realized just how “wicked” (amazing, not naughty) I was in comparison. He took down his dating profile because he didn’t have a connection with anyone. He talked of the awesome times we had together.
There was more, but I can’t recall it all now. I know my heart melted a bit to hear him say those things. My brain quickly stepped in and yelled at me a little: Ann, nothing has changed.
But then my gut spoke up and told my brain that something indeed had changed, even if I couldn’t clearly identify it.
I touched his hand and he quickly enveloped my hands in his. He rubbed my wrist with his thumb, and with his other hand gripped my forearm, and in that moment I knew exactly how our evening was going to end.