Humans have a tendency to believe what we hear when it comes to certain things, especially when we are at our most vulnerable. Dating is a kind of confessional. Two strangers meet only to reveal random facts about themselves as if they are applying for a job. The confessional comes in at all hours of the dating process, even, when someone such as I has a lonely night and texts Rodger because I just want a little TLC.
My fingers fly so fast on the keys that they type out nonsense at first. I want to have him come over. He agrees, and, soon, we’re in my bed holding each other talking about stuffed dogs and the epic movie Avatar. It’s a calm night for the both of us. We needed a simple night even though we don’t admit it out loud. Subsequent dates are just as calming and serene. We talk, of course, but the meetings are not about that. There about relishing in the fact that we have someone who enjoys each other.
Perceptions, however, have a way of falling. One night, Rodger sends me a text that says he’s going to pick me up and take me to dinner at a fancy restaurant. One, in which, he is going to pay for. I don’t trust anybody, however, and sneak my wallet in my pocket before he comes to whisk me away.
There are always conversations that lead up to the main one and both parties know when the other forces these conversations, including us. Rodger and I both know full well that the small talk about his job and new cat are a warning sign for the best conversation or the worst conversation, depending on how you look at it.
It isn’t until the dinner arrives and we’re masticating delicious meat that the throat clears and the napkin is placed on the table. For some reason I don’t brace myself. I am eating delicious food and I am enjoying every last swallow.
“So, Robert,” he begins, sounding as if he’s about to tell me a Deep dark secret about the US Army.
“Yeah?” I say with a gob full of potatoes with lavishly melted butter, “what’s up? Do you want to tell me that you don’t know the plot to the new Star Wars movie? Even with the internet?” he doesn’t laugh. This is a warning sign I don’t pay attention to. I’ve come to the conclusion I’m either, really desperate or really stupid. Either that or the voices in my head don’t give me dating advice or warning messages. They seem to only work when I’m writing fiction. How unfair.
“I’ve been thinking, actually, you know, about us?” I become excited. Elated, almost. Is he going to be the one to make me close the dating blog for good? Is my soul searching finally over? Is he going to ask me to share a bucket of ice cream with him? He’s crazy if he thinks I will share.
“Good. Usually, that comes before a really devastating piece of news!” I grin, but he doesn’t. Mine slowly wilts and I feel like I’ve just said that the air and the sun were the same, thing.
“Well, that’s just it, though, I’ve been thinking about us, and, well, I don’t know how I will keep doing this?”
“Doing what?” I ask, worried. My heart pounds and I’ve lost what little appetite I have.
“Well, just doing this… being restricted because of so many things to consider…” I am about to pick at a peace of steak on my plate but soon think about throwing the food all over him. I wouldn’t want to waste my bill on something this, well I can’t even think of a word to describe him. Instantly, my bullshit detector goes off.
“What do you mean, restricted?”
“I can’t just do something with you randomly like I want to… I can’t just do something nice for you randomly. I have to see if things are set in place and ready and…” he falters, but I know what he wants to say. Accommodating. Instead, he blurts out,
“I also have to make sure you’re not working or something.”
“But the good thing about writing, Rodger, is that I can do it whenever and wherever I want to do it. I set my own schedule. I can work nights if you want to plan a day. I can sleep in if you want to have an epic night.”
“It’s not just about your work.” he sniffs and I want to throw my fork at him. I’m done tiptoeing around the issue.
“You also need to make sure things are accessible to me. Right?”
“Well, yeah. I honestly don’t understand how anyone can plan a nice surprise for someone who always needs to plan ahead. I want to do something nice at the spur of the moment and I can’t. I don’t want to plan everything. I’m sorry but I’m just saying how I feel.”
“But Rodger, that’s, well, that’s narrow mindedness. We can have fun surprises. Is this about the lifestyle? Talking devices in the apartment? Talking phones, special movies with audio description?”
“I just can’t live in your world. I thought that I could but I can’t.” I can’t believe he ‘is ending it because of my disability. I am so stunned I just sit there with steak in my mouth. People near us turn and listen to this interesting daytime drama. I want to melt into a puddle and just slide out the door. I don’t know where this is coming from because he’s been so attentive and I’ve told him some of the deeper darker areas of my story, my past. We shared movies together. Sure, with audio description, but he didn’t seem to mind. None of this was a problem until now. He has never uttered a word about it until now. I can’t eat anymore. I want to punch him, slightly, as well, but I stand up and he grabs my cane as I start to leave.
“At least we can still be friends right?” I say with a smile. He doesn’t smile. He’s made it clear. This is our final goodbye, all because I have a disability. Anger flashes through me as he says,
“I just can’t. I need someone who I can be equal with.” This does it. As I turn to leave, with a dozen people watching and listening, I grab the water on the table, the only free item, and throw it all over him. I then snatch my plate and grab a to go bag before flying out the door and into a cab, and speed away from this nightmare. I try and think about what a bullet I’ve just dodged, but I can’t stop crying, even though I’m really enjoying a chocolate Sunday he paid for.