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Valentine's Day weekend
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Inspiration for Jane's Valentine gift/card didn't finally strike until Thursday afternoon, of course. I focused on that project all evening but had trouble with the gear system. I gave up on that some time after midnight.
I left school early in the afternoon so that I could throw together a replacement card and then heard out to Jane's place. I took the train this time to avoid the frustration of rush hour and to save a little gas. Jane picked me up at the end of the line and we went out to dinner before heading to a friend's place for game night. I dozed on the drive down; I was still fatigued from my efforts the night before. I was a bit nervous about meeting new people but soon got over that once it became apparent that we were all just nerds of different stripes. Hell, one veteran was wearing a hoodie from an anime convention. And the drinks probably helped too. We started off the night with video games, then some YouTube, then some Cards Against Humanity and then ... ?
Even though I'd downed a Five-Hour Energy Drink just before the gathering, I started fading about 11 pm. Drunk Jane was cuddly and fun at first but kept chastising me for yawning and incessantly egging me on to go do pull-ups with the other guys. It was all I could do to keep my eyes open and stay somewhat engaged; I certainly did not want to go exercise. Her needling chipped away at my good mood. Then she texted me a 'secret'. I hadn't hugged/kissed her at the train stop and she told me that she'dd momentarily interpreted it as a sign that I wasn't interested in her anymore. I don't know why the hell she thought this was the right time or place to discuss that. Even if it was an irrational thought that could quickly be dismissed in normal conversation, it wasn't anything we could air out right then and there. So all of these factors had me ready to leave the party ASAP but Jane wasn't in any hurry to leave even though she started dozing off after awhile.
When we got home Jane was mostly sober, according to her own words. Awaiting us on the kitchen table was a bouquet of flowers that hadn't been there before. Jane asked me if it was my doing. I said no. Then she roused Nan from her room and asked her as well. Nan deferred responsibility for the flowers, possibly trying to foist credit for the flowers onto me. Jane kept going back and forth asking which one of us had done it. It was funny to see her get so worked up about it. She seemed eager to thank me for the supposed gift, but I wasn't about to lie. Eventually though Nan spilled the beans.

Saturday afternoon we went to go do couples' painting at a studio on the Square. It was BYOB so we brought along a bottle of wine (though we should've brought our own Brushes too, since the didn't give us many to work with). I got pretty pumped once we were inside and put on our aprons and took our seats with the easels and paints and brushes at the ready. We got to painting and pretty soon I was so focused on the painting that I hardly acknowledged the instructor's directions or bothered with the wine other than to slake my thirst. It seemed (to me at least) that we were the only couple that was genuinely having fun. Many of the guys there were making obvious that they weren't there by choice. They looked bored, apathetic, or downright sullen. And their women were so intent on trying to evoke some romantic creative experience or something. Jane and I on the other hand were happy as clams. The two hours elapsed more quickly than I expected. I was painting right up until the last second.

I'd made the mistake of assuming the train ran on Sundays. It didn't. That meant we had to scramble a bit Sunday morning. Jane was kind enough to leave her place a couple hours early to drop me off at my truck so that I could keep my tutoring appointment that afternoon. After I was done with that and Jane was done with her class we re-convened at my house. We didn't do much else other than eat, nap, and talk. When she had to unexpectedly leave that night because she had forgotten her medicine I was sincerely upset. I'm getting really accustomed to/fond of seeing her on a daily basis (or as near as we can manage).

Devil's voice & gasoline
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Jane had two comedy classes this weekend so she'd be down in our area for the majority of the weekend. Even though we'd spent Tuesday and Wednesday together, I didn't feel like waiting till Saturday when she'd come down from Denton, so I went up there Friday evening. Along the way a bought a armful of facial products to improve my skincare game at Jane's suggestion. She was surprised by my ambitious bounty; I appreciated her advice as this was a topic I was significantly ignorant about. This weekend was Jane's monthly ebb so we didn't do much else besides go out to dinner (at a yummy unique place called the Greenhouse) and then lounged around in bed that night.
We didn't stick around in Denton for long on Saturday morning but we did go out to lunch on the Square. The temperature was mild and the weather was beautiful. We had the restaurant almost entirely to ourselves and the food was good. It felt like a very special moment to me, precisely because it felt so 'perfect' without any conscious effort or planning. When Jane went to the bathroom I found myself feeling oddly melancholic. No matter how ideal this moment was, part of me was aware that eventually the memory would fade, be forgotten, or eclipsed by a negative break-up. I had no reason to be pessimistic; I suppose I was just trying to pull myself back from being too smitten(?).
Back at home I half-ass cleaned while Jane was in class. Cameron and Katherine were all gussied up and ready to go out for their night alone. They left at least twenty minutes before Jane arrived. Lilly was eager for her to show up. I wasn't sure how this evening of baby-sitting with my girlfriend would turn out, but Jane had been eager for the opportunity.
Jane was ready for a nap when she arrived. I laughed. We were on duty tonight; there'd be no time for naps. After dinner we attempted to watch the Muppets movie but it proved to be too advanced for Lilly to follow so we reverted to watching her usual shows. The couch situation was: me as the bottom layer, Jane as the middle layer, and Lilly as the cherry on top. After a couple of episodes Lilly grew still and quiet so we both thought she might've fallen asleep, but our laughter from sexualizing the dialogue of TumbleLeaf probably shook her awake.
We bathed Lilly and then put her to bed. Jane almost succumbed to Lilly's teary-eyed entreaties for another story/song/treat/etc but I was able to pull her away eventually. Fortunately Lilly fell asleep without any of her usual incidents. After that we retired to my bedroom. Jane finally got her nap and I played video games. It was a low-key evening but pleasant in it's domesticity.

1-31-15: Mild rain
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This was an easy weekend. I brought my tools along as we'd planned to modify Jane's desk. We were also planning to cook together and even mentioned massages. All in all we had plenty of fun stuff to keep us occupied.
I went up there directly after tutoring Friday evening. I was rip-roaring hungry by the time I got there so we got straight to cooking. The recipe was fairly easy and we had a pretty tasty dinner with Nan. Afterwards we settled down on the couch and burned the last of the firewood. We talked, completely sober this time. As she is wont to do, Jane often prefaced her words with, "This is going to sound so weird . . ." and concluded them with " . . . I don't know why I'm telling you all of this." It's amusing how she's still worried that she'll scare or offend me somehow. Anyways, I remember that we got onto the topic of children; not ours per se, just in theory. Jane described her thorough beliefs concerning conception, reproductive rights, and parenting. Being a male, I downplayed my own opinions on the matter and expressed how I was open to both a future with kids or without kids. Jane commented how this was the most that I'd ever spoken in a single conversation. I laughed. Of course I'd participate in such a deep and important conversation. Small talk, on the other hand, doesn't come quite so easily. I don't recall what else we did for the rest of the night, probably more talking.
I missed my cue/opportunity for sex the following morning. Once we were out of bed we went to a yummy hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant for lunch and ran a couple of errands. Even going to the drugstore was pleasant with her company. It was a cold and rainy day so we weren't able to work on her desk after all. At home Jane took a nap and to my surprise, I succumbed as well. Although I'd told Katherine I'd be back home that Saturday afternoon, I didn't actually have any reason to be back in Plano. Of course I still wanted sexy funtime so I was quite willing to extend my stay at Jane's for another night.
After the nap Jane and Nan headed out to go see Paula Poundstone, leaving me at the house to grade papers, play video games, and keep the pets silent company. We had a belated dinner after they got back. That meal proved to be inadequate so we wound up going to Denny's after midnight.
Even after taking our late bedtime into account, Jane slept in especially late the next morning. I got up a little before eleven and was mildly displeased to see the minutes and hours slide by until Jane woke up at 1:30. I had tutoring that afternoon so I wouldn't be able to stick around for too long. Jane woke up nauseated and with a head ache, brought on in part by the late night meal, I guess? That was unfortunate. Even after rushing to get ready, we only had enough time for a quick lunch before parting ways.

Jane will be staying over at our house Tuesday and Wednesday, which should be fun/interesting. Plus I won't have to wait an entire week to see her again! Hopefully I can keep the entropy of this place at bay while she's here. And I won't/shouldn't keep her all to myself this time. I should let her get to spend time with my family. It'd be weird if she were here for two nights and didn't.

1-24-15: Beachhead
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It was Jane's turn to come over to my place this Saturday. For some reason/miscommunication I expected her at two; she showed up at four. It wouldn't have mattered to me but I could tell that Lilly, Cameron, and Katherine wanted to meet her. They had been planning to go to IKEA that afternoon but remained conspicuously present at the house all afternoon. Lilly was both shy and curious about Jane at first but once she got over her shyness she wanted nothing more than to win Jane over and be her friend. Jane was a good sport and patient with Lilly. After an hour or so of sharing my girlfriend with the toddler I asked Cameron to take her off our hands.
Jane and I spent the rest of the evening up in my room. Without booze or a cozy fire, it wasn't as romantic as Thursday had been, but I doubt that there's any way we could've recreated the urgent excitement of that first night together. We'd already exhausted the fun and easy topics so I pushed a little deeper into her past to get a better picture of where she'd come from. She's been through some rough patches and still has some significant unpleasantness hanging over her head. My own family background seemed mild in comparison. I didn't want her to think that I wasn't engaged in such a serious conversation but I really didn't have any relevant anecdotes that compared to hers. Still, I think we entered new territory as far as understanding and trust is concerned. I still thought some booze would've helped to facilitate our conversation but it was the time of night when Jane normally naps and alcohol would've just made it harder for her to stay awake. I didn't want her to struggle to keep me company so I ordered her to take a nap and I left the room for a couple of hours. There wasn't any point in fighting fatigue.
Jane did seem more alert and present after her nap. She looked especially endearing after she woke up, without her glasses and tousled hair and sleepy gaze. We returned to the topic of past relationships, continuing the trend of somewhat depressing topics.

*****

We didn't get out of bed until late the next morning. Jane would be sticking around till 2 that afternoon. That morning I became acutely aware of how little we had to do that didn't involve physical recreation. I _know_ that being together is often mundane and non-noteworthy; I suppose I just hadn't expected that we'd (run out of stuff to do/exhaust our inventiveness) within a week. But whatever. We went for a walk to the park. That was nice. Crossing paths with stroller-pushing moms and dads with their pets, amidst the houses with toys strewn in the front lawns, I'm sure the other residents assumed that we were also a committed couple. I tried to conceptualize what that might be like but it seems too early to even picture that.

1-22-15
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Since our semi-date on Monday our texts served to both express and increase our frustration. I had students to tutor on both Tuesday and Wednesday evenings but my Thursday night was wide open. And so I took off like a bat out of hell as soon as classes ended Thursday afternoon. All that we had officially planned to do was to go get dinner and break in Jane’s fire place. Unofficially, I think we both wanted to make up for lost time and missed opportunities.
Once I got there we delayed just long enough for some very urgent kisses before going out to dinner. The weather was ugly-cold; great for staying in with a fire, but lousy for walking around to go to a restaurant. We ate some good Thai food and then promptly returned home. Back at the house I started up the fire while Jane made us a couple of drinks. I’d brought up some vodka at her prescient request. Even though Jane had said we’d be taking it slow tonight (i.e. no sex), I was still wary about drinking any booze. I wanted to be fully aware of what would transpire on our first real night of being together. But I figured one drink couldn’t hurt.
The fire was crackling and bright. We didn’t bother to put a movie on; the fire was entertainment enough. Jane was amusingly nervous about the whole prospect of having a fire, yet simultaneously eager about it as well. The first few loud pops from the fire startled both her and Bailey. Her Nan came out for a while to witness the spectacle of the cheery fire. She joked that she was re-stocking on enough supplies that she could leave us in peace for the next few hours and then went back to her room. Jane and I drank and cuddled and stared into the fire and talked and intertwined. Not long after Nan left the room, that cuddly mushy stuff turned into some very frisky action. I was delighted to discover that all those flirtatious texts from Jane had not just been empty words. The fire burned out while we played but we were warm enough without it.
After a while we regained our composure and re-started the fire and returned to a semblance of calm conversation, albeit interspersed with flirting and teasing. We soon moved to the bedroom; the fire had lost its magic and the couch seemed too confining now. We stayed in there the rest of the night and technically abided by the ‘no sex’ agreement. Just barely. Jane related how she’d never done this with a guy before; that being just playing around and experiencing each other and basking in each other’s presence for an extended time without diving into the main event. We laughed at our past missteps and chatted about random nonsense during the quiet interludes. Many times that evening I found myself just awestruck that I was there with her and that this was real. It took me a while to make up my mind to stay the night. I knew it would be a restless night and a tough drive in the morning should I decide to stay but I simply could not bring myself to leave that woman.
I never sleep well on my first night in a new place but luckily Jane had some earplugs which greatly helped mitigate the odd new sounds that would’ve kept me up otherwise. Jane typically doesn’t turn in until 4 or 5 am and there’s no chance I could match that schedule. That might be an issue in the future, but this night we accommodated each other well, I think. I got more sleep than I expected and woke up without any real struggle. I stopped at my house just long enough to pick up a couple things; Katherine was getting Lilly ready for school. Lilly didn’t notice my oddly-timed arrival but Katherine laughed.

1-17-15: Non-date
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I was talking to Jane Saturday afternoon. She was bored at home and floated the idea that I might come over to hang out if I was bored as well. I had RSVPed to Amanda's house-warming party that night but I wasn't too keen on going since I only knew the hostesses but none of the guests. So I was quite fine with abbreviating my time at that party.
After a short how-do-you-do at the house-warming I headed up to Denton. Since this would just be hanging-out (a "non-date") I nominated some random fun ideas like driving up to the state line to blow $5 at an Oklahoman casino or just exploring Denton at random. Y'know, nothing serious. I went to Jane's house and then let her take over the driving responsibilities. We went to Chipotle first and then to a coffee shop on the square next. I liked the decor and even though I don't do coffee they had a tasty cider for me. The abundant hipsters were a slight detraction but I soon tuned them out. Jane started talking about broken dicks and roast beef labias (labii?), mostly in regards to her past relationships. It was quite fun; I've never known a girl platonically or romantically that could talk about sex so casually. I was glad to know I didn't have to tiptoe around certain topics with her. I'm sure the conversation bothered some of our neighbors but it was too fun to pay them any mind. I didn't have quite as many sad/embarrassing anecdotes to share; either I've been extra lucky or she's been especially unlucky in these matters.
We stayed at the coffee shop until well past closing and then moved to Paschall's, a nearby bar. Jane seemed almost indifferent to the idea. I don't know if it was because she didn't want to spend money on that or just wasn't a fan of drinking, but I pushed forward with the idea. I knew that if I was going to make up for my relative reticence at the coffee shop, I'd probably need the assistance of some alcohol. We didn't have to wait long before some vacancy opened up and we could go inside.
I liked that it was a small bar with a nifty but not pretentious interior. Thankfully it was small enough that we could have a conversation AND the drinks were strong. I don't mind paying $7 a drink if those two conditions are satisfied. I didn't really feel the booze due to the burrito obstacle in my stomach but the familiar atmosphere helped to put me more at ease. We continued our colorful conversation from earlier. We also talked about serious stuff like our messed-up families and other baggage, but it was more amusing to talk about our past romantic mistakes and misunderstandings instead. We only had two drinks each, but they were serious drinks. As the evening progressed Jane became more playful. Not necessarily more vulgar or candid, but definitely more playful. She was even asking me about my personal measurements and I used a dollar bill as a measuring stick. It was great fun; everything was fair game. If this had been a real date I would've been high-fiving myself in the bathroom and matching her flirt for flirt but I kept reminding myself that we were just hanging out and to be cool and not get any ideas or hopes in my head. Even with that collar on it was still a great evening.
Closing time came again and we were cast out into the night. It took us a couple of laps around the Square to find her car. She didn't trust herself to drive but neither did she trust my state of semi-sobriety so we sat in the car for awhile. I didn't mind. It was more time to spend with her. We waited for about twenty or thirty minutes, watching the stray drunks wander throughout the Square. Jane read a children's book from a McDonald's Happy Meal.
Eventually I was cleared for departure and we left. Jane began predicting how embarrassed she was going to be tomorrow when she was sober. I laughed and kept trying to explain to her how I only truly trusted people who had shown me their uninhibited self but I couldn't seem to allay her anxiety. Or maybe she was just trying to pre-emptively excuse any offense I might've taken during the night. I got us back to her home safe and sound. By now it was 3 am, give or take. Jane lingered between the car and the front door for a moment and I . . . thought about it. I felt that I could probably push my luck to make something happen but considering how that's essentially how I started my relationship with Courtney, I was loathe to try and start another one the same way. So I left. I don't think I even hugged her. I'm not sure I trusted myself to.
Of course on the way home a flurry of texts from her confirmed that I had sold myself short. Of course. That's me. Too fucking cautious. But still, that was better than screwing everything up. And as a result I was literally and carnally up for quite a while after that. There was no way I could sleep after all of that.

12/28/14
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I went on a first (and last) date with Jane tonight. Like before, I'd met her online and we'd exchanged maybe a dozen messages before I felt that it had come to that point when I needed to do something before the connection petered out due to boredom. I'd asked her if she wanted to get together this weekend between the Christmas and New Year's holidays. I knew it was low odds but also that hesitation might cost me what little momentum I'd built up. She said yes, which was an unexpected outcome.
According to the website we were a 97% match, which is the highest I've ever gotten. She's an atheist, really into comedy, and all-around seems intelligent and interesting. Physically she's simply delectable; just everything I'd want in a gal. Petite, fair clear skin, cute look, pretty face, hazel eyes, just amazing.
I'm not too familiar with the attractions of Denton plus with it being a social calendar dead zone I deferred to her judgment on what we should do. So we went to a popular and packed burger restaurant. I got there a few minutes before her. She didn't recognize me when she came in; probably because of my freshly shaved head. After getting stood up by the last girl I tried to meet, I was just happy that Jane showed up. The rest of the evening could go downhill but I would still consider this a victory.
I hadn't pre-gamed all that hard; just one drink on the way up, so I was worried I might still come off as too reticent or dull. But we talked non-stop. It was great. No lulls in the conversation longer than two seconds. Thankfully we avoided the generic first-date topics. It wasn't a stiff interrogation. We talked about family, work, school, anything and everything. Since she's such a comedy fan I knew I could be a little more blunt/daring. On the rare occasions when I got her to genuinely laugh (and not just polite laugh), oh man, she would just beam. I felt like a champ each time I did that.
We went to ice cream for dessert a few doors down. It felt to me that the energy level dropped a bit once we relocated, I don't know why. (Maybe I'd just lost what little buzz I'd had going?) We rounded out the evening and I walked her back to her car. She said she'd had a fun night and like a naïve chump I concurred. I mean shit, of course I was having a great time, but eloquence eluded me.
On the drive home I was so hyped about how well the evening had gone. Lots of fun conversation, good food, and at two hours, it was a good length. Before I even got back home she texted me saying Thank You for the fun dinner etc. I was quite pleased and responded, Yeah, I'm looking forward to do it again! To that she responded, “I think we have more of a friend vibe. If you want to be friends . . . ”

Shit.

I was disappointed . . . but I can't say I was surprised. I'd known that asking out a smart babe like her was a Hail Mary Pass to begin with. Although I was bummed I really appreciated her quick and direct response. I'd rather have that than be strung along by a girl who can't be honest. Still, it took me a few minutes to tamp down my disappointment and compose a concise response that showed I was a good sport. Even though she might've just been saying the cliché phrase, I took her words at face value. It's not a friend that I was looking for on that website, but I can't deny that she's cool and interesting so I'd be a fool to close the door on that possibility.
So that was a bummer but I genuinely had fun and more experience is always good I guess.

P.S. At least I solved the mystery of her eyebrows.

Turkey Day in the rearview mirror
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Ahhh, my mom and sister have departed and the house is returning to its regular volume level. I suppose I can't/shouldn't complain. As far as Thanksgivings go, this was one of the least unpleasant. Clarisa arrived in town on Tuesday and our first order of business was to go to the liquor store before mom arrived Wednesday. We each would need some liquid coping mechanism to get through the holiday. As soon as Max jumped out of Clarisa's car, I was demoted to a non-person in Lilly's eyes. For the rest of the weekend she didn't bother to pay any attention to me. I know I'm a grown ass man, but being snubbed by a two-year old still got to me.
I don't know why, but mom decided to drive up on Thanksgiving Eve rather than take a bus. She called us when she was 30 minutes away and we started drinking in preparation for her arrival. An hour and a half later and she still hadn't shown up. Cameron manages to get her on the phone but she's crying and lost and telling us some intersection that we can't even find on the map; she wasn't even here yet and we were already stressed out. After thirty minutes of talking her down we finally figure out that she overshot and wound up in McKinney. The rest of the evening was only slightly less screwed up. But at least she made it safe and sound.
I had a lot of homework to complete over the holiday break so I spent a fair portion of each day holed up in my room. Katherine was also effective at disappearing and avoiding her mother-in-law. We all had decided not to cook Thanksgiving dinner; I suppose Katherine just didn't want to deal with that task, so we'd be going to Fogo de Chao instead. They were like the one restaurant open on Belt Line so the place was packed and service was strained and the food slow in coming. It was almost amusing when my mom asked if we were going to say grace as we started eating. No one answered aside from a few negative grumbles. I know I muttered, "I'm paying for it so I thank myself." When I got the bill I remembered why I didn't come here often. It was delicious but not $60-per-person delicious. If I'm paying that much, it better be for a special lady. Oh well, it was a special occasion. Then when we got home we dragged the futon out into the living room so that we could all have a place to lie horizontally. We spent the rest of the evening watching stand-up. Cameron was choosing some blunt, profane stuff, which I'm cool with, but I didn't want to hear our mom's judgemental comments or whatever. But she surprised me. Even though we were watching the likes of Ralphie May and Louie, my mom was laughing as much as we were. Of course, she denied it the next day, but we all witnessed it.
Friday I made more of an effort to spend time with my mom but all she wanted to do was watch trash tv and half the time she would doze off. I couldn't stomach that for long so I opted to go work on my trailer instead. At least that way I felt productive and could get away from the too-full household. Friday night we three kids really drank. Of course mom didn't approve but it helped us all to relax and put up with her nagging. Even Katherine was able to relax with us for a bit. We started watching all these ridiculous old movies we'd watched on VHS as kids, like "Big Trouble in Little China," followed by "The Golden Child," etc etc. We had a ball.
Clarisa left early Saturday morning and mom would be leaving that afternoon. I said my goodbyes and headed out to join my amigos at the Drafthouse to watch the Mad Max Trilogy. For some reason we'd decided to do this. I knew this was a wasteful use of my limited time, but whatever. I needed to get out of the house and spend time with other human beings. Plus we had a couple of Mad Max virgins going with us so it'd be interesting to induct them to the club. I'd never actually seen the first movie all the way through, so I had something new to experience too. Surprisingly, the marathon wasn't arduous at all. I mean, now that I'm an adult, I can see how some of the movies are weak, but it's still one of my favorites and I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Dragon*Con
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I’m stunned. It’s 4pm on Saturday at Dragon Con and Lindsay is gone. I came back to the room and all of her belongings are gone. I called her phone and there was no answer.
We’d gone to lunch earlier. As we so rarely have private occasion to talk, I brought it up. “Something has been bothering me for a while. For the past few weeks . . . it seems like you’ve been keeping your distance from me. And I’m wondering if something has changed that I don’t know about.”
Lindsay closed her eyes for a moment and nodded quickly, confirming what I feared. She said that the romance had faded.
I asked her how long she’d felt this way. She said that a few weeks ago she’d concluded that this relationship was going nowhere. As I asked for further explanation, anger seemed to enter her voice. She said she had hoped to avoid the awkward results of this conversation. She hadn’t ended the relationship because she’d been stuck because we’d already committed to plans for Dragon*Con so she couldn’t have told me this before our vacation, but if she waited till after D*C then she’d be viewed as a bitch who used me to get a free trip to D*C.
I described how, to me, it appeared that she was fully content with what she gets from her family and her horses; such that she doesn’t really seem to need or want a boyfriend.
She described how our schedules weren’t compatible but I knew that was just a flimsy excuse. Even if time was short, we could’ve made up for the lack in quantity with quality.
I said that I’d wished I could’ve understood her better, but we had such little time together. Ever since I overstayed my welcome on the 4th of July weekend, I’d done as I said I would and respected her need to have time and space to herself. Ever since then, when I would visit, it felt like I was inconveniencing her and she was always counting the hours till I would leave.
She apologized for ruining my weekend. I shook my head. The weekend had already been suffering, this was just a continuation of the trend of the past six weeks.
Finally I asked, “After Dragon*Con, do you just want to be friends?”
She couldn’t meet my gaze at first, then replied, “I think that would be for the best.”
I looked out of the café window for a while, processing all that we’d just shared. I could feel the tears that wanted to come but I remained calm.
The last thing she said to me was, “I’m going back to the hotel.”
I nodded; I needed time to think.
When I came back to the room 3 hours later, she was gone. I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye.

8-24-14
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If there's one word that I'd use to describe my feelings about my relationship with Lindsay, it would be 'frustrated'. I know I haven't written about us since our high point in July. Our time together since then has given me plenty to dwell on; nothing to brag about. Lindsay is significantly different from my past girlfriends. As I mentioned previously, she seemed distant or indifferent during our courtship. That much has persisted even though we're “officially” boyfriend and girlfriend now. I . . . believe I had the good/bad luck to meet her when she had no horse to ride. The first month we were together, although I still sensed a lack of interest/initiative, we would spend the afternoon in downtown Denton, or a couple days over the 4th of July weekend with her parents and her place, or the evening together at the movies and her place; I thought it was as much as could be expected given the physical distance between our homes. Since then though, our time together is usually limited to about 4 hours together, the evening typically ending when Lindsay asks me to leave (politely but frankly), for whatever seemingly trivial reason.

In the last two weeks that I went without seeing her, I'd been trying to assess just what our relationship is. I've moved beyond just fixating on the lack of intimacy. After all, it may all be due to something as simple as it hasn't been convenient for her. However, it's not so easy to dismiss what seems like a huge difference in what we need and how much we need from one another. I know we're both introverts; that doesn't make things any easier. I knew it would take some effort, but I thought that with enough persistence I could find my way into her sphere of comfort and our connection would grow. I know that between work and her family and her riding commitments, she doesn't have much free time. Yet, it seems to me like she's consciously keeping me at arm's distance. Either that or her appetite for having a boyfriend is satisfied by just a few hours of platonic company once a week. If so, that doesn't come anywhere near to satisfying my needs.
I'd been tempted to ask Lindsay if she wanted to attend Dragon*Con as friends rather than boyfriend and girlfriend. That would spare me any further frustration or unmet expectations. But no matter how I could think of to bring it up, it always sounded to me either unnecessarily confrontational or insecure/needy once I tried to outline my reasoning.
As I left this evening I asked her (in a half-joking manner) if she was really ready to spend a 4-day weekend with me. After all, I wouldn't be leaving at the end of the night while we were there. She chuckled. There was a kernel of truth in my question. I know that we'll get along better while at Dragon*Con. It'll be a vacation and frankly I'll be inescapable. If she wants to keep her distance from me at D*C, it'll be obvious. I'm hoping for any sort of break-through while at the same time reminding myself that I shouldn't allow one fun vacation weekend to erase these concerns of mine. I don't see this relationship persisting if things continue the way they are.

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