I've been home on the Raincoast for two months now, and settling back into a healthier, happier routine, where I have some work-life balance and am surrounded by good friends and family. Dating hasn't been a priority. I'm not feeling good enough about myself at the moment to actively go man-hunting; I just haven't had the energy. So I've mostly been playing wingman to my single girlfriends, and enjoying time alone.
"Oh, you'll meet someone," say all my smug married friends. "You're too great to be single for too long. It'll happen when you least expect it."
"It" happened Christmas Eve, when I was in my hometown for the holidays. My mobile phone rang, and the number that flashed on the screen wasn't one I recognized, but I answered anyway.
"Merry Christmas," said the male caller warmly. "How are you?" The voice was familiar, but I couldn't place it. "It's David," he said. I racked my brain: "David, David..."
I had met David almost a decade ago, when we were in the same arts club at university, long before I hit the Raincoast. He was outgoing, smart, flirty, and we had started showing up early at club meetings to talk to each other. Pretty soon he had asked for my number, and we began hanging out. It never turned into anything; I thought I might like him, but David never made a move, I was (and still am) too insecure to make a move on my own, and pretty soon I was dating someone else. We never moved from friend territory. I moved to Montreal, then London, and we lost touch. It sounds horrible, but I never even really thought about David, as the years went by. I couldn't remember the last time I had seen him. Still, it was nice to hear from him; I had always enjoyed his company.
"How did you get my number, " I exclaimed, after we had chatted for a few moments: he lived in Vancouver now as well, and was home for the holidays. "Oh, I called your parents' house," he said. "That was the last number I had for you. Actually, I've called every Christmas to see if you were around for the holidays. I've left messages with your mom. Did she never tell you?"
"Uh, no," I said. "No, she never did tell me that. I'm sorry; I would have called you back."
"It's fine," he said. "She gave me your number, but, uh, can I keep your number?"
I laughed. "Yes, definitely," I said. "We should hang out in Vancouver!"
"Well, let's do something while we're both home for the holidays," he said. I agreed; we made plans to meet up after Boxing Day.
As I hung up the phone, I didn't know what to think. I hadn't thought about David in ages, but it was certainly nice to hear from him. I had liked him 10 years ago; would I like "adult" David? Would we still have things in common? What would we talk about?
The day after Boxing Day, he showed up to pick me up for our meeting. I opened the door and smiled; he looked the same, although a little better dressed, some new facial hair, and, I noted with glee, a little grey (I love prematurely grey hair on young men. I blame George Clooney).
"You have NOT changed," he exclaimed.
"Oh, don't say THAT," I said, cringing. I am well aware I'm not in as good shape as I was even two years ago, when I was at the peak of fitness, running everyday...I hadn't been in great shape in university either and didn't need the confirmation that unfit, non-confident RCC was back.
"Hey," he said. "I am NOT complaining!" It was sweet; and it put me at ease immediately.
Off we went for a winters' walk on the beach. Conversation came awkwardly at first; we had alot to catch up on, including the basics: "What do you do now? Where do you work? Where do you live?" Pretty soon we were chatting away, however, and our walk on the beach turned into a walk through a nearby park, and a tour of downtown. It was nice. When David dropped me off, I gave him a hug and said, "I hope you'll come and play with me when you're back in the city." I was leaving the next day. "Definitely," he agreed. "I'll call you." I was happy to have a new friend to hang out with in Vancouver (my life is rich with friendship, but hey-you can never be too wealthy).
The next day, as I was packing to leave for home, my phone rang. It was David.
"I just wanted to say that I had fun with you yesterday," he said.
"Me too," I replied. "It was so nice to catch up."
"Do you think we could hang out today before you leave?" he asked.
"Absolutely!" I said. I was more than happy to have an excuse to get out of my parents' house, after a week of "family time" (God love 'em).
Pretty soon he was back at the front door, and off we went, for an afternoon drink and a snack at a local pub.
As we chatted away, David suddenly interrupted me.
"Hey-at the risk of ruining everything, do you think, when we get back to Vancouver, we could, uh, go on a date date?"
I was silent for a moment, then smiled.
"I liked you 8 years ago, David, and you never made a move," I said. "You should have asked me out on a date then!"
"Well, I wasn't so confident then. But I am now. And hey-I realize I'm batting above my league here...I'm just really attracted to smart women." (Bonus points for both of those last remarks).
That did it.
"Yes," I said decisively. "Let's go out on a date-date."
And so there you have it. Just like that, I'm dating again.