I met Scott during a time that I swore I wasn’t looking.
I had re-downloaded Tinder, mildly regretting my seeming desperation, but convincing myself that it was more of a way to pass time than anything else.
He greeted me with a funny reference to Lord of the Rings; something along the lines of “Aragorn vs. Legolas in a pit; who comes out alive?” His careful attention to detail carried over into our later conversations; I liked that he took interest in what I had to say.
We talked every day for a month, including one another in our day-to-day lives via pictures and swapped stories. Our similar backgrounds felt more than ironic, and I took it as a sign that he shared a birthday with my mom. Perhaps most notably was how satisfied I felt being single at the time that he showed up; my friends had always claimed that “the right one” comes along when we least expect it.
It took several weeks before we actually met. I knew I wouldn’t feel comfortable in conversation alone, so I positioned our “first date” as casual drinks with my cousin and her fiancé. Kaity and I planned to get a healthy buzz going to make my meeting with Scott less awkward. Over dinner, the wine wasn’t numbing me quickly enough. One glass turned to two, taking swallows versus sips. My phone went off a few times, but I carefully rest it screen side down so I wouldn’t have to give him our whereabouts yet. He will wait if he wants to meet me, I thought, selfishly relishing in the validity of the statement.
By the time I contacted him, he had decided he wasn’t going to come. I felt a surge of disappointment but it was quickly coddled by my transparent way of manipulation; I knew I would convince him to come out.
He showed up wearing a scarf, but he looked handsome. I felt a series of butterflies erupting like a bomb against the lining of my stomach, so I ordered another drink. Our conversation was perpetuated by his need to fill silences, and I avoided eye contact like it would curse a plague upon me. Connecting with him was harder in person, because I knew I liked him. I broke the awkward spells by ordering another whiskey, flirting dangerously between drunk and blackout. Touching at his arm first, then face; slowly pushing his hair away from his eyes and leaning in to connect with his lips. This tango went on for another hour before we reached the point of “last men standing at the bar”.
The walk to his car is still fuzzy to me; I recall sitting in the passenger seat and coolly giving directions to Kaity’s apartment, the alcohol wafting between us like an uninvited guest. It wasn’t until the next day that I realized I had gone from affectionate to asshole, which he coined as my being “erratic”; yet he still wanted to see me, despite my obvious dual personality.
Our conversation the next several days slipped into murky territory. His habit of texting me from the moment he woke up until the time he shut his eyes at night was broken; I received sporadic texts throughout the day, and each bore less enthusiasm than the original conversation thread. I could feel him pulling away, and I knew that I had caused the shift.
Despite the blatant turning of the tables, he insisted we hang out again. And so we did, and it was disastrous. Much like the time before, alcohol drew out the inner skeletons I had tried unsuccessfully to suppress, and I pushed Scott past the point of return. I was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and my inebriated self was to blame for my loss.
Scott is now married to a young twenty-something he most likely met on Tinder; they dated for a long four months before he hastily thrust a ring onto her bony finger. Perhaps I dodged the same fate. To be fair, he didn’t do anything wrong; he just needed more affection than I was willing to give.