The European has gone back to Europe. Not for good, but for a few weeks, and when you’ve got plaster ceilings falling down around you and your entire life in boxes, a few weeks seems like a very long time.
Still, it’s just as well. Now I’ll have no excuse not to work on my house and with any luck, by the time he returns to the US, it will look like an actual home (as opposed to a low-budget, post-apocalyptic film set).
We’ve been seeing each other for almost three months now. To be honest, I can’t quite believe it. It’s lovely and very low-stress but we met on the internet. On Plenty of Fish of all places. We were both very recently very single at the time. When we took a road trip out to tour Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water back in August, we spent almost the entire drive home talking about our exes. Who does that? Plus he’s eleven years older than me and likes cats. And both of our respective careers require a lot of energy; both of our work schedules are, to borrow one of his favorite phrases, “not socially viable.”
And yet somehow it’s happening.
But old habits die hard, and I’m not as optimistic as I once was. Even though I love spending time with The European and he’s never given me any reason to doubt his regard for me, I sometimes find myself wondering where we’re “at.” In my last relationship, we talked about the status said relationship all the time— probably too often—but I got used to either way. And letting nature just run its course has never come easily to me.
Two days before The European’s departure, for example, I paused halfway into a kiss to ask, “So… while you’re away… do you want me to… you know, wait for you?”
“Of course,” he replied, as if I’d just asked whether or not I should continue eating while he’s gone. “It’s only three weeks. Three weeks is not that long. But, I mean is that okay with you? To wait?”
“Yes,” I assured him. “I just wanted to… check.”
The next morning, he was slipping the key to his very lovely, very non-apocalyptic house onto my key ring.
“You can come by any time you want while I’m gone,” he told me. “And if you wouldn’t mind, maybe you could just check on things and make sure the mail doesn’t pile up? Perhaps after one of your rehearsals since you’d already be in the area?”
“Sure,” I told him.
“But only if it’s not out of your way. I know you’re very busy right now and I don’t want to inconvenience you.”
“Are you kidding me? Do you have any idea how much I love your bed?” The European has the nicest bed on the planet. It’s huge, is the perfect balance of soft-yet-firm and has lovely linens that I’m pretty sure his ex picked out but I try not to think about that too much.
“Well, yes,” he laughed. “You do love my bed. You can use it any time you like. Preferably not with anybody else…”
I can live with that.