six perfect dates and then… goodbye

Date 1: Monday, February 19th. Sigh.


Date 2: A chilly Wednesday evening.

We were both lying on our backs, looking up at the stars. He was talking about meteorites and asteroids and the vague differences between them.

“But honestly,” he interrupted himself, “I really just like talking about black holes.”

 I laughed into the deep navy blue. “Yeah? My German Shepherd IS a black hole. She’s depressed all of the time,” I explained, smiling up at a star, or a planet. He can tell you the difference between them, but I’m not sure yet. “Tell me about them.”

 So he did, and he also mentioned that I could use him as a pillow, if I wanted, since neither of us had brought one.

“Yeah?” I asked him.

“Yeah,” he said.

So I did, and when he wrapped his arm around my shoulder and pulled me closer to him, I could have just DIED from contentment.


Date 3: Sunday, Feb 25th 2018. 

 I got in his car and he drove us to a coffee shop downtown. I ordered the usual and he ordered what I now understand to be his usual: a hot chocolate with soy milk as its base.

We took our drinks with us on the road while he showed me his childhood home, situated in a woodsy area just outside of Birmingham. The home still had its 1928 swing, its perfectly antique windows, and the same old mailbox; I asked him if he’d like to buy it back someday, and he answered, quickly, that he definitely would. I wondered if we’d live there together someday and then slapped myself on the wrist for thinking too far ahead again.

 We continued on to Ruffner Park, hiked a solid mile in (to the rock quarry), and then climbed up, up, up until we decided on a good resting point.

“I keep thinking about the other day,” he said suddenly, shaking his head as we sat on a shared rock together. “I should have kissed you.”

“Well don’t feel bad about it!” I laughed reassuringly, beginning to feel all nervous and throw up-y (you know what I mean? Like, you like someone SO MUCH that you just feel like VOMITING all of the time?). 


“I’d like to kiss you now,” he continued.

“I’d like to kiss you, too,” I said.

“Yeah?” he said.

“Yeah!” I said, laughing.

And then he held my hair back and smooched me on the lips.


Afterwards, there was tofu and noodles and cilantro swimming around in two matching owl bowls at the old, red diner table back at the house, but neither of us could eat much of it.

Instead, we walked upstairs, cuddled in bed, whispered to each other with nobody else around and kissed each other like a thousand times, the dogs barking outside and the rain tapping softly at my window.


Date 4 = Chipotle picnic at the park and some kissin’ in his car. Pretty perfecto.  ❤


On date 5, we rode our bikes for several miles, launching from the Innovation Depot and then landing at a park near Seasick Records (where I stepped inside to pee). We leaned our bikes against a tree and explored the surrounding neighborhood on foot together — passing by quaint, old houses I knew he’d like to see.

Back at the park, as it was growing dark out, we people-watched, his arm draped along the back of the bench and resting on my shoulder. I tucked his right hand under my chin and watched as a little girl (several yards away from us) suddenly spiked a football into the ground. Her tiny frame, messy ponytail, and wiry little arms told me she was seven, maybe eight.

I studied her as she marched across the lawn. When she passed a boy near her age, she offered: “I’m going to kick it off.” He nodded agreeably. I smiled.

“SHE’S going to be just fine,” I laughed, and felt like crying.


Back at my house, our bikes relaxed and so did we — having a picnic on my bedroom floor and playing a word game that he love-hated: he was an ice cream cone, and I was “starting a fire.”

Before he left, he handed me a necklace he’d found in his car after our fourth date — a tiny, black pendant of mine featuring a shimmery green fox.


Date 6: Goodbye

We had a great time together last night… a homemade dinner with his best friend (and her fiance) and then cuddling back at my place.

But when it was getting late and we both knew that he almost had to go, we parked ourselves at the doctor pepper table for a little while and sipped on mugs of orange juice. We talked about his socks and the ocean’s sharks and my outsider syndrome and then I asked him the thing that I hadn’t really wanted to ask, because I knew that he wouldn’t lie to me.

And he didn’t; yes, he did have romantic feelings for his best-friend-since-childhood (who he lives with), but they were never going there. She was happily engaged and, even in some hypothetical future where she wasn’t, it still probably wouldn’t happen. Probably. Probably. I hated the word. And his honest face — his hopeful eyes — and his busy hands were just too easy for me to read.

My heart broke; you’re smart, and sweet, and goodhearted, and creative, and outdoorsy, and we have SUCH chemistry… but I can’t keep on (FOOLISHLY) liking you more and more with the very-real possibility of you someday leaving me for this longstanding “big” love. 


Deeply understanding the dilemma of forever loving someone who doesn’t love you back, I took his hand, kissed him gently, and then hugged him “goodbye.”


“Don’t worry — you aren’t going to be alone,” I reassured him. “It took me two weeks to fall in love with you — the next girl, maybe two days? Who knows!” I smiled into his neck. We were both crying. “There are so, so many wonderful, remarkable souls out there… please stay open to them. Because one day, you’re going to brush against someone and it’ll just click. Just like that, they’ll make you forget all about her — rather, about imagining her in that light.” I just wish it could have been me, I thought to myself.


After we promised to stay friends, he left. I cried downstairs and then upstairs, texting my best friend Shelby first and then calling my other best friend Charlie.


When Charlie got home from his closing shift, he sat with me on my bed for a while… we took turns talking and being quiet and listened to one of Daniel Johnston’s best songs together. He brought me a cup of water, tucked me in, and promised we’d have dinner together the following evening.


“Salad and pizz?” I asked hopefully.

“Yep. Salad and pizz. And I bet you don’t regret falling in love with him,” Charlie offered, just before heading back downstairs.

I didn’t even have to think about it. “No,” I sighed, burrowing deeper underneath a comforter that looked like Indian food and still smelled like him. “I don’t. He was really special. And I’m glad I got to know a new soul.”




Still here,

Aun Aqui


PS, I couldn’t handle listening to it last night, but Daniel Johnston’s very best song is actually this one

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Personal stories, lengthy rants, and lighthearted explosions of optimism, all neatly bundled into one blog.

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