I’ve been doing this dating thing (seriously dating thing) for 13 years now. These are the relationships I count because they contributed to my growth. I’ve done this well, and I’ve been successful. With all but one relationship I rarely speak of with anyone other than Jill.
This is the 13th year and while sitting at my kitchen bar realizing the new batch of homemade ice cream was too sweet it hit me who / what I was / am.
I’d sigh and share with friends and strangers how all my exes became engaged with the guy they dated right after me. Jackie told me I was the type of guy she could have a ton of fun with, but she and I could never seriously be together because I’m not the type to take make those vows. Not in her eyes. “Who the fuck am I,” asked the three cups of tequila and tonic.
That last true thrill. That guy who matches their crazy when they’re young, wild and mistakenly free. But I don’t look good sitting on the couch with three other guys while the wives are in the kitchen talking about group vacations and new vibrators. I don’t fit into the cardigan that comes with that life. Purposely, I suppose. I don’t believe in definites often, but I guarantee boredom will never be on the table. I promise freedom from that. It doesn’t work. We don’t work and I become that guy who comes into town and reminds them of the dreams they had that were larger than the curbside mailbox they settled for with the new guy. I remind them of the cigarettes I convinced them to smoke one summer because it looked cool, and late night conversations about ghosts, aliens and drugs that no longer happen because with the new names came new bedtimes.
They learn to love it, and say things to me like “I can’t live moment to moment like you, Darnell. I chose to love a man I could love consistently. Bored sometimes? Yes, but it makes sense for me.”
And I don’t always want to be that guy, but I always want to be this guy. I want to be that final thrill who makes them laugh when one of us is dying. The one who makes them look back and say shit like “wow, that was pretty awesome. Thanks for that push.” I want to free them. But I have no idea how.