Near Miss

Sometimes you just know. You know when you walk out of the interview that you got the job. Or you know that the joke is gonna bring down the house before you even get to the punchline. Or you know that the dish you just cooked is one of the best you’ve ever made. It just feels right and natural and pure and good.

I’m writing this before I “know” … but I already know.

Under the guidance and advisement of her therapist, one of my most trusted friends recently had a profound experience and emotional breakthrough on MDMA. She kept telling me about it and said I should give it a go under her oversight. One of my friends with experience warned me that my depression and medicine might mess things up. Now, as a responsible adult, I would never do such a thing. Ever. However, if I would, I would imagine that it would go something like this…

I set aside an evening and my friend brought me a pill. She knew the source and told me it was “clean,” meaning that it didn’t have caffeine or any other additives in it.

The high wasn’t what I expected. When The Young Kids take Molly it’s usually at a rave and they seem to be in sheer ecstasy. Hannibal Buress talks about it in his standup and kinda says the same thing. I just noticed that I got calm but there wasn’t any “seeing god” moment. The clouds didn’t part. The angels didn’t sing. My leggings just got really, really comfortable.

The next morning I did some research and learned that my SSRI (the med that balances my depression) was blocking the high. It was kind of a disappointment and the comedown was a fucking nightmare… the brain seeks balance so the dopamine and serotonin high is followed by a low in both. However, I got some perspective on my dating life.

… too bad that didn’t happen. At all. Ever.

As my matches that wanted nothing other than hookups started to expire or I started to unmatch with them, I froze my accounts on all the dating apps. I finally saw clearly that I wasn’t getting what I wanted out of the experiences. Tinder and the others were subject to The Law of Diminishing Returns in which the same amount of effort on my part returned a lower and lower investment.

On a whim, I signed up with a more obscure dating app specifically for lesbians and bisexual women. I figured this was gonna be my last try before just committing fully to being single for the time being. My first couple of matches were scammers posing as women in the military, which is their standard thing. Right when I was ready to delete the app, I matched with a woman who seemed like a real human. She was my age and had a playful little smirk to her smile.

The first day that we were both off of work and able to message for more than a few minutes, I knew that I’d found a good egg. The following day, I knew that this was my next girlfriend. I’m writing this in that sweet moment between knowing and knowing. I’ll finish this post when I can give you the happy ending I already know is coming my way. This one doesn’t get a nickname because she’s gonna be here for a while.

My first date with S was at my house. Covid-19 doesn’t play and I was not comfortable taking off my mask in public. It was strange opening my home to a woman I’d only chatted on the phone with but I didn’t see any other responsible option. I made a Coq au Riesling and a loaf of bread from scratch. I also told her we weren’t having sex so she’d have to get that out of her head if that was what she was looking for.

As we chatted across my sofa from each other, I moved a little closer until I could hold her hand. She did this cute little thing where she stopped talking and said, “hi” if she was nervous. As soon as I touched her hand she did it. Swoon. We talked and held hands and kissed a little and then kissed a lot. Every once in a while S would break away from me and say “no sex” and I would repeat it back to her. We didn’t have sex but we had a lot of fun. She loved my cooking and I loved watching her eat. It was a great first date.

S was supposed to come over again for our second date, which was two weeks after our first. She lives in Fort Worth which is 40 miles away from Plano. Basically, I’m dating her long distance. The morning of our date, while I was getting ready for work, S told me that she had forgotten about plans with her mom to get pizza at a popup in Fort Worth. Her mom rarely asks her for anything so S felt obligated to do this. She was deeply apologetic and invited me to join them. I thought about it for a second and decided that I needed to experience just how far the drive would be. Spoiler alert: it’s really fucking far. Like, over an hour in traffic.

I felt a sense of relief in the restaurant for two reasons: First was that her mom decided not to join us and asked S to bring home a pizza since she knew we would be there talking for a long time. Second was that the booths had walls all the way to the ceiling, which assuaged some of my Covid-19 concerns. The pizza was great. I love Detroit style pizza and the people who made this one hit it out of the park. The conversation was even better than the pizza. S was still doing the “hi” thing and it was so cute to see her get flustered.

We talked about the Lesbian-Second-Date-Moving-Van joke and how easy it was to fall into that mindset. We both wanted to. I was already thinking about looking for a job at the Fort Worth Whole Foods and she was already thinking about applying for jobs in Plano. However, we both are Grown Ass Bitches with responsibilities. In other words, we’re too old to do that shit. I have three kids and she has a mom she takes care of. So, we swooned and stared into each other’s eyes and flirted and laughed throughout the date. She invited me to join her in the bathroom to kiss a little in a stall –which I’d never done before– but I chickened out.

Afterward, S invited me back to her car to end the date, which I hadn’t done as a finale to a date since college. At one point I was sitting on her lap with my ass touching the steering wheel. I just kept thinking “don’t honk the horn” while we kissed. Transgender life lesson: It’s a little harder to make out in a car when you’re a woman.

At the end of the date I was holding her while she had her head on my chest, listening to my heartbeat. Swoon. I drove home with a huge smile on my face.

Our third date was back at my place. I invited her to spend the night and, as we all learned on The Office, there are certain expectations that go along with the third date. I cleaned my place extra well. I sprayed some refreshing citrus scent on my bedsheets, and myself. I put on an uncomfortable outfit.

S arrived tired. She has hormone issues and it can be hard for her to sleep sometimes. She had only gotten a few hours of sleep the night before so I put on a movie and let her cuddle up with me while she nearly dozed off a couple of times. Finally, I cooked for her and made her eat… she hadn’t eaten all day. I made her cucumber in a pepper jelly ponzu sauce, pork dumplings, and Sichuan style chicken with pickled bamboo shoots. The spices alone woke her up and she admitted that she needed to eat. It was nice to take care of her a little bit.

After that, we spent some time together that was intimate and beautiful and intense. I’ve been told I’m not supposed to kiss and tell so that’s all you’ll get out of me? S didn’t spend the night, though. Her mom was a little off that day and I’m glad she went home because her mother was running a fever. It’s a challenge dating someone that is kind enough to care for her mom… but isn’t that the type of woman you want in your life?

One of the last things S said before she left was that we’d have The Dating Talk once the holidays were over. She didn’t want to make any decisions out of holiday loneliness. She wanted to go into anything with her eyes open. I hadn’t had The Dating Talk in a couple of years so I was looking forward to it.

We never got to have that talk.

S’s mom had to be hospitalized. She didn’t have Covid but she did have pneumonia. And it didn’t get better.

I offered to sit with her mom while S ran a half marathon. She declined.

I offered to come over and cook for S since she probably didn’t have the energy for cooking. She declined.

The texts between us got shorter and shorter.

Then almost nonexistent.

Yesterday I got the text that I knew was coming… S needed to devote all of her energy to her mom. The doctors had discovered a cascade of issues. She’s actually still in the hospital as I write this. S just doesn’t have the bandwidth for a relationship right now. She knows it and I know it.

If you’re gonna get “dumped” this is how you want it to happen, right? The other person is generously giving themselves away for the benefit of others. That’s a good egg. I can accept that without hesitation and complete understanding.

So, I guess S does need a nickname after all.

She’s my Near Miss.

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