The following is the first chapter of a four-part series titled, “Spring Awakening.” Within two months I dated two people who both played significant roles in shaping how I view life, love and happiness. What I learned along the way surprised me.
This is Part One.
“You’re absolutely wonderful,” Chris said.
We were both holding back tears at this point, trying to withstand the sadness while in public and on campus.
When Chris rode up on his bike, he looked oh, so perfect. He looked happy. And what did I do when he stopped and pulled out his headphones to greet me, his boyfriend?
I said, “Christopher, I’m breaking up with you.”
ONE MONTH EARLIER
I only meet up with Grindr folk if I have mutual friends with the dude or if they have an active Instagram account. That shit is pretty sketchy, tbh.
This guy looked absolutely precious in his pics and he quoted Drunk In Love when we began texting so I knew it would work out (Text me Beyoncé lyrics so I know it’s real).
We met up at Tempe Marketplace on Super Bowl Sunday at around 9pm, a day when not a lot of people would be out roaming, but at a place public enough in case he tried to slit my throat and throw me in the trunk of his car. As I pulled up in the parking lot outside Jimmy John’s, I saw him chillin’ in a patio chair. I drove by slow enough just to make sure he looked like his picture and seemed harmless enough. Yep, he still was very precious.
I walked on up to him like a sauntering Frank Sinatra, trying to keep it cool as possible. He smiled and omg he has like the cutest chipmunk cheeks ever like you just wanna squeeze them and be really annoying. I refrained from doing that and shook his hand instead (P.S. What do you do when you have a first date with someone you haven’t met before, like you can’t really hug cause whoa that’s getting ahead of yourself but damn is a handshake too formal? These are the things that keep me up at night.)
Oh P.S. his name is Eugene and his friends call him Gene. I like to call him Genie.
We found ourselves walking around aimlessly until we eventually took a seat in an open space.
“I’m sorry but you’re really attractive,” he said.
I didn’t know how to respond really…no one’s ever been that forward with me before. But I tried to keep it cool, of course.
“OMG STAHHPP NO YOU’RE CRAZY HAHAHA LOLOLOL.”
OK, so I guess I didn’t really do a good job of playing it cool.
OH wait I almost forgot to tell you, he had on the most eccentric and cutest outfit on, like something you would never put together yourself but when you see someone else wearing it, you’re like OH WOW he’s fashionable. He was wearing this crazy painted lion shirt with a gold medallion around his neck, a beanie perched on his head with his long blonde hair swooping out behind his ears. His pants were striped and he had on a pair of old black boots that finished the deal. He was perfect. And I didn’t understand how I could be on a date with him.
We talked back and forth about our lives, how he’s a dancer and how I’m a PR student and how I love to write and he loves fashion. I loved his passion. I’m drawn to passionate people.
It came to a point in the conversation where there was a silence, not necessarily an awkward one, just a small break to soak in all that we had learned about each other and enjoy the beautiful night outside in between Limited Too and Claire’s.
Like a scene from a movie, the Michael Buble song, “I Just Haven’t Met You Yet” began playing on the outdoor speaker system. I love this song, and if you haven’t heard it, go listen to it now because it makes you feel some type-a-way. If listening to a peppy romantic Michael Buble song wasn’t cute enough, Eugene turned to me and said, “Can I have this dance?”
Without missing a beat, Genie stood up, took my hand and charmed the fuck out of me. I’m in no way a good dancer. I can do the Single Ladies dance and the Cha Cha slide but I have no idea how to ballroom dance. But Eugene did. And our slight height difference (he being taller than me) made this first date unlike any other first date ever.
“Here, I’ll lead. Just follow my feet,” he said. “One-two-three, one-two-three…”
I was uncomfortable yet I was loved it all at the same time. People were walking by and staring but he didn’t seem to care. He spun me so effortlessly that I thought I looked like a fool, because clearly Eugene was a natural, and I was the messy Sagittarius he took pity on in the middle of an outdoor shopping mall.
Being with Genie is like jumping into a cool pool for a swim. It’s cold and uncomfortable at first, but once you’re in there for a few minutes, you begin to love it. At this point, I didn’t want to get out of the water.
As we began to slow dance to the next track, he brought his chin down to my shoulder and said…
I tried to speak but I couldn’t get the words out. I had no idea what to say or how to react. I struggled to show him my appreciation but also struggled to hide my embarrassment. No guy has ever called me beautiful before.
In that moment, I was completely stunned.
There’s an odd sense of calmness when you’re around Genie, but there’s also a sense of nervousness if you lack any sort of adventure. Luckily for both of us, I’m quite adventurous.
to be continued…
Read Part Two of Spring Awakening here!
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