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The Return of Z (Engaged to be Married)

July 6, 2016


Z sat on my couch two nights ago. True to form, he just showed up at my door even after I asked him not to. I didn’t want to be alone with him. I was right. It was excruciating.

He had shown up at my birthday party. Liz saw him but I missed him by 5 minutes. Despite her feigned anger at his appearance, she told him where I was going. My young co-workers had carted me off to a bar down the street. I didn’t make it past sitting down. “I need to be home,” I told them and they called me an Uber. I had consumed quite a bit of wine and an absinthe shot, I think. Z had gone looking for me.

On the eve of July 4 I asked a couple of Iranian friends if they wanted to go watch fireworks and go to the Moon. I was out with them when Z texted me. He was at my door. He said he was going to leave some Indian food for me but had decided against it and left. I told him we could talk the next day.

The tall Iranian walked me home. I’ve grown to like him. He’s funny and we commiserate over our shared trouble with dating. He thinks it should be easy for me. I think it should be easy for him. I’m a 47-year old divorcé with no interests in children or marriage and a taste for men who are very different from my culture. He’s a 29-year old extremely tall Iranian who won’t be around for very long and is misunderstood by an ignorant host culture.

I hugged him goodnight at the bottom of my staircase and walked up. As I fumbled with my keys I heard someone come in the hallway and I assumed it was my neighbor, Ted. I turned around to see Z, standing there before me.

“God dammit Z!” I told him. I didn’t open the door. He gave me a hug and as we pulled away he said I was getting fat. “What?” I said in mock humiliation. “I guess I have put on a little weight.” He put his hands on my waist again and I pushed them away and warned, “Don’t touch me.” I stood as far away from him as I could and we talked in the hot hallway until he asked me to let him inside. We walked in and I invited him to go for a self-guided tour of the apartment. It was a far cry from little #5 where we had spent so many happy hours.

We talked for a while on opposite ends of my sofa. I asked about his fiancé. He talked about wedding plans and where he was living and how his family was driving him crazy.

He looked really good. I sat there trying to live in a world where we were just friends. Every other time he has walked into my doorway, our bodies didn’t leave each other for hours. A trail of slowly discarded clothes led from the door to the kitchen to the bedroom. Seeing his shoes right in front of my door always made me smile. And here he was, an engaged man, to a woman he had not yet met in person and admitted he was not yet in love with.

After about 30 minutes, I asked him to leave. It was late. I was tired. Being alone with him felt dangerous.

“No more surprises, ok,” I told him. He agreed. Not that I believe him.

I went to bed, feeling like I was in a parallel universe. How could Z be in my apartment and yet not be coming to bed with me? I’m supposed to be lying next to him now. I should be waking up with him in the morning. What a cruel fate.

Maybe there is a parallel universe where we are born at the same time, in the same country and we meet and fall in love and raise a family together. Maybe I will live that life next time.

Married or not, the one thing he can always count on is that I will be in the world, loving him…….just not in the same room.


From → Rantings

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