Romantic Date Foiled by Meditation

Buddha_Man and I met for a coffee at a popular waterfront cafe. I always arrive first on these initial ‘meet and greet’ encounters, with my laptop at a table and my back to the wall. I can watch all the comings and goings. It’s like claiming ownership over a place. So when my Cyber-Date arrives, I feel like it’s my space and I’m allowing him in. It’s a process. I’ve been on quite a few coffee dates, so I am very much at ease. Meeting and keeping a conversation going with virtual strangers has been a skill that I’ve learned and there aren’t any uncomfortable pauses. Being early gives me a chance to empty my mind of any stress and I am able to watch ‘him’ arrive, park, and enter the establishment — without any awareness that he’s being scrutinized. I have a pretty good idea of his state of mind before he even sees me.

Buddha_Man just looked sad. I saw him standing in front of the machine that takes your money for parking and something in his expression seemed sad to me. He squinted at the directions and dug into his pockets. Maybe it was the price of parking in my little tourist town, but this was my impression.

We had a nice enough time together: drinking our hot beverages, taking a stroll on the Promenade, and then along the pier. When we shook hands goodbye and for some reason, I figured that would be the last time I would see him. I didn’t feel any chemistry, really. A week later and I nearly forgot all about our brief coffee date until I read the ID on my phone and knew it was him. He wanted to know if I’d go for dinner and a movie. Being one of my favorite things to do, I agreed. I chose the movie and picked Chloe. As it turned out it was a racy movie for a first date and he probably read something into my choice. After the credits and the lights returned, we looked at each other and burst into laughter.

And that right there was the glue that bound us together for the next eight months. Not the racy movie thing, but the laughter.

We held hands outside the theater as he walked me to my car. It was a summer night, warm and starry. We both didn’t really want to say goodbye — I know, it’s best to not overdue things in the beginning, better to leave too soon and keep them wanting more — but I hesitated and so did he.

“Want to … go into that store?” he asked, motioning to this variety store that was still lit up.

I agreed and we wandered down the aisles looking at nothing, but feeling cozy together. Couples like to wander aimless in each others company. Alas, the store was closing and we reluctantly left. We hugged lightly and said our goodbyes.

He had me over to his place weeks later. He lived in the bustling part of the city, so far removed from my home by the sea where streets are quiet after 9 pm. We ate the dinner that he made and settled on the couch in front of a fireplace. The lights were turned down low and he played this African music CD.

He said things to me like:

“Do you know how long I’ve waited for someone like you?”

and:

“I feel like I’m in purgatory when we are apart…”

Now that’s stretching it, as he is a Buddhist and they don’t believe in heaven and hell, let alone purgatory. But for some reason I felt he was being sincere. In other words, I really fell into it. He was very soft spoken and gentle.

When I described him to my friends I told them he reminded me of a Leather Jacket. You know that insect with really long legs? Buddha_Man had these incredibly long skinny legs and arms. His extremities were always freezing cold and he explained that his blood had a hard time flowing. He was a slow thinking person, very methodical. He told me it takes him 45 minutes to do anything. My mind is lightening quick and often have so many balls in the air that I will drop one or two. He was the opposite of me, which I figured, could be a good thing.

He taught me to compost. He had this silver bucket on his kitchen counter and all sludge went in there. I felt his eyes on me whenever I helped with the dishes.

“Uh uh!” and I knew I was in error. I slopped the wrong substance in the compost.

It was during the two weeks off that the differences between us became paramount and the friction unbearable. I got used to him drinking this green drink every morning, which often leaked to the sides of his mouth. I would remind him to wipe before he left to go to work. And I really think composting is a good idea. I was grilled about my choice of using plastic over paper, gave in, and now always use paper. But it was his inability to let go of his bachelorhood.

He’d never married and was without offspring — so I thought, no baggage is great — but I found out what that meant. Also, he didn’t know what it was like to have a woman in his life. He didn’t think that having nudes scattered all over the walls of home and his bathroom was a big deal. At first I decided to that it just wasn’t for me, but then I looked closer, on his night table by his bed, and there was a picture of a nude woman sprawled in the sand in a provocative pose. I could see the photo of me, in the outdoors, in my hoody and hiking boots, was on top of his dresser. I felt a little insulted, I have to admit! Rather than removing a few pictures and maybe replacing them with ones of mine, he brought me a photo of a guy surfing, buff body leaning into the waves.

“What’s that?” I asked as he put the new photo into a frame.

“This is for you!” he answered and placed it on my mantle.

He told me one time, as we were driving through the city, that there was very little going on in his mind. I began to see that he was merely stating a fact about himself.

“When do you think women will start walking around topless?” he asked while we were stopped at a red light one evening.  I turned and looked at him.

“Oh, probably not in our lifetime I guess…” he answered his own question.

Often in the eight months we were together, he would commonly throw out the exclamation, “I’m a bachelor!”

“You’re a bachelor’s pal,” he said to me in a romantic moment after we’d spent his birthday together. It was a lovely evening up until then. We’d gone for dinner; I bought him a beautiful sweater and a romantic card. We were cuddled up together and he whispered this in my ear.

“I’m not your pal, I’m your girlfriend. You don’t have sex with your pals. We already went over this.”

*SNORE*

I slept on the couch that evening. I thought over the relationship while he slept noisily in his bedroom. He never introduced me as his girlfriend, always as ‘his friend.’ I explained to him weeks earlier that this is an insult to a woman whom you are intimate with. The next morning we were icy cold to one and other. I sat at his kitchen table with my laptop and he was in his living room meditating. He had this Buddhist shrine set up with what looked similar to a kneeler in Catholic confessionals. I took a peek at him and his eyes were closed — complete composed silence. I wondered if he meditated all his passions away.

He seemed such an intriguing character, having traveled the world in his 20’s searching for truth. He chose Buddhism as it seemed to him a much more practical approach to living life. The morning after our first night together he filled a small black cup with hot water and when I looked questioningly at him he said that it was an offering of gratitude. He placed it on a table in his Shrine. I thought it was gratitude for having met me. I really did.

Later on, in the afternoon, he came in after doing some gardening. He stood at the sink and ate freshly picked lettuce. This was his favorite food and he grew tons of it. I’d had time to think that day. I had to prove to myself that I could commit to someone. I figured as we grew closer, we’d kind of wear down the sharp edges, but I could see we were both so set in our ways, it would be an impossibility. (I remember thinking I’d have to tell my son that ‘another one bit the dust’. When I revealed my relationship with Buddha_Man and how much I liked him, and maybe he was ‘the one’, My son snickered and said, ‘You say that about all of them, Mom.”)

I asked him to take me home and he did. I had too much to carry alone, so he parked in my carport and helped me carry everything. We hugged goodbye and when the door shut, I burst into tears. I wasn’t feeling so much sadness, as disappointment. Five minutes later, my cell rang and it was his number. I had this fleeting notion it was him begging me to try again.

“I’m trapped in your carport. You have to come down and let me out.”

This one hurt. Maybe because it was eight months that I committed to him. Maybe it was the laughter we shared and how I loved falling asleep with my head on his chest, feeling safe and like I was finally home.

I wiped away my tears after letting him out and settled at my computer. Just out of curiosity I logged in to the dating site. I’d not been on for months. There were three letters waiting. I needed time and I decided I would spend the evening with a few friends and open the emails the following day.

I’m pretty resilient.

 

Romantic Date Foiled by Meditation © 2011 Adrienne S Moody. Click Adrienne’s tag for more stories.

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2 Responses to “Romantic Date Foiled by Meditation”
  1. Amanda S says:

    Your stories are terrific: great reading, funny and well written.

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