New Life : Meet Maddy

New Life : Meet Maddy

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Maddy walked in like she was filming a scene for Charlie’s Angels. Her wavy ginger blonde hair danced around her face as she glided towards me. 

I smiled. I always smile. But this time it was real. Because she was pretty. Oh so pretty. 

Of course, that cannot be enough. There has to be more. And I had calculated there would be, given the heavy doses of sarcasm in our texting prior to meeting. So when she walked in bright as the sun in a dimly lit coffee shop I was feeling pretty good.

There was just the part of having to talk to each other in person. For the first time. 

As I go on more of these dates I don’t spend as much time thinking about them beforehand. It only serves to freak me out. Thinking about where to stand and what I should be doing. Wondering if the barista thinks it’s weird I’ve just repeated the same move eight times in hopes that my date would walk in at the exact perfect moment to catch me in a natural action that I have just manufactured several times. I had good exchanges with Maddy and felt more comfortable with her than most so it was easier not to overthink this one. I don’t really get excited for first dates because of the nerves but this one had the makings.

I was at the table, holding a hot tea in my hands hoping to warm up so by the time she reached me for a hug I wasn’t a cold, wimpy fish but instead a vibrant stallion. 

Her hug was solid. She let her chest press into mine and she squeezed enough to let me know she was a caring person. She took off her jacket and placed it over the back of the chair. She did this abruptly without much thought of that jacket’s distribution to avoid future wrinkles when she went to put it back on. I still had mine on (plus a scarf). She was wearing a black blouse open in the front and I casually stole a glance to check out the cleavage situation but wasn’t able to learn anything useful before my eyes were forced back up to meet hers. Dating in New York in the winter where one wears many layers can be complicated.

Abraco is cash only. I was able to learn that on Google Maps on the walk over. I added a stop – “ATM” – and grabbed $100. When she went to the bar I watched closely as she pulled out her debit card. Oh shit. I walked over. She said it was fine. She could pay later. I said I would just pay. She smiled. A knight. 

Back at the table we were sitting across from each other. I was watching her nose closely to see when it would start to become runny from walking in the cold to now being in a warm, cozy den. When I would see a reflection of the light build on a tiny bubble inside her nostril I could turn away and give her the freedom to wipe it without worrying about a trail of residue leaving its mark on her hand and wrist. That never happened but it didn’t stop me from waiting. 

She asked how my day was.

“Well, I came in this morning on a redeye so that was fun.”

“Oh yeah. Where were you?” She asked.

I hadn’t told her yet that I also live in San Diego.

“San Diego. That’s where my work is.”

“Wow. What do you do?”

I told her about the production company and how I just recently moved to New York because I’ve always wanted to live here. It’s still not a story that really lands with people. It’s hard to understand. Like, wait, you live in New York and San Diego and you go back and forth because you’re a bougie bitch with no responsibilities? At least that’s how I feel it is perceived. 

She tells me about her job where she is essentially the equivalent of a migrant worker for a large jewelry company in Tribeca. 10-12 hour days not getting paid as much as she deserves while running the entire archive. She doesn’t take enough vacation. The culture doesn’t really allow for it. You take time off and you’re basically not dedicated. I pause for a moment and wonder if my employees might think this about me. I see her ambition. I think about the type of people who come to New York, what they are willing to sacrifice. I wonder if I still have that kind of hustle in me. 

At some point I tell her the story of when I saw a woman get hit by a car. I preface it by telling her it was fucked up. And then I can’t stop laughing. She is laughing too and says she feels disturbed by us. I walked into the street and she did too. I was looking right at her from across the way. And then a truck just blasted her and she went flying. She hit the ground and rolled 3 times before landing in a seated position with her legs out in front and her gaze lost in space. I didn’t want to touch her. What if she was dead? 

We were talking about how people do nothing to help others. I told her when the woman finally stopped in that seated position I was so disturbed by the whole thing that I froze in place before feeling the wind of several bystanders rush past me to help her. I said I was usually clutch in these types of situations but the image of her body moving in a way that defied my understanding of physics was so frightening that I didn’t want to be anywhere near her because I honestly thought she was a ghost now.

Maddy is from Alabama. Her family was/is very religious and she was indoctrinated from a young age with 3x a week church sessions. Then she went to school and studied philosophy and said it all went out the window. She became obsessed with existentialism, Plato, Nietzsche, and all the other great minds who had a critical eye for human behavior.

I consider this a point of connection when someone has a conservative upbringing and has made it out. I can still utilize some of my Midwestern humor (insensitive, not politically correct, etc.) while dropping in bits of emotional intelligence to keep things interesting.

My tea was long gone and my bladder was screaming but I couldn’t go to the bathroom because my tight pant legs were running so far up my calves that standing up in front of her was not an option. I would have to hope for her going first so I could make adjustments while she was gone. 

“Do you have to go to the bathroom?” I ask.

“No,” she responds. 

I reach under the table casually and start unrolling my cuffs. 

We end up walking. It’s cold but she doesn’t mind. I ask how she’s doing with the temperature and she turns with rosy cheeks and she says she’s fine. I think it’s probably the not fine fine but I decide not to push. 

“How do you decide if you want to see a person again?” I ask her. 

“Well I guess I wouldn’t be walking around with them in the freezing cold for hours.” 

I think about how a kiss would happen in this situation. Our numb faces coming together and our snot bubbles joining to make one connected string. It doesn’t register in the category of what I would consider appealing for a first kiss. 

I like her. She is unique. Her thoughts carry the room. We have been laughing the whole time. At some points such a real laughter that I have to stop talking completely and compose myself. Usually after things like people getting hit by cars or our collective family’s inability to express emotions. She roasts me a couple times. My complaining about kitchens in New York being too small to accommodate proper islands prompted her to call me bougie. 

She says she curses drivers on her walk to work in the morning.

“What are your best phrases?” I ask her.

“Usually it’s a variation of ‘fuck.’ Like, ‘fuck you. Go fuck yourself. Fucking asshole.’ Things like that. What about yours?”

“Same. Fuck stick. Fuck wad. Fuck bag. Fuck face.” 

Then she shows me the face she puts on when she gets into the office – which is the face of a passive sweetheart. I ask if she did acting when she was a kid because her range of expression is impressive to watch. She did not. I think she must be very neurotic with a lot going on in her head at all times. I am okay with this as it will be interesting to dive into more over time. 

And still, I don’t think I’ll go in for the kiss. I’d like to think my body would be telling me I needed to kiss her right now. Calling for me to connect in a way that is so personal and intimate that it could never be taken away from us. But this is a person I truly don’t know yet. Because online dating plucks us from our worlds and places us into an arena with no context, no history, no real way of knowing each other. We just talk and hope something happens. I do hope something happens with her. 

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