Tuesday, April 09, 2013

He said

He said, "I love your profile. You're funny. God, you've traveled everywhere! Love your pictures."

I said, "Well, remember, those pictures are only of my oversized head." He laughed. I had been very honest in my profile. No surprises. Just me. He had no photos on his profile. I knew he was 6'1", that he loved ska and 80s music and science fiction, and that he was "a spiritual guy," raised Catholic, but had fallen off that wagon long ago, like me.

He said he had two childrendaughters. They were young and lived with his ex-wife, except for two weekends a month. I told him I was sorry, that it had to be hard to raise kids that way. Hard for everyone. He didn't respond to that.

He said he was really happy to find someone who liked the same movies and music as he did, the same TV shows. And ohhe liked to run.

I said, "Well, as you can see, I'm not much of a runner, but I love to walk." Running was just "fast walking," he said. He said he was 39. I told him I had eight years on him. He said he didn't care. He really wanted to meet and have coffee with "such an incredible woman."

I felt a twinge. I don't take compliments well, especially from strangers. It makes me distrust them. It makes me question the sincerity. But coffee is just coffee. I said yes and very cautiously turned the key in my chest, a rusted key that kept my heart from taking sucker punches and being shattered. The door opened a tiny bit.

He said, "How about the Starbucks in Wheaton?" I agreed. It wasn't far from homemine or his. I described what I would be wearing, but added, "You can't miss me. I'll be the biggest woman in the place."

He laughed. An online laugh. "LOL."  He said, "I'll be in a black jacket and jeans, with a plaid scarf." We set a date. We set a time.

I arrived about 15 minutes early. Coffee shops get crowded on Saturday afternoons in winter. I wanted to make sure I had a table to avoid any awkwardness. Well, more awkwardness than there would already be, the fat broad meeting a stranger for coffee and small talk. I had let my hair fall in its natural curls, my minimal makeup in place. (If I have lip tint and mascara on, that's a big deal.) Green jacket to highlight the sparks of green in my hazel eyes (eyes most people don't even notice are hazel), Russian scarf... I smelled like roses.

And I waited.

I saw an old Honda pull up, and a dark-haired man stepped out. Black jacket, blue jeans, plaid scarf, average build. But he was far from 6'1". I know 6'1". I like looking up into someone's eyes. He was in the neighborhood of 5'8", 5'9", but I'm short, and I'm fat, and what does it matter in the end if he fibbed to feel good, right? Right?

He walked in and scanned the room. His eyes fell on me, and I could feel his entire body stiffen from across the cafe. I didn't wince, but just said, "Kenneth?" and waved. A smile appeared and then fled from his face as he waved back. He walked over, taking his scarf from around his neck. He said, "I'm going to get some coffee. Do you want some?"

I said, "Sure, I'll take a small coffee, cream and two Sweet'N Low, please." He walked up to the counter and stood behind two other customers who waited for their drinks.

And then, he turned around.

He strode to the door, right past my table, without looking at me. He pulled his scarf tight around his neck, fumbled with his keys, and got in his Honda.

He pulled out of the lot, and he drove away.

He pulled out and drove away fast.  


I sat for a few minutes. I waited for the people who had been at the counterthe people who had seen what just happened—to get their drinks and go. There were no open tables, so no reason for them to linger. Five minutes, ten minutes, fifteen minutes... I finally got up and quietly walked out to my car, hoping no one at the tables had noticed. Hoping that they were so engaged in conversation or texts they didn't see my humiliation. Five minutes, ten minutes, fifteen minutes... I sat in my car and felt my shame well up. 

And then my phone buzzed. New e-mail. 

It was him.

And he said, "Sorry. I just can't do this. I didn't realize just how unattractive you'd really be."

I re-locked the door in my chest, the key settling into familiar rust. And it hurt. Old rust, scratched with fresh pain.  

I closed my eyes and breathed in roses.  

And I drove home, to the quiet, to the empty. Full of things, but still empty.

He said, "I just can't do this."

I prayed. "I hope someone can."

Rusty Heart by Vera Kratochvil


Chuck said...

God, what an ASSHOLE! I'm very sorry to hear about that. You deserve much better than him anyhow. And, it was a very well-written post.

Washington Cube said...

I'm not sure what to say to you. Honestly written, I mean to the point of HURT, emotions, crushed hope, adaption (his lie.) You kept this nightmare tightly contained as you reported it.

Please don't lose the key. That's number one. I just don't know what to say about HIM. So much. Not responding to your showing concern over the divorce-children dynamic. Lying about his physical appearance. There are so many varied ways he could have handled this more graciously. I guess he was in a rush to get back to his daughters and helping build their self worth as they mature.

I'm sitting here shaking my head as I write you. I'll shut up. Thank you for writing from a not rusted heart, at all. At all. Your heart is wide open, Missy. You took the hit with dignity. I wish you every ounce of grace and courage I can send your way.


hoyameb said...

What a repulsive toad.

alwswrite said...

Part of me hopes my children all turn out to be girls so I never have to feel the shame of having raised a son who could, despite my best efforts, behave like this. Somebody should send this post to Kenneth's mother.

he is ugly, and you are lovely. and I noticed your eyes were hazel.

Daak1981 said...

And so we find that the beholder of Beauty within must stow the sword of expectations ....ugly is what this person performed. Perhaps the outlook you need to know is that while others are superficial , there are us who will as they should share a kinship with your sexy mind. Keep your lock ajar and never feel bad about using a little wd-40 on that rust to free up the action of the lock.

Jamy said...

I hope that eventually you will not only believe but KNOW that the problem here was 100% him. He didn't treat you like a human being--and that makes him a bad person. A very bad person. You deserve better. It's clear to anyone who reads this who the ugly one is.

Take care.

Jamy said...

I admire you for having the courage to write this. I hope that eventually you will not only believe but KNOW that the problem here was 100% him. He didn't treat you like a human being--and that makes him a bad person. A very bad person. You deserve better. It's clear to anyone who reads this who the ugly one is.

Take care.

Carol Hiller said...

I hate this guy, and that is a word I do not use lightly. Hell, I've had a whole meal with you and I really enjoyed sitting across from your pretty smiling face and enjoying the spicy salsa and conversation!

Love you,

Cyndy said...

Ugghh....I'm so sorry you had such an awful encounter with that asshole, creep, liar, etc. etc.

I'm sure you know that someone as shallow as he is does not deserve the likes of you, but that still doesn't make being the victim of douchbaggery any easier or less hurtful. And he's obviously a narcissist - in his online interactions with you his focus seemed to totally be on whether or not he'd like you. That seemed to be his main concern. Those kinds of people are to be avoided at all costs. I feel truly sorry for any woman that he deems acceptable, especially if she gets sucked in by him. I'm glad that didn't happen to you, but the way in which it didn't happen really pisses me off!

I know this can't possibly make up for the horrible underserved cruelty you've suffered, but maybe a tiny bit of a feeling of relief is in order - relief that he didn't subject you to even more of his completely dishonest and awful self by forcing you to sit through coffee with him so that he could decide whether or not you suited his purposes.

Giggles said...

Hi, I don't know you, but I have had the same feelings as you have so eloquently described here. I think I'll need a screwdriver to knock the rust off of MY key, but you are BRAVE! At least you put yourself out there!

Meanwhile, this guy? He's a dick. You have NO reason to feel shame. The guy acknowledged you and THEN fled, so it's obviously his problem.

I really hoped you emailed him back to call him out on his behavior. It's obvious that he hasn't had many dates with real, live women. If he had, he might have known that he should be taking out his own inadequacies on you.


Giggles said...

*should NOT*