I landed in Chicago around 9:15pm last night, just a couple hours before the man about whom my tongue still twists and fumbles around the word “boyfriend” during introductions and conversations. In an odd turn of events, we’d each bought tickets to and from Chicago to spend time with our respective children (or child, in my case) on the same dates, with the same airline. (Had they been the same flights I’d really think the universe were punking me, but—whew!—just the same dates and airline.) We’ll be back in NYC only two full days before he’s whisking me off to Northern California for four days, marking the first time a man has ever taken me anywhere (I’ve always done the taking, the planning, the paying…).
In any case, we met up today for lunch and then he had to work (and I’m rather ill), so I joined him at a café where he worked and I basically napped on the couch next to him, my feet tucked under and behind him for closeness and safety, occasionally waking up for a sip of tea, a hug or a kiss, or a snippet of conversation. He commented that it was nice that we could just be together without talking, enjoying being next to each other. And it is.
Last week me told me he wanted to make NYC our town, to explore it together and find all the neat little places you only find if you look really carefully. Of course he lived there 15 years ago while getting his LLM and I’ve been there 3-1/2 years, so there are probably little places we each know (some that may not exist anymore) that we can share, others that overlap, and even more that we find together. And that’ll be fun, because the last few people I’ve dated haven’t really been people who’ve had that sort of attitude. I like to stay at home when my body isn’t cooperating, for sure. But when it is, I’ll explore to my heart’s content.
But returning to Chicago and seeing the man I’m dating (in NYC) here, where we both have children, is a weird/unusual twist. In January, we’ll probably be driving back together, which may seem even more odd. And not odd in a bad way, just in a way that is completely unfamiliar. Of course I’ve dated someone in NYC before who had family here, but that was a much different circumstance (his children were grown, and he was ostensibly getting separated/divorced from his wife, though of course now I know that’s untrue); there’s no way a day like today ever would have happened with him. No way.
It’s nice, in an interesting way. Or, today was nice. Being able to see him not-in-NYC and still find comfort and attraction and all of the feelings I have for him as I snuggled up against him (as much as I could) in the café, every so often opening my sleepy eyes and seeing that, yes, he was still there. And when he was done working we did a little thrift shopping and he walked me back to my hostel, and I got to catch up on my TV shows on Hulu.
I’m still quite sick (it could be the flu, or some other random bug, but I’m miserable), so this likely isn’t my finest writing… but I felt it important to note that this trip back doesn’t feel so bad, like it usually does, my mind preoccupied with all the things this city and its people have stolen from me (or declared theirs by eminent domain). Then again, I’ve only been here a little more than 24 hours. A lot can happen in the next seven days. But I’m hoping it’s all excellent stuff… and that whatever this bug is, it clears out as soon as possible. I’ve got a city to explore.