On the wagon

Hi. My name is Anne Pank, and I’ve been sober for three months and nine days.

Date sober.

About a month after my lovely couple of dates with the ‘Dane living in Barcelona‘, I went on the date equivalent of a pedalo. Great idea at the time, mildly entertaining for ten minutes going round in circles and quickly heading back to shore. Dutch seemed like a nice enough chap; ex-wife, son – ok and not at all unusual at our age. ‘Thirty-nine’. I heard about his worries, his small business he was struggling to manage alone, his loneliness, his broken heart, care of the ex. And that now his son was just that little bit older, his plans to return to Holland. Uuummm, ‘kay. Then tell me, why are we sitting here exactly? He learnt nothing about me. He didn’t really ask… That was the last week of April.

Around the same time, one of my doctor students put one of her friends in touch with me, after a brief chat and a tentative yes from me. He was ten years older, from Barcelona, a retired father of two grown-up children and a ………… widower. !!Ding-a-ling-a-ling-a-ling!! Don’t judge me for the alarm bells, okay. I spent a year of my life trying to crack that nut, and I didn’t come out the other end too well. But, I figured that as he was a few years down the road it might be a different kettle of fish. And as la doctora had sung his praises, he sounded like it was worth my while meeting for a coffee. So, we arranged to meet mid Saturday afternoon a couple weeks later. I arrived on time, sent a photo of the vermutería I was standing outside of and checked my appearance in the window. The heavens opened and I was not prepared. For that, or the message I got back.

“Excuse me Anne, I have had a setback. We will have to reschedule.”

Eeerrrrr, I don’t think so. I had been caught by torrential rain and the notion that older men were sorted, secure and possessed good manners. I was being stood up by a man knocking sixty! They say there’s a first time for everything, and here were two – a set up by a friend….. and being stood up. He explained, only after two furious messages, that he had been paralysed by guilt. I said that I was sorry he felt bad, but also – it’s not an excuse. I do understand a little bit, that situation. I was in a relationship for three days short of a year, with a man who had acted like his passed wife might come home in the middle of sexy time, on the only two occasions I was ‘allowed’ to stay over. It’s desperately sad, I can’t imagine how it must be to deal with that, but it’s no excuse to leave a woman standing in the rain. If I hadn’t sent the photo, would he have contacted me at all? On the morning of the date, at lunchtime, bloody hell: even half an hour before, and I would have been a little more understanding. A simple, ‘sorry, I can’t do this.’, would have sufficed.

And so here we are approaching the end of August, three months later. I’ve not so much as peeked at Tinder. Or even thought about it, or men or dating in any capacity, to be honest – and it’s been blissful. Which inspired this post. It suddenly dawned on me, that it hadn’t dawned on me. I’ve been busy, doing little jobs around the flat, painting, catching up with friends and entertaining visitors. And spending time with myself. There have been no available gaps and I don’t miss the pressure.

For the foreseeable future, this is me. Comfortable, content, making a nice home for myself and still seeing the shrink….

I like it. I like it a lot.

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