Years ago Halspal told me that writing should always be properly titled. I thought about calling this The Black Shirt, but I feel like it belongs here.

Yesterday I stopped by the chiropractor to change my appointment time. On my way in I stopped to admire a really nice Harley. I told the owner that it was nice, looked at him instead of the bike and discovered that he was someone I already knew. He's lost a lot of weight so I didn't recognize him at first. We stood there chatting, I was on my way in while he was on my way out which I could use to frame what I'm about to say next. I was wearing what my chiropractor calls my Sporty Jess outfit. He was wearing black boots, jeans, and a leather jacket that had to be really hot beneath the beating sun. He asked how I had been, I responded by telling him I had gotten divorced and asked how his daughter was doing. She was born with an extremely rare brain condition, I can't remember the details, but I vividly remember talking to him about her first few days, weeks, and months of her life. Fortunately she doesn't seem to have been adversely affected by the surgery and is now a thriving toddler. He recently divorced, his wife was sexually abused by cousins of hers when she was younger and one day she flipped out on him. He ended up in the hospital with broken facial bones after he was knocked unconscious. I felt bad for him. I told him we should go out for a post divorce drink sometime if he was up for it. My thought was that the girls and I could offer to watch his daughter periodically since his ex is so unstable and it would give him a single parenting break which is now a much higher priority to me than it had been before I started learning what it was like to be the only parent under a roof 24/7.

I didn't know if he still had my number and I wasn't sure if I still had his so we traded contact info before I gave him a hug and said goodbye. I'm a hugger. It's my nature to give things to people that I want for myself so I gave in to the impulse. No tragic love story is complete without a victim and a villain so I have to take you back to the time when I sent some smoothie recipes to a guy who gave me his email address so I could pass them along. I went back to read that email and several others. Not long ago this person emailed me with some information that I found concerning. I felt like he was reaching out so I sent an email back. We emailed each other a couple of times before I called him. I had spoken to him once before and I'm more of a phone person than an emailer so I picked up my phone and called. We had a fun conversation, he has a sense of humor that appeals to me. I told him about another guy that I know which led to a thread that we've gone back to a couple of times. I didn't take the conversation too seriously, but after I hung up I thought to myself, gosh, that was fun. Why don't I talk to people more often? The other day a guy sent me a message on Twitter about a kid who was pitching with footwear that was too loose. I asked a friend of mine who pitches if I could call him and unlike past conversations the easy back and forth was gone. I kept the conversation professional and let him go not long after I got his feedback on the coach who instructs his players to buy footwear that is a half size too small.

I have this habit of falling for guys after a conversation where I felt as if there was a real connection. Sometimes I won't even really like a person until that note is struck and I find myself getting caught up in the beauty and fun of interacting with someone. I'll let you fill in the details, but yesterday the guy I met at the chiropractor sent me a text asking if I wanted to go out for dinner or a drink. I hate using the phrases going out for drinks or grabbing a cup of coffee because I'm not much of a drinker and I loathe coffee. What I really mean to say is; I want to spend about an hour with you in a non-threatening environment where I can get up and leave as soon as I'm done talking to you. I think I wrote that my therapist had given me the assignment of going out on a date with someone. I had debtaed signing up for a dating website, I think my problem with those things is most of the time I don't really respect the people who have told me that they use them. I was listening to the guy I met at the chiropractor relate some of his experiences and a lot of them didn't sound like anything I would want to be a part of even if he was getting a lot of date requests. He sells ammunition as a side gig and he's very open about the fact that he's a gun lover. I am not a gun lover. I like the physicality of guns. I admire the artistry that goes into making some of the nicer offerings and I love the idea of taking someone out of my life with a bullet which is why I will never be a gun owner. My dad hunted, he bought me a BB gun when I was younger and let me shoot some of his guns. Guns are loud. I hate the shootings and I feel like a gun free country is a wise move for the United States. I don't have a problem with gun ownership, I feel like a lot of the gun rights arguments are pointless so I try to avoid them.

Emotional availability is a relatively new concept to me. I am very open and bubbly, but I am not currently emotionally available. I didn't know that about myself before last night. I went on a shopping spree and bought myself several outfits that are what I've always wanted to believe about myself. I love the ocean colors and wear them well so I indulged my inner beach bum. On my last trip to the thrift store I bought a book on how to dress yourself. I have a couple of these, but Sam's book really spoke to me in a way that the others failed to reach me. I've been living in this body for forty plus years so I'm always surprised when I don't know it as well as I feel like I should. When I look in the mirror I see my perceived figure flaws. This book identifies body types and shapes. What I like is how Sam tells you what to wear, what to avoid, and how to be strategic about your wardrobe. What changed how I viewed myself was his sentence about not perfectly fitting into one of his categories. I'm not sure why I haven't applied more of what I do with footwear to clothes since a lot of the principles are the same. It doesn't matter what works for other people, what works for them may be exactly wrong for you so I went out and broke a lot of the so called rules about what women my age should wear. When my sister asked what I was wearing she gave me some suggestions. I ended up pulling on a pair of white leggings that I wore with a bright blue tank and a longer cardigan. I ran the outfit by my kids who are refreshingly honest. I felt like the outfit said what I wanted to about me. It was fun, breezy, casual, and I felt good about myself in it. I added a necklace, grabbed a scarf and my jacket and climbed into his truck when he came to pick me up. I put on lip gloss and rolled on some essential oils that I just love.

When we got to the restaurant I saw that it was under a new name. I panicked and suggested we go somewhere else rather than try going to a new restaurant with someone I didn't know well. I carry an Epi-Pen, Benadryl, and an inhaler, but I still get nervous at restaurants and even other people's homes. I ordered a salad, he ordered a chicken sandwich with mushrooms and a side of cucumber salad. We had no problem coming up with things to talk about. I could tell he was trying hard to talk about things that I like and interest me, but he also shared a lot about himself. I really want to like this guy. He's nice. He's sweet. He's polite. He works hard. He loves his daughter. He's somewhat insightful, perhaps more than I realize. He's religious. He lives practically down the street from me. We go to the same chiropractor and know the same massage therapist. He's six years younger than I am which isn't so bad. He learns quickly. He's interested in trying new things. He likes me and is somewhat assertive without being too aggressive. He likes baseball enough to sit down and watch a couple hours with me even though I pay zero attention to the ball, the score, the pitch count, and other things that most fans track and define as the essence of baseball. I felt bad for him when I was watching some of these guys pitch. Baseball is erotic to me. It has sensual appeal. We were sitting on my couch watching the Royals take on the Tigers and I found myself thinking about one guy while spending time with another. I felt unclean, unwholesome, and unloved. I could feel him watching me instead of the game. I kept my eyes glued to the screen rather than trying to meet his. I couldn't ask him to leave even though I wanted him gone. I wondered what was wrong with me that I was staying up when I was tired and crabby instead of calling it a night. I gave him a hug when he left because I felt bad about the direction my thoughts had traveled. It was an apologetic hug. He probably didn't get that.

After he left I felt like crying. I started getting ready for bed, grabbed my phone, and texted my friend the smoothie drinker. The conversation started out awkwardly so I prepared myself for another long and lonely night. It caught me off guard when he asked if I wanted to chat. Talking to him erased all the anxiety I had during my so called date. I was in my bed with the breeze blowing through my windows. We argued with each other. I didn't really call him narcisisstic, but he told me I had. I couldn't tell if he was joking or not, but I thought that he was. He said that calling herbal infusions tea is a colloquialism and brought up the Walgreens encounter I had with a clerk the other day. The girls and I were thirsty so we stopped at Walgreens for water. The cashier was painfully slow. An employee with a thoroughly bored and disdainful expression stood next to the inefficient man at the register. I had the feeling that she could have swooped in and processed the growing mass of customers in short order. I was hot, I was so thirsty I felt unwell. Two men were chatting in front of me. I studied the soccer coach in the bright blue shorts and blue shirt that didn't match. His feet are wide. His hair sticks up in front. I felt like he was a male reflection of myself. The image was disconcerting and not comforting. A young man with a shaved head and a large bandage on the back of his skull waited patiently. The girls showed me things like lip balm and Dolly Parton on the cover of a magazine. I am not a patient person. I told myself that next time I should stop at the grocery store instead of Walgreens. I stared at the tantalizing water that was trapped inside the plastic bottle. I felt like I would never be able to quench my thirst regardless of what I drank. 

When it was my turn to pay I told the clerk I didn't want a bag. He told me he would have to throw it away and I did something regrettable that I almost never do. I snapped at him. When I was in college I worked at a corner gas station. I'm a great cashier. He was not. I wanted to call Walgreens and have him released from his current position so he could get a better job at an accounting firm. I can't understand bad management, or I can, but it perplexes me that so few people know how to manage effectively when there are so many resources out there. I was not seeing my own faults as I grabbed my bottled water. I made his bad day worse and I don't even feel badly about it although I would like to apologize to him for losing my temper. The water was too cold. I drank it anyways. My date was somewhat like the Walgreens encounter. I felt trapped in a situation that I had engineered. So when the guy on the phone brought it up I had to stop and think about my standards. He has a way of provoking me that I find challenging in a good way. There were things he said that I didn't like. He told me that I wanted him to tell me something and I told him that I didn't. He once told me that writing was a form of art and couldn't really be forced. That's how I like to think of conversations. I want people to share or reveal whatever in on their mind at the time. Of course I want some reassurance, but I can absolutely live without someone telling me things that they don't really feel just to placate me. I told myself that I should tell him to get some sleep, but couldn't bring myself to let him go until he brought it up. 

Before he called I had asked for a picture. He sent me one, but it didn't have the element I was hoping that it would. Which isn't to say that it was entirely disappointing. I love black. I don't wear it well in the sense that it doesn't reflect my personality except for the black ribbed turtlenecked sweater that I used to own that had flecks of gold and silver in it. I'm attracted to people who wear black well when they have a sense of stillness about them. There's a guy that I've been wanting to talk to for a while. He tweeted out a picture for National Dog Day of a paw print in the snow. I love that type of subtle sensitivity. White snow and the darker shadow told a story that was so simple and elegant, but bountiful and rich. It wasn't a professional photo and that's what I liked about it. The image caught his attention and he passed it along for others to enjoy. So where do I go from here knowing that the person I like and am attracted to is not really interested in trying to make things work? I don't know. I'm not ready to let go. Before last night's conversation I was worried he could break my heart. Something changed and I really don't know what it was. I think I was ready to appreciate a different side of him. I'm not scared, I'm not nervous. I could walk away right now and know that it was a good decision. I could keep talking to him and be okay with that. I can talk to my therapist about it. I probably won't want to hear what she has to say, but I need to hear it anyways. Sometimes it just isn't meant to be even though the person feels very right. I wouldn't even want to undo the past. Sometimes I think that I would, but today I see the wisdom in going back to certain moments in time. I have a much better idea of what I want in a relationship and that's helping me. It's fun to flirt and fun to feel desirable and empowered. It's nice to feel the way I do. This has been missing from my life for a long time. Right now I need some of the things I"m getting from him. Maybe he will meet someone new, part of me hopes that he does. Or I might move on and that would be okay too. For now this is the moment I have, thanks for letting me share some of my thoughts with you.

All my best,


P.S. The songs that inspired this were an interesting listen. Funny to me how music can convey what my words can't...

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