There is something about her that defies description or qualification. To many people, she seems forward and aggressive. Since I have known her, I have found her to be quite the opposite. She is guarded and careful. She says that she is a witch, a gift or two that came naturally to her without any training. While the jury is still out on that, I take her at her word- what else can I take her at?

We have slept together. Nothing sexual, just sleep. We actually discussed having sex and both agreed that it is too soon to even try, that it might interfere with our friendship. We went out to dinner last night. She was babysitting a mutual friend's daughter and brought the 5-year-old girl along, crayons and color books, too. We ate dinner and talked a bit, watching our language in front of Keller, our charge for the evening. Keller wanted to watch the goldfish in the tank before we left. I hoisted the little girl up in the air and held her close to the glass. It was good to be with a young child and just enjoy innocence for a while. The hostess mistook us for a family. She and I (my date, not Keller) looked at each other with raised eyebrows and then smiled. We informed the hostess that the girl is not ours, that we are taking care of her while her father is at work, and that we were merely eating dinner.

"Oh," the hostess replied in a southern accent. She did not look a day over seventeen. "I'm sorry. You just looked like... a family." Then she turned to me. "Do you have kids of your own?"

"No," I said. "Perhaps someday, but not yet."

The hostess smiled sweetly. "Call it a hunch, but I think you'd make a great father." Then she bid us a good eve.

My date and I were thoughtfully silent after that brief exchange. It's funny. I was thinking the same thing about her during dinner as I watched her dote over Keller and do "mommy" things, even though she isn't the girl's mommy. She would make a superb mother, I thought. The funny thing is that only recently has she given serious thought to ever being a mother. I strongly suspect that her experiences with Keller are translating into a sort of proving ground, like she's asking herself, "Do I really wanna do this one day? Do I really want kids?" Taking care of Keller while the girl's father works at odd hours is most likely her way of figuring that out without having to commit for real. She's testing herself, I think.

Of course, I would never tell her this. It's probably unnecessary to. But it's nice to learn these little things about a person you're seeing on a regular basis.

She's not my girlfriend, but she calls me almost every day. We're not having sex, but we occasionally sleep together. We don't kiss, but we tell each other our secrets. We don't have any expectations, but we know that each can rely on the other for anything. We're investigating each other's character, whether we are aware of it or not. We are having experiences together and we both enjoy each others' company immensely.

I don't think she wants to date anyone or have a boyfriend. At least, I don't think that she wants to quantify what we do as "that." For now, we're just having a good time together, keeping it light and friendly.

I like it like that. But it still bothers me to go to sleep at night, alone. We have seen each other naked, literally. We have bared each others' souls. We are dating, but it's not called that yet.

What do you call something that already has a name but isn't supposed to be mentioned?