Just One Text
A few weekends ago, we passed the six-year marker of my husband Tim’s death. Seven of my peeps and I went away for the weekend and the accommodations and weather were perfect. There are now three of us who are struggling with grief, so there is always a special bond between us. You know, that club no one really wants to belong to.
Friday started off with attitude in high gear. I was in swearing male-bashing mode. Probably half the women were right there with me. The other half were smart enough to play along with me. I’d had it with dating nightmares and other such problems. Nothing like some alcohol with girls weekend away to vent it all out.
Pathetic as it may sound, it takes just one text to change it all.
Early Saturday morning I was woken up by a text from my Tinder app. I hadn’t been on the app in a while but apparently it keeps all your swipe answers. (Swipe to the right means you are interested, swipe to the left and you are not. If you and the guy both swipe right, it’s a “match” and you can start texting.) He was a very nice looking guy but was from Toronto. Damn. But wait… He is staying at his mom’s house in Buffalo and works here as well. Says location isn’t a problem. This could be fun.
It was unusual circumstances because all of us girls were together so as the texts continued throughout the day, I kept everyone updated as the soap opera unfolded. He was an engineer and designer. (Hmmm… so was Tim.) Turned out his mom had died in January. He sent a sweet picture of him and his mom. Really cool. He has experienced loss. And that whole thing about you can tell a lot about a man by the way he treats his mother? I totally buy into that.
By Saturday evening, we were sitting around a fire when I got the text that made me stand up and say, “No way. You guys are NOT going to believe this.” I had gotten brave enough to tell him about Tim and the purpose of the weekend away. He said he understood that kind of loss because his wife had died three years ago from ovarian cancer. NO WAY. I couldn’t believe it. Not many people our age belong to that club, and you have an instant bond when you meet someone who does- whether they are male or female.
The next ten days consisted of texting and lengthy emails. His name was David. Figures. That’s my son’s and dad’s name. I learned he had guardianship of his niece after his sister’s untimely death. I learned that his positive attitude in spite of all his loss came from his faith and spiritual mindset. I learned he was quite financially stable and was even planning on retiring in the next few months.
I was very challenged by David and told him so. As we continued to correspond, I started realizing how I had lost my hopes and dreams. Thinking about what I actually wanted and wished for in a relationship, I had to admit I had pretty much given up on ever finding it. Yet he seemed to make it look easy to be so unselfish, kind, family-oriented, etc. etc. etc. I kept waiting for the shoe to drop.
One day it almost did. We decided to take the next step of talking on the phone. It had never occurred to me that English may not be his first language. He wrote/texted so clearly, that I never gave it a thought. But French was his first language. It was a bit of an obstacle at first, and I had to admit that I was a bit disappointed. Then I got really disgusted with myself. What has happened to me? I was the international ministries major. I used to crave other cultures and diversity. Now I saw it as an obstacle. When I did get so ethno and ego centric? This didn’t change his looks. It didn’t change his intelligence. And it didn’t change his heart and how he viewed family and relationships.
Then so much else went haywire. My dad, son, and sister all had bouts in the hospital. I was exhausted and spent from running around trying to take care of everyone. I was also sick with worry. I was sitting in the waiting room while my dad was in his first procedure when David texted me and said he would try to come to the hospital so we could meet and so I wouldn’t be alone. He said I take care of everyone, and wondered who takes care of me?
I got tears in my eyes. The timing didn’t work out for him to come to the hospital, but it got me thinking. After six years, dare I allow myself the hope and vision that my life might be different moving forward? I finally have accepted being alone, as much as I don’t like it. Is it really possible that my future might hold someone sitting next to me? Caring about the people I care about? And… can I really say it? Will someone be there to take care of ME? Whoa. I felt things I hadn’t felt in ages.
And then that one text that can change everything again.
A couple of days after that, the text came. The one where David asked me to assist him with money. And I knew. I had my peeps do some investigating, which included a lengthy conversation with a detective. I gave them everything. The emails with his travel itineraries, the linked in accounts, Facebook, all of it. And the results were in. He was 99.9 percent sure I was part of a very elaborate, sophisticated scam. I shouldn’t feel bad because they are extremely clever.
You’ve got to be kidding me. All of it was planned. Contacting me on the weekend of my husband’s death anniversary. Calling himself David. Knowing the depth of my loss and the lost-ness I feel and knowing how to touch me in those places. Emotional rape is the only thing I could think of to describe how violated I felt. Truth be told, I’ve been a little shocked by some of the people I know and how they have responded, like it’s just another dating disappointment. In a way, they are right, but in another way, this takes the cake. No one seems to understand the depth of betrayal I feel.
The bottom line is this. For whatever reason, relationships have not worked for me so far. I have zero patience for any clichés or platitudes. “If a guy this, or a guy that, then you know. If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.” Bullshit. The truth is, no one ever knows. I’m not stupid and I’m not naive. I couldn’t have seen it coming. I’ve dated handsome guys, not so handsome guys. I’ve texted them a lot, I’ve texted them hardly at all. I’ve met them right away, I’ve not met them for a long time. It doesn’t matter. There are no formulas. There may be some red flags, but for the most part dating is just difficult. When you think you have the answers, it is just hind sight, which frankly amounts to a pile of crap because the next time the opposite could happen with the same results.
Dad gets out of rehab today and is staying with me for a couple of days. He is my focus now. That should be safe, right?