Dating after a loved ones death…. Sigh.
My darling husband passed away 18 months ago.
My closest friends and family recommended I start dating again.
I was back working again. I slowly found that laughing was not going to make the world end. But dating?
How does one do that after the love of their life has died and taken all of those feelings with them? Deep loving feelings buried away in a dark and silent tomb under ground for ever more.
I never knew lonely until he left me.
I didn't even recognize the feeling of lonely. One of my best friends pointed out to me what was so wrong in my life.
"You're lonely!" She exclaimed to me one day after I had finished crying on her shoulder.
Lonely? Me? I have never been lonely a day in my life!
I am a people person. I am always surrounded by those that love and care for me.
Wait… Could that be what this horrible feeling inside of me is?
She was right. I always had my kids and friends and lovely people with me. Surrounding me. But now?
Now at night, alone in the dark at 2:00 a.m. the long sleepless nights dragging on. One minute seems like an hour.
Tick tock. The clock seeming to echo my thoughts.
Finally, at 4 a.m. I usually give up and brew coffee. Check in online to not feel so interminably alone.
My sweet friends tried what they could to help.
Oh? An invite to dinner at your house Friday night, Lisa?
I'd love to! What can I bring?
I show up on time and hungry….
Lisa, her sweet husband, another couple that I know are there and I am told where to sit. One empty chair to my right.
A distinguished gentleman comes thru the door. Introductions are made. We all gather back at the table and sit down.
Two bites into my salad and I finally have a "light-bulb" moment and realize…. This is a Blind-date and I have been set up!
As sweet and handsome as he is… I can't.
I drive home in tears and shaken.
"Please Lisa, don't do that again. I almost peed myself in shame when I realized your little plan.
I'm just not ready."
Will I ever be ready?
Will any man ever be able to take Henry's place in my heart?
Will I ever be able to love and laugh again?
Two months pass.
I am in Florida.
I meet a very good looking man and we chat. He seems lovely. Kind and thoughtful. Fun and attentive.
He casually asks me to dinner for the following Saturday night at a popular restaurant in Tampa.
I have a split second to respond.
"Ok, that sounds nice. I will meet you there. 7:00?"
"Well, I will have to book a room in Tampa since I am from St. Petersburg and have had a DUI. I don't want to drink and drive so I will spend the night in Tampa."
Since this is his issue, I casually agree.
"Ok, sounds great!" I say with a slight lift in my voice.
Give the guy a chance… Make it fun. He's CUTE!
What do I have to lose?
I dress carefully in a cute ruffled skirt and blouse.
Not too over-done. Just keeping it light and fun.
Just as I arrive in the parking lot of the restaurant, I get a text that he is there.
I see him approach my car. He hugs me as I exit my car and grabs my hand as we walk in the door. It's dim and romantic. Soft music is playing.
It's been so long since I have dated that I don't really know what to expect.
He seems to know exactly what to do.
He orders wine and appetizers. Our food and drinks arrive and between laughing and talking, we seem to be enjoying the evening.
The server brings the bill to the table. It lays there in front of him.
My date grabs my hand and looks into my eyes.
"Lana, I want to take you out on the town dancing. We will cut this town up tonight."
I stare back at him. That sounds fun.
I slowly nod my head yes. Dancing.
How long had it been since I went dancing. Swaying to the beat of the music. Having a mans arm around me in the darkened room even on a crowded dance floor.
It sounded nice.
"Ok." He says, "We will go dancing but first I want to take you back to my hotel room."
Back to his hotel room?
I shake my head no. I see the anger rise up from his throat to his eyes. A tiny vein has popped up on his forehead and seems to be growing. He is angry!
"Hey, I told you I had to get a room here because I don't want to drive back to St. Pete after I have been drinking.
I told you!
I paid for a room and we are going back there and I am taking you to my bed. I paid for a room!" His voice seems to rise loudly in the crowded room.
I reply in a soft voice.
"I am not going to go to your room. I met you here to have dinner with you. Nothing more. This is a first date."
One of my favorite quotes enters my foggy brain.
(If you don't stand up for something… You'll lay down for anything.) I am standing firm on this one.
Am I so out of touch that the rules have all changed? I didn't even kiss on a first date. Sleep with him after one date? No way!
"You're going to sit there and not change your mind and come back to the hotel with me? After I PAID for a room?"
He stands up abruptly. His chair slides loudly across the floor as he pushes away from the table.
He puts one finger on the bill and slowly slides it over to me
"Then YOU get to pay for THIS!" He says with an ugly sneer as he walks away from the table and out the door of the restaurant.
I sit there alone at the table with my mouth wide open. Shocked.
I paid that bill. Gladly.
It was the best $100.00 I ever spent!
I never saw this creep again but hopefully learned something from this date.
Not sure yet what but each day is a learning experience.