When things ended with Ex, I went on dates with other men but always came home fidgety. I wanted to skip all of that annoying preliminary stuff and land right back where I’d left off. Dabbling in small talk felt tedious. Swapping childhood stories felt forced. That whole getting-to-know-you phase felt arduous. I wanted to just know him already.
“Isn’t it funny that we’ve never really talked on the phone,” Vanilla said over drinks at The Public House two weeks ago.
“Yeah, I’m not really a phone person,” I replied.
But I am. With some people, at least. I can gab with Leslie or Allison for hours on end. And you know what? I was the same with Ex. I’d come home, get ready for bed and then ring him up to chat before falling off to sleep. It was part of my evening routine. One of the toughest things to get over when we parted ways was going to sleep without those calls. I'd lie in bed and just stare at the ceiling.
Those conversations never happened with Vanilla and I never really wanted them to either. That's when I realized he was merely a square peg being forced into a round hole. I kept pushing and pushing, figuring one way or another he'd fit. I somehow concluded I’d outgrown butterflies and long frilly conversations with a recently met boy. Unsure how else to monitor a connection, I simply tried to create one.
Turns out I was wrong. Butterflies do still exist. It's just that they exist with you, not Vanilla.
The first time we spoke, the call ran late into the night or more accurately early into the morning. With a delicate whisper, you wished me sweet dreams and that was that. I smiled and then sent a note saying you were safe from the public eye. I wouldn’t drag you into my written world. I knew you’d stop by here and I didn’t want you to feel vulnerable as a result of what you might read. Shortly after clicking send but before I could change out of my work clothes, my phone rang.
I fell back against my sofa pillows and bathed in your words. A poem. A thought. I curled up on my side, facing my back toward the clock. Time was irrelevant.
We spoke again the next night. And again the night after that. They’ve become regular parts of my day. I feel a flutter in my belly when I see you’ve sent a note. I smile when I see an incoming call from your number. Sometimes we speak about silly things. Sometimes we speak about important things. And sometimes we don’t speak at all. A long silence that oddly feels more comfortable than any words ever could. That’s when I knew I needed to part ways with Vanilla.
“Are we still on for Saturday?” he asked when I rang him last week from my car.
“Actually, that’s why I’m calling. I think I should cancel,” I began.
I continued on, being honest about the absence of butterflies. Maybe I should have lied and said there was someone else. Actually, maybe that wouldn’t have been such a lie. The point is, well, trying to make someone fit won't work out in the long run. Ever. At least not for me.
You see, those silences we shared brought comfort I’d long forgotten. Maybe when we meet next week, our first true interaction, things will be different. You won’t like the way I wear my hair. I won’t like the way you sip your drink. Likes and don’t likes in person can undo every last thread holding together the previous connection.
Even still, you reminded me of something I’d forgotten over time. You returned to me the excitement that comes with that whole getting-to-know-you phase. That eagerness to learn more. That yearning to know more. Above all, you reminded me to never settle for anything less than butterflies.