Salem v. Brazil

I tire of all the vixen-villians in romance-suspense-thrillers that explain their unorthodox behavior with the adage, “Love makes you do crazy things”. It’s not that I think it trite or that I take issue with the storyline. Rather the sentiment is wrong. Love does not make you do crazy things. Love makes you do mechanical things. Love makes you buy flowers and exchange mixed tapes and read poetry. There is a very scripted formula. Instead, I might be more apt to empathize with these vixi-villians if they changed one word to make the adage a well adapted mantra. It’s loneliness that makes us do crazy things. When lonely there is no greater time and better opportunity for crazy, and because there is no script for loneliness, I found great adventure potential in it. So for my fifth week, it all started in Salem and ended in Brazil.

Pam offered to set me up with a friend of hers and I agreed. I had seen Josh once, leaving an apartment Pam and I shared many years back and I remembered remembering him. So much so, that I enthusiastically agreed. I emailed Josh, Josh called me, I called Josh and having had so much faith in our few conversations I suggested we take a witch tour in Salem Massachusetts. It’s important to note that Salem, by car, is a good hour away, but there was something so comforting about Mr. Josh that led me to suggest it. And was I ever right. The car ride bred good-great-best conversation. We missed the witch tour but made up for it by exploring an eerie night scape, star gazing and dinner and drinks. Star. Gazing. I was over the moon.

And the rest of the night maintained the glow. We drove back to the city and stopped at his apartment to unpack boxes of books in effort to find a few he wanted to loan me. When inside (he was a new transplant to Boston) I became enamored of his apartment and I ran from room to room commenting on where things could go and how cute this would be here and wouldn’t it be great if you had an old antique desk and an even more antique typewriter right here where there is sun exposure and… I was interrupted because, and even I still can’t believe this, I turned right to find the very antique desk I envisioned in my mind positioned in the place I suggested it be with, and I couldn’t make this up, a very respectable old typewriter stationed on it.

What the what?

Mr. Josh and I showcase our interest. He leans in toward me. I lean in toward him. We are nervous and trying to focus on things we can control. I flip through a book enough to crack the spine. He rambles on about some mathematical work something. Then, in a fit of nervousness I ask him to take me home.

This adventure is not the start of our love story. Nor is it the story of a lonely crazed Kim. Although there are fun elements of both the former and the latter to work with. Basically, Mr. Josh doesn’t call, and when he does he appears disinterested. I grow insecure. This story alone isn’t enough to warrant the telling but I’m advised by friends to stop assuming the worst and to go out with him again. He calls and invites me to dinner. It feels forced and almost begrudging, but I agree and a date is made. Except, this date is a disaster.

From the onset it’s poisoned. Mr. Josh is not nice. Whatever veneer of sweetness was present last week has brashly worn away and I find myself in the car with someone who won’t look at me, is not interested in talking to me and is rather curt with me. Okay, okay, so this isn’t going to work. As this has happened to me before the only thing I can think to do is what is inherent to my character and that’s to try my hardest to make him like me and fall into a deep pit of insecurity when I arrive home. It’s easy to be the victim and to seek solace from friends, but I tire of that role. So, in owning up to the year of 52 adventures I took a different approach. I fought back.

I found that it’s really rather empowering to say the following, “You are treating me poorly.” “I am having a terrible time.” “I really wish you would have chosen a restaurant with a vegetarian option.” “No, I do not want to be friends with you.” I say all of this outside of Salem.

No more the masochist, I capitalized on the uncomfortable time allotted me to let this Josh know that I deserved more. Deserved better, and that I refused complacency, or worse, a delusional belief that this was all my fault. Could I have been nicer? Certainly, but the masque wasn’t in style and this man was privy to one of the greatest gifts I can give – myself – fiery fist of rage and all.

And in the end? I returned home to a scene I’ve seen before: my apartment and empty bed, some wine at the ready should I chose. I thought to cue up some forlorn melody but instead I shimmied out of my skirt, threw on a pair of sweatpants and made my way over to Jane’s, with a bottle of wine in hand. And I counted my blessings.

So some days pass. This time when bitten I am not double the shy. Instead I chose to do something I have never done on account of years and years of insecurity: I hit on a bartender. A Brazilian bartender named Fernando. And it didn’t stop with doe eyes at the bar waiting to be seated. Once seated and mostly through the meal we summoned the server and asked after Fernando. Then, the pursuit: numbers were exchanged, in that our server delivered my number to Fernando (who I thought had left but was really eating a shift meal in the kitchen), Fernando invited me to the bar, the server escorted me to the bar, plans were made, he smiled.

When leaving he waved goodbye and winked the best wink I’ll ever receive. And it doesn’t matter what follows. Doesn’t matter if he is a Josh is a Jason is a Bill, because I now know that there is something to combat loneliness, and perhaps, in the interim, that’s enough.

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