Mr. Doesn’t Deserve a Name
- FROM THE ARCHIVES Written in 2014
2nd date with a man I previously never mentioned was tonight. We agreed to meet at Chipotle and then I got to pick the movie afterwards. I’m not really sure what he does for a living, which is odd because I usually try to get that information just after I get their name. I am sure he is a blue -collar type which, I realize, is not my typical crush. I realize though as I am aging, I may need to relax my standards.
Reasonably attractive, somewhat introverted, and blue collar early 30’s no name man finished ordering his burrito while I pulled out my debit card and paid for dinner. I also normally NEVER pay. The plan was burritos then a movie, I got to pick.
I started a new medication a few days ago. It’s called the Tobi Podhaler and it is a way of getting an antibiotic into my lungs in a faster way than a nebulizer by crushing a pill of the medication and inhaling it. However, the first few days, it always makes my voice raspy. It would be sexy actually- if not for the fact I’m flirting over a $7 burrito. We were laughing and getting along actually great!
He then asked, “so why are you sick today?” I had two choices. Girl up and tell him I have Cystic Fibrosis or just say “allergies”. I figured I would be upfront. “Well it’s a genetic condition, not is NOT contagious. Every few months I go on new medications and they weaken my vocal cords”.
He asked what the disease was and a few questions like: symptoms (cough), can you die (everybody can), and how long I’ve had it (forever). I watched his face as I answered the questions. He abruptly finished eating and then stood up to drop off his tray in the trash. I wasn’t finished but followed suit.
We were rather silent on way to movies, but I figured he would come around. Not a bit. We stopped at Target to get snacks where he abruptly commented “get your own snacks because I don’t share”… Um…no thank you.
After he got himself an assortment of butterfingers, twizzlers, and m&ms, we found ourselves standing outside the movie. He bought his ticket and then I bought mine (this time I was surprised he didn’t even offer).
We walked in and I followed as he walked to the top seat. All of the stairs and I started to cough. I hid it for the most part but there were a few dry heaves. Overall, I was excited for the movie and the back row- because I envisioned him putting at least his arm around me and whispering, “do you like the show?”…. jerk or not, I still liked the idea of an arm around me.
As previews started, he turned his body away slightly to gorge himself into a mini-diabetic coma. After resurfacing, his body faced the screen and his shoulders stayed tilted away. I couldn’t figure out what adjective described his mannerisms..and then- it hit me.
Repulsion. Genuine repulsion. Body language tilted away, wrinkle on his nose, distant look.
And sweetly, I looked at my candy, offered him to have it because he was clearly hungry.
Got up, walked out.
Went to the restroom to look at the face of the warrior in the mirror, trying to convince myself I was worthy of love. I wasn’t even born worthy of breathing, how could I ever find love? Acceptance?
I don’t know how or where it came from, but the voice in my head pleaded with me to change that narrative.
The tears welled up and I started to break down. I went to the handicapped stall for privacy and wadded toilet paper up under my eyes, to catch the tears that freely fell as I listened to my mind tell me how all of my insecurities are worth it.
After exhausting myself, I had the thought, “maybe just maybe, he wasn’t repulsed by me or what it means to date someone who is ill, maybe just maybe, he’s grappling with his own insecurities and the reality that he isn’t the kind of man who is strong enough to take this battle on.”
And I stood up, flushed the tissues, put on a fresh coat of lipgloss, and drove myself to a country bar. Strong enough to start again. Strong enough to know I deserve more and I will never allow myself to be treated like that again.