The message came as something of a surprise. It was short, and it simply stated that I’d had him by the middle of the first sentence with the word shamanism and that he wanted to meet me. It was surprising on two grounds: first, because most of the men contacting me seemed unaware of what the word meant or had only a vague understanding of it, and second, because it was unusual for a man to jump straight to the suggestion that we meet.
Ned was good looking and apparently active, judging from his photos, and his profile looked promising, despite the fact that he lived in the foothills, just far enough away from my home on the Front Range to make seeing one another something to be planned, not necessarily arising spontaneously. We traded messages and quickly switched to texting one another as we attempted to figure out how and when we might meet. Then I received a text from him that made me utter a soft, “Oh, shit!”
In it, he stated that he had found my blog by googling my first name, my occupation, and the city in which I lived. He had seen the posts about Derek and found his desire to meet diminished because of them. He wished me all the best with that relationship and with all else. The misconception he had formed from my blog was that there was a current relationship with Derek. In other words, he thought I was blogging in real time.
When Ned didn’t answer his phone, I left a message explaining that the relationship with Derek had been over for some time and that if he had concerns regarding being written about, he shouldn’t, on a number of grounds. Then I backed up the phone message with a text. Within ten minutes, he called. “Is this my date who is dating someone else?” he asked in a barely suppressed laugh.
We talked it out. I had liked the fact that he had done more than simply cease contact with me when he thought I was in the midst of an affair with Derek. He had bothered to make contact. I also liked how straightforward he was. And I liked that he could joke about the situation. In fact, there was a lightheartedness to our phone repartee that pleased me a good deal. He was planning on backpacking the next morning and suggested dinner that night. In a moment of unbridled optimism, coupled by the fact that in reading his energy over the phone, I had assessed him to be harmless, I said, “If you’re willing to come as far as Broomfield, we can have dinner at my house. I’ll put a couple of steaks on the grill.”
Ned was silent for a moment, then questioned the wisdom of my having someone I’d never met to my home. He was looking out for me, which I found charming. I assured him that I had already read his energy and knew that he was safe to invite to the house. He accepted that, and we made a plan for later in the day. He asked if he could bring his dogs and I assented. Strange how I was agreeing to have dogs at my house for the second time in a month when, until recently, I had never had anything but a service dog at my home.
Later, he told me that he had nearly called within a half hour of having made dinner plans to tell me, once again, and as a friend, that it was highly unwise of me to invite someone I’d never met to my home. He apparently had not taken seriously my proclamation that I could read energy and had deemed him safe. And I didn’t bother to point out that I’d often had new and potential clients I’d never met to my home office. I also didn’t admit that even I had been surprised by my quick invitation to dinner at my house.
The playfulness that had marked our telephone conversation continued that evening. In fact, it had been years since I had laughed so much with a man. And it was a relief to be able to talk about metaphysical things without having to explain what I meant. He understood without a lot of explanation. Conversation flowed back and forth between us effortlessly, as if we had known one another for many years, or perhaps many lifetimes. We could have easily finished one another’s sentences. In fact, we did a couple of times.
There was also an easy physicality between us that was as much a relief as the ease with which we interacted verbally. Chemistry was not only alive and well, but as effortless as flowing water. It was just a matter of leaning into it, ever so slightly. The next day, he admitted that though he had planned to give me nothing more than a friendly hug upon meeting, he had struggled to avoid kissing me because he had the urge to kiss me immediately. That kiss, followed by many others, had not taken long to materialize.
And I surprised myself by playfully sitting on the edge of his knee to look him in they eye when I wanted to make a point during our pre-dinner discussion as I prepped food. It was unlike me to be quite so brazen. But the easy familiarity that marked our meeting seemed to have duped me into feeling that we were old friends.
Having read some of my blog posts, Ned was eager to see the infamous step on which Derek and I had shared our first kisses. And in my kitchen, he pointed to the chopping block and asked if it was the piece I had written about that had been built specifically for my diminutive size. He even joked about the fictitious name I would assign him when I wrote about him. He suggested Fernando.
Clearly, there were consequences I had not considered to my having written about myself and my experiences in such detail. At the very least, it had made Ned curious. Were there other consequences I had not anticipated?
Note: The names Derek and Ned are fictitious and have been used out of respect for the men involved.
Copyright 2016 by Melanie Mulhall