On a Wednesday night, I couldn’t wait to wrap up work by five. I had a first date at 6:30 pm that night. With Adam! We met on OkCupid online. We had been texting, exchanging short messages and photos, for about three weeks. He had been kind and friendly through the phone.
I took a shower, put on my favorite floral dress, pearl earrings, and a silver necklace, which always made me happy. I even straightened my long black hair, something I only did when I felt special. I wanted to look my best.
Here was his headline: Adam was fifty years old, eight years older than me. He joined the military when he was nineteen, was a medic in the military, and a firefighter when he was not in service. He was married in his twenties, had two children, then divorced and was raising his grandson alone. He was local living about 10 miles from me or a thirty-minute drive.
We voted for – take a deep breath – presidential candidates of opposing positions. He told me that he would always follow his commander in chief. I tried to be open-minded. I had not noticed any warning signs based on his texts. I wanted to meet him. I was looking forward to having an intimate conversation about our values, family, America, and the world. I imagined him flighting fires for neighbors and saving lives in wars, even though all my friends told me to not have any expectations and just have fun.
He was reluctant to make plans. He seemed to have a full plate with taking care of his grandson, serving, and stationing at his firehouse. I thought at one point, we were done, but we eventually made plans. I was excited.
I arrived at the Publick House in Washington Square fifteen minutes earlier than our agreed time. I stood next to the bar and settled into a patient mode, but still having trouble containing my excitement to meet someone new!
Fifteen minutes later. Then thirty minutes later. No one showed up. Maybe he got caught up with something. I’ll give him a bit more time! An hour later, I decided to grab a seat at the bar and ordered a garden burger. I might as well eat. I couldn’t enjoy the burger but swallowed it anyway. Two hours after 6:30 pm, after I finished my food and drink after I thought I waited long enough, I got up and walked home.
For the first time in my life, at the age of 42, I got stood up! I didn’t get sad or mad. I didn’t want to think about it in any way, whether it was puzzling, disbelief, disappointment, or even anger. None of those emotions came naturally to me anyway. I thought I would wait for him to tell me what happened. I dealt with this with more waiting and sleeping. When I got home, I went straight to bed.