I pulled out the gun too soon.
Early last week, after we were done dancing to Mumford & Sons, Valdosta and I were lying in bed having some pillow talk all cuddled up together.
"Are you still e-mailing other girls?" I asked.
Valdosta paused. "Kinda," he admitted. "What about you?"
"It's still pretty early on with us."
"I know." I don't think I hid my disappointment very well. It's just that I've dated. I've dated more than anyone I know. I did some math a couple of years ago and I estimated that I've probably dated around 100 people. That's how much I've dated. And I just can't remember the last time I met someone and instantly felt this excited. Normally I go out of the gate trying to talk myself into dating the other person (see: Memphis). But with Valdosta, there is no decision to be made; I know what I want.
Unfortunately Valdosta doesn't know me like this. He doesn't know what a big deal this is for me. And I don't really feel like starting a conversation with him that goes, "So I've been around the block..."
I agree with him. Intellectually I agree that it is too soon to stop dating other people. But emotionally I know what I've found in Valdosta and, dammit, I don't want to share. And to be a total hypocrite, I'm okay with dating other people because I know he's top priority. I just don't want someone else to be his number one.
I guess the silence lasted a little long. Valdosta rolled over and scooped me up in his arms. "Just so you know," he said. "You're the coolest."
I'm hoping that's guy speak for saying that I am top priority as well.
So now I've gone and pulled out the gun. You can't ignore the gun.
After everyone left my party, Valdosta and I sat drunkenly on my couch. My apartment was littered in beer bottles and cups of hunch punch. My coffee table was pushed against the wall. Glow bracelets and boa feathers were scattered on the floor. I couldn't be bothered with any of it.
Valdosta picked up a picture of me from 9 years ago when I was probably 20 pounds lighter. "Who is this you're with?"
"My brother. Incidentally, that picture was taken 2 days after the dentist glued my tooth back on from when I lost it playing hockey. My mom was so pissed. I was hot then," I slurred. I gestured at the side table. "Did you see the rest of my pictures?"
"I'd been looking at them all night." He picked up the one taken 2 summers ago at the beach with my step-family. "You look really good in that one."
"Pshaw, I look fat in that one."
And somehow we transitioned to talking about family. Well I guess I can deduce how that happened. I talked about mine, probably revealing that I have more daddy issues than what is healthy. He talked about his.
His parents are divorced. It's fairly recent. He wasn't living at home when it happened and he was fairly shocked at the development.
"Oh," I said. "So you got to have a whole lifetime with your family."
He sighed. "Sometimes I think they stayed together for me and my sister. It wasn't good. They both made mistakes."
I sucked in my breath, "That was always my dream."
"For my parents to stay together for my brother and me."
He continued to talk. He put his head in his hands and told me the entire scenario of his family. There's a lot of pain there.
"I just don't think I can get married until I figure this all out. I need to sit down and talk with my parents about what happened just so I can understand it. I don't want to make the same mistakes my father made."
All of a sudden, I felt the gun in the room. The relationship gun.
I had always been honest with Valdosta. I told him the very first time that I met him that I was looking for a boyfriend. At the return question, he'd just sort of shrug with an I don't know. I had brought it up that night in his bed and he basically said Go with God and date other people. And now he's talking about marriage and how he's not ready.
And now this part of the conversation is fuzzy, but this is what I think had happened:
Me: "What are your intentions?"
Him: [Shrug] "I don't have any intentions."
Me: Something something
Him: "What are your intentions?"
Me: "I want a boyfriend."
Me: Maybe something about wasting my 20's. "'Cause it's time."
Him: "It should be because it's right for you, not because of your age."
Me: "That's what I meant! It's time for me." Maybe something about being in a good place in my life. Maybe something about having my best year ever.
And end scene because I don't remember what happened after that. We made it to bed and things were good.
We wake up the next morning and promptly chug two Gatorades. I count the bruises on my arms and can't recall how I got them. Hmm. My knees appear to be bruised as well. There's two glow sticks in the bed.
Ice skating is not a possibility. He suggests we go out to breakfast instead. I pick this trendy place up the street.
My blood sugar is so low that I'm shaking at the table. I would punch someone in the face for a mouthful of starch. Valdosta is all grins.
"I was thinking maybe you should come over and have another movie night at my place," he says. He's smiling funny, like he's nervous or up to something.
"I get to pick the movie this time. What kind of movies do you like?"
"I'll watch anything." FOOD. NOW.
"I'll pick out something I think you'll enjoy."
"I had a really good time last night. You're a good listener. I can't believe I opened up to you like I did."
"Yeah, well I'm sure I rambled on about some things too."
He chuckled. Apparently I did.
The food arrived. My stomach is empty and I wish I could just take the food through an intravenous infusion to get it in my body instead of having to go through the hassle of tasting and chewing. I don't feel well enough to eat, but I know I need to.
He asks me what he should get his mom for Christmas. My brain is so dead that I can't even think of anything beyond, "Cracker Barrel has a nice Christmas selection."
"I'm leaving town on Wednesday, so we need to get together before then."
It takes me two solid seconds to realize that it's Sunday. And then I have to count. "That leaves tomorrow."
"We'll go ice skating. Tomorrow after work?"
I grunted. Omigod, I can't believe I have to work tomorrow. I cannot think.
The outside of the restaurant is lined with bird cages. They are filled the giant parrots. One of them said "hello" as we pass. I stop.
"Hello," I say.
"Hello," says the parrot.
Valdosta grabs my hand. "We should go to the zoo sometime."
"I like the zoo." But what I would really LOVE is to know what the hell changed from last night and this morning.
All I know is if he is spending all of his time with me, he's not going to have any time to date anyone else.