Monday at 6 pm I was in the process of getting out of my car and running an errand when my phone rang from the depths of my giant handbag. It was the generic ringtone for phone numbers not saved in my phone book. I not-so-secretly hoped it was Valdosta as I frantically fished out my phone.
"Hello. The Hungarian calling."
I was so flustered that I didn't hear him. Besides, he has an unusual Hungarian-y name.
"The Hungarian calling."
"Whhhhhhr," I gurgled in utter confusion.
"How are you?" he asked.
"I'm... I'm... good?" I sat back down in the driver's seat of the car.
"Is now not a good time?"
"Erg, it's just that I'm in the middle of something."
"Why don't you give me a call back when it's more convenient?" he offered.
I called him back 15 minutes later after I walked in the door to my apartment and kicked my boots off. The Femme Fatale was sleeping under my bed and had yet to greet me.
"I was calling to see if you wanted to go out," he asked.
I sighed. "That depends."
"Ah, she has conditions," he smiled.
"It's just that I know it went that way for a couple of weeks, but I'm really not interested in a sexual fling. I'm looking to date and establish relationships," I explained.
"Then there's no problem; we're on the same page."
"But your recent text messages..."
"Yes, we've had sex, but that's not all it was. Come over. Have dinner with me. I got a new Netflix in the mail."
"Oh, you mean tonight?!"
"I'm going back to Montreal at the end of the week. I want to see you before I go."
The Hungarian lives 27 miles, 3 towns and 1 toll road away. "I don't know. It's a long drive for me, and the toll..."
"I will pay for your toll," he answered. "I'll even round up and throw in $5 for your gas."
It was Monday night. My other option was to stay home and watch The Bachelor, which would inevitably have me rolling around on the floor in my own tears before the episode was over. "Alright," I agreed.
The Hungarian cooked me dinner. This time I knew to just sit and look pretty and not touch anything in his kitchen, especially the dishwasher. He talked as if six weeks hadn't gone by and I let him; I didn't really care enough to question otherwise.
Over dinner, he was telling me a story and abruptly stopped. I looked up from my plate and saw him staring at me. He had noticed that I had yet to look at him. I studied him. The Hungarian really is an attractive man: 5' 11", average weight, mousy brown hair, blue eyes, high cheek bones, and a strong nose that tips up at the end like mine.
I sat on my hands as he collected the plates and washed the dishes. We talked about mortgages: his and my very near foray into house hunting.
"I could refinance, but I owe so little on this house that the $2,000 in closing costs would wash out even. If I did though, my mortgage payment would be $50." He looked at me and grinned, "Yours could be $25."
Oh no, Hungarian. I'm still not convinced you are emotionally available enough to let someone else live in your house. He keeps one pillow on his bed. One pillow for one person.
We moved to the couch and he put in the movie. He fell asleep. As the credits rolled, I tickled the underside of his arm.
"I'm just resting my eyes," he automatically answered. Funny, I say the same thing.
"No, it's over," I said.
I got up and immediately began collecting my coat and hopped in his doorway as I tugged my boots back on. I gave him a peck on the cheek and scurried out to my car.
I drove home feeling empty. The reason I went out with him again was to try to get back to who I used to be. Who I used to be before the breakup, maybe even who I used to be before the relationship. After all, I had been happy then. But as I paid the toll and headed back into the bright lights of the city, I realized I didn't want to go back. It would be easier to go back, but now I had the knowledge of what I would be missing.
I stepped on the gas and sped up.