Chapter 3 – Cracking

He had a friend who wanted to go to the movies but his friend didn’t want to go to the movies alone. So, he suggested we all go to the movies together. It was a great suggestion. I was in need of a laugh, and the movie was a comedy. We all sat together, with me between the two gentlemen, and shared a popcorn.

About halfway through the movie, he stopped asking for popcorn. No problem, right? He didn’t want anymore, but I had a new friend to share my popcorn with me. Friend and I laughed in all the same places during the movie and had a great conversation about it after the movie finished. He and I thanked his friend for inviting us. Then, friend went home. I thought it had been a perfectly wonderful evening.

That’s when it happened. Something that caught me off-guard so completely I wasn’t sure how to react. He grabbed me round the waist and pulled me closer to him. We walked back to the car like that. He never put his arm around me in public. He barely held my hand even when we held hands! It was nice, but it was also a bit weird like swishing your toes in mud or wet sand.

I pondered this new development as we went to dinner. Mexican, not my favorite, but there were a few things I didn’t mind eating. We sat there across from each other trying to have a conversation through tension as thick and wiggly as the flan I had ordered. He could hardly look at me, and my bewilderment at his behavior showed on my face, not that he was noticing. I could see him trying to think but not finding the words, he made a joke instead about fruity, girlie drinks.

We were both tired, so we took the rest of the meal to go and split the bill. That’s right, we split the bill. I was glad I had my purse, but had to do a quick budget check in my head. He usually paid for the meals when we went out. Had I known we were going to split the bill, I would have suggested fast take away, especially since we ended up doing take away in the end.

When we returned to his place, we put the food in the refrigerator and then went to the bedroom for a quick nap before a party later that night. Friends had come in from out of town and there was to be a rather extravagant do to celebrate them. After being in bed for all of about two minutes, he got up and moved to the sofa. I asked him what was wrong. Do you know what his answer was? “I’ll be too distracted by you to get any sleep if I stay here” and he went to the sofa. He left the bed, with me in it, and went to the sofa in the living room. Whatever sleep I got wasn’t very restful because it was full of my doubts and suspicions screaming at me through mad hatter dreams.

When I awoke, I was tired but ready to go to the party. I needed a distraction and to be around people who didn’t make me feel alone when I was with them. As he and I walked toward his car, he stopped suddenly and asked me to take my own car. His excuse, “I’m not feeling well, and I want you to be able to come and go as you please. I want you to stay as long as you like.” It sounded viable; however, I was a little miffed that he hadn’t said something sooner. I did a quick clean of my car, retrieved my dance shoes from his car, and left for the party assuming he would follow.

At the party, I had a great time. I danced with people I hadn’t seen in ages and enjoyed the stories they had to share. I also ran into Friend from the movies who asked where He was. I answered with, “I guess He went home.” Friend smiled, nodded, and left it at that. I went back to dancing and visiting and generally having a good time. I could feel the weight of sleep and doubt leaving my body like a bird taking flight. It looked like it was going to be a good night. He even showed up at the party after all and we danced.

It was after the party that things changed. When I returned to his place, he was waiting for me outside his car. He hugged me, pulled me close, and took a deep breathe. This can’t be good, I thought to myself. And it wasn’t. He said we needed to talk about boundaries. He said he was upset because I had crossed a line, but it wasn’t fair for him to be angry at me since we hadn’t ever talked about it before. He asked if I understood. I numbly replied with “Okay,” but I had no idea what he was talking about.

We went inside and got ready for bed. He went to the bed. I stayed on the sofa. The tension in house was palpable and thick as weeds after a thunderstorm. I had no desire to wade any deeper into the marsh that was the bedroom. Although he hadn’t said outright, and probably never would, I had a feeling I knew why he was angry, and that thought lent no comfort. He was angry because I had had a good time at the movies with Friend, a situation that he arranged and encouraged but then had the audacity to be upset with me about it.

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