“Deal with your commitment phobia and then you will understand exactly why Chris is the best thing that ever happened to you.” Jo’s words keep ringing through my head as I drive home later that evening after an eventful day. Perhaps she is right – I mean, there’s no denying how I feel about Chris. But is it because he’s been an idea all this time – unattainable, almost like a figment of my imagination? I mean, physically he is there, in my space all day, but when it comes to being intimately involved with him, am I afraid to see him in all his glory and ignominy? Is this what Jo means? Am I afraid to get too entangled with him because I would rather that he be a fantasy rather than a real, flawed, sometimes upsetting human being? Should I take the chance and dive in deep, for better or for worse?
And what about my job application and possible relocation? I mean, I know I haven’t been accepted – or even had the interview yet – but what if it happens? What if I have to leave as soon as Chris and I get together? So many what ifs!
I guess there’s no way to say it except that I am, quite literally, petrified into stone.
I get home and sit on my couch, chewing my lip for a long time as I run through all these thoughts in my mind. Eventually I am startled by the sound of my phone pinging to indicate I have a text message.
‘I heard you weren’t feeling well from Ciku. I hope you’re better now? See you tomorrow. Meanwhile you’re on my mind,’ the message says. Clearly it’s from Chris.
‘Goodnight…’ I start to type, and then I don’t know what to say next that would sound honest and yet flirty and yet noncommittal and yet make him feel good about himself. Oh lord this is hard! After typing and deleting what feels like a million times, I decide to call him and see where the conversation takes us.
Chris picks up literally on the first ring. “I’m feeling much better, thanks for asking,” I tell him.
“That’s good to hear,” he says. “So have you thought some more about what I asked you earlier today?”
I take a deep breath. “Yes. I’ve been thinking all day,” I say softly.
There is a long pause on his end, during which I assume Chris is waiting for me to say something. Finally, he broaches, “…and?”
I wonder if he’s feeling as nervous about my impending answer as I would feel if positions were reversed. Does a man of his position and standing ever have to deal with rejection? Or does he assume I will come to him like literally everything else does? Is he cocky and confident that eventually, he will win me over? Or are his palms sweaty, his heart beating in his mouth, his breath on hold as he wonders if I will or if I won’t?
TIME TO SAY SOMETHING
…and it’s time for me to say something. And suddenly, as I open my mouth to speak, the answer comes to me clear as day. I know what I must do. I know what I must say. I know the direction I must take.
I will say yes to Chris.
“Can I make you dinner tomorrow?” I ask. The idea has come to me quite impulsively. I can’t remember the last time I fried an egg in my kitchen, let alone cooked an entire meal.
“Are you setting me up to break my heart gently?” he laughs, but in that laughter I detect a hint of nervousness. My heart melts even more for him; he is human after all. Nevertheless, I laugh.
“I just want to say thank you for all the meals and drinks you have bought me over the years,” I tease.
“It’ll take more than one meal to do that,” he chuckles. “I have spent a lot of money on you, you know.”
“So shall we say 8pm?” I ask him.
“What would you like to me to bring?” he asks.
“Just you,” I say.
“I will be sure to bring myself,” he says, and then we say our goodnights and hang up.
Alright then. The scene is set for a new chapter of my life to commence. Let’s hope it’s a good one.