About 9 months ago…
I was back in the office at my big, corporate job, where each and every day was rife with irony, inconsistency and hilarious examples of English gone awry. Knowing Chi-guy was well-educated and literary (as well as baffled to find me in a buttoned-up corporate environment), I found regular inspiration for messages to him — e.g. “New word heard in meeting today: ‘choiceful.’ Used as synonym for discriminating or discerning, as in ‘we need to be more choiceful about…'” and another day, “talking Kathy Griffin here — new word ‘vajazzle.'”
Chi-guy played along: “You’ve got to be choiceful about who you let vajazzle you.”
Meanwhile, I thought about how excited I’d been to learn that he was single and what Suzanne had said. Chi-guy and I, it seemed, had nursed a mutual crush for more than seven years. We were miraculously single at the same time. He looked better than ever. And I was going to be traveling to Chicago three more times in the autumn, a short six weeks away.
We bantered via text and email for a few weeks. One day I texted, “Listening to Bob Schneider & thought of u: ‘It’s not the end of everything, it’s just the end of everything you know.'”
Him: “Wait, is that supposed to make me feel better?”
Me: “I take great comfort in the possibility that what I don’t know might be better than what I do know. Besides, maybe it’s the part about the single girl thinking of u that makes u feel better?”
Him: “Oh, yeah, that does make me feel better.”
I had a few Chicago contacts and offered to connect him for an informational interview, so we set up a time to talk on the phone. He thanked me for the regular messages and told me they were a bright spot in his day. It seemed we joked and laughed from the moment I picked up the phone to the time I hung up 30 minutes later. Whatever was between us was adding an unexpected and pleasant dimension to my work and single-parenting routine.
That’s when it came to me: I could try to be for Chi-guy what Max had been to me — I would help him move on, remind him of his positive qualities and, though six weeks was an aggressive timeline, I made it my mission to help him get his mojo back. I wasn’t yet sure whether I would sleep with him, but I opened myself to the possibility of a romp. Neither of us were in a position to consider any sort of a relationship, but that didn’t mean we couldn’t enjoy each other in the moment.
I shared my plans with Suzanne. “You’re so altruistic!,” she mocked, rolling her eyes and laughing with me. “Sounds like fun!”
Chi-guy had seemed pretty devastated about the demise of his marriage when I’d met him for coffee. But I was determined to do what I could to resurrect his confidence, swagger and smile…and I would enjoy every minute of it!
My next text to Chi-guy: “U r so smart & funny; I could talk to you 4ever!”