my next trip to Chicago (part 13)

About six months ago…

Given the confusion and misunderstandings of our last meeting, I wanted to connect with Chi-guy on the phone to ensure we were on the same page with expectations before I saw him in person again. After all, I’d spent our last conversation trying to convince him to go to bed with me. Surely he had no idea I’d changed my mind.

We set a date for Saturday night. He was to call me after his daughter went to sleep. He didn’t.

So I sent a text the next day:  “Dude, you are too flaky to be my lover. Take that off the table. Be friends / hang out?”

Later he replied. “I dunno. I might be too flaky for that.”

“I hope not. I’d love to see you when I’m in town.”

“Meant to text earlier that I was kidding. I’d love to hang out.”

And so we made plans to see one another, but I didn’t find a great opening to let him know that I didn’t want to sleep with him.

Again, I was there to work, so Chi-guy popped by around lunchtime to see me. He had been downtown at the mediator’s, trying to unravel his marriage. We went up to my hotel room, so that I could grab a jacket and he immediately sat on the bed as we talked. He vented about his ex and the process, and confessed that he’d grown his new goatee because his ex hated it.

As I went in to the bathroom to apply ointment to the cold sore that had recently emerged on my lip, he grabbed a pen and note pad next to the bed and scrawled something. I saw him shove it under a pillow. “That’s for later,” he said.

We headed out in search of a coffee shop and, as we walked, touching playfully along the way, I shared how I’d felt about turning 40.

“Mine wasn’t that great, either,” he confessed. And then he told me he’d celebrated in Paris (of course) and was, at that time, beginning to realize that his wife didn’t seem to like him very much anymore.

Chi-guy's note

We ordered our frothy four-dollar specialty drinks and, as we waited, Chi-guy leaned in and kissed me. This time it was me who leaned away.

“Aren’t you afraid of contracting my leprosy?” I asked.

He shook his head. He stirred his froth, and offered me a lick from his stir stick. As we sat down to chat, he continued to flirt and touch me playfully. I wondered whether it was the “Next time, more touch!” directive I’d written in his birthday card or that I’d told him he couldn’t be my lover. Whatever the case, I enjoyed the attention.

Too soon, he had to leave to pick up his daughter and I went back to my work. “You’re an angel,” he murmured in my ear, as he hugged me good-bye. We planned to meet for coffee again the next morning.

Suzanne was on site again. “OMG, he is so friggin’ handsome!” she exclaimed after Chi-guy left. Suzanne had been there at our  reunion, a few months before. I was compelled to bring her up-to-date on all that had — or, rather, had not — transpired since.

The next morning, I texted him my flight time. It was earlier than I’d previously thought. “No time. You’ll have to catch a cab to the airport,” he texted back. And so we missed again…

No matter, I had another trip in just a few days.

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