driving at unsafe speeds

My relationship with Lee was blossoming rapidly. And I might have been concerned about it if I’d had a moment to think about it… or if Lee had been anything but fully loving, constantly reassuring and absolutely wonderful in countless ways.

I had mentioned the spring trip I had planned for myself and the children:  we were going to California for a week to spend time with family. I suggested that he might fly out for a few days midweek and I could leave the children in the care of relatives while he and I got away.

So, on Valentine’s Day, after a couples’ massage, we sat down and — instead of planning to fly out and join us for a few days — Lee booked flights exactly matching our eight-day itinerary. I gulped back any reservations about how my children might feel about this… And then we reserved a rental car, figured out hotels for the first, second and third legs of the trip, and talked about what we might do while there. Lee was excited about the possibilities of inviting his own children to join us at a beach resort or some friends to join us for a winery tour. I was excited that this man was so serious about us that he was planning a week-long family vacation.

In fact, he asked me officially to be his girlfriend that day — “not that you weren’t already.” I happily consented.

I left his place to spend the afternoon with my children and, by dinnertime, he was texting me:

I miss you. In fact, I missed you 5 minutes after you left.

And then he brought his dinner over, watched Downton Abbey with me and spent the night. We were glorious!

The following weekend we went to a fish fry in the basement of a Catholic church in my neighborhood, then ended up taking the children out for dinner the next night. We talked out how much money to give as a wedding gift to my girlfriend and her husband-to-be. He asked me to look at the MLB schedule and pick out some games, even suggested we get six tickets so that each of my children could bring a friend. And he joined me and my sister’s family in taking my father out for a brunch to celebrate his birthday.

I’m telling you all this so you’ll understand the crazy in what happens next…

On a Monday (now eight days after Valentine’s Day), something turned weird. He texted me this:

I’ve got some personal business to take care of tonight. Is that ok babe?

We were both strong and independent personalities, so it struck me as weird for him to suddenly ask my permission — at least weird enough for me to note it. But I replied by suggesting we have dinner the next night. After all, we’d been spending a lot of time with my children, friends and family, and I sensed we could use some time alone together at his place. He replied:

Yes, please.

Tuesday morning, just nine days after he’d officially asked me to be in a relationship, I got this:

Hey babe. This might be the dumbest thing I’ve ever done but I need a few weeks to sort some stuff out and focus on me for a bit…bad boyfriend.

Aaaaannnnd crash.

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