One day at lunch I got an impromptu idea that I should ask Jack* to watch the debates with me. Jack and I had similar political views but were voting on opposite sides of the aisle. Well actually I was voting third party so I guess that’s opposite sides of a triangle? We had a very heated debate in our first outing as friends so I thought he’d be excited for round 2. I quickly texted him, while I had the courage, during my long walk back to the office. When my phone buzzed with the reply I asked my friend to look at it for me… he said yes!
I arrived at his house about an hour before the debates started. I was wearing a cute hoodie as I was going for the “I’m cute and don’t even know it” look. He picked up sushi and Pumpkin Spice lattes and we sat down next to eachother and talked… Yes talked. I can’t remember the actual debate or anything about it. I do remember sitting next to my future best friend laughing, eating sushi, and drinking pure Fall heaven until midnight.
At one point Jack and I were looking something up on our phones that we were discussing. Our shoulders were touching and our heads were thisclose. I could feel him moving in time with his breathing. During our searching he leaned over and kissed my forehead, it was a sweet friendly kiss, and it made my heart skip.. That was the moment when I knew for absolute sure that I couldn’t be “just friends” with Jack.
After dating for a few months, Jack came to my house for the first time. While I try to do my best, my house could always use more cleaning, more upkeep and a fresh coat of paint. He knows the last time he changed his furnace filter (I now have set up a reminder), has his fruit and veggies organized, and is always on a new self executed home project.
Jack arrives and is greeted by my friendly mini golden doodle Dougie. Jack gives him some lovies and Dougie follows us through the official tour of my house. Jack compliments my home and the decor. My confidence grows with each room.
Until we get to room that is by far the loudest and the most cleaned room in my house, my dog room. In there, I have my other two dogs. I keep them in their crates for visitors because they both need to be introduced to people. Slowly and thoughtfully.
Rory is my golden retriever puppy. He is a year and a half and full 100 lb puppy. Very friendly but can be nervous at first. I normally give him treats with new people and he warms up. Jack opened the door and Rory barks loudly. I jump back even though I’m expecting it. Jack gives him a treat and opens the crate. No fear and full of love. Rory finds a new buddy and bringer of treats.
The most timid of my dogs is my Mini American Eskimo Dolce. She was a regift to me in an older stage in life. She is very skittish and hides in her crate when new people come. She is especially nervous around men.
After some Rory belly rubs, Jack turns his attention toward Dolce. She is hiding in the corner of her crate, shaking and doing a low growl. Most people leave her alone or get nervous on their own. Not Jack…He approaches the crate and slowly kneels down. He whispers to her (a secret only they know) and moves his hand inch by inch toward her with her favorite treat. She sniffs and begins to nibble. He moves his hand to get a good scratch behind her ear. Within seconds she is enjoying the belly rubs that were given to her brothers… That was the moment when I knew for sure that Jack had the kind of heart that I could trust.
A few months later (after many more important introductions were made), I planned a date night for Jack and I to a local comedy club. I got the idea from a guy at work that was going with his buddies. My friend had seen the comedian before and highly recommended the show. I asked if I could discreetly hijack the “guys night” and I got the thumbs up. 👍🏻
After some text messages, Jack and I planned the dinner and the show. Coincidentally, we ended up coming up with the same restaurant at the same time as my friend. My friend and I laughed when I showed up and did some funny introductions I had practiced.
Somehow during the introductions I told one of the new guys, I just met, I wanted to have his baby. You ever say something that completely comes out wrong?! Well that was one of those moments and I didn’t practice that! Jack had arrived at that time, so I got to clear the air with a “No I mean I want to have your babies” with a two finger point to Jack. Jack asked the guys to make room for him at the table and I left with my face red to go order. Luckily Jack grabbed my hand and joined me.
When we arrived to the comedy club I was excited. Jack and I had a few drinks and my baby mishap was the perfect warm up act. We got to the front desk to pick up the tickets. I show the woman my phone and she asks for my ID.
I start to look in my purse and its not there. The looking goes from slow and deliberate to a dog burrying a bone pace. I can feel my chest turning red and my arms beginning to numb. Let me just say, this did not help my search or purse digging abilities. My mind is both racing and blank at the same time. I’m mumbling under my breath and mindlessly moving my hands.
Now, I have told Jack about my panic moments and he experienced the moment during our car buying. That moment was nothing like this. All eyes were on me and I was failing miserably.
I think the erratic searching went on for about an hour… Well maybe 10 seconds. Then Jack calmly asks the woman “Can we use her work ID instead?” and grabs it from my purse.
He hands her my ID and she says sure calmly. She’s either not noticed my tomato face or is trying to figure out why I’m panicking. She prints us out the tickets and we walk to the show door. Jack puts his hand on my back as we walk up the stairs. About mid way up, I turn around and quietly say “Thanks Jack, I was having a moment there.” He says “I know Jill. I got you” I looked at him with his kind eyes and genuine concern and That was the moment I knew for sure that I was in love with Jack. Now to a few nights ago, I woke up at my new normal 3am wake up time crying. At this time, Jack and I have had a few fun conversations, some friendly texts and weren’t any closer to getting back together. I realized I needed clarity and some direction for my own sake. My mind was getting too creative and I was losing sight of the facts. That was the moment I knew for sure that I was losing my faith. A few nights later Jack and I have THE conversation. I struggle at first to show my feelings as, believe it or not, in person I am very guarded. After a while my heart is so broken it takes over. Jack is thoughtful, kind and empathetic throughout. I can tell he is genuinely listening and thinking about what I’m saying. Nothing is cold or without care. I knew this was not a conversation he was taking lightly either. However, one thing that was clear was that he is not at a place where he wants to date me. It was at that moment that I knew for sure I need to move on not for him or us but for me. Looking at our relationship now, even in the throws of sadness, I only regret one thing. That’s that I didn’t tell him that I would’ve loved to travel with him someday. It was a conversation in a car ride home and I was cold and flippant when he brought it up. I’m not sure why I acted that way but it makes me sad when I think about it. I wasn’t perfect by any means and could’ve done some things differently. I’ve realized our relationship was built by a lot of small moments so it makes sense that I regret a small moment.
I know without a doubt I will always love Jack. He was my real dose of terrified and excited. The first man I really tought “Oh he’s the one.” There will always be a part of me that thinks of him when I see a really funny and inappropriate meme, a quote that I know he’ll roll his eyes but will secretly love and a house project that is clean and manly. There is something to be said about your first real love after divorce. It’s the one that allows you to let your guard down and truly open yourself up again. That was Jack for me.
I have no idea what our future will be but I do know for sure that he will always have a place in my heart. This will be whether he’s at distance or next to my side. Deep down I’ll always hope it’s the later ❤️