I didn’t worry about who Jacques might be dating, but only because I was oblivious to the fact that he was indeed dating.
I was focused on keeping myself grounded in my own self-worth and keeping expectations in check. At that point, back in February, it would have been sad and disappointing to lose Jacques, but I would have landed on my feet like a feline.
This is not to say I was detached from him. Au contraire. I grew ever more smitten. I quietly crossed over into a place where I knew I wanted Jacques to want only me. I waited very quietly in hopes that might happen.
I delighted in these traits in Jacques—because I notice them in myself:
- He cares about fitness and works out most days.
- He has lots of friends, texts nonstop, and thinks Facebook is fun.
- He is never, ever at a loss for words.
- He checks in with his children frequently and often speaks to his daughter daily.
- He blends seamlessly into any situation.
- He loves music and gets goosebumps when a song moves him.
- He has emotional intelligence and reads people like bibliophiles read books.
- He thinks the “F” word is a great adjective.
- He overshares.
- He loves love.
We did all kinds of things together in the late winter and early spring, from visiting breweries to meeting each other’s children. In early May, we were having a conversation at my house. I thought we were talking about when we might date one another exclusively.
“January 2020,” he said.
I was thinking no effing way would I wait that long. I said, “That’s a long time.”
Jacques saw something in my expression. “What are you talking about?” he asked.
“Ah,” he said. “I was talking about retirement.” There was a pause, and then he said, “On the dating thing, it already is just you and me.”
A little tiny tear sneaked out of my right eye. He wiped it away. And that is when Jacques became Mon Amie.
We had a great summer, visiting my family in New Hampshire, his family in Florida. We went boating, to a Red Sox game, out for dinner. We played cribbage. We went walking, hiking, waterskiing, biking in the White Mountains. We experienced a mountain rescue together when he broke his right fibula on one of our hikes.
In June, we spent a long weekend in Quebec. When we checked into our room, there were a dozen roses in a vase next to a bottle of champagne, chilling in a silver bucket of ice. I did not want to assume Jacques had ordered them for me—for us—so I said nothing.
“Like the roses?” he asked at some point.
“I love them. I wondered if they were part of the décor?”
“I ordered them for you,” he said.
I remember thinking, “I could get used to this.”
Now, I am used to Jacques.
That first feel of his hand on my hip and the heat of his breath on my neck unlocked my psyche. Now, the feel of his touch can make even this hopeless multitasker stand still. The sound of his deep and resonant voice is as soothing as the sound of silence on a walk in the woods. His gaze is as warm as the sun on my skin.
With Jacques, I have found what is real, what matters, what feels undeniably good.
I am going to hold hope it all stays in place.
Note: Now that I’ve completed this online dating series, I will resume biweekly blog posting!