I dropped two dollars in the small, dirty plastic container on the ground in front of him. He looked up at me and thanked me. I nodded at him and went home.
I pushed the speaker button that connected to the main door downstairs, I lived on the fourth floor.
“Shay, it’s Matt.”
“Hi Matt, why don't you come up for a moment?”
“Okay, we have some time. Come on up, fourth floor.”
After a few moments Matt stepped out of the elevator down the hallway and he looked very nice. He held a small bouquet of flowers in his hands and smiled as he approached me.
“Hi Matt, welcome.”
He held the flowers toward me, “For you.”
I was surprised and smiled, “But Matt, you didn’t have to do this.”
He smiled, “I know but I wanted to.”
With that I took the flowers from his hands and we hugged quickly, then I gestured him into my apartment.
Matt walked ahead of me into the living room.
Matt looked around.
“This is a nice place.”
In the kitchen I let water into a vase, “It is I guess.”
I arranged the flowers in the vase and set it on the breakfast bar, then joined Matt in the living room.
“Can I get you something to drink?”
Matt turned around toward me and smiled, “Thanks but I’m good. We’ll do that drink after dinner.”
His blue eyes were alert and friendly and when he smiled, he had those sexy wrinkles in the corners of his eyes. Matt was definitely a good-looking guy and I should have been excited and happy to be the one he was taking out on a date.
Matt walked over to the large floor to ceiling window looking out to the street and other buildings around, “It’s very nice.”
Next to the window was a door leading out to a covered balcony. I had two chairs and a small table out there with some plants.
I smiled nervously, “Thanks.”
He tilted his head some, “I don’t think I have ever seen you wear this at work?”
I laughed softly, “No, I haven’t because it’s not really work-appropriate.”
We both laughed and he remarked, “Yeah, you’re probably right.”
At work we both had to wear dress clothes a lot more conservative.
“Thanks, yeah, I can’t wear this stuff to work either. Sometimes I wish I could wear some less business and more casual clothes.”
He laughed and then his face turned serious and his smile turned into an admiration of some kind, “Shay, I’m really happy you said yes to tonight.”
My heart was beating quicker and I bit my lips.
“Yes, I’m looking forward to hanging out with you.”
After we talked for a few more minutes in the apartment we eventually left and soon sat in Matt’s Chevy Camaro making our way through the city and out to Montlake where Matt had made reservations at a high-end Thai restaurant.
Matt assisted me in taking my jacket off and let me sit down before him. There was a candle on the table with the flame flickering in an invisible breeze.
He sat down across from me and smiled, “This is a nice table.”
The table was already set with glasses, silverware, napkins folded in a very creative design on a real table cloth. The lights weren’t very bright and the voices in the restaurant were low and muted. In the background Asian music was playing softly.
When she asked if we had any questions on the food choices we declined and she walked away to give us some time to choose our beverages. Matt decided on a Thai beer and I ordered a Thai wine. We still needed some time to look over the menu for our meals but agreed on an appetizer of spring rolls to share. As for our main dish, I ordered a Pad Thai and Matt had decided on a Thai curry.
He paid for dinner and we were ready to leave. He grabbed my jacket off the hook nearby and helped me get into it, then he slipped into his jacket and with a gentle touch to my back he guided me in front of him to leave the restaurant. It was cool outside but at least it was not raining. We made our way to where Matt had parked.
Inside the car he turned to me, “So, do you want to go have that after dinner drink maybe?”
It was only nine o’clock and really, I wasn’t tired yet and really a date that had been so fun and great shouldn’t be over yet.I didn’t know what to do and I guess Matt sensed my hesitation and said with a sad tone, “Unless you’re ready to get home. Then of course I will take you.”
I looked over at him and his face had an expectant and questioning expression.
I took a breath and smiled, trying to distract from my hesitation, “Yes, let’s go for that drink.”
He seemed relieved and turned the key in the ignition, “Do you have a place in mind or do you want me to pick a place?”
“You may pick a place.”
He pulled out of the parking spot, “All right, I know just the place then.”
I used to take him for somewhat of a player but he had been single for at least a year and a half and even though I didn't doubt that he had had a few one-night stands, I knew that nothing had come out of any of it. And he had basically waited for me to finally give him that date. Every time I had turned him down, he had said that he would wait for me.
This was definitely a high-end lounge and Matt turned his bar stool somewhat to face me, “What do you think of this place?”
He smiled and rubbed over his chin giving me a smart look, “Nothing but the best for you.”
I laughed, “Oh Matt, you know I’m not a fancy girl.”
“You’re beautiful and smart and just an all-around great woman with an awesome personality so that makes this place at least minimum for me to take you to.”
I lowered my eyes, “You’re making me nervous saying all those things.”
His expression turned serious, “It’s true though. You’re the most beautiful woman in here.”
I smiled and waved my hand at him, “Stop it Matt.”
He now leaned over some and was closer to me, “Shay, I never can get enough of seeing you at work. I’m really happy you’re here with me.”
I realized he was serious now and he meant every word he said. I didn’t know what to reply and how to act. I didn’t know how to let him off easy and at the same time my inner good girl was telling me how stupid I was to not be into this guy all the way.
I slowly looked up at him and in the dim light of the bar I couldn’t see his blue eyes but I still saw his handsome face clearly, “Matt, I’m happy to be out with you as well but I don’t know…”
I stopped, not really sure on how to keep going.
He pressed his lips together and after a moment he remarked somewhat tense, “Shay, it has been nine months since your break-up with Justin.”
We were interrupted by the bartender, “Good evening folks, what can I make for you tonight?”
Matt asked me, “Shay, do you know what you would like to drink?”
I turned to the bar tender who smiled at me friendly, “Could I get a Black Opal?”
“No problem. Coming right up. And for you sir?”
Matt then turned toward me again and he held his hands out to me and I realized he wanted me to put my hands into his. I didn’t know what to do but eventually put my hands into his and he closed his hands around mine and leaned over some more.
He started, “Shay, I’m not sure what it is and why you can’t go for it all the way but I need to let you know some stuff. I’m thirty-five years old, I’m at an age now where I think about settling down with a great woman and maybe one day still have kids. I have partied my heart out, I’ve established a good life for myself, I’ve travelled and I’ve done all the stuff guys do. I’m ready to slow down and calm down and I’ve been looking for the right woman to do this with. I’ve been with lots of women but none of them worked out. None of them made me feel the way you do when I’m around you. We’ve been working together for what…”
He stopped for a moment and I answered for him, “For over two years.”
He nodded, “Yes, and I remember the first time I saw you at the office I was attracted to you. You were still doing your thing with your friends and then of course Justin was in your life and I backed off. I also figured that you and I probably wouldn’t happen because your thing with Justin seemed serious. And I listened to you telling me about him and the stuff you guys did and I told you about my life but deep inside I always hoped that somehow Justin wouldn’t be your forever kind of guy. And then when you started having problems with him, I felt horrible for actually being kind of glad about that. And I started crushing on you again and here we are finally. I’m not sure what it is but I thought I did everything right over the months. I wish you could let go off whatever you’re holding on to and give me that chance to show you that I can be the guy for you.”
I looked down on our hands and I felt my heart beat so fast I thought it would pop out of my chest. I had a lump in my throat listening to Matt.
Our drinks were set on the bar and for a second we were distracted.
Matt then turned to me again and when I looked at him, I saw sadness in his face.
“Shay, is there anything else you need me to do or prove to you that I can be the one for you?”
I was taking quick breaths trying to come up with what I wanted to say to him or how much truth I could give him.
I couldn’t tell him that if he would be paralyzed in a wheelchair, he would be exactly the guy I would want. I couldn’t tell him that all those years I had had those guys in my head, the guys who couldn’t walk, the guys who were paralyzed, the guys who were depending on wheelchairs or on crutches or in braces, guys who had been through the trauma of Spinal Cord Injuries. Yes, it had always only been the guys who had acquired their disabilities, not the ones’ who suffered from genetic disabilities. I didn’t know why I felt this way; I didn’t know what caused my attraction and I had felt shame and guilt for the longest time. That’s also why I had never sought out those men except for in my fantasies they were ever so present. They had been there when I lay in bed with Justin or any of my exes for that fact. They swarmed the photo albums in my head and they were there in my day dreaming when life seemed dull.
And when in the rare instance I saw an attractive man in a wheelchair in real life, I added his image to my mental photo album and for days I would look at him and eventually when I finally was over the initial excitement, I would pull his image out on occasion and I would feel sadness and I would hope and wish I would one day maybe meet a man like this. I had lived with this all my life and I felt that I couldn’t keep going like this anymore.
Matt almost panicked and he squeezed my hands tighter, “Shay, god, I didn’t…”
He stopped and asked nervously, “What is it?”
I felt awful being like this in front of Matt and I had to say something.
I swallowed and attempted, “Matt, you’re a great guy. You’re everything a woman would want, I mean everything. You’re the full package, the real deal, and you have a great personality on top of all of it. It’s nothing you didn’t do or did do. It’s me, I’m dealing with things that I need to sort out.”
I didn’t know what else to tell him or how much more I should confide in him.
He looked at me inquiringly, “Is it still because of Justin?”
I shook my head, “No, is has nothing to do with Justin or anyone else. It’s me and only me.”
“Is it something I can help you with?”
I shook my head, “Unfortunately not.”
“Shay, you can tell me anything. I really like you and I care about you. I really…”
He stopped, swallowed and took a deep breath, “I really want to be with you.”
I lost another tear looking at him when I said, “I can’t yet; I’m so sorry Matt. But I want our friendship.”
He licked his lips and hung his head, shaking it slightly, then looked up and I saw his face was full of sadness.
He then said softly and with a trembling voice, “I don’t know how long I can wait Shay. I’ve basically waited two years now. Please think about it, about us. It could be so great.”
I nodded and I felt more tears run over my face, “I know it could be. I understand if you can’t wait any longer. There are tons of women out there who would give anything for a guy like you.”
He pressed his lips together and moved his head from side to side, “I don’t want any of them.”
I swallowed and leaned closer to him and now I took my hand from his and I let my hand run softly over his cheek and his eyes were just gazing at me.
I said with a few more tears running down my face, “I’m probably making the biggest mistake of my life right now. You’re an absolutely awesome man Matt. I would love to have your friendship but I would understand if you can’t do it anymore.”Matt was scanning my face with his eyes.
“Why not Shay?”
“I can’t tell you.”
She seemed tipsy and smiled at me in the mirror, “Hey beautiful girl.”
I forced a smile, “Hi.”
She asked cheery and bluntly, “How’s your night going?”
I looked over at her in the mirror, “It’s not going too good anymore.”
She now turned toward me and asked like she knew me, “Oh no, why honey? What’s going on? Heartache?”
For some odd reason I felt like I had to tell someone, “I just turned down the greatest guy a girl could ask for, for a guy I know nothing about except that he is broken and that life has been rough for him. I turned down a great guy for a guy I don’t even know where to find again, because he came into my life for just a moment and disappeared just like that again. I can’t stop thinking about him though and because of that, I turned down the sweetest, most awesome guy who could really have any girl but he picked me and I turned him down.”
Tears were trying to push through again. The redhead just looked at me and had apparently actually listened even though she was swaying dangerously on her very high heels.
She now said, “This other guy, the broken one, do you know his name?”
I nodded, “Yes, I do know his name.”
She now added in a slight slur, “Then you know everything you need to know about him. If you know his name you should do everything to find him again. He’s still out there. If you don’t try to find him, you’ll never know how he feels and you’ll have to always live with the not knowing. The other guy, the one who could have any girl and the one who likes you, will always be around but the guy that you really want still needs to be found by you but you know that he does exist so you can find him. He’s out there waiting to be found by you.”
I looked at her and was astonished at her words and tried to figure out if she actually made sense. Her words sounded wise and mysterious but there was something about her eyes on me that made me feel like she spoke the truth for some reason and she somehow gave me a glimmer of hope that I could find Jordan again.
She now smiled at me, “The broken guy is waiting to be found by you.”
She didn’t sway anymore and she didn’t slur the words.
I nodded and said softly, “I hope so.”
She nodded reassuringly, “He’s out there and he’s waiting.”
I smiled at her, “Thank you for listening and giving me hope.”
She nodded with a smile.
I asked her, “What is your name?”
“Jordyn with a y, not an a. Lots of people assume it’s with an a, but it’s not, it’s with a y.”
Jordyn though just smiled at me, touched my arm and said in the process of turning away, “You will find him, Shay.”
I was speechless and instead of saying anything else I just watched as she walked out. I took a deep breath and had to hold myself steady with my hands on the sink counter. I stared at myself in the mirror and for a moment I pondered if this conversation with Jordyn had actually happened or if I had been imagining stuff. I tried to remember if I had told her my name.
I then saw the lipstick she had used on the counter. I grabbed it and looked at it for a second, it had a Rite Aid sale price tag on it. I was in awe and hurried outside with the intention of finding her and giving her back the lipstick. I looked around in the bar and even though there were lots of people I was able to scan the place for Jordyn but she was nowhere. She had simply just disappeared.
I now stood next to him and I cautiously said his name, “Matt?”
He looked from his beer to me and a weak smile brushed over his face.
I asked softly, “Are you okay?”
His eyes were sad but the shy smile stayed on his face.
He nodded, “I am actually. I thought about everything. I do want our friendship to continue.”
He paused, looked at the beer bottle for a second and then back at me, “If I can’t have you as my girlfriend, I still want you in my life as a friend. I don’t want to not have you in my life and maybe one day you will trust me enough to fill me in what it is. If it’s not something I have done or not done, then it must be something you’re dealing with and I hope you can trust me enough to maybe share this with me some day. I want us to stay friends and hang out as friends. If that’s all I can get from you, then that’s what I will take.”
“I want that too. I want our friendship. I want you in my life too. You’re a great guy Matt and the woman who will get you will be the luckiest woman in the world.”
He smiled, “Yeah, we’ll see. Maybe I’ll stay single.”
“It’s okay. I’ll always be around while you try to find what you’re looking for.”
We didn’t leave right away but still sat together and chatted about each other and life and love and relationships in general. We also hugged again and sat arm in arm but we didn’t kiss and Matt didn’t try anything. I felt very close to him and I was so relieved he had not kicked me to the curb all the way.
I felt emotional, “For being in my life and wanting to stay in my life despite of what happened tonight or what didn’t happen. You’re a wonderful man and I’m lucky to count you as my friend.”
We hugged again and Matt then said, “Thanks Shay. You’re everything a guy could wish for and whichever guy that’ll be, better treat you right or he’ll have to deal with me big time. I’m sorry I can’t be the one for you right now.”
We hugged again and then I got out.
I leaned into the car once more, “I will see you on Monday at work.”
“You sure will.”