The men I dated always timed out at about two months — usually in concert with a statement of having met someone new. But with this man, two months passed, then six, then nine, and we were still talking almost every day. Never in a way that pointed to a serious relationship, but certainly as more than just friends. I now knew his 15-year plan, his thoughts on marriage and past relationships, how he spent his summers on the farm, his poetic prowess and his irrational hatred of the movie “Frozen.”
He knew about my dream to ditch my job and travel the world, my depressing music obsession, and every phrase that made me blush. It felt like this could actually be something. It felt like maybe, just maybe, it was even becoming something. I hoped that one day we would get a chance to find out.
A year later, in February 2020, we saw each other in person again, meeting at a hotel in Chicago, a pit stop before his next contract sent him somewhere else far away. This time there were expectations, confusion and plenty of time to overthink — at least on my end. But once we were together, I got swept into that comfortable space again. We wasted no time and fell into bed, only leaving the room to meet the takeout delivery guy in the lobby.
When we decided to go to sleep, he kept checking to see if I had dozed off yet; he wanted to avoid drifting off on me while I was awake. In part, I knew he was seeing if he was in the clear to uncuddle, since he has the body heat of a bear.
Early on, I’d told him on a call that I understood how cuddling turns to sweltering really fast, but that I’m a sucker for holding hands. I could almost see his eyes roll through the phone.
That night, I pretended to be asleep for one of his check-ins, so I was aware when he unfolded himself from me, then fumbled around under the covers until he found my hand and held it for the rest of the night.