Dear Daniel P.,
I hope this message finds you well and happy. How are you? Did you ever get back on your feet after you decided to quit your job and follow your dream? I hope so.
Daniel, I’ve thought of you often and wanted to apologize for not getting back to that very sweet email you sent me months and months ago. The night that we met in my favourite coffee shop, you were a light in the darkness. I remember that night quite well.
I had run in from the rain, happy to be inside, and out of the winter chill. It was very unusual for me to be heading out to my favourite coffee shop on a weeknight. Usually I only go on the weekend. But I was unsettled that night, and hoped that getting out would give me a new perspective. After I walked through the double set of glass doors, I would have brushed the hair away from my face, wiped my feet on the black rug and noticed that one of my favourite leather armchairs was available. Given that I had a comfortable place to sit, I ordered my hot, yummy, chai tea latte.
I wasn’t in the mood to either read or write, but had a notebook, pen and novel with me just in case. After all, what kind of weirdo just sits in public staring off into space? One must have props to look purposeful and one must look purposeful so as not to appear insane.
I sat across from you. There was nothing special about you, or anything that attracted me to you in an ooh-baby-gotta-have-you-way. You were just sitting there reading something on your Kobo, and I was just sitting there staring into space. I remember you had dark hair, and I think you might have had a beard. You had soft features and looked young for your age. You were a cute little woojums.
Although I could say that I just needed to get out, the real reason that I was out during that blustery night was that I was sad. I was beginning to give up hope that there was anyone (more specifically, a man) out there who was capable of a pleasant conversation. I was in a relationship feeling berated, belittled, and criticized to the point of strangling my faith in, well, good faith.
I needed some fresh air, somewhere to think that I could be away from my phone, the side of the bed that he slept on, and the passive aggressive ego that was smothering me. I was claustrophobic even in my own home, always walking on eggshells waiting for the next emotional knife to be slowly and smoothly slid into my gut. He didn’t live with me, but I had opened all of my windows trying to clear out the bad energy that he left in his wake.
What better place to go when you’re sad than a warm, brightly lit cafe that served comforting milky drinks,and was surrounded by books, and smiling faces?
Somehow you and I got to talking. I think you asked me if I was a writer, and then you showed me your Kobo (that’s the equivalent of a Kindle in the U.S.A. for my American friends). I had been thinking about buying one, but wasn’t so sure. You told me about how you’d lost your job or quit, (I can’t quite remember the details), and how you were going to bite the bullet and do what you loved. It wasn’t easy you said, it came at a price, but you were happy. Happy? Wow. Imagine that. A man who was happy. We talked about our career paths and how things just somehow turn out. We talked about books, writing, drawing…that’s it! You had a sketch pad and I had a notepad, and that’s how our conversation started.
Anyway Daniel P. That night, driving home, I felt happy too. I wasn’t happy because I had some Nicholas Sparks romance moment. I was happy because our polite conversation blew some breath onto the little spark of faith that had almost burnt out completely. You had restored my faith in nice, polite, intelligent and well-balanced men. That’s way better than finding you irresistibly sexy by the way. Irresistably sexy only lasts as long as a whiskey sour or two.
So, even though you were very sweet and found me on the giant interweb and emailed me an invitation to coffee, I did not respond. You see, I was, for some stupid reason still trying to make my terribly dysfunctional relationship work. I wouldn’t have felt right lying to him or leading you on. I just want to leave you perfect as you were; a very nice man I had a very civilized conversation with. That night, you were a gift that reminded me not to settle.
Daniel P., thank you for not being a doofus.
The Chick with the Moleskine