And blogging, and studying, and cleaning, and laundry, and hanging out with friends, and wine-making.
But not wine-drinking.
Incredibly, I'm not sorry.
Here's the story:
My birthday was the first full weekend in September. A glorious couple of days, where I was privileged to be part of a team competing in a Dragon Boat Festival to raise funds for the Canadian Cancer Society. I'm on a team that is chock full of great people, some of whom have become dear, dear friends. But, because I'm fairly narcissistic, I prefer to think a weekend outdoors with a couple thousand other people is really just a big party in celebration of me.
On the Saturday, my actual birthday, we were all sitting in the beer tent, enjoying wobbly pops, and I saw another friend. We had a big ole reunion, and it was lots of fun. A few minutes later, I saw his girlfriend off in the corner, and ran off to say hello. She was talking to a tall, dark, handsome fellow. Girlfriend and I chatted, I got myself an introduction to this fellow, but went on my merry way, it being my birthday, and I felt the need to be sociable with everyone.
A little while later, I saw tall, dark and handsome dancing across the beer tent, and thought that it was an act that required a certain amount of chutzpah.
Even more later, a teammate and I wandered away from the festivities to have a smoke (duh - this event is in support of the Canadian Cancer Society - we are not assholes) and this tall, dark, handsome fellow wound up in the same spot.
We talked. Team-mate wandered away. We talked some more. And went for a little walk. And maybe did some smooching. And also ducked behind a bush when a former... interested party (with long-lasting butthurt - get over it, all ready!) walked by. It was lovely. He invited me to join him for the evening at his residence. With great regret, I told him that I was beyond the days of going home with random fellows, even if introduced by mutual friends.
Back at the table, the four other people left besides me and I decided to go home. We walked across a bridge, to an entirely different neighbourhood. We had a plan all worked out for the most efficient route for our driver to deliver our drunk asses back to our respective residences. Driver had just started the car, and I said "Fuck it. Take me back. I need to get laid."
Driver indeed drove me back, and he and the three other passengers hooting and hollering all the way. What a birthday.
I found him, and he was thrilled. Absolutely thrilled. We played it cool as the interested party walked by again (would you get over it, please !?!) and went back to the beer tent.
Finished our beer. Decided to go for drinks at the pub. Had an awesome time. We were the only two dancers for the duo playing that night, and I gave solicited advice for catching a man to the young men and women sitting around the place. While he was proudly telling people that he was with me.
We stumbled to his place, thankfully only two blocks away. Also, thankfully, he had beer in the fridge. Not good beer, but beer.
And, believe it or not. We talked. He's a widower, lost his wife to brain cancer two years ago. Has lost two children. One at 12 days old, another at nine years, both to incurable diseases.
I was blown away by his honesty, his still-existing joy about life. He told me flat out that he was looking for a long-term relationship. That he was seeing someone that didn't have long-term potential. That he wanted more children, but realized that he was running out of time.
I told him that I had just promised myself that I was going to finish school by the time I was forty, and that it would be a serious commitment to achieve that goal. That I'd pretty much shut the door on any baby-making and had made my peace with that.
The sex was glorious. We slept for maybe three hours. He walked me back to the festival the next morning, and we were probably still drunk. He carried my backpack for me, because that is what a gentleman does, but he bitched about the weight of it the whole time. In a funny way. We kissed, and went our separate ways.
Thank god it was foggy, and the morning got off to a late start. I needed the time to sober up, because of the whole no-tolerance for alcohol rule.
I got lots of high-fives and good-natured ribbing from the team. Only blushed a little, because I was feeling pretty good. At 10, when things got going, we were down in marshaling, and he was there. Lots of eye-contact, and me elbowing my friends in the ribs, "that's him!"
Turns out, he was steering a boat in our heat. That was epic. We came in second in the heat. Our best result of the festival. Sadly, the third and fourth teams nearly collided. One of those teams was steered by you-know-who. I didn't know what had happened, but I cheerfully told those around me that it was because a certain steers-person was busy looking at me.
I went to the beer tent for some hair of the dog, and around noon, decided to go home, via the marshaling area, a much longer walk. He was so happy that I sought him out. We talked about possibly hooking up at the wind-up party. I told him that I would likely be there, since the wind-up was being held at the watering hole.
Home. Nap. Glorious nap. And shower. Fed hungry cats. On the way to the watering hole - was I going? Yes, on the way. I'll see you then, but I'll have someone with me for a bit.
I had some pints with the boys, my girly pals showed up. It was cool. High-school levels of anticipation and excitement, but cool. The girls left, his guest left, and I joined him at the table with fellow paddlers. Even though Mr. Will-not-let-it-go was there. Mr. Will-not-let-it-go passed me the cup to drink out of, saying I was a paddler, and it was OK. Apparently, I have his blessing? I didn't know, and didn't care to examine it. Girlfriend's boyfriend was also there, and we continued our chat, because we have been friends forever (but meanwhile, he was doing the holy-shit-I-hope-you-know-what-you-are-doing eye conversation with tall dark and handsome over my head. Because I am bad news - we are former lovers. Sigh. He was a lousy lover, btw). Another paddler got up and danced on the table. It was a pedestal table. All drinks went crashing to the ground, naturally. Tall, dark and handsome ordered me another, unaware that the staff are instructed to not pour drinks for me that are not ordered by me.
Hannah looked at me, and I nodded. She winked back.
So, somewhat later, the bar closed, and we sort-of left separately, just to get into a taxi together. Tall dark and handsome did have to have a conversation with my friend... clearly about something different, because he didn't run screaming for the hills.
It was lather, rinse repeat of the night before. More talking. More beer. And more glorious sex.
He called in sick the next morning. I had the day off. I woke him up and told him we didn't want to waste daylight. It was too nice a day, and might be the last one.
So, we got coffees and went for a walk. He reached for my hand... and I didn't mind having it held as we walked down the street. Normally I abhor public displays of affection like that. I think it is immature and unnecessary.
We walked and talked. And, he suggested a drive. So, we drove out of town and had a fabulous lunch over-looking the river. And, talked some more. Then, we got some beer, retired to his place... he asked me to stay the night, again, and he would drive me to my place in the morning so I could get ready for work. I said sure, but I would need to be fed, at some point.
We wound up having a few beers (big surprise, eh?), and then going to a little hole-in-the-wall Thai place. Hardly anybody there. The manager/waitress hovered over us, and bossed us around, and we howled with laughter about how corny and romantic the whole weekend had been. How all signs seemed to indicate that this would be a very fun thing.
Lather, rinse, repeat. More talking. More beer. He called me "Honey" but then thought to ask if it was OK if he did. I said it was OK. More glorious sex. I got dropped off the next morning... and I have never, ever seen such a hangdog look in my life as I did when he asked when we would see each other again. I was vague... perhaps later in the week.
I walked to my house, sore between my thighs, but swinging my hips, because I knew tall, dark and handsome was watching.
To be continued...