I got socked in the gut the other day with a revelation from a guy I’ve been seeing for about three months. After hearing what was going on with him, I felt introspective and sad and wanted a strong drink. But instead I went to the learning center to fulfill my duty teaching reading and writing to my Hispanic student trying to pass the GED. On the same day, the Bluetooth in my new car wouldn’t work and I got a ticket.
When I pulled into my driveway, feeling teary-eyed and frustrated later that evening, I spotted my next-door neighbor, a single guy half my age who surprisingly has become a friend. He was getting ready to go into his condo when I yelled out to him “Could you check the Bluetooth on my Mini? It’s not working.” (This was not as random as it sounds because he’s a car guy, works for Audi.)
He said he’d be over in a few minutes. I went into the house and burst into tears and hoped he would not come over right away. But he was at the back door in no time, holding a gin and tonic and, upon seeing my crying, red face, asked me if I needed to vent. This was embarrassing as he has only seen me pulled together, logical and sensible. Clearly, my image was shattered.
But I couldn’t have been more in need of venting. First he looked at my car and determined the Bluetooth was likely faulty. After that, I made myself a scotch on the rocks, and we commenced to my deck. He also had brought over a pizza and a pack of cigarettes.
Now I don’t smoke, but cigarettes seem exactly right when life is shit. Such a perfect, silly rebellion. So I puffed on a few and told my neighbor the whole stupid story. I drove home the point that from the start this guy was evasive and dodged my questions, particularly those pertaining to relationships with women. I went with it thinking over time he would reveal more about himself. But it didn’t happen. Upon hearing the truth that afternoon, I was hurt, angry and disappointed.
My neighbor, too, was in the throes of discord with a woman he has been seeing for about three months. So, of course, I asked him how things were going. He gave me an update and also vented. More conversation and drinks ensued on this perfect summer Michigan night.
I felt better and I’m guessing he did too. I laugh about this unlikely friendship we have. We are different in so many ways, yet we share our experiences of being single and dating in hopes of finding a worthy companion.
I realize that if I was still married living in this house, I probably would hardly know my neighbor. It would be a simple wave, how are you, like I have with all my married neighbors. This unlikely friendship is a positive of being single and alone — clearly a silver lining.