Men say the damndest things.
You know, those things that crawl under our skin and we wallow over for hours (or possibly weeks), those things that we attempt to read in between the lines, searching for a hidden clue or unspoken something we so desperately want to give meaning to. And so, as we listen to what men say, without actually hearing them – we start to ask questions.
Now, as a journalist – this not-so-redeeming quality has played havoc on my relationships or even my dating life. While I’ll always suggest utter honesty over anything else when seeking romantic-anything with someone new, there’s also a thin line between hoping a man means something and realizing that most of the time, guys say exactly what they feel, when they feel it. Actually, it probably comes out less eloquently but with more impact than the way women would structure the same sentiment.
Nevertheless, sometimes questions seem to be quite ineluctable.
Recently, Mr. Possibility and I walked throughout the Upper East and West Sides, running errands, eating more sugar than both of our recommended nutritional intakes call for, and visiting an exhibit at one of my favorite museums. As we walked, bundling up in the unexpected, yet expected snow, and catching up on the months we missed while he was traveling, I kept noticing question marks. When we waited for the downtown train, I started noticing red question marks cleverly disguised in the amphibian artwork scrolled across the wall. Then at Barney’s as I pretended I could afford shoes that cost more than three months’ rent, the advertising scheme featured a question mark in cascading colors. Lastly and maybe the most obvious- outside of his apartment complex, there was a black sign with a silver question mark graffitied without explanation.
Climbing the steps to his third-floor condo, I couldn’t help but wonder, “What’s up with all these questions?” Noticing my confused stance, he gave me an inquisitive glance, and in return I smiled, imagining the same question marks I noticed throughout the city flashing above his annoyingly adorable head. With this image circulating, I realized the state of whatever it is we are or are not doing is best defined as questionable. Full of opportunity, deep in contradictions and complications, and most importantly, ripe with possibility that’s yet to be determined.
In my path to self-love as it intersects with Mr. Possibility, I’ve received some heat. Not just from my friends and my family, but from my readers, too. Some of the comments shared on this space haven’t been positive and there have been more than enough reasons for me to tuck my Tigar tail and sprint into a new safari of available men. I’ve questioned his feelings toward me, the seriousness of what could be growing, and if by staying put, I was avoiding standing up for myself. There have been moments in our ever-short history that I’ve felt the sting of heartbreak, where I doubted my decision to give him another chance, wondering and nearly convinced I was setting myself up to play the part of a fool. In his words, which have always been rather blunt and honest, even when that’s not always what I wanted to hear, I’ve hoped certain statements meant more than what they did. I’ve admittedly been jealous of other women and perhaps women I’ve never met but somehow characteristically resemble, and I’ve found myself sinking in a pool of unsettling feelings.
The only difference now, with my newfound confidence and level-head on the whole game of love, is that instead of diving head-first into his endless sea of could-be’s, I’ve made a conscious decision and effort to wade knee deep. And though my heart is still uncertain since his return, there are some baggage that needs to be discarded, and wounds that need some healing – I haven’t decided the troubling waters are so rough that I need to sail back into the safe harbor.
And by being more relaxed, but still saying what I need (for his swimmers not to swim into other lady’s lakes), I’ve learned that while questions are unavoiable, sometimes, they are merely just part of the gray areas of mystery that surprisingly leave us happier than dwelling in the black and white. The lovely color of gray also allows other shades to mingle into the mix and it encourages me to listen to what Mr. Possibility says as he says it, while not aiming to discover a hidden intention.
It also gives him the chance to ask some questions instead of me interviewing our relationship, looking for a new angle in his speech (which, by being from Queens, is quite difficult to decipher from time-to-time). A few nights ago, as a way to apologize and thank me, he treated me to an evening of quintessential New York spots. Unaware of where we were going, what we would be doing, or how long I would be gone, I was obviously full of long-winded questions. Not one who is very good at surprises, but loves them anyways, he simply told me to be ready on Sunday evening at 8 p.m. and wait for his instructions.
Though the thought of a man telling me what to do enticed me to spit out a sassy comeback, I decided in the name of romance and making-up-for-measly-mistakes, I’d click my heels together and beg not to turn into a questioning pumpkin at midnight. When the clock struck one-past-eight, my phone lit up to Mr. Possibility’s name, and without greeting me, he asked, “Do you trust me?”
In a car he sent for me, heading toward an unknown destination, as the driver drove so fast the light posts created lines that matched the linear avenues, I answered his question in my head: No, I don’t quite trust Mr. Possibility. I have more questions that need answering than matters of fact. I can’t and don’t desire to be with him every second of every day, and the decisions he makes away from me are still ones I’m not completely convinced have my best interest at heart. But do I trust him enough to listen to him? To hear what he says? To take things slow? To put my own feelings in check and demanding it not be all about him? Do I trust him to an extent where I’ll get into a black sedan promising to deliver me to Mr. Possibility’s embrace? Yes.
Once the car stopped, he opened the door and extended an arm out to lead me toward the center of a quiet and magically lit-Lincoln Center. There, in my vintage Michael Kohr’s, he looked into my eyes and said, “You once said you couldn’t wait to be kissed here, at night. I don’t know if it was a blog or in our conversation, but it’s time for it not be a wish anymore.” I’m sure you can guess what happened next.
There are always questions in relationships or courtships that could eventually turn into something profound. And perhaps not having all of the answers actually does us more good than it does us bad, if we’re brave enough to accept the opportunity for destruction matches the chance of delight. But maybe, there is one simple question we should ask ourselves when deciding to move forward or to walk away – which happens to be the next question Mr. Possibility proposed as we headed to meet our dinner reservation:
“Are you happy?”
And if the happiness outweighs the negativity, the uncertainty is less unsettling than absence, if there is more joy than there is pain – then perhaps, whatever it is or isn’t, whatever questions you can’t answer or commitments you can’t make, are worth the experience.
Worth the possibility.