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Also, his name might seem like an insult, but I mean it in the very best of ways! My voice on the phone was fake polite, anxious, and over-compensating, with an edge of passive-aggressive anger. I filled in the ex about the plan I’d made, and asked what he’d been hoping to do with Tim for a birthday celebration.
He asked if he could take Tim for a birthday dinner on his actual birthday.
(In hindsight, red flag, obviously – be careful when somebody picks you up on the street! Actually, he was still living with his wife, the mother of his children, and she didn’t know he was out picking up ladies AND he’d just right then lied. I should have known by the way he scurried along the gutter. It almost seems like there is something about the Centaur that’s meant to get me SO flustered that I eventually give up, stop overthinking, and stop trying to control my reality. He asked me to hold off for a few more minutes because he was busy preening. His apartment is an old victorian place full of patina. He took some time to give me a tour and explain the science behind how tough it would be to crash the thing.
Another very cute guy, I met while out for a walk in my city neighborhood. Here’s why: actually after some questioning I learned he was not living alone. ‘Wild Animal Man’ aka, ‘The Centaur’ revealed that I’m not the only one giving pet names! Chocolate chip eyes, olive complexion, a mess of dark, long wild hair all over the place. I always get a little flustered when I see him and do weird stuff like spilling beer all over him, having awkward first dates with other men while sitting next to him the whole time, tripping over my feet like an idiot or accidentally sending him texts about himself meant for my besties. He said no, and I decided on something timeless, and not too restrictive, that I hoped would match the old Cessna: dark, flared, high-waisted jeans, a bright colored sleeveless top with a cute peter pan collar, and strappy red sandals. Maybe overly smooth, but Adonis has got game, I’ll give him that. I was touched that he’d share this part of his life with me.
But one day we chanced to be at a show together and I met a bunch of his friends. His head was back, and he was half-grinning and looking at me as if he’d never seen me before in his life. The rest of the scene faded out and I was visually, olfactorily and physically fixated on his undomesticated presence. We chatted about the possibility of our death by airplane crash over sparkling water. He snapped about a hundred pictures of me on my phone with the airplane against an orange-pink sky. I now have the souvenirs of this experience, great photos that he later that evening, spent some time cropping and filtering to just how he liked them.
Our casual arrangement was not the type of thing that progresses to a more serious relationship. He was gazing at me with a goofy look on his usually distant face. “Even if someone beautiful wasn’t about to come over I’d [want to look good]. His artwork, books, musical instruments, and antique furniture filled the high-ceilinged rooms. If that conversation had been the whole date, it would have been a dream in itself! We rolled her out to the open field beside the runway.
Abruptly, his face turned away from me, his left hand sliding up to mouth. We went outside and played in the pouring rain like toddlers. We had incredible conversations about philosophy, work, jealousy, and more. XO, Molly Undercover I’m going to need to be complainey here just for a minute, ok?
It’s been a rough political season and this could be an easy way to find out whether he’s got ANY potential or not. At least it gave me a funny excuse to text The Centaur a few days later, and a good conversation starter and bonding point to talk about what a disaster that date had been. Then there’s the night where I was hanging out with a guy that I’d pegged as quite confident, cool, and cute. It’s early summer and we have tons of plans with family for the Fourth of July.
That quality certainly keeps my walls up, which is kinda just the way I want it right now. I decided it was time and told him about how we call him the Centaur. “I like it,” he said with a grin as the band started to play and we began to dance again. ‘Wild Animal Man’ came from another friend who exclaimed that he was a wild animal when I recounted to her how he’d curled up one weeknight right on my front porch and fell asleep, snoring like an bear, feet sticking eighteen inches off the porch furniture. I like it so much I almost want to trade out the name Molly Undercover for it! When The Centaur moves on, as I’m sure he will sooner or later, I’ve decided I get to keep this nickname. He’s an artist, poet and musician with a confident swagger, broad shoulders, and green-blue-brown eyes.
For example, he’s never, ever said “I like you a lot” or “I think you’re pretty.” This may seem like a bad thing—but bear with me! And then, I could swear I saw his chest puff just a little, he rocked back on his heels, and nodded. Adonis is a motorcycle-riding, vintage-car restoring pilot.
I didn’t feel up to hanging out with my ex and his whole family!
I stammered something about not being sure that was the best plan and ‘let’s work it out later’ and got off the phone. Clearly I’m in no state to have a fun birthday dinner as a reconfigured family. Here’s what I wasn’t being honest about: I’m assuming Tim’s going to be heartbroken to have only one parent there at a time.