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A month after I downloaded Tinder and reentered the dating realm my world got turned upside down. My dad was diagnosed with a 5×5 centimetre tumour on the liver. Long story short, after being told he had 2-4 weeks to live he died 5 days later. Incredibly shocking and traumatizing to say the least.
I’m not telling you this so we can have a “poor Jacquie” moment. Awhile has passed and we are healing.
You see, during the time just prior to my dads diagnosis I had met and begun seeing a fabulous guy from Tinder. Slightly younger than myself, a musician and a sensitive passionate soul. We connected over a childhood movie and for our first date we watched it and recited the words like 10 year old kids. We continued to bond over tv shows and music, but my favouritest (yes that is a word in my vocabulary) moment was a concert in his living room. I’m a poet and a romantic, how could I not be wooed in by this?
But life interfered. How could the stuff going on with my dad not affect my dating life? I’m terrible at hiding behind a mask, I wear my emotions on my sleeve, and god I was feeling a gamut of emotions. I didn’t have the best of relationship with my dad, he was an upper middle class alcoholic who antagonized the shit out of the people around him and he drove me crazy for it.
So here I was, battling anger, sadness, disappointment while trying to date simultaneously. Well fuck that. I did my best holding up my chipper foul mouthed self but eventually a crack began to form in my front. But despite everything going on, I still wanted a place where I could forget about the world for a bit, worry about nothing except Kate, Sawyer, Jack and the black smoke monster from binge watching LOST with this super guy. So even after my dad died I hung on to our time together, like an oasis in the desert.
He never tried to be my counsellor. He never babied me either. We drank wine, ate meals together, he even let me bake him homemade pizza and didn’t freak when I accidentally grated carrot all over his floor. He was supportive as a person just getting to know me could be.
One night, after watching our 7th or so episode of LOST from his cozy bed, I fell asleep. It was the strangest feeling. I hadn’t slept in a bed with a man in almost two years, and besides noticing that he thankfully didn’t snore he had an incredibly comfortable bed. I suppose it was somewhere around 4am I woke in the dead of night. I knew where I was. I wasn’t disoriented, it was dark and shadows from the street lights through the window danced against the walls.
Quiet is not always synonymous with peaceful, as in this instance. My thoughts racing about my life ahead without a dad, my kids without a grandpa – whom I may add invested a hell of a lot of time in his grandkids – my mom now on her own with my childhood home full of memories and albeit more garbage than I think she’d care to admit but that’s beside the point.
I was in a strange mans bed at 4am contemplating the meaning of life just after the death of a loved one. So you know what comes next don’t you?
Tears. Lots of em.
First the bed began to shake, for all the wrong reasons, then the sniffling started, then the holding your breath to stop from screaming your pain out loud and freaking out the non snoring gentle man beside you happened. I tried, I really did to be quiet and be still, but I was on the inside wall and would have had to crawl over him to get out and I felt trapped, there was nowhere to hide.
It was about at this point he stirred.
Look there is nothing stealth about me in the best of times, I am loud and obnoxious, never mind being on the verge of an early morning cryfest.
He didn’t say anything. Instead, like a good human, he reached around me, put my head on his chest and gave me permission to snot and cry all over his bare skin. Out loud. Yes, it was as pretty and romantic as it sounds. Yeah, not so much. Fuck, welcome to dating Jacquie.
Eventually I think I sobbed and hitched a few “I’m sorry’s” out. Besides being a Canadian, I apologize for nearly everything including breathing, swallowing, and for waking up nice men at 4am to snot on them. My dad (and mom) taught me good manners I suppose.
After I was done I fell back asleep and this poor man started his day very early. I woke to a pot of coffee and I can’t remember if I ate to be honest. You know, feeling sheepish and all about the night before.
You’d think he saw me naked or something. Well… I suppose he kinda did.
He was a saint
In the flesh
The offering of his chest
To pool my tears
In a cruel night
But another heart