Last night the moment we've all been waiting for finally happened. We met J's new squeeze.
I'm kind of at a loss as how to write about this. I guess I'm hesitating because it wasn't clearly black or white. The entire experience was gray. I didn't walk away with, "Awww, they're obviously in love!" nor did I walk away with, "Wow, she is NOT into him." It's more like I walked away scratching my head thinking ... "Um ... ooooookay?"
I guess my first impression is that if you walked up to the table and looked at the scattering of people sitting there, you wouldn't have guessed those two were "together." They didn't look like a couple. No ... no, I don't expect anyone to be making sweet love next to the steam table. But people, especially when they're first dating, tend to "lean in."
When I sit next to Stoney, I have a habit of putting my hand on his leg ... or he puts his arm on the back of my chair. There's usually some kind of outward sign that two people are together. When we went out on a double date with another couple this weekend, she casually rubbed his back with her hand while we sat visiting after dinner. That couple has four children together ... but they STILL lean in. J and T-Gear? Nobody was leaning in.
Sure ... it's possible that she's very private and doesn't like public displays of affection. I hugged her hello ... and she made sure to leave at the end of the evening without hugging me or anyone else. So it's very possible that what I'm reading as a distance between them is just her not wanting anyone in her personal space.
But aside from that ... I'm jut getting a warm fuzzy feeling about the whole thing. She was friendly but not ... too friendly? A couple times she looked at us when we were all joking around and I got clearly got a, "You people are fucking idiots" vibe.
Along with that, it bothers me that he's just not himself around her. Okay, truth is he's not himself at all around anyone lately. But last night it was damned near ridiculous. She talked more than he did ... which is basically saying he didn't speak. First Wife and Pinky were talking with her about scrapbooking ... which I have done with them but it really isn't my thing ... and T-Gear was genuinely engaging them on the whole subject. J, on the other hand, rolled his eyes at the whole thing.
On a completely unrelated note, driving to the restaurant, I had a small worry in the back of my head. I worried that I would meet her and be so overwhelming sad about my best friend. I gave myself a pep talk on the way ... I was NOT going to cry. I was NOT going to be sad. I was NOT going to break down.
Well, I was worried for nothing. For the last twenty years, I thought of J and K as one. She was my best friend ... but he was always there. She loved him and I naturally included him where she was concerned. But now? That emotional link is gone. I don't seem him and think, "Why isn't he with her?" Now there's just this hole ... and he is an irritation that is completely separate from that loss and grief.
So back to Girlfriend v.3.0 ...
On paper, I should like this girl. She like geeky things ... I guess. She talks openly enough ... she laughed with us about a few things. She feels ... guarded. But I guess she would since she doesn't know us. I wonder if he told her, "You'll be meeting ThirtyWhat ... she was my dead wife's best friend?" I don't know ... the whole thing was ... uncomfortable. Usually our group of friends can go the entire night and the talk is constant and non-stop ... but last night there were these long, awkward pauses.
I mean, you'd have to know us to appreciate this ... but when this same group of people went to MCL after the visitation, we stayed after they closed. The staff actually let us sit there after they closed so we could keep talking. But last night it was like we were ALL just looking for a polite opportunity to call it a night.
Will we do it again? Well, obviously we'll have to if they stay together. Will they stay together? I don't know. J's got a hard (hard) road ahead of him that he refuses to see. He imagines that if she just would just love him, that everything would be perfect ... and he refuses to listen to the rest of us who are telling him to take it slow.
But honestly? If last night was any indication of the "fun factor" with those two? I can't say I'll be in a hurry to re-live it ...
Go your own way
You can call it another lonely day
Another Lonely day
You can go your own way!
Go your own way
Fleetwood Mac -
Go Your Own Way