воскресенье, 31 марта 2013 г.

My Worst — and Best — Easter

By Natalia K. Lusinski

Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life.
~S.D. Gordon

They always say, "You just know, and it will happen when you least expect it," but I never believed them. Especially in L.A. In ten years of living there, dating was among my favorite — and least favorite — of hobbies.
After yet another handful of bad dates — which included a guy who told me he does coke ("but just quarterly"), a guy who said he is getting better in regard to his last break-up ("though we might get back together"), and a guy who proceeded to flirt with everyone except for me at a party I took him to ("I had a great time," he said — little did I know I had set up a speed dating event — just for him) — I had had enough. And that was all in the same week. And, in L.A., this was typical. Quantity, not quality, and I was tired of it. Having grown up in the Midwest, where were all the guys with Midwestern manners? I had the best boyfriend ever before I moved to L.A. and was convinced all these bad dates were payback for my breaking his heart ten years earlier.

"They" also say to meet someone through friends. But guess what? The above three examples prove "them" very wrong.

This last date, the speed dating one, took place on Easter, with a guy from church at a post-Easter brunch. And I didn't think of his behavior as anything more than un-Christian. The previous year, I had given up dating for Lent; now, I wondered why I hadn't this year, too.

Easter night, a group of my non-Christian friends were meeting for dinner as they did every Sunday night. After the above, being in another group situation was the last thing I wanted to do. But since I was all dressed up and had nowhere else to go, I thought, "Why not?"

For the next hour, I sat parked in front of the restaurant, on the phone with my friend Courtney debating whether or not to go inside. At the time, it was more fun to complain about my day and why not to go in.

"I'm not dating anymore," I told her. "It's too hard. I'm just going to focus on my writing," I added. "Yeah, but that's hard, too," Courtney said. "Yet you keep doing it." True, I thought. "Just forget about them, truly forget about them," Courtney added. "You know that everything happens for a reason, and there is someone better out there for you than a flirty guy who wants his ex-girlfriend back and does coke quarterly," she said. I couldn't help but laugh; I knew she was right.

I decided to go into the restaurant, only to realize I had left my driver's license in a drugstore across town, one that was closing in a half-hour. I drove back to get it, then drove back to the dinner, wondering if it was even worth going in anymore, over an hour later.

Outside the restaurant, I saw a guy at the valet, Tyler, whom I had known six years prior, one whom I had had a crush on. He asked if I wanted to go have a drink. Though it was tempting, I knew my friends were waiting for me, and I wanted to see them, so I declined. I secretly thanked God for the ego boost as I stepped inside.

Once there, I saw another guy I knew, Paul, one I had met a couple years ago, one of those people you meet and have chemistry with, yet neither of you are single, so you say you'll stay in touch, but don't. Yet here he was, alone. We talked for a few minutes, and he told me he would find me before he left. Fair enough.

I thanked God for the second ego boost, and finally met up with my friends. After we caught up a bit, a guy and girl whom I did not know joined our table. The guy, David, was sitting next to me, and we soon started talking... and talking... and talking. A few minutes in, I started to like the guy — he was just so... normal, didn't flirt with everyone in the room, and had no ex-girlfriends or coke habits to speak of. I couldn't remember the last time I had clicked with someone so immediately.

However, I had no clue if the girl David arrived with was his girlfriend. I certainly didn't want to talk to him so much if she was, like the speed dating guy had done to me. I asked David about the girl: they were just friends. Phew.

David and I then remembered we had first met eight months prior, at a friend's birthday party. I had even taken a group photo at the party, with him in it. We also discovered that we had been at the same Halloween party months before, yet never saw each other at it (back then, I had a boyfriend, so checking out other guys wasn't on my radar). Finally, David and I realized we shared a best friend, Jeremy.

I suggested we each text Jeremy to tell him we had met. I had given up texting for Lent, so this was my first post-Lenten text. Jeremy wrote right back. I opened my phone for David and I to read at the same time, without reading the text myself first. It said, "Hey, I was thinking of setting you two up. :) He seems like your type." I don't know who turned more red, me or David. "This will be a good story someday, of how we started dating," we said in unison, a little perplexed, yet intrigued.

Jeremy had also texted David, asking how we had met. "J-Date," David wrote back jokingly. The funny thing was, just the other week, I had told Jeremy I was going to go on J-Date, for another Christian girl I know went on and ended up marrying a guy from there. Little did Jeremy know that David was kidding. (If you are reading this now, Jeremy, I guess the secret's out.)

Jeremy then texted me, saying "You're on a J-Date even though you're Catholic? And on Easter? Is that allowed?" "God has a great sense of humor," is all I thought. After all, Easter is a time of rebirth.

Now, hundreds of dates later, "they" were right. You do just know, and when you least expect it. After my long-term, Midwestern college boyfriend, I never thought I would find love like that again. But after meeting David, I realized that I could. And I had. A few months after we started dating, I told David, "Thanks for being at that non-Easter dinner." "Thanks for being," he replied.

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