I went for a walk this afternoon on the Swamp Rabbit Trail. The trail took us through Falls Park in downtown Greenville and because it was such a beautiful day many others were out too. They were on bikes, skates, skateboards, walking their dogs, and I noticed at least one couple just relaxing on a park bench, or huddling close in the shade. I wasn’t walking alone; in addition to my camera, I was there with a date, dipping my toes a little further into the dating pool. A walk in the park on a beautiful, sunny day seemed like a good way to meet someone for the first time; we could walk, get to know each other a little bit, and enjoy the fresh air.
And I think we mostly accomplished those things. Except that I drove away from our date feeling like I didn’t really get to know him because I talked too much and monopolized the conversation. Does that surprise you? If you know me at all, it probably does.
Most people would say I don’t talk very much. It’s true. In large groups, I’m going to be the quiet one, the one hanging back, mostly only contributing when asked a direct question. I’m no good at small talk. At home, or in the car, or at dinner even, there may be long periods of time when I don’t talk much either. That’s because I’m comfortable with you and the silence feels comfortable. If I have something to say, I will say it. I will tell you what I think and ask for your opinion. We can discuss whatever needs to be discussed, whether it’s what’s for dinner or where we should live. I’m not one to talk just to talk. But I’ve discovered I’m a nervous talker when it’s a one-on-one situation, like a first date. The first time I had lunch with my ex I was nervous and excited even though neither of us considered it a date; it was friends meeting for lunch to catch up. But I had a lot going on in my life at the time. I was almost a year into a period of separation from my first husband, my daughter was about to graduate from high school, and there was so much uncertainty in my life. I talked so much I barely ate my lunch. I know he was surprised to hear me go on and on, and despite that he let me know he was available and interested whenever I felt ready to date. So I didn’t scare him away.
So today I felt like I did that again. I didn’t tell him my whole life story, but I was pretty open about my state of mind and current situation. I told him I wasn’t a complete mess, but I still had a few messy days here and there. We did talk about work and the pandemic and the beach and a little about life in Greenville, but I am afraid that I overshared (and yes, a couple tears escaped when I did but that was inevitable). Poor man. He didn’t run away screaming, but…
I apologized and he assured me it was OK. I think he’s not one to do a lot of talking himself maybe, so I might have done him a favor.
I think I have another date this week, this time with someone who I would like to think I have gotten to know just a little bit online, but have not met in person yet. I’m looking forward to this one as well and hoping that I don’t walk away from that date with the same feeling. Maybe I should send all potential dates a link to this blog as a prerequisite to dating me. It would save me the trouble of retelling what my last year has been like and weed out anyone that thinks it’s too much for them to handle or that I’m not someone they want to spend any time with. Or maybe that would put me at a disadvantage. They would know so much more about me than I do about them.
I think it’s possible that this blog, this place that has become my outlet for so many emotions and frustrations about family, work, marriage, and divorce, could now possibly become a place to share my experiences as I tiptoe into the life of a single woman in her fifties. Does anyone even care to read about that? I probably wouldn’t. I don’t expect it to be exciting to anyone but myself, but I know I will probably write about it. Wish me luck.