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Catch your breath

When your single people look at you like your a charity case. That sound's worse than what I mean. I mean, people want to help you. They meet other single people and before you know it they are trying to play cupid. Once they find one interest in common between two single friends the arrows are flying. The only thing wrong with that is that I am Latin, young and a single mom, which places me in a negative statistic category, for those who meet me for the first time. Don't be alarmed, its all right, I am the one saying it. But let anyone else say it and I will punch them in the jugular, I am NOT A STATISTIC. Strangers unfamiliar with me think I am either looking for a baby daddy, or I am looking for someone to ease my financial burden. So match making is not easy. 

But then there are those who know you well and simply want you to be happy. So when they call you with a matchmaking ploy with a stranger that you might have something in common with, all my guards go up and you can see why. My wonderful beautiful cousin called me one day to tell me that a guy in her office saw my picture and thought I was beautiful. At first I was like, "thanks" moving on, but she kept talking about him and I knew where it was going. But this was my flesh and blood cousin that I grew up with like if she was my sister. She knew what I was into and not into. As kids we sat by the pool side imagining the artist of the band Menudo (the boy band that thrust Ricky Martin's career)  throwing us into the pool because in our heads they were our boyfriends. Not just one, we had the entire band for the three of us. Don't judge I was like eleven. But this is to give you an idea of how much I trusted my cousins judgement. 

"He's tall, black, cute and just a super amazing guy" So my response was, "would you date him" she was married at the time but explained under her giggle, "He is not a head turner, but he's not ugly. He is attractive and yeah... yeah... if I was single I would date him". Then the conversation on the phone quickly went from just a call with her to an introduction with Dwight. 

He was a gentleman over the phone. He quickly pointed out my reluctance in giving him my number and why I would not be disappointed. I had to admit the charm over the phone allowed me to say "what the heck" worse that could happen was that we would be friends. But I did make it clear I was not looking for romance. At this point in my life I was praying for a friend, someone who knew me, saw me as a human being not the main course to soothe his below the belt appetite. 

You really don't realize all the bonding you do over the phone. Social Media was already on the scene but not everyone was on it. Dwight was not, so I had no clue what he looked like at all. He knew what I looked like but I was going in blind. I thought to myself maybe that's what I needed and I was enjoying the friendship. He wasn't insecure at all which lead me to believe he was confident in his skin. Dwight seemed to be hey OK,  and he was easy to talk too. I wasn't feeling the pressure of romance as I wasn't looking for it so it was easy to just chat with him like I did with all my girlfriends. 

He didn't wait long to muster the courage to ask me out to a movie and I of course hesitated. I literally had to talk myself into seeing him. I was enjoying  the phone conversation. Everyday he called sounding winded after playing ball with the guys. I teased him about it often too. "You should really try to catch your breath before you call me" and he responded, "Girl, I can't help that you take the wind out of me with just your voice". I really should've caught on after that cheesy line. But I vested in the friendship. So after a few weeks of persistence, I said "I will but only as friends." 

He was coming from New York and I was in Connecticut. Again, I didn't want anyone to meet my kids so we decided on a middle ground. I chose the movie theater that had a mall because I wanted to remain in public. I knew his best foot forward self, I didn't know or trust him enough to be alone. Plus I was getting smarter with my track history of experiences. At some point you learn right? 

I was excited to finally meet my friend Dwight and I wondered if he would match any of the images that I had drawn up in my mind. I had imagined a Will Smith as he was always playing ball and "Prince of Belair" was one of my favorite shows. The mall was located close to the train station so after I parked my car I picked up my phone called Dwight and walked to the Train station to meet him. I felt like I was playing hiding go seek, running from train track to train track trying to find him. But for the life of me I couldn't find him, but in my defense I had no idea what to look for. He spotted me and teased me about it on the phone. He saw me running from track to track trying to find him, he saw my excitement in looking for him so he basked in it. It was actually fun and of course it would come to an end, no one lingers around the train station, eventually everyone leaves and it would narrow it down to who he was. And there I was looking at an empty train station and on the phone with him asking if he stood me up and was playing a cruel joke. He said no and then there he was, he stepped out from behind a concrete wall and he was..... not Will Smith. 

How do I share this with you without sounding shallow and mean? He wasn't out of breath from playing ball, he was out of breath from simply walking. The first thing I saw before his face was his belt before the rest of him caught up.  He was tall all right, but he was on the Heavy side (politely put). Now I have had crushes before on a few heavy guys, but he was beyond that. He definitely had his clothes custom made and his belly covered his knees. 

I was upset, I felt like I was catfished. He lead me to believe he was this athletic guy always on the basketball court. He lied and here is when I learned a hard truth about myself, I'm too nice. Nice to a flaw. I reached out my hand in a business way with a smile to shake his and said, "nice to meet you at last". He didn't skip a beat in suggesting we get to the movies right away or we will miss it, so we did. While walking to the theater he tried to hold my hand. Now I have a dilemma, I'm trying so hard to be nice and I specifically said I would go to the movies as his friend, but I don't hold hands with my friends unless we are praying and right now I needed prayer as I was lost inside on what to do. If I expressed my feelings I would be the shallow jerk who hurt his feelings. So I diverted and that was my tactic all night. Divert and as soon as possible abort the mission. 

While walking I found things to point too, and became the typical Hispanic who needed her hands to talk. Then once inside the theater he asked me what I wanted and I said, "A large popcorn, goobers, nachos with cheese and a large Sprite" he honestly looked at me like he had an issue with my diet. Really? 

Once sitting down I started with my nachos that were extra cheesy and messy, my only disappointment was that they were too small. So I licked every finger and was not girly about it, I left cheese on my cheek licked and slurpted the fingers so he would not want to hold my hand.  He still tried, so then it was to eat my popcorn, one kernel at a time, a LARGE popcorn. He seemed disappointed but I was OK with that. The movie started and he put his arm around my neck, and at this point I just blurted out, "Seriously, I told you just friends" and he cut me off in embarrassment as everyone in the movie theater turned around and was looking at us and then said, "Can I have some popcorn". I had to put my emotions back in the bottle that was boiling over in my stomach. 

The movie was a comedy and it was hilarious, it was the Wedding Crashers. We laughed so much we forgot the awkward tension between us. And then it ended. Time to walk to the car now.

On the way Dwight and I were laughing, we got all the way to the parking garage and he said he would walk me to my car. I parked on the sixth floor so we took the elevator. Once in the elevator we both leaned up against the wall and just giggled at the movie we just saw. As soon as the doors closed I wanted to tell Dwight that I had a good time but before I knew it his tongue was down my throat gagging me. It lasted a second as I pushed him away yelling, "what the hell Dwight, that was not code for gag me". Then he spoke, he spoke honestly.

"Look at you and look at me. Do you think anyone will agree to go out with me? Do you know how lucky I feel to have tonight with you? I'm sorry I upset you, I thought since we were laughing it was a sign that things were going well. I didn't mean to scare you, I just didn't want the night to end without kissing you, as I don't know if I will ever get this chance again. I had to sieze the moment, I'm sorry I scared you" 

I (overly nice) felt bad  for Dwight. I know it isn't easy for him. After my second child I weighed 198 pounds and no one looked my way, heck I didn't look my way. I understood where he was coming from, but that is not my responsibility to change. That is his. I will not body shame in this post, that's not my style. But its important to take care of your health. Being that heavy is not healthy, nor is it a sign of loving yourself. My choice to lose the weight was not to get a date, it was to be able to catch up to my kids playing on the field. To not have an asthma attack while cheering on my son's home runs. But I digress, Time to answer him, "Dwight you are a nice guy, and I get it. But you are violating my boundaries"

Following a deep breath, he asked if he could still walk me to my car and I said yes, then once at the car I turned to shake his hand cause I was feeling awkward and again overly nice and BOOM. ARE YOU SERIOUS! Pinned up against my car and I can't breath. Apparently bein nice is a sign for shove your tongue down her throat. But his lips were covering my nose, I was going to suffocate!  I had to put my foot down, no.... knee up! Not like it did much damage, I hit his belly. He didn't fight back but now I felt like I was in danger so I opened the door of my car and he pinned himself between me and the door, forcing my door to stay wide open.  I managed to sit down in the drivers seat, turn on the car and go in reverse forcing him back into the middle of the car garage.  I didn't want to kill him, but I needed to get away. The entire time he is yelling, "I'm so sorry". The second I drove off my cell was ringing and it was him on the caller ID. I didn't answer and just like that our friendship was over.

Once on the highway, I called my cousin on her cell and yelled, "Do you hate me?" she giggled and said he was a nice guy who deserved a nice girl. "The  guy almost ate me in the elevator!"

Always stay in a public place with every man.  But there is something to reflect on here. If a Will Smith look alike  had shown up, would I have been so protective of my boundaries? Maybe I am shallow, but in the same moment I felt like I did something I didn't normally do, I said no, I demanded that my boundaries were to be respected. This could've ended so much far worse but it didn't. Thank God! I never spoke to Dwight again after that, but when I do look back I see me pulling on an inner strength I didn't know I had. I know it sounds ridiculous to you but I struggled with boundaries. Still do but in other areas. Oddly enough I am thankful to Dwight. And I am not that naive, Dwight's approach was dangerous and sent all sorts of red flags, but be honest, if he was hot; how would you have played out the night?

Being self aware is a challenge in itself. We all need to pause, catch our breath then reflect. 


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