Dating : The Last Ride

h2>Dating : The Last Ride

“Why the fuck do you want to write about the past?”

“To let go of it. I don’t know. Because maybe it’s all I have right now and I’m not willing to let it go yet.”

“It’s been a year. You have to start fucking other women now if you want to move on.”

People love handing out that line. It’s usually a variation of “The best way to get over someone is to get underneath someone else.”

I took his advice. But it didn’t work. There’s nothing worse than thinking about someone else when you’re fucking someone else. I thought that only happened in movies.

“You know what your problem is? You confuse love with sex. People don’t make love to each other. They have sex with each other. They fuck each other. That’s it. You know what love is? Love is taking care of your woman when she’s sick with diarrhea and puking on the bathroom floor everywhere because she’s got the flu or food poisoning and you want to take care of her and she wants you to take care of her. If you both really, truly, and deeply loved each other you’d still be together fucking each other.”

As I pondered my mentor’s advice my mind drifted to the last weekend we shared together.

I was standing in the shallow end of a pool with a hangover in my friend’s gated community in San Diego. We thought it would be refreshing before the drive back up to Los Angeles. It was our place when we were there. There was another couple in the pool.

“Those were the same two people that were here last time,” she said.

“I know.”

I had been thinking the same thing as I thumbed through a magazine that she had gifted me a subscription to. A gift I don’t recall ever thanking her for. I’m sure there were more. He was in his mid sixties and wore a speedo. She was at least a decade younger. They were European. Maybe they were visiting too. It had been close to a year since we’d been there and I was considering the probability of the chance repeat encounter.

She was starting to get red. We walked back up the hill toward the house pausing at a man-made lake to watch the turtles swarm near the water’s edge. We fed them snacks out of ziplock bags before noticing a sign instructing us not to. A goose curiously began following us up the road. He wanted those snacks. I hurried him back across the street toward the lake. He was a loner. Back in the house she set her ring on the countertop and began washing the dishes. A practice I had become fond of noticing.

I came up behind her and wrapped my arms around her waist. “Bang time?”

“Of course.”

She slid off her one piece. We made love for one last time. I can still recall her wet hair on my cheek when I kissed the back of her neck. It was wonderful. It was never bad. We showered separately and I began packing while she dried her hair. It felt like any other Sunday.

“I made a Bloody Mary with pickle juice for the road,” I yelled to her from the kitchen.

She walked in and sipped it. “It’s good, but it’s not spicy enough.”

She was right. I selected a bottle of habanero sauce from my friend’s seriously impressive hot sauce collection and added a few drops. She took her ring from the counter and slid it back on her finger. We wrote a thank you note and shut the door behind us.

We stopped for lunch at a Mexican restaurant for highly recommended shrimp quesadillas before driving home. We browsed the menu on the wall. She went with her usual; fried tacos with rice and beans. I had the shrimp burrito. While we waited for our food she wiped down a dirty table. Our lunch arrived and we sat there underwhelmed as flies buzzed around our heads. My burrito had fries in it. I pulled them out. We shared our plates like we always did.

She took a picture of me next to a child’s camping chair that someone had abandoned in the parking lot. That was the last one she would take of me. I thought I had deleted it from my phone a long time ago. A necessary part of moving on. The purging process. I had in fact deleted them all but nothing goes away anymore. A backup or restore to an external hard drive must have transferred everything back to my phone. Or maybe the cloud put them back on. One little cord can do so much. One little swipe on your phone. One keystroke on your laptop. I don’t know. They’re still on there now. I gave up trying to erase them. That picture popped up on my phone after I had been informed a new photo album had been automatically created titled: “San Diego, June 2017.” I didn’t want to see them. I put my phone down. It’d had been almost two years. A couple hours later I looked at them all. A flood of memories that prompted me to recall our last weekend together which lead me to my desk and five hours later I’m still sitting here writing this. Paying attention to every word and recalling the events as accurately as possible like a reporter would to appease the fact checker in research before an editor signs off on it. And I have no idea why it matters. But it does.

We noticed a sign on a bar a block down the road that happened to share my friend’s not so common first name. We contemplated going in for a drink and decided a picture would be enough. We stood in front of it and smiled our goodbyes before I texted it to him. “Thanks for a wonderful weekend! We love you!” That would be the last picture I ever took of her and us.

I had something stuck in my teeth. I searched my pants pocket for a dental pic. I always had one on me. I must have dropped my last one. Nothing. I pulled over and went through my toiletry bag. I had run out.

“I can’t sit in a car for five hours with something in my teeth.”


I didn’t blame her for asking. I had exaggerated the drive time home to justify driving back to a drugstore we had passed. I pulled into a CVS parking lot.

“Do you want anything?”

“No, I’m fine.”

I can’t remember if she waited in the car or followed me into the store. At the gas station we argued. I wanted to take the longer scenic route home. She preferred the faster inland one. I told her the view would be worth it and we’d make up the time and not to trust the ETA her GPS had provided.

“Trust me, it always clears up after Camp Pendleton. Plus we’ll have a better view of the sunset on PCH.” She wasn’t buying it.

“The other way’s at least 45 minutes faster,” she protested.

“If I’m driving, and paying for the gas, then I’m taking the route I want,” I snapped, as I began filling up the tank. I must have sounded like a teenager. I didn’t care. I had my “mad face” on as she called it and when I did I had to be right. I wanted that drive.

The way down had been worse. I was hungover. She drove anxiously as I furiously texted and emailed away on my phone to various clients simultaneously barking out directions as shortcuts emerged on the navigator. The music I wanted to listen to was continuously interrupted as I fielded calls and screamed into the phone. How she didn’t slam on the breaks and jump out of that car I’ll never know. I must have been considered legally insane for at least fifteen minutes.

A few miles before we arrived to our destination to visit with her brother she wanted to play me a song. Correction, she wanted to share a song with me. I listened to it. I really enjoyed it. And I didn’t think I liked Robbie Williams. But I didn’t tell her how much I enjoyed it. And then she stopped short at a four way stop narrowly avoiding an accident that wasn’t her fault. A near accident I was partially responsible for as I had her driving on her toes for the last four hours. I played up the urgency of the situation and dug my fingers into the dashboard. I definitely wasn’t going to tell her how much I liked that song now.

The weekend had turned like it always did. Too many commitments. Too much alcohol. Too many things that needed to be said but got pushed down by fear. Just anger simmering underneath our skin.

We pulled onto PCH. It was a parking lot. I immediately reminded her that I knew this road all to well and it would clear up. I didn’t. And it didn’t. Sometimes we just have to be in motion. Sometimes that feeling can soothe like nothing else. I put my hand on her leg for a long stretch of road. I wanted to share a song with her. But I didn’t tell her I needed to share a song with her. I wanted her to hear something I wished I could say out loud. I had been wanting to say it out loud for months but I didn’t know how to. It was a long song and by the time the words came up that I wanted her to hear, that I needed her to hear, I’d already lowered the volume because she had fallen asleep. Another time. I sang the last line of Patty Griffin’s “Mother of God” low and softly to myself.

“Maybe … it’s alright.

Maybe we won’t fight anymore.

Maybe love is waiting at the end of every room.

I don’t know.

I don’t know.

But maybe … maybe it’s al……….right.

(or maybe is al……….right)”

I listened to a few more of Patty’s songs. The traffic picked up after the sunset and we made up some time. I turned the music up a bit when I slowed off the exit ramp.

“Are we home?”


When we got home we were too tired to cook dinner. We poured drinks. Four days later our relationship would end to no fault of her own. More temporary insanity. Fifteen minutes of my life I wish I could do over.

We didn’t have enough rooms in the one bedroom apartment we shared. We looked forward to the day when we had our own home with more of them. Men need dens and women need full length mirrors and islands in their kitchens. But we never made a plan. We worked different hours. Our cats always interrupted her sleep by nosing their way through a cracked door to the bedroom attached to a short hallway that lead to the living room where the sound of the TV I was watching drifted back toward her. The door to the bedroom always creaked. The hinges needed oiling. I never got it done. After she left I put the bottle down and moved to another city. Too many images of her with tears streaming down her face at every turn.

“It should take you half the time you were together with someone to get over that person.”

That line didn’t come from my mentor. That’s the general consensus among relationship experts. That line comes from everyone. Friends, new neighbors, co-workers, and strangers you meet on dating apps that you lay in bed next to after agreed upon sex without attachments or expectations of staying the night. I passed the midway point marker a couple months ago. Nothing changed. Grief has no timeline. There’s no actuary table for heartbreak.

I stopped trying to fuck the pain away with strangers. It just doesn’t work. I’d be lying if I said I still didn’t hope to find her love waiting in the end of every room. I don’t know. I don’t know. But maybe, maybe it’s alright. Or maybe is alright.

What do you think?

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Dating : I haven’t dated (had a girlfriend) before

POF : This girl got shafted by pof