Wednesday, November 11, 2009

November on State

I don't know what to say about this one, really. I don't know what I think. I can tell a bit of the story though...

It was Saturday night. I had a great new dress on. Karen was by my side. I never play poker, I hate it, but we were at a fabulous Casino Night Fundraiser, and three drinks in, having a blast at the blackjack table. I didn't really care if I won or lost. We stayed at the table for a long time, people we knew and didn't know coming and going from the spots around us. I was aware that a man had come to my right, between me and one of my friend's husbands. A few minutes later, my friend's husband motioned to me, saying to the guy, "Talk to her about Sweden, I think she might even speak a little Swedish!"

The man looked at me curiously, asking if it was true. And there was that familiar accent. I nodded with an embarrassed smile and replied:

"Ja, jag pratar lite svenska." (Yes, I speak a little Swedish)

I thought the guy might fall over. "Är du svensk?!" (Are you Swedish?!) he questioned.

"Nej, jag är amerikan," I said, secretly proud that he couldn't hear my accent, for those phrases at least. We started talking, discussing what he was doing here, my connection to Sweden, and whatever else came up. Our chips lay on the table, bets lost and forgotten, at least for the moment. He was older, that was clear, how much older, I couldn't tell. Wisdom lines around his eyes told me at least that I likely wouldn't have been even thinking about college while he was attending it.

By the time we parted ways later, after my friends and his were all mingling and eating and drinking at Joe's after the event, he'd made it clear that he wanted to see me again. He was here for business, and was going to be gone again in a few days, to maybe return in a month or two. I wasn't sure what I thought about him, but I was intrigued, so I knew I probably agree to hang out again. We said goodbye, and I laughed to myself. State Street in November, you've done it to me again, a different Swede, a new year.

And now, on Thursday, after a couple long dates, and he's gone on a plane back across the world, I can see three missed calls from him. From right before his flight took off. And I just keep thinking about what he said shortly before we said goodbye, he was describing me, to me..."This is what amazes me... You are intelligent, in a scary way. You are strong, and very competitive. You're curious and interesting. And, you're fragile."

"Fragile?" I said, confused.

"Yes, fragile. You care about things, people, deeply. You let them in, and that makes you vulnerable. You're delicate in that way, fragile."

Okay, so... fragile. I am trying to reconcile this with what I was told by a best friend this year, that I'm emotionally strong. I proudly agreed with her, that I'd come a long way and considered myself to have a heart of steel, soft inside but protected and direct on the outside. Am I more vulnerable than I ever admit? Fragile but lightning quick at covering it up? And how did this guy pick up on that?

And what do I do about him, especially when I don't want anything from any man right now? And why do I feel I need to decide what to do... can't I

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