California Dreaming


You should definitely come visit, he texted me only a few weeks after we had slept together the first time. San Francisco was so far from LA, but since I had three weeks off for Christmas, traveling would be no problem. I thought about how much fun we had the last time we were together. I had known Jeff for ten years, and now he was single. The sex was amazing. He had a good job, lived on his own, and we had similar interests. He had boyfriend potential. Maybe I should ask him out on a date? My thoughts began to wander, playing out the scenario in my head. Should I be forward? Play it cool? Do I even ask him at all? What if he said yes? I imagined how the date would go, laughter over wine and a candlelit dinner, back to his place, delicious sex and then waking up in his arms. We would take the dogs for a walk, hand in hand. I’d move to San Francisco, we’d get a place together. He’d introduce me as his girlfriend. But what if he said no? I bit my lip in indecision. The thought of rejection put a lump in the pit of my stomach. Could I make myself vulnerable, put myself out there knowing he could say no? I had to try. How do I grow if I couldn’t be vulnerable? How will I know unless I go for it? It takes me three tries to create a text, erasing and starting over. I finally settle on I had a silly thought. Real award-winning stuff, I know. I press send. My heart races. What do you think about going on a date? I press send again, before I can change my mind. I start at my phone, waiting with baited breath for the ding of a response. The phone vibrates in my hand. I can see the text loading as I peer down at the tiny screen. This text could change the trajectory of my entire life. My act of bravery could begin the story we tell our grandchildren. Great idea his text reads. The butterflies in my stomach change from fear to excitement. I breathe a sigh of relief. My phone dings again. I love casual dates! The message looms bigger than the rest of the texts. Casual. I repeated the word over in my mind. Ideas of our grandchildren slipped away. Cool I texted back. It wasn’t.

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