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The stars had realigned. It was a gorgeous evening in April. All day it had been one of those springtime teasers where you can really feel summer coming. And I was on my first date in over a year.
"I'm not meant for long term relationships," I reasoned. "I love being free."
I didn't remind myself about the day before. Or the day before that. But actually, Wednesday had been okay. I'd dreamed about him the night before, and that got me through almost the whole day. Sick, right? But I needed days like that to get anything done. I felt like my whole life was in ruins, so the days when I could function were golden. But today was the first day in months that I thought I could handle dating. I woke up in a brilliant mood; a peculiar rarity that had me hoping for the best. Maybe something special was going to happen. Maybe this guy would be the one to help me pull through this. They say sometimes that happens.
Chris and Nina.
"Chris and Nina make such a cute couple."
I could get used to that, I thought.
"Cuter than Nina and Danny. That was so weird."
We were early for the movie, so we took a walk in the park to get better acquainted. It was sunset, there were birds in the pond and kids playing on the playground. I couldn't have painted a more perfect picture. Then he went to hold my hand. I flinched when we touched, ready to pull away and tell him that I had a boyfriend. But then I remembered that I didn't. So I let him. I looked down, weirded out by the thought of my hand in someone else's besides Danny's, and braced myself for the guilt to punch me in the stomach. But then I caught a glimpse of something on his right wrist that distracted me. It was five neat little scars, all in a row.
"What's this about," I asked, tracing them lightly with my fingertips.
He blushed and looked down at the ground, as if walking had just become an important mission. But he told me.
"I have one for every person in my life that I've lost. Just my way of remembering them I guess."
"That's really cool," I said, even surprising myself. Since Danny, I'd adopted a no-tolerance policy for self-harm. I hadn't even had a chance to put it into action yet. But I did think this was cool. Maybe I was crazy enough to crave the responsibility of keeping someone happy, even someone like them. Or maybe it was just because the cuts reminded me of Danny. Regardless, I was immediately more drawn to him.
"When was the last time you did it," I asked.
"A while ago."
I thought maybe I should let it go. I sensed some tension. So I said: "Maybe we should head back to the movies now?"
He looked up from the ground, right into my eyes. I knew the kiss was coming. Before Danny, I was an expert at this. There were butterflies in my stomach. I was excited. I was excited to be excited. And then it happened, and there was totally a spark.
And then I wanted to cry.
Maybe this was going to be harder than I thought.