the question

“Ugh! Why did I agree to do this?”

I cursed under my breath as I stomped around the hotel room, tossing dirty clothes into my overnight bag. Laura and I were packing to go home after a rejuvenating weekend retreat. Twice-a-day yoga sessions, meditation, immersion in yoga philosophy and deep breathing had left me with a new-found sense of inner peace and serenity. My chakras were aligned, negative energy released. I was at one with the cosmos, glowing with goodwill for all humankind. 

In fact, I was pretty much fully enlightened.

Until I checked my email.

“ARGH! This Kate person wants to meet me! Crap! I don’t want to go on a stupid blind date! Have I shown you her Facebook profile? She looks so wholesome. Boooorrrring!”

Damn. There went my chakras. 

“She’s from THE MIDWEST!” I exclaimed in horror. “What will we talk about? It’s going to be totally awkward. What a stupid waste of time!”

“Uh huh,” Laura grunted from the floor, as she stretched her arm under the bed to retrieve a stray sock.

“And she has A KID! I don’t even like kids,” I went on. “I have less than zero interest in parenting, and —”

Laura stopped me mid-vent. “Ok, fine” she interrupted impatiently. “You’re afraid she’ll be boring, you don’t like that she has a kid. But what are you looking forward to?”

“AND FURTHERMORE …  wait, what?”

“What are you looking forward to? About the date? There must be some reason you agreed to meet her.”

“Uhhh … ”

Laura waited, eyebrows raised.

 “Well, Mar is convinced we’ll be great friends, if nothing else …”

I paused, thinking back to my dear friend’s insistence that I meet Kate. I had been terribly resistant. Even before I knew she had a kid. Before I knew anything about her at all. It’s not that I didn’t want to date Kate, specifically — I didn’t want to date anyone.

And yet, some small, hopeful part of me had nudged me to finally agree. 

“I guess I’m just scared,” I admitted, feeling a little shaky. “I don’t remember how to date. It’s been ten years. I’m still getting used to being single. I’m not sure I’m ready to get out there and try.”

“Makes sense,” Laura nodded as she tossed the retrieved sock into her bag. “And maybe she will be boring and stupid. Maybe her kid will be a jerk.” Then she flashed me a brilliant smile. “But what if she turns out to be someone you really like?”

– from my upcoming book, Things in my Pocket: Adventures of a Formerly Reluctant Parent

Kate and V three weeks after the first date

 

Veronica Beck

Veronica Beck is a technical writer, blogger, and formerly reluctant parent.

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