I finally met Thomas after a week of trying to fix something and failing. I was at Queens for formal before, and so suggested meeting at Hotel du Vin because it's quiet and close to Queens. The dinner had ended a lot later than I'd anticipated and I ended up having to leave the dinner early because I was already 15 minutes later than our agreed meeting time. It was a bit weird to be the first to leave a formal but at least there were no fellows and whatever there.
Anyway, when I was approaching Hotel du Vin, I saw a familiar car - a black Mustang, its flashiness unmissable even in the darkness of the night. I stood by the driver's window and saw that it was him. A few seconds later, he looked up and noticed me. As I waited for him to get out of the car, I felt this anticipation, this excitement, this smile creeping up on my face. He gave me a hug and we made our way to the bar.
I had a bit too much wine at the formal. It was a proper formal dinner: white wine, red wine, dessert wine, and red wine again. I finished everything except the white, and even had a top-up of the first red wine (it was really good). The wine had wiped from my mind half the things that I wanted to say, so when we sat down next to each other and moved past the small talk, I managed only to apologise for the text message that I sent and explained why I was so quick to cut it off. Everything else - whether he's seeing other people, what his expectations are, what he's even looking for - fell away, to be forgotten until the next morning when I woke up in my own bed.
But we did sort of talk about the obvious obstacle: his impending departure. He actually didn't give me a lot of hope that he thought this would work. He said he didn't think long-distance relationships worked in this day and age, more so because there's no definite end time in our situation. He said that I would still be in Cambridge when he leaves in September, and because I'm smart, attractive, social, etc, I would sort of be held back by having someone who is all the way in the US. Essentially, I think what he'd meant was that I might meet someone else. And then he said that he'd be in his new post for three years. Three years.
He also said that one option for people in such a situation is to just date for the remaining of the time that they have together and make a clean break. My immediate reaction? 'Nope. Can't do that.' Thankfully he seemed to feel the same way. Too messy, he said. It'd never work.
And somehow, we moved past this discussion and agreed to keep dating - but the problem is, he agreed to something that I said, and now I don't remember what I said exactly. It was something along the lines of, 'Shall we just keep dating and see what happens?' Way to go to make my expectations clear, to make explicit that I do not expect him to leave me when he leaves, just like that; that I expect him to make a serious stab at making this work if we don't implode in the next weeks or months; that I am looking for a serious, committed relationship, and I won't settle for anything less. So after he said, 'I can't say no to that [just keep dating and see what happens]', we moved on to other things altogether and did not revisit any of these things.
But I was so distracted by him. When I told him that I was feeling cold and didn't want to wear my coat, he'd finally moved closer to me and I held on to his arm - his very strong arm - and rested my head on his shoulder. I was distracted by how nice that had felt; distracted by the feeling of my hand in his, and the simple thrills of feeling his fingertips lightly tracing the length of my fingers. And so I'd forgotten all the important things - especially the issue of exclusivity.
I mean, I am pretty sure that he's not seeing anyone else, but this is based on nothing but a flimsy sense that he's not, which is in turn based on an even flimsier sense that he's not that type of person. Normally I would trust my intuition, but I have become rather sceptical of it and need to know for sure, for clarity's sake, whether I'm the only person that he's dating. Such an important issue and I'd completely forgotten. I really should have written down the things that I wanted to say and talk about because I'm such an idiot when it comes to thinking on my feet about the important things.
Well, at least now I know that he likes me. He also didn't seem angry or upset about my text message, even seemed understanding; I didn't know what he was doing, he said, when he didn't reply to my message.
My favourite moment of the night was when we argued about the oxford comma. He had this anti-Brexit leaflet from when he attended some Brexit debate at the Cambridge Union. He read out one of the sentences and said, 'Where's the oxford comma?'
It may or may not be apparent that I don't use the oxford comma very much. I use it when it's clearly needed for clarity; but not when a sentence contains three clearly distinct items. (I have never formally learned grammar so I don't know the technical terms.) I don't like the look of a comma before a preposition so I don't use it when it's not absolutely necessary. So I joked, 'We're in Cambridge. We don't use the oxford comma here.'
He then started getting into why it's necessary and how he was taught in the US to use it. I just kept repeating that the sentence contained three clearly separate things, and after a while, he gave up - and hit me lightly on the head with the leaflet, laughing.
It was so cute. Is it not obvious that I really like him? He's funny, intelligent, even has a nice American accent, and he is so tall and so strong. How could I not find that attractive? When he dropped me off, I kissed him with more fervour and intent than before, and I left him with, 'I hope that cleared up any confusion on your part', referring to his misconception of my lack of attraction to him.
This morning, he told me that I was a tease. I can see where he's coming from, and I'm certainly not doing it on purpose, and I would definitely like to sleep with him; but like I told him, good things come to those who wait. Not to mention, and as I have learned over the past week: patience is a virtue.