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After exchanging more than 4,000 words with Paul, I didn’t hear from him for three weeks. Then, I received this little message:

“Yo! Are we dining with Michelle tomorrow night for her birthday? I got an invite, but I don’t know where dinner is. Is everyone meeting up somewhere beforehand or meeting at the restaurant. Hope you’re having a good week.”

Of course my first thought was “we? who is we?” The smart ass in me wanted to reply: I don’t what YOU’RE doing, but I’M going, yes. But I didn’t. Of course, I was happy to hear from him. Of course, I loved that he and I were a “we” even if it’s not the kind of we I wish it were. Anyway, I sent a terse reply telling him where dinner was and the time and place (7:30, exit 5) that she and I were meeting. I wrapped up with “I hope you can make it.” He replied, “Glad you’ll be there. I’ll meet you at 7:30, exit 5.” My heart smiled.

So when I got there at 7:30, he was waiting. He looked good. He was wearing a t-shirt and cargo shorts and quality flip-flops. His beard was in too. He looked so good. We were alone. We sat down and decided to wait for the birthday girl who was running late. We got caught up. He went home to attend his sister’s wedding (this is part of why he was M.I.A.). We both realized we’d been hospitalized for several days earlier that year and both felt really lonely. He didn’t tell anyone in Korea that he was in the hospital. I had only one friend visit me. We really connected over this and the loneliness we felt as 30-somethings in a foreign land. I asked if he’d seen any movies lately. He said no, but that he wanted to see the latest Batman film. He actually called it the Batman film. I had seen it but told him that I wanted to again. We agreed to go together. Fifteen minutes passed and we still hadn’t heard from Michelle. We were okay. He was starving and asked me if I still wanted to go eat. Of course I did. I wanted to spend loads of time with him. He made me laugh. He turned me on. He was smart. I suggested we still go to birthday restaurant for dinner.

When we entered, we saw another foreigner waiting. It was obvious she was with the party. My heart sank with disappointment of not having alone time with him. I got a feeling his did too. She told us that Michelle and another partier were on their way. The three of us made conversation. She was very flirty. She seemed to be one of those women who, if she knows you like a guy, she’ll like him more, so I was sure to be aloof. Birthday girl and another woman arrived.

During dinner, Paul and I shared some private laughs over the comedy that was transpiring at the dinner table. Two of the ladies were very flirtatious with him. The woman sitting across from him really couldn’t be bothered. Half way through dinner, I leaned over to him and whispered, “Do you want to see the Batman movie tonight?” He took a cue from my quietness and said yes.  The night went on and the five us decided to walk into downtown and get coffee. The birthday girl asked me if I thought Paul was doing okay with all these ladies. I told her I thought he was loving it. As a group, I started talking about a guy I was dating. I wanted it to be obvious that I was not interested in Paul. I just felt better keeping him in the friend box. As much as I am attracted to him, it just really feels better to have him there.

Anyway, the birthday girl and her quiet friend had to get back to the train station to go home. The chatty, flirty girl stayed back with Paul and me. I really wished she’d leave, but she wasn’t going to. It was nearing 11:30 p.m. and the Batman movie is 2.5 hours. I still wanted to go, but I didn’t want her to go. I don’t know why I did, but I just invited her along. I wanted to stay out with him longer, and I didn’t want to tell her, “Paul and I are going to the movies. Please go home.” The easiest thing to do was to invite her along. It also helped my efforts of seeming like I just wanted to be friends with Paul. I’m pretty sure this has something to do with my fear of being rejected by him. After a few back and forths, we decided not to go because it was too late. She lived on the red line. Paul and I live on the green line. We could go our separate ways. Good. He was going to walk home, so he said he’d walk me which was on the way.

On the walk home, we laughed about several of the things that had happened at the party. We continued talking about this guy who was trying to date me. He even wanted to see a picture. We talked about dating in a foreign land, writing and traveling. We both agreed that we’d love to go to Bali when we leave. He admitted that he thought he’d get bored after a while if he were there alone. It took all of me not to say let’s go together. It was a great fifteen minute, midnight stroll. We got to my place and said good night.

How does a woman who has major sexual attraction to a man make that man her lover if the two of them don’t ever drink together and loosen up or the man is not making a move? Yes, this is on my mind. It has never been this difficult when I knew it was what I wanted. I can feel it. I’m so close. I can grab it. Ugggh.