Chapter 24: The Rollercoaster

The whole week before, we took turns texting each other every morning with a countdown of how many more days before I was there. It was so cute, and whenever he was the one to text me I got more and more excited. Finally, Thursday came and it was time for me to head to the airport.  I made sure I had everything that I needed, had my deodorant and hairbrush readily accessible so I could freshen up after landing, picked out a cute outfit, and went to the airport for my flight to the other side of the country. 

When I landed, after what felt like a three hour walk through the terminal, I finally made it outside to where he was waiting to pick me up. He gave me a kiss right away, and we were both really happy to see each other which I know because he kept looking at me and smiling on the drive back. He drove me to his place, where I met his roommate who seemed really nice. I put my things down, and then we went to dinner. We just went to a restaurant in the mall there, nothing fancy, but I was just so happy to be there with him that I would’ve eaten McDonald’s. He bought me dinner, we talked a lot and caught up from the time apart, I listened to his Boston accent, and then we went back to his place. 

I’ll spare you the intimate details, but I will just say that what happened when we got back wasn’t like anything I’ve experienced with anyone else before. It felt like it’s supposed to feel like. It was different, and exciting, and I felt closer to him than I’d ever felt to anyone before. It felt like all that again when he woke me up in the middle of the night for more. (I wasn’t complaining). 

Arizona views.

The next morning, he took me to breakfast at a coffee shop not too far away and then he took me to his mom’s place to meet her dog, Boxer. I can’t remember if it was at dinner the night before or at breakfast, but we were talking about astrology and I was trying to tell him about moon and rising signs and he texted his mom to ask what time he was born so I could see how our birth charts matched up. I thought that was super cute that he did that just because it was important to me. 

That day, we were supposed to go hiking but the weather turned out to not be great, so instead we just went to the mall and walked around. I helped him pick out some new things at lululemon and honestly, I had so much fun. Again, I just liked spending time with him. We went to the grocery store, too, and got some wine just because we liked the label, we went back to his place and cuddled for a bit, and then he had to go to a client so I hung out at his place watching Jurassic Park (and cleaned, because it’s me) before getting ready to go to dinner. 

We went to this really amazing meatball place and I thought it was so funny because he suggested that we print out the menu beforehand and pick out what each of us were getting earlier in the day so we could be prepared and make sure we both got everything we wanted to try, either in our own order or by sharing. It’s exactly what I do before going somewhere new and I loved that he did it, too. I also caught him doing cute little dances and things while he was getting ready or even just doing stuff in the kitchen, and I kept thinking that his weirdness matched mine perfectly. I also remember when we were walking back to his car after dinner he got mad at himself for not walking on the outside of the sidewalk at first and made me switch, which made my old-fashioned little heart so excited. 

The next day, Tony had to go to a client in the morning but brought back Dunkin’ Donuts for me so that we could go hiking, which I was extremely excited about but also kind of nervous since this would be the first big hike I’d ever done. But, I really wanted to impress him and show him that I was willing to try new things and learn to like the things that he liked. Before we went on the hike, though, we stopped at a sporting goods store because he wanted me to teach him how to play tennis. We each got a racket and some tennis balls, and we decided that if we didn’t get to play after the hike, we’d play the next day before I had to go to the airport. We made it to the place we were going to hike, Pinnacle Peak, and started off.

Hiking Pinnacle Peak.

Honestly, it was really tough at times especially because my little humidity dwelling self was still getting used to the dry heat, but even he kept commenting on the fact that I did the whole thing with a smile. Even when it was tough and I felt like my legs were going to fall off from all the inclines, I refused to complain or anything and kept trucking along. When he accidentally threw his water bottle over a cliff while stretching early on, I immediately offered to share my water with him even though I knew I was going to need it later. We talked to a couple of people on the way and they’d comment on the fact that we were cute together, which I know made me really excited, and near the end when I asked him if he’d take a photo of me to prove that I’d actually made it, he was the one to stop a girl and ask her to take a photo of both of us, and he took it on his phone because he had the better camera. 

We talked a lot on the hike, too, and this is where the rollercoaster thing started to come into play. Tony was telling me how excited he was that I was there, but then he’d talk about how he doesn’t think he’s ready for a relationship. We talked a lot about making compromises and things in relationships, like having someone “complement” but not “complete” you, and I actually thought we saw pretty much eye to eye on a lot of those values. He told me a bunch of times that it takes him a long time to decide how he feels about someone, and I said sometimes that’s the case for me but other times I know right away (like with him). So he was saying all these things that made me think, “Okay, maybe he isn’t going to ask me to be his girlfriend on this trip, maybe I just have to be patient, that’s fine,” but then, he would say again that he was happy I was there. Or, there was a point where he confirmed that I was on birth control, which I was, and replied, “Good, so we can keep doing that” – alluding to the fact that we were, let’s just say, taking some risks – and then telling me, very clearly that “that was something he had only done and would only do with girlfriends.” Which to me meant that he was thinking I was girlfriend material and someone he was willing to take that risk with, like I felt towards him. I even told him that, that I’m usually a VERY safe, over-protected person when it comes to that, so it was a big deal that I was willing to be risky with him. He also made comments about other places we could go hiking on future visits, that he hoped we could house sit another time, and talking to me about how he thought he’d be moving back to the Boston area soon. 

So, yes, some of this was a bit confusing but honestly to me, it mostly just sounded like he was kind of afraid of admitting his feelings and was trying to mask them but also giving me hints that he was interested in me so that I didn’t give up on him, if that makes sense. I get being afraid to admit feelings – it can be extremely scary – so I really thought that some of it was just self-preservation and, maybe kind of naively, I was much more focused on all the things that did sound like we were heading in the direction I really wanted to be in. I was absolutely starting to fall in love with him, and I was willing to wait for him to be ready for a relationship – something I swore to myself I would NEVER do again – because most of the things he had said to me really did sound like he could at least see himself feeling the same way about me that I felt about him at some point in the near future.

After the hike, we went and split a burrito and then went back to his place. Originally we were just going to hang out for a bit but then he decided to teach me how to play golf on this little mini-course in his condo complex. It was so cute how excited he got when I listened to him and started to actually get pretty good. It was one of the sweetest experiences I’ve ever had with a guy, he was having so much fun teaching me and I was having so much fun letting him. He was so proud of me. Again, I felt like he wouldn’t be teaching me how to golf – something he does nearly every weekend – if he wasn’t thinking about taking me golfing with him sometime. We had a really great time, I even beat him in one of the games, and then we went back to get showered and changed before hanging out with his friends that night.

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