Then a woman comes in and I recognize her voice; she's a colleague, Joy. I haven't met her boyfriend, and I am happy to now. I introduce my ex, Dave. I happen to know she met her boyfriend on Match. This was years ago. They settle in next to me, happily, and order four appetizers and begin playing the game at the bar, little cards with embarrassing questions.
Then my friend Ellen comes in. With her online boyfriend in tow. We hug and carry on. Introductions all around. We sit at the bar facing forward and drink our drinks, man woman, woman man, man woman. I whisper to Dave, "Everyone at this bar met online. Match." He gives me a shocked look. I finish my martini.
Once, I told someone I was the first Match divorce. They were stunned and curious. I was just kidding. I'm sure there were others, before me.
Back then, you posted one photo. It scrolled down so slowly, like a creaky roller blind. He was the first person who wrote me. I wrote him back before his photo finished unrolling. I wrote him back while his forehead was still arriving. He was great right away.
I don't think we look or don't look for love; the heart is a receptor, always working. In spite of our best efforts to protect or hide it. Love looks for us, regardless of how we orient ourselves.
All the coffees have pulled me into human presence, out of myself. The coffees are like Empathy Boot Camp. The coffees remind me of short stories I can't stop thinking about. I have heard 41 stories of actual lives: lives bungled, misrepresented, frayed, lit by moments of luck or beauty. Lives a lot like my own life. Raw like this, pitched toward me, hope unclenched. I've mostly wanted to run away. I do not even drink coffee. I drink water.
So I am moving through these coffee shops, Leaf and Bean, Beaners, Cuppe Diem, carefully, a strong, clear woman, cool water. I can't help listening to each man with my heart. Sometimes I think men mistake women for nature. But with each sip, I'm closer, I know I am closer, to finding the place in me where love given comes from. And how it is.
Sweet little mysterious sip by sip...
More dating adventures: What another woman learned from her 100 dates