The concert ended and we mingled with some people we knew there. Tim introduced me to his Kansas City photographer friends, Dave and Jessi who are wedding photographers with the Smiley Face Collective. He had met them on the Don't Give Up workshop they all attended. Incidentally, Dave and Jessi's blog was how I found Tim in the first place, but somehow that didn't come up in conversation on the night of the Christmas concert. I really enjoyed meeting them, and especially appreciated that they didn't ask any questions about what we were doing and where Tim was staying and why he was even there. They were just happy to see him and wanted to hang out, so I invited them over for brunch the next morning. The name of my game was still to surround us with a buffer of other humans until further notice.
When we got home from the concert, we made small talk on the couch for a while. That conversation is lost on me now. I think it involved youtube videos, stories about our parents, and eating M&M's from the candy dish. I think we were both eager for a break from the work of getting acquainted with our real life selves and happy to have some privacy and rest. I showed him to his guest room and then retired to my own room.
I distinctly remember feeling bitter against the culture of dating and all the hoops it made me jump through. Meeting potential suitors on the internet, for goodness sake, and having them drive 8 hours just for us to size each other up. It was tiring and uncertain. I went to sleep having no idea what the next day would hold.
December 5th dawned bright and cold. I went to work in the kitchen getting food ready for our little brunch party. I invited Graham over as well, so that made 6 of us. Pretty soon the house was filled with friends making easy conversation, all getting to know one another, and I had the opportunity to fade into the background and quietly take in their conversation. This put me at ease and took off the pressure I had placed on myself to produce conversation rather than listen and learn about the kind of person Tim was. I started enjoying myself and getting comfortable being around him.
I wanted Graham to be there and get to know Tim specifically because I needed a trusted male friend's opinion of him. I wanted to watch Tim interact with a new guy in the room and see how he acted in that situation. I know that men have this secret man language they speak with their eyes, and I wanted to be able to talk to Graham later, privately, about his impressions of Tim. This may sound manipulative and sneaky of me, but let's just remember: stranger from the internet. That is all.
[sidenote: I'm still really glad I did this. You should do it too when you meet someone from eharmony.]
Tim and Graham talked about taxes and their own small businesses and other entrepreneurial jargon that made them sound smart and responsible. They did the secret eye thing and came out friends, which I liked. Dave and Jessi brought laughter to the room. Anna and I procured crepes, fruit, and bacon.
I love this picture that Dave snapped of Tim and Jessi right before we sat down to eat together.
We had a wonderful time, and when everyone left to go enjoy the rest of their Sundays, I wasn't nervous or uncomfortable at the idea of being alone with Tim anymore. He asked me if I would show him Kansas City and proposed we go out to take some pictures, just the two of us, and I really did want to go.