I swiped right. “You matched with Tom.” As always when I matched with someone on Tinder I went to Tom’s profile and checked it out. He seemed really awesome and adventurous. His pictures were all of his adventures rock climbing and eating spectacular looking foods. The only thing that made me not super interested was the lack of actual, clear face photos. So I exited Tinder and went on with my day.
2/15 – 3/4
I was listening to music and doing finance homework when I received a Tinder message from Tom. He didn’t give the bland “hello, how are you?” or “what’s up?” “What do you enjoy reading Trey?”, is what he decided to start off with. This sort of intrigued me considering that I am currently reading a very interesting book. So I responded telling him I was currently reading “The Universe In the Palm of Your Hand: A Journey Through Space, Time, and Beyond.” I also let him know that learning about space was kind of my thing. Checking his profile again I noticed that it said he was vegan. Score! I got excited realizing this and immediately started talking about it with him. Tom seemed very excited as well that I was vegan and it started us on the path we were destined to find ourselves on.
For about a month we texted each other back and forth. We talked about anything and everything. For the first time, in a long time, I was truly opening myself to a guy again. It felt wonderful yet terrifying. Now it was progressing into something more with every emoji and every flirtatious text sent. He wanted to meet in person. We made plans twice and they both fell through since he travels for work cleaning windows on high rise buildings. Finally, there was a day for our date to work out. He asked if I wanted to hike on Turkey Mountain and I said yes. We would meet there on a Sunday.
I woke up Sunday morning feeling nervous. So far I really enjoyed this person and I didn’t want it to be one of those things where we didn’t click after we met. I received a text from him half expecting that he was going to cancel but it read “Hello, I’m making Coffee for my mother and then for us and I’ll be ready.” This made my heart skip a beat and I was instantly annoyed by it. I waited around for a bit making sure I Looked decent for a first date. Then I made my way out to Turkey Mountain.
We met at the top parking lot and I noticed that there was a marathon happening. As we got out of our cars to meet each other face to face for the first time, he smiled at me. The way he said hello for the first time felt like magic, I was already hypnotized by him. After about five minutes searching for the right boulder for us to sit on he asked me to take a seat next to him. I thought it was cute the way he kept saying hello to all the runners passing by who were clearly gasping for air. We drank our coffee. He drank his black and I drank mine with the almond milk he so kindly brought for me.
Once the coffee was gone and our minds were now caffeinated it was time for us to explore Turkey Mountain together. He told me stories about his youth, about his job, and about his depression. I shared my own stories about the same things. For hours and hours, we got lost together in the wilderness. He kept telling me what trail we were on and how he loved being out with nature. I also loved being surrounded by the trees and the small bodies of water. When we talked and looked at each other, a smile always crept over his face. He told me my speech impediment was endearing and I shouldn’t be embarrassed by it. When dogs crossed our path he lit up with a childlike magic and I knew my heart was going to fall for him.
About four hours in he asked if I was hungry. I was. We went to Chimera, a restaurant which we both loved, mainly for their large, vegan menu. While we were in line he insisted that I try their breakfast tacos because they were mind blowing. I got the “Teenage Riot” and “Tokyo Eye”, and he liked my decision. As we waited for our food, drinking the cold citrus infused water, he showed me the gorgeous pictures that he had taken of the sky. Our food came out and it looked phenomenal, which it was. He ate a lot for such a skinny man and I couldn’t help but think that this was going so well. After about an hour of hanging out there, he asked if I wanted to hike again. I did. I wanted more time with him. So we went back into the woodland area to explore some more. This time I took pretty pictures of all the early spring time flowers and of the cool graffiti. He found a rock to climb and was explaining the details of how to actually do it. I smiled at him. This was the date I’ve always wanted.
After he was done climbing this rock to the top he told me he’d been trying to climb that one for ages and never could. He seemed to be holding back his excitement and how proud of himself he was. So I complimented him letting him know he should be proud of climbing the rock because I don’t personally know anyone that could do that. It was truly impressive. He blushed and I could tell he wasn’t used to hearing things like that.
Once the date was over we parted ways. I felt like this was the beginning of something magical and exciting. It went so well and I told everyone about it, almost like I couldn’t shut up about it. He made it seem even more exciting the next morning when he sent me a song to listen to and the song was a love song.
I thought maybe our date didn’t go as well as I had thought. Only because now, today, he wanted me to go to dinner with him and his best friend. I agreed. Like, I really enjoyed being about this guy so of course, I agreed. When I arrived downtown to meet up at Chimera again, I was extremely early. So I walked about downtown for about thirty minutes just noticing all the beauty that Tulsa had to offer. Once they got there I headed back to the area where the restaurant was and I saw them through the window. He gave me a huge grin and waved. As I walked over I noticed that they were sitting on opposite sides of each other, so I sat next to him. We ordered our food and had pleasant conversations about the world we lived in. His friend seemed sweet and friendly, almost like we already knew each other somehow. The funny thing about the world we live in is that it’s too damn small sometimes. This girl knew my sister’s boyfriend. They went to school together and she and I bonded over how cool Colin is.
I could tell Tom wanted to leave after our food was gone and we were just sitting there. So, I suggested we stroll through downtown and just get to know each other. It was nice to get to know two complete strangers. The dynamic between these two best friends was odd to me. Honestly, from some of the deep conversations we had about anxiety, depression, and mental states, they seemed wrong for each other. To me, it sounded like they kept each other in those darker mindsets and I felt bad for both of them. Tom asked his friend when she needed to get back since she had to work in the morning. It seemed to annoy her and she responded quite coldly that she didn’t want to be out past midnight.
The clock said 12:04 when Tom asked me what time it was. He seemed super nervous now and told his friend that it was time for her to go home. As we walked back to our cars he wasn’t saying much at all. So, I just talked to this girl who I found interesting but there was something about her that seemed… off. Now at the cars, we were all three standing there awkwardly. Tom decided we should have a group hug and I was irritated by it. The hug for me was strange and I took myself out of it rather quick. After the group hug ended Tom looked at me then threw his arms around my shoulders and gave me a tight squeeze. Over his shoulders, I saw her staring at us. She seemed distraught and upset. I knew I was right. Something was off.
There I was, nervous as ever, and I asked if he wanted to keep hanging out for the night. He said yes. We decided to meet up at Turkey Mountain and I began noticing a pattern with him, he loved this place. Tom had to take his friend home and as I waited for him at 1 am, feeling as though I was going to be ditched. I realized I was being overdramatic when he showed up. He explained that he was late because he got us water, blankets, and flashlights. We walked into the deep, dark forest to start something together.
I found a nice rock for us to sit on and we started talking about serious things. He told me about his parents being Jehovah’s witnesses and how he is an atheist. Now, I don’t believe that people of a certain faith are all the same. I have an amazing, beautiful friend that is a witness but I could tell his experience with it was not hers. He hated it. To me, it sounded like his parents didn’t understand him. And he didn’t understand his parents. He started bawling when he told me this tragic story about himself. Something so awful happened to this beautiful boy and I just held him while he bawled in the middle of the woods. Thankfully things got back to being fun and exciting as we told scary stories to each other and laughed.
I looked up into the night sky and I saw it. A falling star. My mind felt like this was actually happening for me. I found him. Turning my eyes from the sky to his adorable face I said it. “Tom, I know this is just the second time we’ve met but I really like you a lot. I think I could really like you.” Now I was scared.
He looked at me and nodded. “I really like you too, Trey.” I believed him. He followed this with “I’m glad we met, you know, I am.” I smiled at him, I couldn’t help it. I started babbling about nonsense and I couldn’t find the words that I wanted to say. He looked deeply at me and said, “this just feels right. Us. We feel right.” I melted inside. When I asked if he would be interested in another date, he said yes. But he also let me know that his parents can’t know right away. He was out as a bisexual to them but he never dated a guy before. I told him I understood and I still wanted to keep seeing him. Once he said he wanted to give us a try, my face blushed.
It was freezing outside and it was 4:30 am. It was time to leave the dark woods and take ourselves back to reality. Finding ourselves back in the parking lot, I stared at him for a brief moment and I felt happy. Throwing his arms in the air I knew he was signaling me for a hug. He held me tight again, tighter than the last hug and whispered, “thank you so much, Trey, for listening to me tonight.” I kissed him on the cheek. He laughed at me and said, “hey, you could have just kissed me on the mouth.” So I did. I kissed him. It was a sweet kiss and he stopped for a second telling me he was a bad kisser. I grabbed his beautiful face and told him not to be nervous and kissed him under the street light.
Our third date was a picnic date. We met once again at Turkey Mountain. I couldn’t help but think that this place was going to be our place, I’m a hopeless romantic. When he got out of the car he told me I looked cute and he loved my teal pants. I looked at him in his white button down shirt with pink polka dots and told him he looked great. He thought he was overdressed. He wasn’t, he was just fine. Picking a spot pretty close to the trail we set up our picnic area before the sun set. I brought us blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries (which was he and I’s favorite fruit). He told me about his week since we last saw each other. Something felt weird inside my gut. I ignored it.
As the sun was setting and it grew colder he explained to me that he’d never actually gone on a date before. All three of our dates were his first dates. He thanked me for making them fun and interesting. The bad feeling in my gut was growing stronger.
We sat and listened to music as people walked by and smiled at us. He said hello to every single person that passed us. I liked that about him. Now he turned to me and asked if I wanted to go get coffee. I needed some coffee to calm down the storm that was growing inside my head about us.
Taking separate cars we went to Shades of Brown, one of my favorite coffee shops. Standing in line, waiting to order, I thought to myself that this guy loves the same places I love. He is vegan. He is sweet. He likes me. He really, actually likes me. Once it was our turn to order he told me that he was buying mine. Strangely, he told the barista about our date and how much fun it was. I order my favorite item, the Dev Hynes, an iced blood orange, vanilla latte. The entire coffee shop was crowded but somehow he spotted two chairs that felt like they were in their own world. We sat there.
The moment we sat, he said it, “Trey, about us dating, I don’t think we should do it anymore.” My heart cracked. I felt so stupid. I just replied with an okay. He changed the subject as I sat there confused and hurt. We talked like we always had the entire time. Then he noticed I was actually being different with him. “Trey, I like you a lot. I still want to hang out with you. It’s just my parents are a big deal and it’s not fair to you.” I didn’t want to talk about it in the middle of a busy coffee shop. Especially, one of my favorites.
He went to get some water and hummus when my cousin Ashleigh walked by. I never felt so relieved to see someone I knew. She talked to me for a brief moment and then headed back to meet her friend. I felt better. Once he got back we started talking and things seemed easy. He was just easy to be around. Comforting. There was just something about him I couldn’t shake off of me. I never felt this way so fast. Ever.
It was 10:30 pm and we left the coffee shop. I was babbling again and stumbling over my words. Knowing I had to get so much off my chest, I waited until we got back to his car. I stopped under the street light. It was like the moment when we kissed but this time everything was wrong. He looked at me with concern, “Trey, are you okay?”
“No, I’m not. I’m not okay. I really like you a lot”, I started to cry, “this doesn’t make sense.” It started raining and it felt like a sad scene in some stupid, romantic comedy. I asked him to explain why. I needed to know the real reason he no longer wanted to continue the thing we had. All he said to me was “I like you. I like you a lot Trey. I know you have feelings for me. But the parent thing is a big deal. You told me about the guys you dated that could never come out of the closet for you. I don’t want to do that to you. You don’t deserve that. Don’t invest your heart into me.” Then it happened, I started bawling. This wasn’t me. I don’t fall like this. I don’t. What the hell happened?
He told me I was beautiful while the rain poured down, holding me as tight as he could. There was a moment of confusion for me since he said he was no longer interested in dating anymore. The rain was pouring and tears were falling down my cheek. I felt devastated. I felt like the universe truly hated me. So I said “please do not say things to me that you don’t mean. Don’t say I’m beautiful. Don’t say you like me. Don’t say those things to me if you don’t believe them.”
“Trey, I believe them. You are so beautiful. You’re an incredible human being” tears were forming in his eyes.
“This feels like a fucking TV show. This doesn’t feel real. This whole entire thing with you hasn’t felt real since day one”, I said wiping tears off my face.
He hugged me and I slowly back away from him with his hands still on my waist. “Trey, I want you to be my friend. I feel like you can do that. I don’t want you to leave my life. Maybe when I get my own place we can start dating again and we can just be friends until that. I am interested in dating you. It’s just complicated right now. I’m sorry.”
“I don’t think I can be friends with you, but I can try”, I said softly.
“Okay, whatever makes you feel best. I hope you do think about it. Because I already care about you so much Trey. There aren’t a lot of people in this world like you. You’re amazing”, his voice seemed truthful.
I stopped crying like a fool and we said good night. It was the saddest date I’ve ever been on. I’ve never cried in public while cars drove by.
My best friends are amazing people. Paige and Faun are actually so spectacular. We went on a road trip to Arkansas. For me, I just wanted to feel better and not be in Tulsa. It didn’t work. Things got hard. I had to stop myself from crying the whole day. My appetite was dead. Honestly, it felt like my heart was broken.
Facebook is a place where you always find out the truth. As I was scrolling through the daily bullshit I saw it. Tom is in a relationship with Veronica. My heart stopped. Time stopped. The mother fucker was now dating his best friend. The girl I met. The girl who was off. I got it. I understood why it was off. I was hurt. I was confused. It was completely out of left field. Now I felt like I was lied to the entire. Like this was some weird game he was playing with me. This was bullshit.
Once we got back from Arkansas, my sadness still lingered. I felt sick. It sucks when you think that someone actually wants to start something with you and it turns out like this.
That night he texted me, “Did you got to Arkansas today?”
I just stared at the text while Faun told me to respond with “Did you start dating your best friend today?” But I couldn’t be like that. He wasn’t mean to me. They had been best friends for two years and even though he did tell me she had feelings for him, I never thought anything of it. He told me that he saw her like a sister and just wanted her to get passed her feelings for him. He said she always made him feel bad for being interested in other people. Well, no shit, she loves you. I finally texted him back.
“Yes, I did go to Arkansas today. But I need to say something, I’m feeling hurt and slightly confused about you. I know I said I could try to be friends but I probably can’t. I know I only met you recently but I opened up to you a lot, more than I have with anyone in a long time. I may sound kind of crazy because I feel crazy but I honestly really enjoyed you as a person. But since I never went in this as friends with you I’m not sure if I can see you in that light. And seeing that you are dating Veronica now I just, I don’t think I can do that to myself again. It was really nice meeting you and spending time with you. Thanks, I mean it. I hope you get what you want out of life Thomas. Happiness is something everyone deserves and I just do not feel happy with this situation.” I hit send.
Immediately, he responded with “I understand, I hope we meet again at a better time. Goodnight and goodbye Trey.”
And that was that.
I’m sad. My heart was not handled with care. But I won’t let this experience turn me cold to love. I can’t get over how fucked up it all seems.