Story Sent in by Bruce:
Talia and I met online. I wrote to her first. Her profile essays billed her as an artist who worked in a state government office for her day job. What made me write to her was her stated interest to visit a particular coastal town, not far from where we lived. I wrote to her to tell her that the town she had mentioned was one of my favorites to visit. Our conversation turned into a date.
Our first date was standard: dinner and drinks. It was one of the best first dates I ever had, and we never ran out of things to talk about.
For our second date, I suggested going up to that town together. She loved the idea, and on a Saturday morning, we drove up together, in my car. It was about 50 miles away.
To say that she loved it was an understatement. She went into every shop, looked at every t-shirt, snow globe, key chain, lampshade, pair of sneakers, floor tile, chandelier, and so on. It was as if it was her first day ever seeing such things. Granted, it was a nice town, but many of the things she obsessed over, "Wow, look at these socks! Look how white they are!" didn't seem all that different from the things available back inland.
We went down to the beach and waded into the water. She said, "Can't you see it? The colors? Everything is so much more vibrant here!"
I agreed, "It certainly is beautiful."
She then flopped backward, onto the sand, and let the shallow water flow around her. She said, "I just decided. I'm staying."
"What do you mean?"
She replied, "I'm staying here. Forever. I'm not going back with you."
At a loss, I said, "But you have work and friends and your art and–"
"My friends will visit me, I'll do my art up here, and I don't care about my job. They'll hardly miss me."
"Where are you going to live?"
"Uh, an apartment. Duh."
I asked, "Starting tonight?"
She sat up and said, "A motel or something."
It struck me as impulsive and reckless, but who was I to really judge her? I didn't really know her all that well, and maybe this would be a positive step, despite my feelings that she was being too rash.
We walked up from the shore and back into town. She checked for rates at a few motels and after we had gathered three, she asked me, "Would you mind spotting me for a night or two? I'm a bit light."
I replied, "I don't think so. I hadn't really planned on funding you a couple of nights in a motel."
She said, "Then I'll find another guy to help me out. You're all the same," she said, and walked off, without me.
"Talia!" I called after her, "Are you sure you really want to do this?"
She turned back, said, "Yes," and hurried further away from me.
I went to dinner in the town alone, and returned to my car. I waited there for a little bit, just in case she changed her mind. I texted her, "Everything okay? I'm heading out if you want to come with."
No response came. I left and drove home. I didn't hear from her again, and her profile disappeared from the site soon afterward. I'm glad that she took what she thought was such a positive step forward in her life, although I wish she would've picked a time other than our second date to decide it.
Story Sent in by Bruce: