Hopeful 8 Hopeless 2
Amin was pleasantly surprised when I found him a spot in my schedule that second week of October. My comfort level with him was such that I felt, though our first dates were spectacular in nature, we didn't need to stand on ceremony and could plan something more casual. I thought it would be good to sit down across from him at a table since neither of our meetings had yet taken this format. There were a couple of serious subjects I needed to sit him down and talk about in person (they had been touched upon in certain online chats, but never directly). Since discovering that he was also a chocoholic, I had made up my mind that we should go to the Starbucks at Chapters for hot chocolate, to which Amin heartily agreed.
It was not all that easy to meet him on that day. Like I mentioned in some earlier posts, it felt strange to let him push ahead to a third date ahead of the others. I had also been up late the night before rather agitated and upset and some of that concerned him directly (see Busted for more details). I was trying to breathe as much as possible and put all the concerns from the night before out of my mind. I couldn't help but feel nervous, though, especially since on top of that, I had a difficult conversation to have with Amin.
I met him after my afternoon class on October 11th. We both expected that he would probably arrive first. I was still, however, glancing nervously at my watch, because I was later than I'd hoped. Amin knew that I had given him an approximate time, but I still hate to keep people waiting. When I got to the second floor, though, I didn't see him. I was stunned. I could not possibly have arrived first. I looked again. I checked to see if he had grabbed us a spot. Still nothing. I thought I was going a little crazy. He HAD to be there...
So I decided to browse, or at least look like I was actually browsing until I ran into him. Inside, I was still a little flipped out. Where on earth could he be? I was in the bargain books... hmmmmm... nothing interesting. Then I went, as per my habit, to scan the philosophy section for Blaise Pascal's Pensées. As usual, they had lots of Plato, but no Pascal. Then I tried History. Still no Amin. Good grief, where was he?! If I thought I was out of my tree before arriving, I certainly was by then.
By that time, I was back at the Starbucks, which means I had covered the entire floor. I didn't know what else to do. Suddenly, there he was, saying "Hi". Still surprised, I found myself giving him a hug, which was now officially our greeting. I didn't beleive it. I had seen him without knowing it. I hadn't recognized him in this red, black and white plaid shirt from behind. He confirmed it by telling me that he had been browsing in the religion section: I had certainly seen him. I simply told him that he had been in one of the best sections in Chapters; it was entirely true and I must confess that I was impressed.
We got into the Starbucks line. Just as we were approaching the counter, Amin turned to me and asked me if he could get me my hot chocolate, on the occasion of it being my birthday that week. I knew that it was important to him to take a girl out, so I thought he might play the birthday card to that end. I had thus decided in advance what my answer would be should he do that. I had decided to let him have a turn doing what was comfortable for him, as he had let me do what was comfortable for me. I also reasoned that if he was at the friendship level in my book, it was totally legitimate for him to get me my hot chocolate, because friends can do that sometimes, particularly if it is your birthday. Seeing it in that light made it easier for me to accept and be gracious. I hope I pulled that off.
We got a seat near the window looking out over Saint Catherine street. Instead of sitting across from me, he pulled his chair up right next to me. He said that it was so that he could hear me clearly, differentiate my voice from the background noise. Normally that Starbucks is rather on the quiet side, but I could not successfully argue that on that day; it was rather noisier than usual. Amin added, "I need to hear every word because every word you use is important." I clearly knew too many guys whose philosophy was that women say too many inanities. Even some of the people closest to me kindly remind me sometimes when I am redundant or long-winded. I could hardly believe it: here was someone who was hanging on my every word! Talk about validating. He seemed to understand the concept that each word has meaning and importance and reveals something about the personality of the speaker or writer. I don't know many people who believe this. I was amazed. I would later discover that Amin is not only attentive to such details, but also has a phenomenal memory for them! Stop the press: a guy who actually remembers things! In fact, he remembers so faithfully that his recall exceeds mine at times (and I have always had a very long and accurate memory).
We talked for a few minutes on general subjects. I felt the need to warm up a bit before plunging right into serious ones. However, I also did not have unlimited time, due to another commitment. So I soon began with, "I said I had a few things to tell you..." I knew that I could not wait any longer to tell him about my problematic relationship with my father. From the very first, Amin had referred to me as a "family-oriented person". I felt I really needed to correct this impression. I have family values, but I am not tight with my whole family. It was important for me to say because he very well could have been looking for a girl from a solid family, brought up with good values and who also got along well with each member of her family. It is really important to some people and that is kind of how Amin read to me. So I strongly felt the need to dispel the myth I thought he must believe about my familial relationships. It was also a big piece of the puzzle to understanding my personality and my general feelings towards men, in essence, something that a friend should probably know and that a potential date should definitely know.
I think I was too nervous to be particularly articulate that day. I remember having difficulty explaining myself and often stopping abruptly trying to find words or link to the next idea. Amin was patient and mostly just listened. Finally, he told me that the family dynamics I was describing to him were not unfamiliar and were in fact much like his own. It was such a relief to know that he understood from personal experience what my family situation is like. He was pretty quiet talking about it and his calmness was transferring to me a little. I thought right then that he probably had the potential to teach me how to be calmer about my relationship with my Dad. I was starting to feel less nervous as the conversation continued. Amin reassured me that when he had said "family-oriented", he did not mean that he expected I necessarily had a perfect relationship with all the members of my family. So despite what I told him that day, he still considered me family-oriented. He reminded me of something he had said about my facebook pictures; he had remarked that I was a caring sister, because it was plain to see from any pictures of the two of us. So I passed on this count.
The other thing I wanted to discuss with Amin was vibes. Both he and I had gotten rather agitated while chatting on October 4th upon the discovery that we had both felt the same energy during our first date. He was rather more unsettled, because it was the first time he had had an experience like that. For me it was not the first time and I had vaguely typed something like this once or twice. So I thought I should sit him down and explain to him what that meant and tell him what I had experienced in the past. Doing this could have had one of several outcomes, mainly revolving around whether or not he believed what I had to say. So, at the risk of sounding like I was making something up, or that I was a bit nutty, I told him about my past experience. My goal had been to give him information and explanations to hopefully put his mind at ease. Well, at least as much "at ease" as you can feel when you are experiencing this kind of vibes.
I talk generally sometimes about "getting vibes" from people. This is something that many people experience; they have an instinct or unexplained "feeling" about someone or something. Sometimes, for example, when you first meet someone, you get "good vibes", because you are sensing positive energy from that person, without your even knowing them that well. Conversely, you can also feel strange or have other forms of negative energy when you are around a person, or are in a particular place or situation. Some people argue that these sorts of feelings arise from causes you are not aware of, such as subconscious observation of body language or facial expressions, the tone of someone's voice or their choice of words, etc. I believe, though, that you can get a sense of someone or of their feelings without many or occasionally any such cues. When I was dating Frédérick, I had moments when I could sense energy from him devoid of any cues. I could be at home alone, not hearing his voice on the phone, not reading an e-mail he sent me or anything like that, and yet, I seemed to know what he was thinking about or what he was feeling at that precise moment. This kind of vibe intensified a lot when he broke up with me. I would feel some of his emotions very strongly, so strongly, in fact, that sometimes the sheer intensity would leave me shaking for hours afterwards. When you feel someone else's emotions in this capacity, this is when you cross over to empathing. I do not consider myself an empath, because I do not feel different people's emotions; I only ever received some of Frédérick's. It was extremely unsettling for me, because I never knew when these feelings that were not mine would come and disrupt my day. I sought some advice to at least shield my sleep, so that I didn't have to feel worried about my dreams being invaded. It was not a fool-proof system, but it helped a lot. It took years for these stray vibes to subside.
Amin didn't react too much when I told him the whole of this history. I therefore couldn't gauge too much what he thought. He seemed to be searching for the meaning of exchanging energy or vibes with me. I wished I had a clear answer for him. It is the very question that had been continuously coming back to my mind. The most I could say was that it made me feel that we had met for a reason. What we decided after that was entirely up to us. Our meeting, however, seemed significant and doubtless, I imagined, we were supposed to learn something important from one another. I said something similar as we parted ways that day: that I knew I liked him, but just not how much yet. I didn't know whether these vibes were indicating we were supposed to meet and be good friends, or whether it meant that we were supposed to date. That was a decision I was unsure of.
As you can imagine, such discussions were fairly lengthy and I ended up staying longer than I had hoped. As I mentioned I should head home, Amin surprised me with a birthday present. It was my first and only early birthday present. It was a book entitled Empire of the Mind, A History of Iran. It was just what I needed, because I really knew nothing about Iran and was interested to learn so that I could understand Amin better. I was delighted because it was so very thoughtful of him. It was the nicest early birthday present I had received in a very long time.