In Every Port

I have this lifelong friend who, in recent years, moved within a commutable distance from me. Geography hasn’t always been kind to us, so we try to take advantage of the situation and see each other whenever we can. On one of her trips to see me, we planned on going to some exhibit and she invited her friends to join us. To be honest, I was a little pissed because I cherish our time together and even though I have met some of her friends and I like them, I also like having our own time. And in this case, the only person who showed up was someone I didn’t even know. I had heard about him before, mostly in reference to his being a recent divorcé and that he was now seeing someone in the town where I lived.

Great, I thought, some friend of hers I don’t even know. Whatever, I could be gracious. Except, of course, I wasn’t. I exchanged the general niceties and then promptly ignored him for several hours. I had a bit of a grudge against him, mostly because he got to see my friend more than I did, but okay, he was pretty cute. Toward the end of the day, we found ourselves at a bar and I tried to be friendly.

I found out he was in the military and in fact, no longer seeing that girl in my town. You could say that we flirted in the way that I told him some of my guy friends have a nasty habit of hitting on me when their drunk and that the only time I had slept with a younger guy, it was the worst experience of my life. Meanwhile, I was drinking, being loud, cursing like a sailor, and fussing over some dude in the bar who kept inching into my space. I really know how to put my best foot forward.

A few days after that fiasco, we connected online in a very nonchalant way. Nonchalant until I realized he was flirting with me. I was surprised, since I had been a total ass to him when we met, but I was also pleased. I mean, who doesn’t like a little attention?

After a few rounds of online flirting, we graduated to text messaging. I hadn’t told my friend that this was going on because I didn’t know how she would react. One night, I finally did mention it to her and she didn’t respond until the next day. Uh oh. She reminded me that the guy, Captain Nibbles, was recently divorced, about to deploy, and probably just playing the field. I assured her that I hadn’t ordered any monogrammed tea towels just yet and that the good captain and I were just talking.

Over the next couple weeks, Captain Nibbles and I started texting each other more and more. It got to the point where we were at “good morning” and “good night” text status. We wanted to see each other again in person, but had conflicting schedules, so it never worked out. Fast forward a couple weeks and he invited me to his farewell party the weekend before his deployment.