We met on a dating app, I don’t recall which one. I was interested because she was cute and she worked at the company that made the children’s song; the one you know even if you’re not a parent, and you probably despise if you are one. We messaged back and forth a bit, for maybe a week, not really about anything. Sometimes the conversation builds on itself and sometimes it spirals into nonexistence and sometimes it just exists and both people continue to participate, maybe just for something to do.

It was 9pm on a Wednesday when she asked how my day was and what I was up to. Then:

“Can I come over and hang?”

“Sure, come on over.”

My address.

An ETA.

You can have expectations about these things, but I’ve learned it’s mostly better not to. She showed up and I don’t think either of us knew what to do with each other. She wanted water, not wine. I was too tired to be charming.

We sat on the couch and talked for about an hour. The more time went on, the less of an agenda I could muster. I didn’t desire her, and didn’t feel any desire for me in return. But her tongue piercing and her accent combined in a such a silly way I just wanted to hear more words. And there was an allusion to an old drug habit, the productive kind, not the party kind. She made me curious. The lack of desire made me curious. Can you do this, from a dating app? Just sit on a couch and listen to the other person say nothing for an hour?

She handed back the empty water glass and told me she had quit smoking years ago, but asked if she could use my landing to light up. I put on flip flops and joined her outside my door, watching in silence while she talked about stress and smoking and I enjoyed knowing she wasn’t supposed to be doing that here. When she was finished she grabbed her bag and left. I think we hugged.

A week later she asked to come back. I was happy to have more company, and welcomed her. I poured her a glass of water without asking this time, and she lit up without asking in return. I learned little details about her job, her cousin, that I had no opinion about. I learned that she wanted to work less this year, to connect with people more. She didn’t ask about my life.

She told me she had gone through a breakup recently, and that it was nice to have someone she could sit and talk to again. I agreed and she left. We probably hugged again.

A week later she invited me out for gelato, but I was already out with friends. She had had a rough day, she said. I told her mine was good, that dinner and dessert with friends had worked out. It was unclear if the bigger betrayal was me being busy, or me having a good day.

It didn’t occur to me to ask if she’d like to come over again, and she never did. I wonder if she would. I would enjoy watching her smoke.

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