When I met Parker, I felt like a sandlot player walking into Yankee stadium. I thought, this guy is way out of my league. Not that Parker gave off that vibe at all, but I was a little intimidated by his good looks, impressive graduate degree and intelligence, world travels, cultural refinement and more. So it came as a big surprise to me how much we had in common and how easy it was to connect with him and feel entirely comfortable with him by the end of the evening.
I had just met my new neighbors a few minutes before Parker arrived and told them I was going to a party that evening. When I started loading my guitar and a few other things out of my own car into Parker’s, my neighbor asked if my plans for the evening had changed. I told him that I was headed to the same destination, just in a different car.
The party I told my neighbor about was the annual cheese tasting party my friends, Winter and Lee, host. On the drive there, Parker told me about his life: his mission to Japan, his marathons, his interest in art and music (and his favorite classical composers), his family and more. He also listened attentively while I shared things in turn.
The evening had an outdoor cocktail party vibe to it with italian sodas, mingling with friends, and different hors d’oeuvres and cheeses. Parker made real conversation with my friends- not polite “I’m never going to see these people again” conversation- and I was impressed by his willingness to be present and engage with strangers. And he was funny! On more than one occasion, things came out of his mouth that caught me totally off balance and had me laughing hard.
After the mingling, Winter and Lee initiated the first year of “Cheese Idol” where the guests of the party got up and shared cheesy talents that ranged from dramatic bayou readings to jokes to synchronized swimming re-enactments and beyond. I even got up and played a few songs on my guitar as my friends danced interpretively behind me.
I feel like I really got to know Parker on the drive home, though. He had been watching me all night and seemed to see right through me. Our conversation got really honest. Surprisingly and refreshingly honest. To my surprise, I found myself sharing things with him… personal things about past relationships, insecurities, and fears. He was really open with me too. He said things to me that really made me challenge limiting beliefs I’ve held about myself and that gave me a lot of encouragement.
Whatever ends up happening with Parker, that was a really important conversation for me to have. I feel a lot of gratitude to him for having the courage to be open enough to have it with me. And I have a lot of respect for who he is.
In some ways, when an important relationship in my life has ended, I’ve felt stranded on the side of the road, unable to progress to where I really want to be. These past couple of dates have helped me see that when things don’t work out the way I’d originally planned, maybe there’s still a lot to feel hope and optimism about. Maybe there are other ways to get there. -Like I said to my neighbor earlier: same destination, different car.
And it’s really nice to feel like I’m on the journey again.