When I returned home from the trip I could not have been more excited to see my babies, get back to work and resume some sense of normalcy. Work started to look up for me in more ways than one. I was now twenty-six and starting to move up the ranks at the old job. I was moving and shaking and apparently someone caught a glimpse of my shake if you know what I mean. It started out very innocent, doesn’t it always? We would do lunch, flirt in the halls and then a drink once or twice after work. I found him intriguing in a way I had not known before. He was older than I. Much. Much. Older than I. He was fifty-six years old. Now a days, that wouldn’t strike me as old at all, but at twenty-six I felt a security in his age. I would assume looking back I needed the security, the safety that he could offer. Soon it went from drinks to dinner to an overnight to every Wednesday night at his place. That was the only night I didn’t have the kids. I would leave work, drive into the city and park my car. I’d arrive at the doorman and at first it felt as if I was the Wednesday night hooker call and then as time passed he would call me by name and offer to get me the elevator or hold the door or say things like “He’s expecting you” and “Why don’t I see you more often, you’re all he talks about” We would listen to Jazz and Diana Krall and drink fine wine and go to galleries and movies and parties thrown by his friends in publishing or advertising. He would push me up against cars and kiss me and buy me flowers from the Bodega down the street. He would bring me coffee every Thursday morning. I don’t know what it is about the significance of someone making you a cup of coffee, but there s something so sublime about it. Something that makes you feel wanted, needed, cared for. I would still be in bed, covered with count sheets, in a dark room with rich woods and colors and he would appear and hand me a cup of coffee. That act alone made me respect him more than any man I could think of at that point in my life. Every window in his upper east side apartment over looked the Tri-Borough bridge and it was breath-taking. He also had a house upstate and we would go for the weekend now and then, but I was more a city mouse than a country mouse although I loved it both places. I could listen to his stories for hours. I’m some of them were exaggerated, but I didn’t care. Stories about the Army, about the Playboy Mansion, about Advertising in a time that was basically the Mad Men era. It was fascinating to me and I felt alive, respected, loved. So what happened right? Do you know what it’s like to bring home a fifty-six year old black man, albeit distinguished and well read to your parents? It is nothing short of insane. My parents, being the ever accepting, loving beings that they are, never batted an eye. There primary goal for me was always they wanted me to be happy, whatever, whoever, however that could, that’s what they wanted. I didn’t believe that I needed to find happiness in myself before I could have someone compliment that in me. I was looking for the one to make me happy. So we got as close as putting an offer on a house together. And by together I mean I had there with him and he would buy it. We put the offer in and sat at my house while we waited and a discussion about kids ensued. I wanted more kids. He did not. I’m not even sure he wanted the kids I had. Why did I not know this? How are we discussing this now? Seems like something I should have known prior to buying a house together! We yelled and I cried and he called the realtor and recalled the offer. We would not be buying a house, we would not be living happily ever after. We would not be splitting our time between three places and spending our alone time in the city I loved so much. I know it now and I think I knew it then…I wanted to be taken care of. I was tired. I was broken. And I just needed it to work. This is where my subconscious mission started. To find THE guy. Like in Jersey Shore: The shirt before the shirt? No more guy before THE guy. I wanted THE guy! I wanted to prove to myself and my family that I too could hold a long-lasting relationship. But the question still remains: How many guy before the guys need to come along before you meet THE guy?