After the Valentine’s day date fiasco, we were, actually, able to get back on a decent page. We would arrange to see each other at least one day a week; always on a weeknight, never on a weekend. I would leave work and take the train; sometimes he would meet me at the train, sometimes I would have to take the bus. On occasion, we would go straight to the apartment. Sometimes he would go on a date; one time, we actually did dinner and a movie. Most of the dates, unfortunately, would end up being a movie then takeout. He had a bad habit of playing basketball after he got home from work, then he’d lay around for hours, and then wait until later in the afternoon to get his hair cut before our dates. He would then want to go home to shower before we went back out. That would leave us very little time, if any, to eat before the movie, so we’d always end up just getting fast food or Chinese food.

Eating fast food became second nature in our relationship. I was (still am) a complete food-lover and he was not. He was quite content with McDonalds, Burger King, and the Chinese spot around the corner. I enjoyed sushi, Thai, and boutique burger joints. He enjoyed the snacks from the corner store while I enjoyed desserts at restaurants like, Chocolate Lava Cake or Tiramisu. Prior to the relationship; I always had control over what I ate because, I ate what I wanted when I wanted. Before we began dating, I wasn’t much of a late-night eater, but once we started to regularly see each other I, like most women do when they enter a new relationship, adapted my lifestyle to accommodate his. I began to notice the pounds pile on slowly and I was not satisfied so I began working out. I wasn’t, by any means, a dedicated gym rat though, I just worked out whenever I felt like it.

At this time in our relationship I found myself having a lot of free time as I would keep my schedule open for whenever he wanted to see me. I got into the habit of asking when we would see each other again. To which he would always respond “I’ll let you know” or “I gotta check my schedule”.  One day my mom asked me to go to Zumba with her and with much reluctance, I finally agreed. I immediately fell in love with it. Not only did it give me something to do during the week, it was great exercise, I met great people and best of all, it was something my mother and I could do together. I took classes Mondays, Tuesdays, and some Sundays. Needless to say, this shift in my availability did not go down well with my guy. I remember calling him on the phone and discussing this with him and his response was “So, now I have to make an appointment to see you?”, to which I was taken aback. There are seven days in a week, if I was only eliminating two of them (since I didn’t always go to the Monday class) there were still five days that we could see each other. I didn’t see an issue with this, especially since we were still only seeing each other one day a week at this point. Later I realized that it wasn’t the amount of days it was that I put a restriction on him. No longer would he be able to call me whenever he wanted and know that I would be available. He actually had to put effort into remembering things about my life.

Around this time (end of March) my family was planning our vacation to Vegas. He and I were still not labeled as a couple but I still invited him to the trip. I told him all the details: when, where, how long, etc. He told me he had to check with the mother of his child to see if his son would be out of school then because that may conflict with his plans. But he assured me that if he didn’t have his son, he would come to Vegas. In addition to him coming to Vegas he mentioned that we should also do a mini trip of our own, which sounded nice. So, I waited for him to set the date, since his schedule was not as predictable as mine was, and confirm the details with me.

I checked back with him a few months later when my family was booking our flights. I asked him if he reached out to his son’s mother yet about the scheduling and he said no and that he would get back to me. I told him that there was a sense of urgency as the tickets were cheap now and we planned to book by the following day. He said that price- wasn’t an issue and that he would just buy his ticket once he knew if he was going. He also added that if he couldn’t stay the entire trip, he would probably just fly down for a few days to see me and gamble bit.

June (my birthday month) came – I got no present as he was in Florida visiting his son and that mini vacation he offered, it never happened. Back in May I had asked my friend, Crystal, to come with me to Vegas. I didn’t want to be a 5th wheel and I couldn’t rely on him to show up so I asked her to come with me. She had just had her baby girl but she was able to pull it off and we had a fantastic time. In Vegas we saw the Cirque Du Soliel- Michael Jackson show, Boys 2 Men, and the Jabbawockeez show. Crystal and I even took a two-day trip to visit her friend in California. We went to Griddle Café, walked Runyon Canyon, walked Venice Beach, and went to Pink Taco. Other than our bus overheating on the way back to Vegas, the entire trip went off without a hitch.

I didn’t see him the first week I got back to New York. He told me he just stayed in the city and that he didn’t go visit his son; which meant he could’ve come to visit me but he chose not to. Over the course of the vacation I had started to hit a road block in our situationship. It had been almost 9 months that we were seeing each other. We never met each other’s family and or friends and we never set a label to what we were. We never went anywhere together, I had to request almost every date we went on and I was often home alone on weekends. In the beginning I was going with the flow but that flow was getting old. I wanted something more reliable, something that would give me butterflies and I was ready and loaded with ammunition to have that conversation when we spoke again. But then, he did something I didn’t see coming.

We were on the phone and he asked when he would see me again. His exact words were “I feel like I have to make an appointment to see my girlfriend…”

He had called me his girlfriend- Eureka! I was finally getting what I wanted; which was to be chosen and taken off the market. All that ammunition that I was ready to fire off fizzled to dust the minute he used the G-word. I was overjoyed to have the label and be someone’s “girlfriend” again. What I would later realize was; a label without contents was useless.

Part 3 Next Week