Certainly contrary to The Rules, or other such advice about not pursuing men, I sent MTM an email yesterday.  I decided to make one last attempt to clear up the question marks.

Hope you had a fun inauguration weekend.

Also wanted to ask: is everything ok?  I thought we had a really nice connection at brunch, was getting the same vibe from you, and was looking forward to seeing you again…sort of wondering what happened?  If you don’t respond to this email, I totally respect that you’d rather not stay in touch and I promise to not bother you again. 

And here was his response, a few hours later:

Sorry to have gone silent on you. I felt we had a great connection. I’ve been having a hard time in the last few things thinking about whether I know what sort of person I want to meet and what I should expect from the ideal situation. I’ve had second thoughts about a few things, just one of which is whether it matters if a woman already has a kid or kids. I think you’re probably the smartest woman I’ve gone on a date with in a very long time and that we have some very important things in common but I also think that if things went really went well between us, I’d eventually see that we’re a bad fit in circumstantial ways. 
Again, I should have called to discuss this instead of writing an email (and only after a nudge) but I’ve been talking to myself about it a lot. 
I hope you’re not incredibly pissed at me.

I wasn’t pissed.  Just…extremely disappointed.  

Before I got a chance to respond today, I saw him on the bus this morning.  Funny, how I haven’t seen him for weeks on the bus, maybe since before the holidays, but today our paths crossed again.  Weird.

I couldn’t help but smile as he walked up the aisle and stood next to me. 

“Did you get my email?” he asked.

“Yes, I did.  And it’s all good,” I heard myself saying, while inside I hurt so much.  ”It’s great that you’re clear about what you want, rather than getting into something and then realizing that it’s not right for you.”

He was very kind, and funny as usual, and we had a lovely and silly conversation for about half an hour about the Inauguration and telemarketers and seeing the same people over and over the bus.  Perhaps it should have been awkward but it wasn’t, because we have incredible, undeniable chemistry.  

But he has made himself clear: he doesn’t want to be with me because I have a kid.

In some ways, it’s consolation.  It’s not me he’s rejecting, it’s my package.

“I should have been more up front, in my ad…” I offered.

“No, you were, you were up front.  You told me right away.”

It all got me to thinking how I should not have listened to another single mom friend, who assured me that I didn’t need to include my single mom status in ads.  ”Let them get to know you first,” she advised.

If I had not withheld that information in the ad, he probably never would have answered and that would have been that.  But withhold I did, and he answered, and I started to fall for him, and now that’s definitely not going anywhere.

Now that he doesn’t want me, I want him more than ever.  This is an old pattern that I’d like to break. Last night as I was trying to sleep, my mind was spinning with grief for what I might have had with this funny, fascinating, bright, attractive man.

I thought about emailing him back and offering my friendship, or at the very least, jokingly suggesting that we become “bus buddies.”  I sent the draft of the email to a wise friend, who encouraged me to look and see what was behind it.  

Do I really want to be his friend?  

I do, and I could (especially since we never slept together).  I have very few male friends, and I genuinely would like to have some of that yang energy in my life.  

Are there ulterior motives in my asking him to be my friend?  

Yes, I think so.  There would probably always be some submerged desire to get my “friend” to fall in love with me and forget his reservations about my single mother status.

I have no business trying to manipulate someone like that.  No good can come of it.

In the end, I deleted the email from my “drafts” folder and decided to practice some restraint.

Let it be.

I need to respect his decision and I need to let him go, especially since he was never “mine” to begin with. It is merely the promise of something that I mourn.  Damned reckless hope that always fucks me up.  I know better.

If only I could get over the story of how we met, so incredibly cool and random and crazy.  I can’t even be bothered to try to convince myself that something cooler and random-er and crazier is to come.  

Sitting with it.  Sitting with sadness tonight, loneliness, longing, all that fun stuff.  But that’s OK.  This too shall pass, and all that jazz.