The following week crawled by for Todd. Lindsey was away on vacation and he was having a difficult time sleeping. Waking in the darkness of almost each night. Stumbling around in an anxious fog with little knowledge of what to do with himself. In those moments, he would venture onto social media. Looking for anyway to bring pattern to a life not making sense at the moment. Todd found little with those late-night logins, other than Lindsey. He would find her logged in and sitting idle. It became a sign for him of her security, wherever in the world she might be. He knew it wasn’t healthy to be looking in the middle of each night, but the process was providing some comfort. He would leave the computer and fall back into bed. Most nights drifting back into sleep easier. The days crawled by, waiting for her to return home. They had agreed to get together again following her vacation. So, Todd did his best to occupy his time. There was the blog to continue writing, his physical training needed maintaining to help the disability, and he spent time with family. There was no word from Jason, which he thought was just as well.
Todd knew when Lindsey would be returning from her trip. It would fall on the following Sunday and even though he looked forward to her return, the anxiety persisted. It seemed her relationship with Phil was experiencing shaky ground. There was insinuation that this trip found their dating life hanging in the balance, but Todd couldn’t be sure. So, on Sunday when he knew of their return flight, a feeling of peace encompassed the day. He didn’t want to reach out on that day of return, Lindsey probably had a million things happening. Not to mention how tired she may be from the vacation. Todd decided to wait a day or two before reaching out. Giving her time to settle back into being home. The plan of waiting two days didn’t work out as planned. Todd couldn’t hold out any longer and on the following day from her return, reached out to Lindsey. He texted her, wanting to know if she had made it home safely and how the trip played out. Todd also asked if she would like to have dinner. The response came back positive around the trip, but remained challenging to interpret. Lindsey felt having dinner together was a good idea. She requested they wait a couple weeks, as she planned to visit her dad the following weekend. Todd wished her a safe trip and they agreed to have dinner in a couple weeks’ time.
The night had finally arrived for dinner with Lindsey. As a turn of surprise for him, she had chosen the restaurant. She wanted somewhere neither of them had been. Creating something special for the two. However, Todd had some apprehension around the evening. He was having trouble with understanding their relationship dynamics at this juncture. She had referred to the trip as being positive, but what did that mean about her relationship with Phil? The dynamic with Anna and Jason continued to swirl in his mind. The whole situation was fogging his ability to process emotion. The situation was becoming very foreign to him. Todd arrived to pick up Lindsey on a blustery late November evening. She looked strikingly beautiful with her blonde hair pulled back in a pony-tail. He couldn’t find the words to articulate the beauty he was seeing before him. Todd opened the passenger side door, as Lindsey climbed in and got situated. They made the twenty-minute drive to a little Italian restaurant. She talked about her trip with Phil, the news catching Todd slightly off guard. The trip didn’t sound completely full of roses, as they found the small village housing the restaurant and pulled in to park.
There were a dozen small shops spread over a relatively large area. It was challenging in the darkness to locate their destination within the unique village. Lights were strung around the exterior of each building, celebrating Christmas time, just a month away. They walked through the festively decorated village in search, which would have been enjoyable in another circumstance. The weather was making their walk a bit uncomfortable. With the cold of November and mist falling all around them. Todd hadn’t thought to bring an umbrella. He could see his date struggling with the rain falling in her face. They continued walking side by side until Todd stopped in a moment, “I don’t have my wallet,” he realized.
“It’s fine, let’s keep going. Where is this restaurant?” Lindsey wondered.
“It’s in the car.” Todd remembered, grabbing for Lindsey’s hand to head back for the car. He turned to lead her back in the direction they had come. But, Lindsey didn’t budge, so Todd pulled with a little more firmness. When he heard the click of her heels, he relinquished the tension in their arms. Todd looked up to see into a window. There was Santa with children getting their pictures taken and explaining their wish lists. However, in that moment, the people inside where looking out at the unhealthy scene he was responsible for. Todd’s heart sunk in a way he had rarely felt during his life, turning around, they began walking again on their continued search. After a few steps, the connection of their hands was dropped. Lindsey, visibly upset, quickened her pace to create space between herself and Todd. He followed, still in shock over what had just occurred. Todd trailed through an empty parking lot bordering the highway they had turned from to enter the village. Around the corner, they ventured in the cold darkness, as Lindsey suddenly spotted the restaurant. Her gait slowed for Todd to rejoin her side. He found position along her outside shoulder, she latched her arm with his, and they walked down the hill toward dinner. Todd, felt they would make it through the evening, as Lindsey’s strength of making the best of a situation shined. But, he knew what had just occurred, wasn’t acceptable.
The proceeding week was accompanied with a haze of sleepless nights. Todd struggled to understand what had happened. The one thing he knew was the mistake he had made. Going through his mind was how significant that mistake might have been. The situation came up with people he trusted with his life, who provided some comfort. They focused on his ability to let Lindsey’s arm go when he heard the click of her shoes. Not continuing to make attempts at forcing her movement. It was well meaning advice, but didn’t seem to be aimed at one key element. Todd, felt he should have never placed her in the position to begin with. Still, their counsel seemed directed at helping him understand his own feelings. He often fell into the trap of looking at things more dramatically, but as the days wore on, he struggled coming to peace with this. He had simply wanted a reason to reach for her hand that night. In his mind, it seemed a good reason. The idea had back fired however, turning into an uncomfortable circumstance. With any luck, he would be able to learn things from the experience. Todd dealt with the sadness of feeling any kind of spark with Lindsey had most likely been extinguished. But, he did want to apologize before letting the space between them settle.
After a couple weeks of processing, Todd reached out to Lindsey. The time had come to apologize for what had transpired. He had placed Lindsey in many situations that night, not conducive to making her feel special. He’d concluded, not only was the pulling episode wrong, you shouldn’t be forcefully trying to move a woman anywhere. He had also left his wallet in the car, boxing her into a corner of picking up the tab. As if that weren’t enough, there wasn’t an umbrella to shield her beautiful smile from the cold winter mist. For all of these actions, Todd found himself in regret. When he reached out via text, he found a hesitantly receptive Lindsey on the other end. She agreed to have dinner, but wanted to keep it casual. So, a plan was in place for the upcoming Friday night. With Lindsey’s agreement to have a casual dinner, Todd was left to work through his thoughts. He wasn’t sure at the time if getting together again would be a possibility. The word casual seemed to signify their dating had ended and Todd guessed there would be some ‘facing the music’ to do, which was well deserved. He would be thankful to see her again and be given the opportunity to make things right. As right as he could make them.