Late Thursday Afternoon
I was just finishing up in the office getting myself ready to do some shopping for a gift for Karina at her house warming party Friday night when my father arrived back from being out on the road.
"Before you leave son, I'd like to have a quick father to son talk."
I knew in the past that father and son talks were generally when I had done something wrong and needed some "help" in making the right decision. I had a funny feeling this talk was going to be about Karina.
"Sure," I said not really having much choice for anything else, I just hoped it was going to be as he said it was: quick.
And as expected the talk was about Karina.
"I think Karina has done enough to show you her intentions," he began, "I think if you want this to develop more you're going to need to initiate things."
Ok, nothing that I didn't already really know.
"You need to understand that you really need to be careful in what you do, because what you might think is just playful banter amongst friends may be perceived by her as your intention to get together. You need to be careful that you don't lead women on."
This sent my mind into a strange spin. My father continued talking, but my mind was now a million miles away...
Do I lead women on?
I was now reflecting upon every instance where I could quite possibly have led Karina, or any other woman on, and at every instance I couldn't think of how I would lead women on.
"Hold on," I said interrupting him, "Karina will know if we are dating because I'll specifically tell her that we are going on A DATE. And I've even told her this."
But now my mind was churning again: Is dad saying this because he's been picking things up from mum, who has picked things up from my sister, who in turn got intel from a friend of Karina's?? In essence, is this coming from Karina??
He continued talking, and by the end of our short conversation I was feeling rather flat.
"I kinda feel as though I really shouldn't be attending tomorrow night's party," I said as I left.
"No, no, by all means go, but please be careful on how your actions may be received."
If finding a house warming gift for someone who's place you've never been to was going to be difficult enough, having your head worry about the very things you do and the vibes you emit made it even tougher.
Thankfully Chris was able to help and although we scaled the shopping mall up and down for the perfect house warming gift, it wasn't until the closing bell that I was able to find a groovy plate that caught my attention and would suffice as an adequate gift.
I never knew shopping could be so tiresome. I don't know how women do it!
There was no awkwardness when I returned back into the office the next day between my father and I. I kind of understood where he was coming from in the end. I mean, I don't feel anything for Karina, and I know he knows that (and everyone in here too), but by possibly staying around her and doing the things that we do together she might be getting the wrong impression.
I suppose my father was trying to say that in a polite fashion.
I had a wonderful time at Karina's place. She enjoyed her gift, and I was able to catch up with old friends from Claremont that I hadn't seen in about 5-6 years.
During the night Karina came over and found an available chair beside me and asked whether I was having a good time.
"Yeah, you've got some good friends," I said encouraging her on an effort well done.
As the night began to cool a couple of us moved inside and sat on her comfy couch. While people made their way to leave Karina came over and began rubbing my shoulders each time only lasting a few seconds, but doing it several times.
I didn't respond to it, until with one occassion I made the Austin Powers joke by saying, "Lower". Several people laughed.
When the people I was talking to made their way to leave I thought it best that I probably follow and leave to. So, heading out back into the yard to say goodbye to everyone I eventually came to Karina who seemed a little upset that I was leaving so soon.
As I leant down to give her a goodbye hug I noticed that her eyes were focussing on my lips. I moved closer and closer and closer and could tell that she wasn't looking as though she was going to hug and at the very last minute I knew she was going in for the kiss!
Eeek! What the heck's she doing?
Bail, bail, bail. My mind raced, but it was too late. I tried quickly turning my face hoping she'd catch my cheek, but she ended up getting the corner of my lips.
THEN she hugged me.
"What are you doing tomorrow?" she asked.
"I've got a church picnic to attend," I said.
"Well we can catch up after that if you like, because I'll be at Perry Lakes till 7pm."
"I'll give you a call then," I said quickly trying to get out of there in case she tried jumping me never allowing me to leave her presence again!
On the way home it was difficult to think about anything but the "attempted" kiss.
What is she doing?
In the morning my sister asked how well Friday night went and after telling her everything about it she said that it was time that I took the relationship to the next level: Karina obviously was wanting it!
I agreed, but things still didn't fit right.
"I'll see how things pan out tonight," I said then telling my sister that Karina and I were to meet again tonight.
But firstly I had a church picnic to attend - which went alright, unfortunately I was mistaken about the food as there wasn't any (unless you brought your own!). I also wasn't sure whether I was being had with what my mate said about meeting some chics because there was a wedding nearby and I thought that it was therefore a joke, but when a family rocked up with what appeared to be a single mid-20s female I knew what my mate was talking about.
Most of the afternoon was spent with the kids though and we never really got to talk much, but she joined in as we played some French cricket, threw a frisbee round, and kicked the footy for the kids, and she seemed to have fun.
But my mind was whirring away at other things.
Interestingly though at the picnic I got talking to a mate of mine Mark who has had many dating opportunities in the past, but little success. In fact, he talked about his last date that he had the previous weekend where he took his date on a first date to a movie and apparently half-way through the movie she jumped on him and they passionately kiss for about 10 minutes!
Wow, fast woman!
What perplexed Mark though, was at the end of the night, he wanted to give her a goodnight kiss, but she wouldn't have it!
"It was the weirdest thing Ryan," Mark said to me, "she was over me like a rash during the movie, and then when we leave she gives me the cold shoulder... what the hell??"
Now I don't know the full story, maybe Mark did something wrong, but I do find it rather weird that a woman would passionately kiss a bloke on a first date!
Whatever happened to modesty?
After the church picnic I gave Karina a call and eventually we caught up around 8pm in Subiaco over some Japanese.
The night and meal went along well. Karina talked more about her travelling plans for this year (and for the next) and also threw in once again another case of some poor bloke trying to chase her. She was just like her friend (my ex) Lyndal - loves the chase.
Guys were like a yo-yo to this girl: she keeps them on a string and makes sure that by keeping herself distant (by galavanting across the globe) that they never get a taste. And hey, don't get me wrong, I love travelling just as much as the next person, but I'd much rather travel with someone who's company I enjoy rather than just doing it so I can tell others how much I've travelled in my life time.
So by the end of the night, with her stock price declining, I decided it was time to drop the bombshell.
To be honest I just had to let her know. She had been honest with me and had made her intentions/feelings known (fairly obviously) so I decided it was time to tell her mine.
Here is where the night soured...
"Many months before we met, Jon-Jon told me that he was trying to set me up with you," I said, "he asked whether I had known you from Claremont and he was sure that we had met before, but I insisted that I hadn't."
I could feel my heart beginning to get heavy and my mind quickly shouted, I think you should preface this by telling her that she's probably not going to like what you're about to say next. But my mouth kept going.
"When we met at Jon-Jon's place for the first time my first impressions of you weren't good."
Her smile faded instantly.
Dude, play dead... cough up some wasabi, but whatever you do don't keep going...
I pressed on...
"My first impressions of you were that you were rude and opinionated and I was glad that you were with someone else."
Those words spilled out so heavily that I even struggled to stay sitting upright.
"But," I quickly added, "I soon understood why you were like that because of the person you were with at the time. I knew that you had to be on your guard with him, and I personally believe that we become like those who we date."
I wasn't making the bomb blast any easier to bear and I could see that she was almost going to cry.
When I noticed her reaction I looked down at my hands and thought - What the hell have I just done??
"But you've changed," I said softly knowing at how ineffective it would be.
I tried throwing in an apology, but it just made things worse.
"I don't think I've changed at all since we've met," she stammered.
Whoa! That was interesting.
"I'm... going to go..." she was trying her best to remain calm without getting teary, "can we... get the... uh... bill."
I apologised again, and did my best by offering to pay, which I did. I got up and gingerly went over to the counter to pay.
How the heck do I get out of this one??
When I had finished paying she was outside.
From here she wanted to know why I had such an opinion of her considering that we had hardly spoken that night. It was true, and that was the very reason why we never spoke - I found I hardly got a word in edgewise as all she ever did was interrupt or look away uninterested when I spoke. So after spending 10-15 minutes getting to know HER I just walked away and played with the dog!
Unfortunately I couldn't think. My mind threw up blanks.
I apologised again and reinforced that what I had just said was my first impressions of her and that since I had come to know her how I had enjoyed her company.
"I wouldn't be here if I still had those thoughts," I said.
But anything that came out now was automatically thrown into the waste basket. I decided to go in for the jugular and threw in something completely inappropriate...
"I've been under the impression that you want to take this to the next level."
Heck, I thought, my apologies were falling on deaf ears, and there was nothing I could do - if I'm going down in a blaze of something then I'm going down.
And then she quipped, "No, I just wanted us to be friends!"
Now I was perplexed. I stayed silent in thought for awhile as I pondered upon Friday night's hit-and-miss-kiss, and her very demeanour now - if we are just friends, why are you so upset right now??
I kept silent and softly apologised again.
I felt terrible.
She said her goodbyes, gave me a hug (without the kiss thankgoodness) and even though I offered to walk her to her car she declined the offer.
As she walked away I stood there thinking on how ugly that went: I couldn't remember anything more uglier in my life. When she had crossed the road and was no longer in view I made my way to my car and drove home.
The bombshells then just kept echoing through my head all night.
It was difficult to sleep.
When I awoke Sunday I amazingly felt refreshed!? It was the weirdest feeling and I thought that maybe I was just having a dream. But then I thought, why would I feel bad over someone who I really didn't care that much about anyway??
Oh yeah, but it did feel like a break up.
And that was the weird thing: we were never together!
But I think the way it ended was out of character - I was a jerk. But do you know what? I'm kinda glad I was and that she DID take it badly, because now at least there's finality to it.
After a good bike ride in the afternoon I was able to clear my head and for me everything was back to normal.
I received a text message from Jon-Jon telling me that he had heard that I "bummed out" with Karina the other night. He told me not to worry about it and that it happens, but I quickly sent a message back saying that I was fine.
And that's how the last 5 days have panned out.
I'm just bracing myself for further repercussions and fallouts, but for those that knew me and my opinion about her it was inevitable - I just couldn't date her.
I guess to continue with one of my analogies: I was the yo-yo that yanked myself free - shame I took her finger off in the process and made it all ugly!
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