Weekly Wednesday Flash

First flub: we were traveling yesterday and, well, when busy with important business, things get lost. Sorry!

Here is my offering for Wednesday, November 14, 2019, sheepishly published on Thursday, November 15.

Today’s Weekly Wednesday Yesterday Flash:

Merlins in Winter

What are the odds of dating two men named Merlin at the same time? Not very high, I would guess. Especially for me, a widow of many years, who in a bout of overwhelming loneliness and prodded by my twice-divorced best friend, decided to post a bio on a couple of dating apps.

Winter seems to be a busy time on dating sites. Maybe it’s the holidays or the dark and cold that bring people out of their warm dens to hunt for company. After going on numerous uncomfortable coffee dates at an agreed upon and convenient Starbuck’s—my friend tutored me to turn no one down from what I saw on print—particularly photographs that were probably ten years old—I was going to throw it all up. Why bother with meeting strangers with the same agenda in their heads as yours, and an entire roster of expectations likely to never be met and a definitive lack of chemistry?

So I stopped looking at my results and stopped having those stupid interviews over a double-shot short latte, had drinks with friends, went to see Hamilton, visited my sister and her children for the holiday, and did the Christmas Bird Count. Then one day something intriguing happened, in the aimless depths of January, with the Garden show being three weeks away and my trip to Mexico a week after that. On an app I had lost track of because no one had responded to my post and I sort of forgot about it when I turned off notifications on my phone, I got a hit.

He said his name was Merlin Frank. He was 50 years old, height-weight proportional, a consultant for a big name theater company and a widower for five years.

His photo was nice: trendy glasses, a trim salt and pepper beard, blue eyes and a friendly smile.

Ah, forget it. It’s not worth it. Another trip across town for another latte—although I could get a cappuccino.

He answered my return text the next day. We set up a date for the upcoming Saturday, downtown, at a Starbuck’s near the big theater where I saw Hamilton.

Already the dread set in; having to get the light rail on time, what do I wear, how long before I excuse myself, blah, blah, blah.

That same evening, I got another text, from the same app. This one was from a man named Merlin Radke.

Of course I thought it was the same guy, maybe using a different phone number or account, and of course I was a little annoyed. We had a date set up, dammit. I don’t need to communicate with you every day!

But I read his bio anyway, and realized this had to be a different guy: thirty-nine, height-weight proportional, a manager at a recycling company, and a widower for six years.

What a bummer to lose his wife at such a young age.

His photo also was nice: clean-shaven, no glasses, curly mass of brown hair and a friendly smile. We made our date for Sunday, at a Starbuck’s in the industrial district, right on the water.

I had learned, happily, that in dating widowers, one of the givens is that they will ask to see a photo of my deceased husband. I always carried a photo of Conner and showed it happily and always asked to see their wives. Widowed men who didn’t have a photo I checked off my list pretty quickly. Certainly we all have to be ready to move on, open our hearts again to someone if we can, but I found that some viewed their lack of photos as a strength, rather than the very real weakness of denial.

The wives of my Merlins look bright and pretty in the photo of them chosen by their husbands. They love to talk about their wives, and when I talk about Conner they listen and laugh with me. So far I have had several more dates with each of them: to a rehearsal of The Lion King with Merlin F, or Merlin Magician. And a trip to see bald eagles fishing en mass for salmon at a nearby river with Merlin R, or Merlin Peregrin.

My biggest dilemma is my trip to Mexico in a few weeks.

Which one do I invite to come with me?


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