Back in 2006 or 2007 I was living in Ithaca, I had broken up with a woman I was living with, she had moved out, and I had sold my house and moved to an apartment. Despite all my discouraging experiences with women over the years I was still hoping I could meet a woman I could get along well with. A friend suggested I place a personals ad in some online forum, I don’t remember which. I got a couple of responses that were rather interesting. One was from a woman in Syracuse who was a classical musician, a flutist, who taught music in one of the public schools and had a trio that played chamber music at weddings. Being an enthusiastic musician myself, and having a special interest in flutes, this seemed like a fortuitous connection. We exchanged a few emails. Then she called me, seeming quite eager to talk with me. We had a long talk in which she mostly took the lead and told me a great deal about herself, quite a bit more than I would have expected actually. I was a bit puzzled by this tremendous outpouring from someone I hardly knew, but decided I would let her go on as she liked and try to follow her lead. I was a bit concerned about the age “issue” because I think she was a few years younger than me and in relationships I prefer a partner who is pretty close to me in age.

She called a few more times over the next several days and we had more long, friendly conversations. At times she surprised me with her candor, but I simply accepted it as an indication of her good faith. I felt flattered that she trusted me sufficiently to be so open with me. In the midst of all this emotional honesty and communion she caught me off guard with, “By the way, what do you look like?” I stammered awkwardly to try to respond. Not only was I not expecting to be asked such a thing, but I don’t really know how to describe myself, and furthermore I’ve always been somewhat self-conscious about my appearance. At that point in the conversation some kind of small but definite shift took place in the tone of our conversation. It was like a little gap had opened up between her and me. I suddenly didn’t feel very optimistic about the possibility of a relationship emerging from this.  But still, I thought it best to try to keep an open mind. She suggested we get together and talk face to face. We made a date to meet for lunch at a little Vietnamese restaurant in Syracuse.

Was it just my imagination or did she have a look of disappointment on her face when she first saw me? The conversation was friendly but a little cool, with a hint of distance. I had thought that we might have a lot to talk about concerning music, but I recall that she seemed a little disdainful of my particular musical interests. At the end of lunch I expected we would go our separate ways but she asked if I’d like to take a walk with her at Onandaga Lake Park just north of Syracuse. We drove in our separate cars to the park. It was a clear luminous September afternoon, the air pleasantly cool, with a cloudless sky and rich golden sunlight filling the air. The trees and the grass seemed to be glowing with golden light. As we walked she told me a great deal about her own personal history, including some things that were surprisingly intimate. She also recounted in astonishing detail a lengthy story of her family history, culminating in the currently ongoing struggles of her parents with debilitating illnesses and the general hardships of old age. I didn’t have much time to speak myself, as our conversation consisted mostly of her pouring out this long and amazing story. But that was alright with me, I was content to listen. There was a mysterious urgency behind this story. I wondered why it was so important for her to tell me all of this? Me, a person she barely knew, who was of absolutely no significance to her? There was something crucially important going on there but I could not quite grasp what it was. After walking through the park and talking for quite a while she suddenly took note of the time and got panicky, saying she was quite late for an important meeting. We said quick good byes and had a little hug and she rushed off and jumped into her car.

The next day I emailed her and thanked her for spending the time with me and for the interesting conversation. She emailed back a nice reply, thanking me as well. That was the last I ever heard of her.

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