Most of all, we reveled in our Blackness. We danced to hip-hop in his living room — and he could dance, something I had rarely experienced with my white boyfriends. We joked about the endearing quirks of our older Black relatives. We shared stories about being among the few Black people in our respective professional arenas — finance for him; law for me. With him I could openly “speak the language” and not have to explain myself. For the first time in my life, I felt like I could be completely, unapologetically Black with the guy I was dating.
Like most first dates, there were uncomfortable moments. Josh was reserved and rarely volunteered information about himself, which meant it was hard to get to know him. And while there was definitely a mutual physical attraction, there was a shyness in Josh that only seemed to fall away with the help of a few drinks. Still, I chalked that up to our still getting to know one another.
However, on my last night there, as we gazed at the city lights over the Inner Harbor, he turned to me and said, “You know this isn’t going to work, right?” Completely out of nowhere. I asked him to explain.
He said our personalities were too different — I’m outgoing, high-energy and emotional; he’s analytical, quiet and calm. I, both a romantic and a lawyer, attempted to argue my case — “Doesn’t love find a way?” — and he, the realistic, number-crunching one, pointed out the obvious practical hurdles. With the physical distance between us, there was no way to properly date or figure out how we would fit together.
My fairy tale seemingly shattered, I started to cry. He seemed sad too, though whether it was because of a mutual feeling of despair or simply uneasiness at my tears, I couldn’t tell. The next morning he drove me to the airport and I asked him to visit me in California. He gave a noncommittal answer. I left wondering if I would ever see him again.
Turns out, I would. A few weeks after my Maryland trip, Josh asked to visit me in California. I was thrilled. I convinced myself that he wanted to visit California to see if he could make a home here with me.