On Saturday morning, I had plans to go to my favorite breakfast/brunch restaurant with my sister and cousins - but I made sure they knew that I had to be back in time for my shooting date with Matt. (Read: at least an hour before my date because obviously I had to perfect my hair and makeup before going up the canyon to shoot.) I remember being really excited for the date and spending an unhealthy amount of time deciding which hoodie I'd look the cutest in.
Matt picked me up in his red truck (He'd driven his car on our previous date.) which I have to admit I found pretty attractive. I've never been all that interested in trucks, but it made him seem "rugged" or something - a side of him I hadn't experienced through Tinder chats or our first date. We headed to his apartment to meet up with his friends and then we all drove up the canyon to where we were going to shoot.
As we were shooting, I was feeling fairly uncomfortable and awkward. With my perpetually clogged ear and the earplugs we both had in for shooting, it was a bit difficult to hear each other and that made conversation harder. Add that to the fact that I was a little gun shy (pun totally intended... or does it count as a pun if it's used in correct context?) about the whole shooting thing because I'd only been a few times and wasn't super familiar with how to use a gun. And add that to the fact that I could tell that his friends (though very kind and friendly) were observing me and trying to gauge my interest in Matt which made me uncomfortable. So, I had fun, but with all of that going on I was feeling pretty awkward by the end of the date and was definitely less talkative on the drive home.
One of his friends had mentioned everyone getting together to play games. I had assumed they meant right after we were done shooting. So, when we came out of the canyon and Matt drove me back to my apartment, I figured that meant he was done spending time with me. I felt pretty disappointed because I had been looking forward to playing the games and had hoped that I'd be able to flirt and get to know Matt a little more when we were doing something more in my comfort zone.
As he walked me up to my doorstep, Matt said "so, we're going to play games later tonight, do you want to come?" and I felt so silly for being disappointed before. I told him I would love to and waited awkwardly for him to hug me. He didn't move forward at all and I couldn't tell if I should make the move or if he didn't want a hug. Finally, we said goodbye without a hug and I went inside. I sat down on my couch and wondered why he didn't hug me. I felt like I had been awkward on the date and figured he was probably feeling like I wasn't interested. I decided to send him a text and said "I definitely want to come to games tonight. What is your address?" He quickly texted back and asked if he could pick me up for the game night. I was impressed that he wanted to pick me up and thought maybe there was hope after all and I hadn't ruined everything with my awkwardness earlier that day.
I won't go into the details of the game night, I don't even remember which games we played. I do remember being much more comfortable and having a great time. And at the end of the night, Matt drove me home, walked me up to my doorstep again, and this time he hugged me for a little bit longer than your average second (and a half?) date hug. I'm pretty sure I fell asleep with a huge smile on my face that night.
After a little Facebook stalking, I realized that he had the same last name as one of my new friends in my ward. So, the next day at church I asked her if they were related. She said "Yep, he's my cousin!" She asked how I knew him, got excited that we'd been on a few dates, and asked me if I liked him. "Yes, I think so?" I said, but I'm pretty sure the look on my face said a lot more about how much I liked him than I was willing to vocally admit at that point. She commented on another guy I had told her I was interested in a while back and mentioned that she wasn't sure he had been 'good enough' for me. "But my cousin," she said "my cousin, you can date."
Something about her "endorsement" made me even more excited about the potential. When I got home from church, I texted him to tell him that I'd figured out that I knew his cousin. He responded and said "Oh! Jennifer? Yeah, she's great, isn't she?" I responded quickly to agree and hoped he'd continue the conversation since we hadn't talked yet that day. But he never responded again that night.
Here's what I wrote in my journal before I went to bed:
"I like this guy named Matt. He's just a really, really good guy. We've been talking for a few weeks, went on a date on Wednesday that went really well, went shooting yesterday, and then played games last night. There's just something about him that I really like. He's kind and funny and mature. He always keeps conversation going and is making more plans/promising we;ll talk soon. Today, I really kind of decided that I could see this going somewhere, that I like the idea of dating him. So, now I feel vulnerable and unsure about what he's thinking and we haven't really talked today. So, now I feel like it's back to the same pattern I always seem to go through. I know it's going to be fine... and maybe something will still happen with Matt."I closed my journal and cried myself to sleep that night. The tears were probably enhanced by hormones (because, admittedly, they often are) but I also was just so sad that I'd started to admit that I could really like him and then he stopped responding - something he had never done before in the month or so that we had been talking.