Another Look at Another Shot
Updated: Jun 14, 2020
In the last blog post we talked about Tim’s side of events, detailing a) Billy’s bad timing, b) Billy’s bad timing, c) Billy’s unfortunate choice of extremely hot friends, and d) Billy’s bad timing. Now let’s talk about the rest of the fun stuff: what happens next for these two.
While Tim was boarding his plane home, Cal was absolutely freezing in the park and yet getting back on his bike to head somewhere warm would mean ending the call so: freezing it was. Not that he ever planned to be curled up in a too-thin jacket on a park bench trying not to grin into his phone, but best laid plans and all. Because let’s be real clear: neither of them were looking for anything. Cal had no interest in meeting someone he actually wanted to talk to. Tim just got out of a failed marriage, he’s not exactly jumping back into the dating scene. They both showed up for an evening of sex and confusingly find themselves staring down at their phones with an unwanted little flutter in their stomach.
The worst part? Not only does that flutter continue its stomach jolting, heart-in-throat flip-flops whenever a new text appears, but it only gets worse. Cal goes to yoga to empty his mind, not to mull over various witticism with which to respond to their ongoing oh-so-casual texting. Tim is supposed to be piecing his life back together – finding a new place to live, a new job, a new shape to his days and his future - not playing a goddamn latte art game on his phone because he can’t stop thinking about the guy who made it.
As the days go on, they both get themselves tangled into uncomfortable knots over what’s happening. Tim is utterly sure Cal is banging several dozen other dudes (he isn't). Cal is convinced Tim has found someone - anyone - more dateable than him and has moved on to fairer pastures (he hasn't). Both of them are entirely frustrated that they can’t even begin to forget about the handful of hours they spent together over the course of two days and torture themselves by continuing to keep in contact instead of cutting ties like they tell themselves they should. Do they talk on the phone? Maybe. If they do, do their conversations last for hours? Definitely. Is it more intensely personal than most conversations they have with anyone else in their life? You bet your butt it is. Does it happen often? Not nearly as often as either of them would be down for. Is the entire conversation 90% sarcasm? 99% would be more accurate.
Cal would happily never actually discuss this thing that's going on between them and makes a point to never mention it to Nell or Billy. Meanwhile on Tim’s end the need to actually have a conversation about where everything is headed continues to brew. Cause he’s not dating. If getting divorced taught him anything, it’s that he should probably spend a good long while being single. And Cal’s not in the market for a boyfriend, that much is clear. But. Talking all the time is a lot for two guys who are just… friends? Is that what they are? Really, they aren’t anything and Tim needs to get his growing crush under control as ASAP as possible or he’s going to manage to ruin this too.
I like to think that a trip to visit his father, a flight delay, maybe a reroute after a canceled reservation and Atlanta’s airport being such a major travel hub results in Cal oh so conveniently having some time to kill and Tim similarly conveniently and entirely casually burning rubber to go meet him at the airport. Does Cal’s flight get delayed well past dinner time? Oh, it’d be so unfortunate if they had to idle away the evening together grabbing a bite to eat. What’s that – an ill timed storm that cancels Cal’s already delayed flight until the morning? Shucks, looks like he needs a place to spend the night. What an opportunity to reconnect and talk-not-talk about what the hell is going on.
The result being that Tim should visit SF again. And probably just up and move there, since Atlanta wasn’t working out. And Cal, fumbling over all of these changes in his life, is probably tidying up his already immaculate apartment before Tim comes over and finds his acceptance packet from grad school where he shoved it in a drawer years ago.
I love a romantic fade to black, cue credits and swelling music as much as the next person, but I also love the nitty, gritty hard stuff when it comes to two people finding their way towards each other. The questions about what Cal is doing with his life, if he’s with a guy like Tim who has such a committed and established career. How Tim feels about being with a guy with a very uncertain approach to a serious relationship. The fact that in order to really date they’d have to actually talk about really dating and where’s the line between the implicit message of Tim moving out to SF versus an open and honest discussion of where things are headed? Some easy answers: Cal picks up the graduate school thread of his life again. Tim learns to be comfortable with the gray area between casual dating and full-steam-ahead towards marriage. They turn into the couple that fiercely loves the hell out of each other and communicates exclusively through snarky digs and tender handholding. Cal does the difficult work of healing and opening up and Tim takes the terrifying dive into trying a relationship again. Billy remains Billy and Nell keeps on being awesome. The longer answer? Heck, I should probably write a few sequels…