We kept it loose, the way I like it, for a small chunk of the year. I have an aversion to getting too close too soon, but Eric crossed that boundary with the most brilliant trickery I've ever seen.
Mix Tchaikovsky, my darling Tchai-Tchai, mix him with (D)Aronovsky, a movie about a stunning ballet performance, and pay for my ticket before asking. I agreed, without knowing his parents would be there. And then the infamous Black Swan scene that no one should see in casual company: Mila accompanies Natalie back home and goes muff diving while parents and teenagers who are watching (because they thought it was a film about ballet) freeze in their seats and unblinkingly stare straight ahead, no eye contact, no flinching, feigning disintrest. Coupled with the little knuckle scene, and you've got one hell of a "meet the folks" date.
I survived that, and so did Eric. This is how much I liked the guy. He also took me for my first cup of hot cocoa at Second Cup (Toronto lifer, Cup regular, and never tried their cocoa. I know, it surprised me, too). Won. Instantly. Again.
We followed the rest of the year with many failed dates and missed opportunities. I work with keeping things loose for this reason, but sometimes things get the best of the system. We missed out on Emilie Autumn, The Pixies, and the Edwards Garden Manhunt.
Work and Lady Lunacy got in the way by coincidence. The Lunacy took a whole month of post-production blues. I found that there comes a time in every person's life when the realization hits that the little 7-year-old you bonded with during one production will not remember you during her next production, only a year later. Post-production blues got the best of me for this one.
Then the Green Monster began taking over Eric, against my usual time-vampires, including my time with the friends who introduced us in the first place. I ditched comic con plans for a night at Pour Boy with some Winnie friends who took me to Mississauga for a little sneaking around at the abandoned Regal. We missed a Jane Goodall lecture in favour of the big Pillow Fight, which he didn't enjoy, and I went to the Slut Walk with Omah, which he didn't approve. DIDN'T APPROVE.
Oh no. Jealousy will not do.
We invited him camping, to try to smooth things over, but I warned him that we are not attached with that many strings. This is what it means to keep things loose. Standard Rules do not apply. He spent a lot of time on his mobile, ditched us during tent-pitching, and got angry when I tried keeping him involved in shenanigans. We had a lot of fun swimming, but we came to the last straw when he put the blame on me after discovering he's allergic to pecans.
We said our final goodbye to Eric before Autumn. Omah was especially defensive against the Green Monster, ending that final evening with her perfect attitude: "I'm a lover, not a fighter, but I'm also a fighter, so don't get any ideas, buddy."