An Untold Love Story Between a 21 year old and a 36 year old
A tale of chance, adventure, surprises and tragedy
“Entrepreneur and investor by day — by night it’s time for whiskey and vinyl — Champagne when I’m thirsty.
Risk taker by nature — I get bored easily and need to amuse myself. I’m a dead man walking without thrill and edge.
Most at ease on my sailboat in the Mediterranean. Boardshorts, good music, better food, good whiskey.
Tight little denim and pink ribbons have long lost allure — Show me something I haven’t seen before.”
What a dick I thought to myself as I came across this Tinder description. He only had one picture, which in Tinderland, is a big no no. But when I read those words, I couldn’t help myself. I had this strange desire to put him in his place. But I also wanted to fulfill his call; I wanted to show him something he hadn’t seen before.
I had arrived in New York with a broken heart as most Sex & the City lovers do. Emotionally unavailable and physically too available, it’s a story not untold. I had two weeks left before I ventured out of the city that never sleeps when K. first stepped into my life. I was wrapping up with all my loveless lovers. What’s the harm in a little last hoorah?
In his first message, he was “pleased to connect” with me, insisted we’d get along “probably more than just fine” and admitted he wasn’t a fan of Dr. Seuss, a jab at my bio quote.
He was annoyingly confident. Enough of a dick to keep it interesting. Laced with some charm and dry humor to wind up the corners of my mouth. And wasted no time.
Our First Date
I remember the air being muggy and warm as I was taking pictures outside of the restaurant. “You waste no time, do you?” That was the first of many eye rolls his way. K. amused my hatred for small talk by playing a game with me. 20 questions. Nothing was off limits. No repeats.
I learned about his childhood, his lack of interest in leaving a legacy, and his openness about being a selfish man. But as loud saxophones and trumpets flooded the air, I remember what he said under his breath that let me know I was in for some trouble.
“It’s always the quiet ones.”
2am. We finally grabbed something to eat. Naturally, greasy burgers were the best way to go. And naturally, I wanted dessert. K. insisted he made the best cookies in the world and I called BS. 1 hour later, we were in his apartment and there he was, baking me fresh cookies. For anyone wondering, they were the best cookies I’ve ever had in my life.
As the night wore down, and we sat next to each other, our words finally stopped. He kissed me. Took me into his bedroom. And all I faintly (okay maybe not so faintly) remember was experiencing more physical pleasure in one night than I had in 3 years combined. As K. often tells me, he’s that good.
But we weren’t in love. Oh no no no. I wouldn’t call this love at first sight. We were two adults who enjoyed each other’s company mentally and physically. But we weren’t there emotionally.
The Next Two Weeks
I left his apartment at 5am for work. And while most of my NY encounters never escaped the first night, I saw him again, and again, and again, and again. Nights of home cooked meals, fresh baked cookies and backgammon. Walking around the apartment naked while eating our bowl of granola. Explorations of kinks and 100s of orgasms. We were in a relationship without ever saying we were in one.
I had to leave though. LA was calling me. But I told him that I didn’t think our story was over yet. He agreed. And so I left with the promise that maybe our story wouldn’t end.
LA and the Arrival of K.
3 weeks had passed. Our texts were full of jokes and what-ifs. Of reminiscing on our short time together. Of his first admittance that he missed me. And of his lack of understanding of why nobody locked me down. He knew I chose that life.
His arrival was in pretty humorous fashion. No return ticket bought (his spontaneous nature), no hotel booked, showed up in a giant jeep, and made love to me in my apartment within 5 minutes. Yup, I missed this son of a gun.
Cue a week of hotel hopping, of walking through his home town, of In-N-Out burgers. Of being tied up to beds and chairs, of experiencing physical intimacy beyond just sex, of starting to realize that he’s beginning to become more than just someone I fuck around with.
The Dinner That Created a Spark
Dinner wasn’t out of the ordinary. He had his natural smirk etched on his face. I made the usual jokes about his awful texting consistency (how does someone reply within 5 seconds and then 12 hours?), his awful singing, and his dreadful sense of humor (it’s actually really good but don’t tell him that). But I asked him a question that changed everything for me.
I asked what he wanted in a partner and in a relationship. And as he was speaking, I realized that I was the woman he was describing. I wanted to be the woman he wanted. And I was so mad at him for not realizing that the woman he described was sitting 2 feet away from him.
As we went back to our hotel, we laid on the couch and I told him I wanted us to give it a shot. I wanted us to try to be something. And…he didn’t say much. He didn’t say yes or no. K. doesn’t express his emotions very well. And we slept that night with my question unanswered.
A Change of Heart
Despite no explicit response, we still walked hand-in-hand. We left to Vegas to paint the town red. We’d make love all night despite us not knowing if we were in love. He changed my notion of what a relationship could be. Before, I had fallen on the first day. Head over heels. Couldn’t exist without him. And came to a point where I was okay with our dependence on each other.
But K. K. challenged me to own who I am. To be bigger than I thought I could be. To enjoy my independence. He made me love my body again. He never filled me with false vanity or compliments. He was there when he needed to be. To be loving when he needed to be. To be tough when he needed to be. And to give me the space I needed to find my heart again.
As his trip wore down and he left back to NY and I back to LA, I realized my heart was tugging somewhere else. So I bought a one way flight and arrived in NY. Little did I know that as soon as I arrived in NY, he was on his way to the airport himself. Good thing I texted. Hard to contain two spontaneous junkies.
I Had to Move Countries
But reality hit us. I had just gotten a job in Berlin and K. wouldn’t tell me the one thing I wanted to hear: Stay. In his words, he wasn’t going to tell me anything that might influence my decision. I wanted to know if he wanted us. If he cared. But it was against his morals to do so. Fighting his own selfish desires to keep me to himself, he wanted me to do what was best for me. So I left to Germany. But on one condition. That he be waiting for me at the airport when I got back. And there was that smirk again.
Germany and Bangladesh, a Long Distance Relationship
Long distance sucks to put it bluntly. Time differences, limited communication, lack of physical presence. You know the drill. But K. only made me wait a month before he visited. He reminded me that I may be lonely but I’m never alone. And that he wasn’t here to coddle me out of my Berlin misery. Tough love kind of guy. But there’s a softy in there sometimes.
How do I know? I had told him that I had never had a New Years kiss. And him being him, he booked a flight to see me in my home of Bangladesh. And kiss. We. Did. Except I fell asleep about a minute later.
However, as I woke up, I had come to the realization that I was falling in love with the most arrogant, cocky, dick of a man I had ever met.
New York and Broken Dreams
I arrived on February 13th in my attempt to be romantic on Valentine’s Day. I wasn’t ready to say “I love you” because I wasn’t sure if he’d say it back. But I wanted him to know how I felt. I wrote a card for him with my usual rude jokes. But at the end, I wrote “I’m in love with you even though you’re an ass.” My type of romance.
I was ready to start our NY life together. Except I wasn’t quite expecting his mother, his cousin and his cousin’s two kids to be squatting his apartment. For what was supposed to be 2 weeks, soon became 2 months.
K. saw me when he could but it felt like our relationship had taken a step back. I barely saw him. We were barely talking. And I remember crying out in the middle of the streets not sure if I wanted to do us any more. I was hurt. I was mad at him. But mostly, I was mad at myself for falling in love with him.
But in those crying moments, we were able to grow together. He learned how I viewed his actions and I learned how he viewed mine. To empathize and speak our emotions even when it hurts each other. We came to an understanding that plans can change out of our control. And we can’t get mad at each other for it. To ask for what we wanted and needed from each other. And to come to each other with understanding. We took 1 step backward and 3 steps forward.
Things Became Blissful Again
Eventually, I moved in. And things were beautiful. We’d watch movies, play arcade games, snuggle all night. Question our political sphere, marvel at scientific discoveries, and challenge each other’s assumptions about accepted rules and laws of the world. This was the type of relationship that I didn’t know I needed. Empowering, intellectual, easy, passionate, compassionate, fun, and full of laughs.
With each day he made love to me, I wanted to tell him more and more how much I loved him. But the words were trapped in mouth. Glued shut. Because despite what his actions were telling me, I knew he couldn’t say it back. And I was scared of that.
Something was off. K. wasn’t talking as much to me. He didn’t touch me for 3 nights. I was feeling distant from him. Until he finally got the call.
His brother and his sister-in-law had gotten into a car accident.
K. was the custodian of their 4 girls if anything happened. They were 2, 4, 6, and 12 years old. I remember the shock on his face and him yelling at his parents to change the will. He didn’t want his life to change. I didn’t want my life to change.
K.’s sister-in-law died that day. His brother died 3 days later.
It hit me that two selfish people could not longer be selfish with each other. That we were no longer each other’s first priority. That K. not only lost his brother but was about to gain custody of 4 kids. And I could never be a mother at 21.
I cried in his arms for what seemed like forever. And in that moment, 1 year after meeting him, I told him I loved him. He told me he did too.
So Where Are We Now?
K. insisted I break up with him. That he could not ask me to take this on. He wanted me to enjoy my 20s and to maximize my life. But it was next to impossible to say goodbye to him despite what the reality of our situation was. So we came to an agreement.
K. would always be there for me. He’d be reliable. He wouldn’t let our relationship die or fizzle. But he’d make no demands of my time and attention. He wanted me to focus on my life and my goals. And that I maximize the potential he always saw within me. In turn, I would be honest with him and always communicate. To let him know what’s going on. And do what I set out to do with my life.
As my mom says, if it’s meant to be, it’ll work itself out. And if it’s not, it’ll naturally fizzle out.
So that’s where we currently are. We’re figuring it out as best as we can. And hopefully this now told story isn’t over just yet.
Update: I wrote the sequel here if you want to know what happened next!