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The sweetie sweet, cutie pie man wanted to see me so much, that he canceled his plans for Saturday night too. He agreed to drive up to Venice and meet me at my doorstep at precisely 9:30pm (my estimated arrival time after working all day with the kid-ohs). My schedule is anything but the 9 to 5 variety. I had a very convincing excuse for a long time as to why I just couldn’t possibly date. My precious little fear got to explain that “It is so hard to date because I am not around when everyone else is.” Nice try sugar. What a heaping, steaming pile of BS. I am finding that the most delicious and deserving men don’t care what time they have to wait until……they will be there!

By now it is only Day 3 of the Receiving Project, but the goodies are rolling in. The little sprinklings of gifts of love and intimacy are about to become a pound cake to the face. So sweet and scrumptious, so ouchie and vexing. Up until this point, I have failed to mention, in addition to the excitement growing inside of me, I also had some alien spawn growing on the outside of me. At the beginning of the week, I awoke with a funny little rash on my right shin.   A tiny touch of cortisone cream, and I dismissed the trivial nuisance from my mind. Until the next morning, when I awake to a larger patch on my left calf. What the heck is this? Ok, let’s slather with Egyptian Magic. No worries. Wednesday……Thursday……then Friday, and I am not happy that I am ashamed of my burning hot, red legs and have to cover my sexy calves in yoga class. Those gorgeous things love to see the world! This is annoying! What the WHAT is going on?

I have to say that I am eternally grateful for fabulous friends! They so lovingly reflect back to us things that we need to, but don’t necessarily want to hear. When I lifted my pant leg on Saturday to Marisa and Marina, they didn’t even have to say it, their faces said it all. The thing that I was so desperately trying not to hear was “Oh Jesus honey! You need to get that looked at!” The reality of my attempted cover up was upon me (Pound Cake! Urth Cafe pound cake mind you! But pound to the face no less). I drove the kids home, and I am pretty sure this is when my mind started to implode. I was freaking myself out. And when we walked in the front door, I freaked their dad out too. The brain explosion was now all over my face. He could see this was not our normal Briana. Through a distant gaze that looked through him, rather than at him, I think I explained that I needed to go to the hospital. The severity of the situation now had a vise grip on me. I became stunned, paralyzed, immobile. And I will never forget how this funny man-dad sprung to action. I stood back in a daze as he hunted the web, manned the phones and presented me with a list of Urgent Care centers. He is a phenomenal man, but not necessarily someone I would go to if I needed a lightbulb changed. I was thoroughly impressed and honored by the efforts he took for me. With a look of concern in his eyes, he sent me out with a caring yet awkward hug. Ooooh gifts of love and intimacy!

Careening down the hill, mind careening out of control, I tried desperately to check in with my inner knowing. Where should I go? What should I do? Who should I………Oh crap! My date! He was showing up at my house in 30 minutes. Yikes! I pulled over and groaned helplessly to myself. Ooowwwwhhhh I hate being this girl. I can’t stand the weepy, weakling, hypochondriac and all of the sudden I felt like that girl. Not knowing if he had left Long Beach yet, I give him a call. Despite my effort to come across strong and together, I hear my voice and…..”ugh God! Is she whining?” I explain that I am worried and don’t know what to do, I just need to do something! On the other end of the phone, all I get is this serene, gentle calm. Full of peace, he offers to come over and take a look at it, and if need be, he will take me to the hospital. Really!?! How amazingly sweet! I’ve only met this guy once. What a grand gesture. What a truly selfless act. I am touched. I am flattered. But am I really going to show him the alien spawn?

Thirty minutes later he is waiting downstairs. I am greeted with the most enveloping hug. I feel a little better already. He comes upstairs and takes a look. I cringe as I hike my pant leg up and reveal my imperfection (on the second date!). He doesn’t react. He doesn’t barf. He gets in there and takes a good solid look. “Poison oak,” he says. “I grew up in Northern California, I used to get that all the time.” He smiles at me playfully, “You’ll be fine.” I am relieved and annoyed.

Having a cute boy in my house proved to be a good distraction. I bring him downstairs, into my room, and a little deeper into my world. My bedroom is temporarily a theater closet with costumes strewn about in preparation for my upcoming trip to Colorado for the Snow Down Festival. Now it is my turn for show and tell. I am at home in my palace, but my comfortability with him allows my silliness to emerge.  I start trying on various forms of ridiculous. Each piece has a tale, and he is happy to hear. Despite my state of play, I continue to fall back into my worry about my leg. He sees that my concern has not left the building, so he suggests we leave the building instead…..and head for the ocean. He claims that the salt water from the sea will be soothing. I should let mother nature take a crack at this one. As we prepare to embark out into the cold, night air, I search for cozy clothes to wrap my body in (and look cute in!). Currently I am wearing my fur hunters hat and white shaggy spaghetti and meatballs jacket from Halloween. Without really meaning it, he dares me to just wear what I have on. It looks warm enough. Oh no you didn’t just dare me! Guess who really gets to look like a fool now? The guy walking with the girl who looks like a homeless Yeti, that’s who! You asked for it darlin!

Outside my apartment, I become less aware that I am dressed like a a dirty snowball, and more aware that it is Saturday night. Strolling towards the shore, we pass party people in heals and popped collars. I get uncomfortable. Not because of my garb, but because I am walking hand in hand with someone in my neighborhood……and I have never done this before.  We reach the waves and he holds back as if to say, “You go ahead. I’ll be right here.” Oh no you don’t. You are coming in with me. Shoes off, pant legs roll up, I drag him into the surf. The combination of night’s sky, misty moon and the cool lapping of water is in fact soothing…..and very romantic. It doesn’t take long before I am in his arms and we are that absurdly cute cliche of two people kissing, under the stars, in the ocean. It also doesn’t take long for the waves to notice we have let down our guard against it’s salty attacks. Soon we are soaked, but still kissing.

It was definitely not my intention to let this man spend the night in my bed. But what kind of evil bitch sends home a man in wet jeans after he just drove 30 miles to take care of her? Apparently not this one. I loaned him a pair of sweatpants. Probably the least I could do.

The rest of the night becomes a bit of a blur. Or did it really exist? When my lips touch his, time slows down or perhaps stops all together. Two bodies melding in perfect jigsaw fashion. The satisfaction of finding those two pieces that click right into each other. Details of touch and words uttered are insignificant and ultimately forgotten because the feeling was so right. When we finally released one another from our ecstatic embrace, I came out of a dream. What just happened? Bewildered by a new experience, actually getting completely lost in another human being. I chuckled inside of myself. I wasn’t bored at all! It wasn’t that same old chestnut of lips on his, mind miles away (thinking about laundry, that episode of Tru Blood, or that quinoa salad in the fridge). How absolutely delicious! Behold! Yet another gift of love and intimacy. Thank you, more please!

Waking up to a scrumptious man in my bed wasn’t so bad either. All night, his tender hand didn’t leave my body. I welcomed sweet kisses in the A.M., impressed with my tolerance in having my morning hijacked by the presence of another.  Also, thoroughly pleased with myself for having let someone in, let them see the dirt, and let them choose to stay regardless. What I had judged as a weakness, was now transforming into a softness. This could be a good thing.

Eventually I would be grateful for these precious gifts that the alien spawn brought me. But not yet. Later this day, my girl Tonya would drive me to Urgent Care. Enter the first doctor who would misdiagnose me, give me antibiotics I didn’t need, and send me on my way no better off, beast still growing.  I thought I did great. I had opened up to my date, exposed myself, and got something good out of it.  The abundantly, clever and brilliant Universe decided I was not done. There was more good available to me at the bottom of a deep, black hole of vulnerability. The week to come would reveal to me just how deep that hole was.

Also, I still haven’t gotten my sweats back.