...so Kadin, Silent Bob and I are sitting in the movie theater watching The Good Shepard, which was quite possibly the most boring movie I've ever seen. Now remember this, in my mind, it was a non-date since Kadin brought Silent Bob along. I mean, who does that? But Kadin kept leaning in to me so that we were shoulder to shoulder in a way that was not a non-date, but more of a date. And he kept smiling and touching me. And here's the other thing, he kept talking during the movie. Out loud. This is one of my pet peeves since I take my movie-going very seriously. To this day, Kadin still talks out loud during movies. I swear the man has no idea how to whisper.
So at this point I'm thinking, he brought this guy with him but is suddenly touchy feely. What exactly does he want from me? But more importantly, what do I want from him? The answer was still friendship because he was five years younger and way too conventionally good looking to have a heart and a brain.
The movie finally ended and Kadin and Silent Bob and I went our separate ways.
The next time I saw Kadin was when he called instead of emailing or texting to ask if I wanted to see a movie that was part of the Pan African film festival. Since I love a film festival and had never been to this one, I immediately accepted and thought about how nice it was to be hanging out with someone who wanted to explore all the different things L.A. has to offer vs. staying mostly in your own neighborhood. He mentioned the name of the movie during our conversation, so once we hung up, I Googled/researched (don't you love how these days you can say you laboriously researched something when in fact all you did was plug it into Google?) Turns out it was a documentary about African influence, culture and traditions in Mexico; how Africans and Mexicans came together and created a sort of combination culture.
I remember calling my best friend and asking her if I was crazy or reading too much into things by thinking Kadin was being suggestive by choosing this film specifically (since he's black and I'm half Mexican). And then Kadin called to insist that he pick me up even though the movie was showing at a half-way point between our two houses. I refused because driving in L.A. can be a nightmare and I didn't want him driving an entire hour out of his way. But the fact that he wanted to pick me up as well as the fact that he showed up to the movie theater all dressed up in a blazer and dress shoes as opposed to sneakers and a hoodie, made our meeting seem unquestionably date like.
As a result, I was less relaxed than the last few times we'd hung out. But after-movie drinks at a nearby bar took care of that. We sat and talked and drank and talked and drank some more. I remember a New Edition song came on and Kadin started dancing and singing (like Sabine, he does this whenever he hears a song he likes regardless of where he is or who is around). I self consciously stayed glued to my bar stool but smiled a lot and thought about how much I liked how unselfconscious or lost in the moment or fee he was to be himself.
The next time we went out, I asked him to go see an exhibit at LACMA. We pretty much just stuck to looking at art. There was a lot less interaction because the museum was packed and we kept separating and coming back together in different exhibit rooms. But when we left, he walked me to my car, hugged me and kissed me on the cheek before walking to his own car and driving away. This launched a thousand butterflies to overtake my belly and I became suddenly and profoundly aware that the non-dating was over and we were officially dating. This realization or line crossing felt like I had put on my oldest, most comfortable, softest t-shirt. It felt like home, but a really exciting one with all kinds of new but cozy rooms and things to see and learn and feel and explore and think about.
I swear I skipped home that night. I was filled with that starry-eyed feeling; that feeling of feeling desired, confident, happy, not lonely and on the edge of some kind of beautiful fireworks display that could change my life, my perspective forever.
The next time I would see Kadin would be on a road trip from L.A. to San Francisco with the friend who had introduced us. Previously undisclosed information: This friend is someone Kadin went to college with and someone that I briefly--but very hotly and heavily dated--just before I moved back to L.A. from New York.
So picture this: a seven-hour drive in a four-door along the California coast with a close friend/sort-of ex-boyfriend and his college friend, who you've been dating. And the close friend/sort-of ex-boyfriend has no idea that there's any kind of romantic connection whatsoever between you and his college friend...
...to be continued...