i gave him my only olive

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His profile was most beautiful. I don’t mean his dating profile that we hooked up with. I mean the side of his actual face. Her features – from her long brown hair to her flat pointed nose, sensuous lips and strong round chin – were full of character. And she was smart, giving witty replies to my conversational pieces.

She was 36 years old. I was 43 years old. She was new to Los Angeles. I have been here for four years. She recently came out of a relationship of seven years. I had never managed anything close to that.

Our quick-fire exchange of messages ended the following Thursday with late afternoon drinks in Venice. When she arrived, she was surprisingly guarded, which put me on edge a little bit, which made it all the more fun. I don’t think I was what she was expecting. I saw a picture of his ex on Instagram. He was hunky-looking and well-dressed, with hair like a 20-year-old’s.

He ordered an orange wine. I had a gin cocktail. I made her laugh. He touched my arm. He ordered another orange wine. I had another gin. I wasn’t nervous anymore. I asked if she would like to have dinner. she said yes.

I think that’s the moment it all started for me. Talk of emotional no return. We went down Rose Avenue to a restaurant called the Wallflower. He held my hand.

We sat at the bar, and after a while I realized that my hand was in his. Somewhere in between I kissed her on the cheek. We talked about love languages. I touched her feet. We went out and kissed while waiting for his car. For a moment we looked at each other and acknowledged something about “potential”.

I told him to text me when he was safe at home. I never think of saying that.

I replied to her text saying I was excited to see her again. He replied: “Me too xx.”

We didn’t see each other for the next three weeks. She was traveling for work. I thought about him constantly.

People say we have too many choices, and that’s the problem with dating these days. but it’s not like that. When you meet someone special, the idea of ​​going on a date with anyone else seems like a completely futile, excruciating task.

Around this time the olive fell from the tree.

I bought an olive tree in Ojai a few months back. It was about two feet tall, and still is. The tree was not my first choice. When I took my original pick to the counter, the guy said, “Wouldn’t you like one that gives you fruit? They’re not as pretty, but they’re more fun.”

So I changed the tree to a scruffy looking tree covered in tiny white and yellow flowers. I planted it in an old terra-cotta pot and placed it on a chair, as if it were a guest in my garden.

I have never had my own garden before. After my last relationship, I moved apartments and built a lush green oasis from a lifeless cement driveway. It gave me something to focus on.

I made some benches, planted flower vines and planted some cactus. It felt good to nurture new life. A hummingbird will travel. Butterflies would be twinkling in the shade. Sitting outside with my morning coffee and evening gin and tonic was a spiritual experience for me.

Every day I would inspect my tree for olives. Its flowers bloomed, then fell, then nothing. Until late April, when I noticed a small green shoot on the stem.

Over the next few weeks, I watched the olive grow and expected to see others. When none appeared, I began to worry that my precious olives would fall over in the night or be eaten by some insect. I felt protective, as if she were a pet.

By August the olive had grown to the size of a fingernail. I imagined having a party when it was time to harvest. Friends would come over and we would pickle it.

It was in September—around the same time he and I reconciled—that the olive complexion turned. It changed color from green to brown to black and its smooth skin became wrinkled, and it became smaller.

When the olive finally fell, I knew exactly what it meant, why it existed. I put it in a small jar with a metal lid and put it in the freezer for some reason.

She returned on a Saturday, and we arranged to meet the following Thursday. When I picked her up, I had olives in my car. We went to a gallery opening on Melrose. There was no strange warmth this time. Not feeling each other.

We joke about art. A photographer documenting the evening kept taking pictures of us. It felt like we were becoming immortal, that this moment was being preserved for some reason.

We left the gallery and went to a bistro. My arm was around his shoulders. His around my waist. I kissed her while we waited to cross the street. We sat at the bar and ordered wine and some small plates. I didn’t even look at the prices. I would pay anything to get his attention, to see his profile.

I couldn’t stop caressing her bare feet, and once again my hand came to her feet. We talked about everything: her pottery, my carpentry, broken hearts, the state of the country. It felt like there had never been a better time for two lives to meet. I wanted to remember every part of her past, fast-track my knowledge of her entire life.

When I took her home, she told me she was freezing her eggs. She said the injections may affect her mood over the next few weeks. I was comforted by her openness, as if she was preparing me for the future, and I couldn’t help imagining that maybe one day we could make some of those eggs.

I picked up a glass jar from the ashtray and placed it in his hand. He jokingly asked if it was my sperm. (I told you she was funny.) I told the story of my first and only olive and said I wanted her to have it. She said it was the best gift she had ever received.

For a second I thought she might cry.

I walked her to her door. He said that a friend of his is staying for the weekend. We tentatively agreed to meet next week. We got out on his stoop. I remember smelling the side of his neck for a moment. I just wanted to find out about him in his absence. I’m usually never like this. Maybe it was a little weird.

He asked me to text him when I got home. I texted her before coming home. I didn’t want him to think we lived far away.

The next day I sent her some suggestions on where to go with her friend. She loved them all. On Monday evening I asked about his weekend. He told me it was cute. He asked about me. I made it better than before. I asked how her week was looking, if she was free on Friday.

I sat typing that message. Somehow it felt like a life-changing lesson.

It was around lunchtime the next day that I began to feel possessed. Perhaps his friend was more than a friend. Maybe they had a romantic time at a restaurant I recommended, and my excellent taste in places helped cement their love.

I followed up on Wednesday evening. to shut down. He took 84 minutes to reply.

I was amazing I was awesome She loved our time together. But –

I thanked her for reminding me what it was like to be someone to be excited about. He asked if we could be friends. I said that won’t work.

I couldn’t sleep that night. The thought of her being my olive kept stirring me like a pea under a princess’s mattress.

The next morning, I texted her. I just needed to get it out of the way.

“Hey,” I wrote. “One last request. That damn olive, if you don’t already have it, could you throw it in the trash. It strangely meant something to me and it was a miscalculation to give it to you so soon. I I don’t want it back. I just wish it didn’t exist.

I ended the message with something light. I didn’t want to be dramatic.

He did not respond. Of course he didn’t.

I wonder if he did as I asked.

I hope he did.

I hope he didn’t.

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