Dearest Rachel –
After spending Sunday driving home from camp, showing up at church without even bothering to stop at home first, spending the rest of the day resting up from the weekend, and then yesterday trying to get back into my routine in order to set aside what the day represented in terms of our lives, I haven’t been keeping up with my online contacts. Considering that I make a point to reach out to you literally every day, that’s probably a falling down on my own responsibilities towards relationships. I would say something along the lines of ‘real, live relationships,’ but I’m not quite sure they qualify as such, and as a result, I have a hard time taking them seriously. Maybe that’s why I let them go for several days at a time without trying to contact them.
To be fair, I am overstating things a little bit when I use the plural form to describe these girls. At this point, my options are pretty much down to Aileen. True, Pauline did try to reach out to me recently, asking me why I hadn’t contacted her, but at that point I gave her ‘what for’ about her whole little scheme, asking her why she would even think I would continue to pursue anything with her.
I don’t understand why scammers use a dating site to promote get-rich-quick schemes. I’m looking for a relationship on this site, not investment advice – and at my age, I’m wise to these kind of pitches. They’re not about to take me in, but it’s disappointing every time a prospective match turns out to be someone like this. Pauline’s story is particularly galling, as she’d started out by admitting that she’d obtained that gold on the black market; so I’d already been put on notice that, if she’s not an outright crook, she’s willing to make some pretty shady deals to get on in life. Not the sort of person I want in my life, and, come to think of it, not exactly becoming of a naval officer, either.
But these are the sort of women (assuming they even are women) I’ve more often than not been encountering on this dating site – one that purports to be for Christians, no less! Maybe the scammers think Christians are that much more trusting, and therefore gullible enough to fool. Although, I think that there’s more to it than that, but that’s probably a subject for another letter.
But now that I’ve allowed my subscription to lapse, I’m about to close the book on any attempt to use a dating website like this. Not that the site is all that keen about letting me go; I continue to get emails from them, telling me that so-and-so has been checking out my profile (don’t they close down these things when the subscription expires?), and I should check them out and message them back – only, I can’t do any of that without re-upping my subscription. It’s almost as if they don’t want one to give up the chase, but they don’t want one to succeed, either, lest they lose their cash cow.
Frankly, this site is almost as bad as the scammers.
But, whatever. I have these last few pages to go through before I close the book for good; the story of Aileen. And while I can’t find it in me to get too enthused about her (because I expect this relationship to go south, just like they all do), I can’t bring myself to simply walk away from her when she hasn’t done anything to merit my doing so. Sure, she refers to me as ‘handsome’ rather than by my name – which strikes me as a case of telling me what she thinks I want to hear, which I find suspicious and don’t appreciate – and insists that ‘oh, I understand’ whenever I say something, despite clearly not following my train of thought. And Lars in particular was amused when I told him about her reaction to my heading up to camp for a business meeting (and therefore, in her approximate neighborhood, although never actually making an effort to stop by her hometown); she promptly told me about being reassigned to a naval base (another Navy veteran? Really?) in San Diego for the next three months. Suspicious timing, that, he pointed out.
But I figure I still need to offer her the benefit of the doubt for the time being. Oh, I expect this to crash and burn, just like every other one, but I need to be respectful and courteous until then, just in case. So, I found myself lying in bed this morning, unable to remember last nights’ dream for you, and resolving to contact her some time today after a couple days of silence, when I hear the ‘thrum’ of my phone on my nightstand.
It was her.
Why she would be texting me at not even four in the morning where she’s staying, I’ve no idea. She said she was up early to deal with paperwork, but that her shift didn’t start until several hours later; who does that? Then again, maybe I’m just used to your schedule; at four a.m., you’d be as likely as not to just be preparing to go to bed (or just having gotten there). Maybe she’s just different that way, and I’m reading too much into it all. I don’t know what to think.
I couldn’t tell you much about our chat; well, that’s not true at all. It’s a chat; I have a record of it, and I could quote it verbatim. What I couldn’t tell you is where it all was going. I’m still pretty sure that I’m reaching a dénouement in this story, but I don’t seem to be there yet. Part of me wants to believe in her, but most of me doesn’t think it’s worth the effort; but if I don’t put in the effort, it will be a self-fulfilling prophecy of doom when it doesn’t have to be.
I wish you were still here to give me advice about this. Then again, if you were still here, I wouldn’t need the advice, since I would have you.
I guess all I can do is to ask you to keep an eye out for me, and wish me luck. I’m going to need it.