Adaku and I had been continuing to text and talk on the phone as the weeks progressed. I liked her a lot, but if conflicting schedules made seeing Rose difficult, seeing Adaku was almost impossible. Not only were we both working, but she also lived in a different state. That had come up early in our conversations when she asked me if I drive. I told her that I don’t but I always get to where I want to be. The will and the way weren’t the problem; buses go everywhere, and where they don’t, there’s Uber. It was a matter of time. Going to see Adaku would require a whole weekend. And that would require a weekend away from my son.
This is where I should give a shout out to my ex-wife. Our marriage didn’t work out, but she’s been one of my best friends for years. She’s been nothing but supportive of everything I’ve done since we met. Her new husband is a great guy, her daughter is beyond adorable, and I couldn’t ask for a better mother to our son. She was always ready to help me when it came to dating, whether that meant keeping Gabriel while I went on dates or being a shoulder to cry on when things went south. So when Adaku and I began talking seriously about seeing each other, the first person I called was Zoraida.
“Hey, would you mind keeping Gabriel on Labor Day weekend so I can go on a date out of state?”
“Sure,” she said. “Have fun!” That was that.
Adaku and I decided to meet up in Providence, and then we would go back to her place afterwards. I liked Adaku a lot. We talked every day, much more than I talked to Rose. Yet I still liked Rose a lot too- by the time I got on the bus to see Adaku for the first time, I’d already been on three dates with Rose. That was simply a matter of disposition and distance. Rose wasn’t much of a texter, and Adaku lived far away. It was another set of contrasts between the two, and I kept finding myself thinking, “I like both of these types of women.”
But I was also talking to them seriously. I was ready to pursue a serious relationship finally, a year after things had ended with my ex. No one had asked for exclusivity, and I assumed that they were both seeing other guys while talking to me, although it hadn’t explicitly come up. Things were progressing though with both women, and I could see that sooner rather than later, I would need to be exclusive with one of them. At that point, I was starting to like Rose more, but I figured that might be a function of proximity. Seeing Adaku in person would be good before I made any decisions. Still, I knew that if I had sex with one of them, I would stop talking to the other.
My brother advised me against that decision. “You’re still dating Jam,” he explained, “And sex is part of dating.” True. Yet while no one had asked for exclusivity even in the case of sex, I could read between the lines that neither woman would appreciate me fucking them and someone else at the same time.
I hopped on the Peter Pan bus to Providence on the Saturday before Labor Day. It had worked so well with Rose that I wore the same first date outfit for Adaku- black shirt covered in stars with khaki-colored pants. Adaku met me at the station, and she was just as pretty in person as she was in her pictures. She was wearing a sunflower-colored skirt that came down to her ankles, and a black shirt. Oversized sunglasses sat atop her nose. We drove into downtown, and I told her that I’d only been to Providence once, for a track meet where I was trapped inside a gymnasium for hours and hadn’t seen any of the city.
We parked in the Little Italy section of Providence, and I was surprised by how lovely the city was. Cars cruised down the narrow street as the sun sat high in the afternoon sky. Small boutiques dotted the sidewalks, broken up by restaurants and bars. We walked slowly, taking in the sights and trying to decide which restaurant to eat at. We eventually chose one with large windows and a black awning.
We sat and talked for over an hour, stopping long enough to take bites of the delicious pasta and sips from the giant pink drinks we’d ordered. Adaku was fun and sweet, and we traded stories about college, family and friends. We finished eating, and like the true gentleman I am, I grabbed the check.
$100? For lunch?!
Not only had my experiences with Rose and Adaku taught me that dating two women could be fun, but also that dating two women was expensive. The tickets to Hand to God cost $110. I don’t mind paying for things. As a man, that’s my job. Still, I hadn’t dated in a year, and I hadn’t done beginning dating in almost four years. I was still very much in the phase where I was trying to impress with every outing. And ultimately, it’s just money anyway. I make it to spend it, and what better way to spend it than with a woman I liked in a new city?
After lunch, we walked around Providence a little more before we headed to Adaku’s place. When we got there, we did what all consenting adults in their 30’s do in a bed: we took a nap. We woke up in time for dinner. Adaku had promised to take me to one of her favorite Nigerian restaurants. There was only one problem- when we arrived, they’d run out of food, and in typical ethnic restaurant fashion, made it seem like we were tripping for asking for food at a restaurant. At 8:00 PM. On a Saturday. We went to a Ghanaian restaurant instead, which Adaku told me was similar to Nigerian food, but not nearly as good of course.
After searching for a restaurant with food and finally eating, it was after 10:00 when we got back to Adaku’s place. We decided to end the night with a movie, and I made the off-handed comment that I’d never seen Love and Basketball. Adaku considered this to basically be a crime, and the decision was made.
Adaku was beautiful and smart, and I enjoyed talking to her. But the physical chemistry wasn’t there between us. When Rose and I kissed, it was immediately clear that we “fit” together physically. Kissing Adaku was much more awkward; the overall physical connection just wasn’t there. We spent the rest of the night watching Love and Basketball and making out, but I was thinking about the next time I would see Rose.
That was my biggest takeaway from the weekend, and I thought about it on the bus ride home. I liked Adaku, and she had all the qualities that would make for a good relationship. I simply liked Rose more. Combined with the difficulty of seeing Adaku, it looked like there was a frontrunner.