Half an hour later I'm ready to go. He walks into the bedroom and notices the TV on. He's grinning again. "I did it," I announce. "I figured out your ridiculous TV." "You're so proud. And cute. Cute and proud." And happy. I am so happy.
Ten minutes later he's packing his bag. One more grin. "Do you like me?" he teases. He doesn't know that the joke calms my nerves. That now it's absurd to even suggest a doubt.
When we're out in public together he is openly affectionate. His co-workers know we're dating. The bartenders at the club he performs at are starting to recognize me. He tells me, "You are the only woman I spend my time with."
I should feel so good about us. Until I hear it. "Hey Matt, this is my friend Lauren."
Labels shouldn't matter. But this one does.