Hi,

I hope that you could completely and frankly give a flying whoop about the details of my recent love life, and yet I persist. That first installment was pretty funny though, wasn’t it?

By way of recap: A couple of years ago Denise had already been gone for two and a half years, and I’d concluded, however reluctantly, that letting a woman into my life would be a good thing. As it turns out this was easier to to decide than implement. After a reasonable amount of angst–the recounting of which I spared you, we were mostly agreed that such a woman must posses a few more than 23 years, whatever her cultural and linguistic heritage…

In Las Galeras any women I meet are likely to be Dominican, or European. There are very few Americans in Las Galeras. I recognize this and am OK with it but in the interest of thoroughness decide that I must take to the Internets in search of a partner before my upcoming visits to the United States in 2012. Perhaps you know someone who has employed the Internets as a dating strategy, or maybe you have succumbed yourself. If so, you’ll find the following familiar. If not: it’s like taking a drink from a fire hose. Accordingly, your results may vary.

I corresponded over several months and at greater or lesser length with 10 or 12 women. (Come to think of it, those exchanges correspond pretty directly with my hiatus from pestering you with these missives, but that’s mostly immaterial to this story.) Upon my return to Maryland that year in the month of May I made arrangements to have coffee or lunch or time on a park bench with a half dozen different women. I’ve gotta say, this was an honor. Without exception, these people were bright, funny, interesting and they were all-around good company, just not for me. Maybe I just wasn’t truly ready–I sure did think about Denise alot, and do still every day.

Inexorably, the day of my return to Las Galeras approached and I had still to connect with one particular woman. She has a pretty busy life, which I took as a good sign. Finally, we met for dinner and, honestly, it wasn’t a great date. The food was so-so, the restaurant noisy and crowded, and the staff was seemingly more interested in turning the table than anything else. But my companion was interesting and seemed interested also, and so we agreed to a second effort, with unfortunately similar results.

Inevitably time was running out. I moved the agenda by noting that I have a guest bungalow on my property in Las Galeras and suggesting that, if she wished, we might enjoy a short visit together in the Caribbean. I was pleased and only a little surprised when she agreed to this proposition. (She is probably the sort of woman who hitch-hiked home from college in her youth.)

Four days. A perfect length of time for a couple of virtual strangers getting to know a bit about each other. We discovered that we enjoyed each other’s company and spent nearly every moment together; it was quite nice. Except that she reminded me of Denise. Over and over and over again. I am not making this up when I say that thirty or forty times over the several days my friend would say or do something that rocked me back on my heels, it was SO reminiscent of something that my wife might have said or done in the same situation. It was disconcerting, to say the least.

It also was not fun. I didn’t like looking at this woman through the lens of my memories of Denise. It was abundantly unfair to my friend and quite uncomfortable for me to be reminded of Denise 10 or 12 times more frequently each day more than usual. Yet I was seemingly powerless to prevent it.

Finally, in the evening of the day prior to her departure as we were visiting on the porch, the subject of birthdays came up. It turns out that hers was the following month, November…

You see where this is going, don’t you?

“What day?” I asked. And, yes, as you’ve guessed, her birthday was the same day as Denise’s. I persisted. “What YEAR?” And, yes, however improbable it may seem: same month, same day and same year as Denise! What do you suppose are the incredible odds?

Nevertheless the two of us carried on for more or less a year, in one country and another, until I eventually came to the resolute feeling of loyalty to another. And we so parted amicably, as I turned in a direction Dominican.

About which more in the upcoming and final installment of this inexplicable–but mercifully brief–discursion into the subject of women.

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