an episodic novel by Corey B. Buckner

Chapter 3: Innovative Dating

by Corey B. Buckner

What do you do when you are intensely interested in someone who you have a history with and you want to move forward with the relationship, but not too fast? You innovate. That was the situation that Tamekia and I found ourselves in during the Spring of 2016 as we began emotionally connecting with one another. There came a point in time when it was no secret that we were feeling each other on a romantic level, but also didn't want to rush into anything physical. We didn't necessarily trust ourselves to keep hands off of one another, but also wanted to spend time together. This is where modern technology came to the rescue.

One night, while chatting about old movies we love, Meeks said that she wanted me to watch "Seven Year Itch" starring Marilyn Monroe. Yet again, I thought this was going to lead to us visiting one another and spending time together face-to-face; but to my surprise something that turned out to be even more special happened. After a few minutes of consideration, she told me that the movie was on Netflix. So, though I was disappointed that we wouldn’t be watching it together; I let her know that I had turned it on and was watching it.

While we were chatting, she would ask me if I had seen this part or that part yet. This went on for about thirty minutes until she finally asked me what part I was on in the movie and then started the movie at her house and caught up with me. Although we were not in the exact same spot in the film, we were able to finish watching the movie together while chatting about what was happening. Suffice to say, as first films go, it was a great choice for a burgeoning relationship. More importantly, our “Remote Movie Dating” routine was born that evening.

“That was fun,” Meeks said at the conclusion of watching the film together, “we should do that again.”

“How about tomorrow night” I replied.

She said that that sounded like a plan, and then we pretended as though we were going to end the chat and go to bed. We didn’t; we stayed up until 5:30 in the morning chatting and enjoying one another’s company and discussing scenes from the movie before both crawling out of bed to do a day of work. This trying to survive a day of work after a night of remote movie dating would quickly become our daily struggle.

The next evening we did it again, and this time we perfected the science of remote movie date night. We devised a system by which we would take turns picking films for the evening, although she is much better at picking good films than I am, and using the thumbs up button in Facebook Messenger to start the film at the same time. Our nightly routine would go a little something like this.

Tamekia: Are you ready?

Me: What are we watching tonight?

Tamekia: I want you to see this Korean film called “The Housemaide”.

Me: Okay, cool. What is it on?

Tamekia: Hulu.

Me: Okay, give me a minute to pull it up…

Me: Okay, I’m ready; are you ready?

Tamekia: Yeah, I’m ready.

Me: Okay, hit the thumbs up button when you press play and we are off and running.

This became our nightly dialogue for the next few months. Sometimes we would intensely watch the movies and only chat during impactful or funny parts. Other times the movie simply served as a backdrop and an excuse for us to spend time chatting about other, completely unrelated things. I couldn’t begin to list out all of the movies that we watched together this way, but we were literally watching two, three and sometimes four movies together every single night. Our world together began revolving around Facebook Messenger, these movies and the conversation they sparked.

During our initial courtship Meeks went into a Sickle Cell crisis and became hospitalized. This happened at an awkward point in our relationship because as I mentioned earlier, we still had not visited one another in person yet. Despite all the time we had spent together over Messenger; at the point she became hospitalized we had not even spoken over the phone yet (via phone call). When she was admitted to the emergency room we had only been chatting every single night, watching movies together and occasionally doing video calls through Facebook Messenger, but no face-to-face, and no phone calls. So when she went into the hospital, all of a sudden I became somewhat alienated.

For a few days at least, I wasn't receiving my scheduled chats. No movies, no “WYD” or “I’m bored” messages from Tamekia. There was also a small window of time in which I had no guarantee of an update on her health. Like every other person of lesser significance to her, I was relegated to waiting on her to post updates on Facebook in order to know how she was doing. So that's what I did.

In reality, Tamekia was enduring an exhausting Sickle Cell Crisis treatment schedule that I knew nothing about at the time. So I initially took this distance between us as a sign that maybe I wasn't that significant to her. I imagined that there was some other guy she was talking to who was closer to her than I, and he was the one who had hospital privileges/duties. But then, by the fourth night things started returning to normal as she had gotten a little better and reached out to me for company.

On the fourth night of her hospital stay Tamekia finally sent me a Message and caught me up to speed on what was going on with her. After catching me up she asked me if I would keep her company. I asked her if she wanted me to come up there, again thinking this was an opportunity to see her, and she informed me that visiting hours were over. Instead, she asked if we could watch a movie together; so that’s what we did.

I’ll talk later about going through this and other Sickle Cell Crises with Tamekia, especially those first ones; but suffice to say for now the schedule she lives on in the hospital was initially very awkward for me to understand. I was receiving messages from Tamekia at awkward times overnight, like 2:15 AM, letting me know that she was bored and asking me to talk to her or remotely watch a movie with her or something. We chatted scarcely through the day while she primarily caught up on sleep, and then in late night hours I kept her company watching movies together remotely and chatting.

When Tamekia was released from the hospital I did go by to see her briefly and drop off some Dragonfruit, soup and Sprite to help her feel better. We talked for a few minutes and then I left; but then we resumed our regular schedule. It was great to see her. Later that day, it was a Sunday, she called for company. That still didn’t mean go and see one another, what that meant was that we would be watching a movie remotely together while chatting over Messenger. This was officially our thing now. This was our relationship; and I was loving every minute of it.

This is how we dated. This is how we went from reconnecting after twenty years apart and eventually becoming Mr. and Mrs. Buckner. It took us from March to June to go from hanging out like this, to finally hanging out together in person. Remember, we lived less than two-minutes away from one another at this time; but we demonstrated a measure of restraint that I still to this day find impressively beautiful. This courtship was so romantic, and it has created a foundation for our relationship that I absolutely love.

Furthermore, the emotional connection that it created between us, and the anticipation that was built up for our eventual meet-up was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. Needless to say, restraint plus anticipation equals passion. I will just leave it at that for now; this method of long-term build up created a level of passion and desire for one another that couldn’t have existed otherwise and it made our eventual meet-up unlike anything we could have possibly imagined.

to be continued...