Date Me: A Memoir

Andrea Gregory
| Memoir


I’m trying to date you. You’re late. Or I’m late. Our timing is already off. We met online. OkCupid or Plenty of Fish. My pictures are a decade old. You notice but don’t say anything. I still have the same smile. You smile back. For a second, it’s like things could work.
I want to get it out of the way. I tell you I have MS. It’s a disease that people bike for. It stripped me to the core when it came on four years ago. Are you attracted to my core? I used to be in a wheelchair. It will happen again. I don’t want to talk about my prognosis. It sucks. But there’s good news. You don’t have to love me forever. Just do it quickly. I’m lonely. I’m desperate. I’m running out of time. I picked you during a three-hour search. You came up right away, but I continued to look just in case. I’m keeping my options open.
But I listed traveling and hiking as my interests, you say. At the time my pictures were taken, those things were true, I tell you. I offer to show you my passport. Another expired picture and a bunch of stamps that make me seem worldly. You tell me you’ve been to Cancun. You ask me the funnest place I have been. I tell you funnest isn’t a word. You must think I’m a bitch.
I know it says I’m a journalist. That’s the last thing I was that I’m not anymore. A casualty of my sickness. But what I used to do mattered. You tell me no one reads newspapers anymore and that the media always gets it wrong. But I defend my past self and bore you with a story about writing a story on deadline.
A woman gets hit by a city bus. You tell me you’ve heard this one. It’s not a joke, I tell you back. She was killed. It was her birthday. Survived by a cat. Well, that’s not very funny. Where is my sense of humor? My profile said I had a sense of humor. So did yours. You thought I was normal. You are starting to question my potential as your potential soul mate.
I don’t seem normal now. Not when I get up to walk to the bathroom. Not when I’ve had this much to drink. Not without my cane, which I haven’t told you I usually use. My gait is off. I almost have a misstep. My normal is not normal.
You ask me if I want kids. You’ve thought about it. I don’t look that sick. You want kids. At 42, you are ready to start a big family. I’m done, I tell you. I mention my son, almost 18. Did I leave that out of my profile? Does that make me a bad mother? There is no father. It’s the story of a teenage girl with a restraining order. Do you really want to hear that story?
We could take shots. It’s your idea—so is sleeping together. You ask if I have roommates. Well, my kid. But there’s more. I live with my parents. Again. Not still. I can stay out as late as I want, though. Your place is a mess. Another time. Another date, maybe.
You don’t answer my texts. There were twelve of them. I have reread them many times. I am a writer. My texting illustrates a strong command of the English language and a touch of psycho chick. We never talk again.
My mother quotes The Supremes: You can’t hurry love. It made more sense in the 80’s when I knew the words, too. But she says it the same way she always has. She says it like there’s hope for me. Like I’m not running out of time.


Andrea Gregory is a former journalist and world traveler. Her fiction has appeared in The Sun, The Masters Review, New South, Consequence, and North Dakota Quarterly. Her creative nonfiction essays have been published by Arrowsmith Press where, as a columnist, she has written about living with MS while drawing on larger social issues and a love of literature. She holds an MFA from the University of Massachusetts Boston.