Worth The Wait Guy Chronicles Ch.14
Around Natali's 25th birthday (she was a Leo and much younger than most of the women I dated - I was 28), she was really missing her family back in Arizona. Natali was the youngest child in her immediate family - she had an older sister. However, Natali had a very large blended family and constantly talked about them, almost as much as I talked about my family. This was one of the things I liked about Natali - family played a huge part in her life. She would always talk to me about her little cousins, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and more.
Natali loved everyone, but not like she loved her number one girl, her mother. Natali really missed her mother (Maria) and wanted to spend her birthday with family. She requested the entire weekend off from work and wanted us to drive down to Scottsdale (about a 5 hour drive from Vegas). I didn't have any plans for the weekend, so I packed my bag and we rolled out.
At the time, things were off to a fast start with Natali. Like NASCAR race track fast. Within three months of meeting each other, we were officially a couple. I met her in May. We kicked it for a few months and in July of that summer, I asked her to be my girlfriend in the most dramatic (romantic and problematic) way. If you've been riding with me for a minute, you know I'm a hopeful romantic, so I apologize for the made-for-tv drama I tend to find myself in. However, I won't share that story with you right now. I'll save it for next week. So, let's get back to the road trip...
I never met Maria (or Mrs. Ramirez as I religiously called her until she demanded that I refer to her as Maria) before the trip but we talked on the phone a few times. She seemed like a very nice lady who loved her daughter. Natali and myself confessed our "love" for one another and it was "cute" - at least that's what Maria thought about our relationship. Yes, we were still young enough to rush into love like we did and genuinely believe that we were going to make it last forever = marriage.
I really thought that I was going to spend the rest of my life with Natali because she checked most of my boxes at the time. We were spending a lot of time together and I was being my normal charming self, spoiling Natali with time, commitment, respect, compliments and affection. These things may not seem like anything special, but they were a different form of currency that Natali was used to receiving from men.
One of the craziest things happened during this trip. We ended up going to the nearest amusement park for the day. All of the kids were super stoked and so was Natali, because she loved rollercoasters. Me on the other hand, I was neutral about the idea of a rollercoaster ride. Growing up, I never thoroughly enjoyed amusement parks because I didn't ride rollercoasters. As I've always said, "I like my feet on the ground," so rollercoasters just aren't my thing. Side note: Being close to outdoor ledges in tall buildings or skydiving aren't my cup of tea either - planes are cool though.
As my fellow classmates rode rollercoasters, I used to play all the midway games and actually win prizes (I usually stuck to basketball because it was easy to figure out how the ball would bounce after a few shots).
Natali begged me to ride at least one of the rollercoasters with her. Listen, I was not buying it. I shut the idea down every time she asked. Eventually, I saw that Natali was actually becoming irritated towards me because of my refusal to ride a rollercoaster. Natali's mood went from happy to sad like a kid dropping her ice cream cone on the ground. So, I had a choice to make. Man up or keep pissing her off in front of her family. I natually manned up and rode my first rollercoaster - I survived without any major or minor injuries. The ride was cool but it wasn't all that - I just remember screaming like a 12-year-old girl the entire 3 minutes and then it was over.
After spending the entire day in the sun, everyone was beat. The entire house fell asleep within minutes, except for Maria and myself. That night ended with a crucial conversation I wasn't ready to have, especially with Maria. She felt the need to tell me straight to my face that Natali wasn't ready for "a guy like me" and that she was going to eventually mess everything up. Initially, I couldn't believe this was happening. Natali was right in the other room. I was a guest in Maria's house and we just officially met a few hours ago. But after thinking about it, Maria was probably right. Even if she didn't know me like that, she knew I was ready to settle down. Being Natali's mother, Maria knew Natali wasn't ready to settle down with anyone right now because she was still figuring out who she wanted to become in life. I didn't know everything at the time (and still don't) but I did know that I wanted to settle down and get married.
I went to bed that night with my eyes wide open and with a heavy heart. Maria came into my feelings like a hurricane with bad intentions (even though her intentions were good). Honestly, I didn't know what to do with that piece of information. In hindsight, I should have taken it straight to the bank but I didn't. I wanted to make this Natali thing work and I was willing to endure some growing pains along the way.