We went out for drinks and had a great time, telling stories about our childhood and swapping anecdotes about our lives as writers.
I'd assumed that our mutual friends had told him I'd lost my husband.
Other men, once they learned of my history, avoided me altogether.
As soon as I'd get comfortable enough with them to talk about it, usually after a few dates, they'd pull away--no more e-mails or calls.
But I felt torn between feeling very attached to his memory and also taking tentative steps toward a future without him.
Widowhood also has had a strange sanctifying effect on how men perceive me.
When his cancer briefly disappeared, I rejoiced with him; when it reappeared, we despaired together.
Some guys have even turned my widowhood into a weird power struggle, a game of "Whose life is harder?
But he also helped me understand how alien and incomprehensible my situation must seem to someone who has not lived with such a loss.
I've been dating for almost two years now--some guys lasted just one date, others for months at a time.
Yet when I started dating, widowhood became the woolly mammoth in the room--guys would try to avoid the subject completely.
The first man I dated after Frank, a sports fanatic from Brooklyn whom I saw for two months, would tense his jaw and say, "I'm sorry," before changing the subject to football. But I felt sorry enough for myself; after a point, I could hardly bear having anyone else feel sorry for me.