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As the two-year anniversary of Frank's death approaches, Abdul asked me out again - after a year and a half! (Dating six months after losing your husband isn't smart.) In the interim he and I were friendly, but he didn't ask me again after the first date - I think I offended him when I told him (back then) that I was busy for the next two weekends.

(n that year and a half, I wanted to say, "I wish I'd said 'Yes' when you asked me out the second time," but I couldn't bring myself to.)

But we were friendly, as I said, and would joke around and bring each other little gifts of food. (His brother's baklava is addictive). Lately, I've been complaining about vegetarian eating and he said that there was a good vegetarian selection at his favorite Middle Eastern restaurant, and that the next time he went, I should come. I said, "OK," but I think he was still gun-shy about the earlier perceived turn-down by me, and didn't ask me for a specific date.

A week ago, I told him I had a milestone birthday coming up, and instead of splurging as I wanted to, I was going to spend two weeks at the cabin fixing the place to get it ready to put on the market. Getting it sold will be my real gift to myself. He asked me what milestone birthday would it be, and I whispered, "60." He seemed surprised when I told him. Then he asked when, and when I told him, he said that when I come back from killing myself at the cabin, that he would take me out to celebrate. I said, "Sure!"

Then yesterday, he looked tired and grumpy, and I asked what was wrong. He said, "Work," and I asked if he wasn't retiring soon. He admitted he was, in a year and a half, and asked me not to mention it. And here is where it gets weird: he opened up about his financial situation (pretty good; better than mine!) and said we'd talk more about it when he takes me out for my birthday. He said, "Deal?" and I moved to shake his hand. He hugged me instead (just a little hug).

OK, now how am I to take this? The spelling out of his financial sitch makes me think of old-world marriage arrangements, where it's all out in the open before contracts are signed. He's not over-sharey about any other subject, or so I thought. Read on. He's said we're not getting any younger, and he sounds as though he wants to include me in plans. He showed me a big scar on his forearm and said he's had a triple bypass, and actually unbuttoned a couple of buttons to show me the scar on his chest! OK, too much, already!

I am somewhat blown away, and don't know what to make of it. My Israeli friend (who's leery about Muslims) encourages me, then asked me if I'd convert. Not likely. I can think of several old religions that attract me, that I could conceivably convert to for love or conviction, but Islam isn't one of them. His ex-wife didn't convert; why should I?

(Oh, and his ex-mother-in-law is crazy about him. His office is filled with adorable baby animal & animal rights calendars she gives him, which he freely shares with everyone.)

Feedback, please. Am I losing my mind?

I do like Abdul, though. I never stopped thinking about him, and I KNOW Frank wouldn't mind.
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