Becoming Unstuck

Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time with my memories. They are frequently comforting, or at least familiar. There are no surprises—they have already happened. Though it seems new insights can be (re) learned with each visit down memory lane.

It’s easy to get stuck in the past. You don’t have to worry how new people will perceive that person who is still slightly unfamiliar when you glance in the mirror. In the past, there is a shorthand. He already knows you. The real you. From before.
You don’t have to give your health history (again) to every potential boyfriend, in addition to the really cool things about yourself. Trying to exude that confidence, while secretly worrying that the health stuff is a scarlet letter, or alphabet really, branding you UNDATEABLE.

Or at least, it may seem as if the ones who still want to date you are the guys who normally wouldn’t be your first or second choice. They are really nice, but… Or they aren’t so nice. They might just be horny freaks who only care that they might get the chance to see you naked. As if.

Src: thechampionsheart.com

So I put my earbuds in and turn the iTouch up loud, listening to my lectures for school, getting excited about my potential future. Trying not to let fears about being good enough in a new career hold me back there as well. Watching other classmates zoom ahead of schedule, and wondering what’s keeping me from sprinting along with the rest of the pack.

But then a chance conversation leads to a friend spending an hour and half with me, treating me as if I really know what I am doing, like I know something useful, like I really can help her. She eagerly asks me when we can next meet to follow up on some of the things she wants to work some more on together. I don’t have the heart to tell her this isn’t how things are generally supposed to go because while I am helping her, she’s helping me. Giving me a dose of that rocket fuel that pushes me forward instead of keeping me stuck.

Src: beyondrice.com

Suddenly, my dating life is moving forward again as well. Tomorrow I have a date with a handsome nurse practitioner with a lot of energy, great attitude and a seemingly good heart. We have a lot in common, we agree. But I dread the conversation where I have to fill in the blanks with this triathlon athlete who runs daily, kayaks and does all the great things outdoors my old body would jump up to do in a heartbeat.

Surprisingly, the Jock With a Heart brings it up first to find out what we should we do on our date. “I don’t want you to have to talk about it if you’re not comfortable,” he says. “I just want to know what you can do, so I can plan our date.”

So, I hesitantly share some details. He sounds curious, jokes that he’ll look it up tonight and have a cure for me by tomorrow. I ask if I’m scared him off yet. He says not at all, adding that if I am going to go hiking with anyone, he’d be the best person to be with if anything went wrong.

He was reluctant to get off the phone. I’m trying not to let me insecurities ruin this before we even meet. Obviously he sees something in me he likes enough to go on his first date in a long time. So I will remember my awesome me-ness and just be my self.

Src: jweekly.com

The next day a teacher from Albany is driving down to spend the day with me. We’ve been talking for several weeks and are building a nice friendship. He’s very passionate about education, community activism, and bringing people together. He previously formed a kibbutz in Israel for two years, and he’s been running a non-profit in Uganda, and he’s starting a school in upstate New York.

Albany Activist is extremely intelligent, a great conversationalist, has great compassion and empathy—and he has great taste in music and seems to enjoy every aspect of getting to know me, even why certain books or albums are my favorites. Sounds wonderful, right?

It is. And he is. Though he comes with some complications of his own that may or may not be of concern. And while I wouldn’t say I have a type—Jock With a Heart, for instance, doesn’t really look like any other guy I’ve liked—I would still say Albany Activist’s look isn’t usually what I tend to be attracted to. But he looks like a lot of fun and very kind. Everything he’s said over the last few weeks reveal a great guy, and I’m really looking forward to spending time with him too.

So life is moving forward, just as it should. And I am looking to the future, while learning to enjoy the present. The past? Been there, done that. Thanks for the memories, but it’s time to start making some new ones.

Advertisements

The Kiss Off

It’s been more than four years that we’ve been playing this game. First we finally established a committed relationship that lasted for nearly two years. Eventually I broke up with him, thinking we weren’t moving any farther forward. There would be no next step—no marriage or kids definitely, but not even moving in together, though I spent four to five nights of the week there, and was spending most of our time together remodeling his house. I had met a lot of his friends, but he kept his flashy work life separate from me—to maintain his cool bachelor status. I never met his mom, who literally lived 10-15 minutes away, and once when she made a surprise visit to the house, I was asked to hide in the bedroom.

The year and half we weren’t together, we remained friends…sometimes with benefits. We still had this bond between us. We still enjoyed spending time together in small doses, and whenever I saw him unexpectedly, it made me light up.  When I was terribly sick, he was always there, never ashamed to take me out in public, even with my embarrassing (to me) ailment.

So fast-forward to almost a year after he started the talk about how he felt I had misconceptions about him and what he was all about in the relationship department, we tentatively decided to give it another try. Some things have been great and wonderful and had me thinking this reconciliation was totally worth it. He was more affectionate. When he was home from work and spending time with me, he truly wanted to be spending time with me, not his projects and gadgets.

Other things made me think he had gotten even worse in selfish independence. He’d go for two weeks or more without wanting to see me—and he called me high maintenance for wondering what the scoop was. Was it too much to think that a man I was exclusively dating would look forward to seeing me and put me as a priority?

Apparently, to him, it was too much.

The biggest disappointment, though, was this past week when I was at my sickest and loneliest, he didn’t call. He didn’t text. He had no idea I had to be taken to the ER for a second time. He didn’t know the medical treatment was kicking my ass. He didn’t know my doctor was removing me for my work duties for much longer than I anticipated because my treatment was going to require that much out of me.

It’s not as if I wanted to focus on all this. I knew how to be upbeat and talk about the other good things going on in my life. He always talked about his work too, the projects he was working on, his sick, elderly cat, whatever. It would have been nice to just hear whatever he had to say.

By Friday, I gave in.  “Are you living?”

Later that night, “How doin’?” he asks.

“Is that a rhetorical question, or do you really care to know the answer?”

Next day we text back and forth about how even old friends I haven’t talked to since before high school were reaching out to me…yet he hadn’t. He replied that he was busy with projects, works, etc. “I figured you were doing your own thing,” he said.

What? Doing my own thing like losing some of every meal, collapsing on the floor at least half a dozen times a day, having random moments of unconsciousness? Sure I’ve also tried to at least have a hand in the news publication that it still mine but I can’t officially be writing for and running right now. I’ve been catching up on Netflix and reading.

But yeah, I would welcome a phone call from the guy I was dating.Everybody is busy, not just him, yet they still carve out a minute of their time just to say I’m thinking of you.

So yesterday, after telling him, I finally get it—that he just doesn’t think enough to phone or text to see how I am (whether I am sick or not), I wrote an obvious kiss off. He tried to ignore it today, asking, “how are you feeling?”  I ignored him.

I am done. He can go try to find someone more perfect. He can find his dream girl, Spanish “chick.” I am done with his shit, and I getting off this bus for good this time.

I may not be a high priority to him, but I am one of the highest priorities to myself.

Next blog, remind me to share what happened with my police officer…now, that’s a funny story.

Rediscovering the Hidden Gems in My Closet of Love

It breaks my heart that my morning pages a.k.a my diary for years has been obliterated by an OS meltdown, but maybe I needed a complete emotional reboot as well. V-Man’s been telling me for years that I needed to clear out my garbage, and he was right. Of course, he meant my literal garbage, all those old clothes, old papers, mail that doesn’t need to be kept, literal junk I hold onto for nostalgia’s sake or because I just hate to throw away perfectly good stuff that is perfectly not right for me anymore. More and more, I realize how much that holds true for my emotional life as well.

I also am recognizing how there are some hidden gems in my closet that I complete forgot I had, or that I had become blinded to as gems, for whatever reasons, and so I allowed all the clutter to block my vision of their true worth. It’s ironic that the person who’s been trying to point this hoarding flaw of mine out to me again and again is also the one that I’ve overlooked the most as the greatest gem in my life, though his radiance keeps glimmering in my heart again and again.

After two years of dating, I buckled under pressure. My best friend was a newlywed. She and her husband, despite their marital and financial strife were pushing for having a baby very shortly. Her husband was nearly a decade younger than my boyfriend. She told me, in her blunt way, that after two years together, the V-Man needed to “shit or get off the pot.”

I knew I didn’t want to be like my boyfriend’s news anchor co-workers having their first babies at age 40. I was an arthritic 30-year-old with an autoimmune disease who worried that every passing year was stealing another year of active opportunity to be the hands-on, athletic mom I had always dreamed of being with my kids. I also was aware of the increased risks I would face over the age of 35, even as a healthy mother, so who knew what I was in store for already as a high-risk pregnancy?

I felt the pressure. I watched the vast majority of my friends starting families. I wondered when my adult life was going to move forward to that stage as well. In other words, I made it quite clear to my boyfriend that, after 2 years together, I wanted to know if V-Man was even thinking things like, “I might want to be with this woman for the unforeseeable future, possible marry her, and maybe even have kids together.”

We had some ambiguous talks. He said, “Oh you have five years, no rush then right?” in the cavalier way of a guy with no understanding of my concerns.

He didn’t understand that was only one of the reasons I broke things off. His obsession with house remodeling and yard work to the point of having no other life but that bothered me. I had no problem yanking down a tree or holding up sheetrock for a ceiling every now and then, but when we only did fun things together like go hiking or go the New York City for the day once every six months. The rest of the time I felt like he had me on for free labor.

The sex wasn’t even awesome half the time when we had the energy to do it. I was still ridiculously attracted to him, but the connection was disconnected from emotion so often. I felt we had reached a stale mate. He’d spent time with my family on numerous holidays. I’d never met his mom who lived less than 10 minutes from the house. I thought he was ashamed of his (violently at times) autistic brother. The majority of the kids I work with these days are autistic. I lived at his house 3-4 days out of the week, which meant I lived out of my car shuttling between his house and my place. He innocently said I could move in up to 4-5 if I wanted to.

I thought he was ashamed of me. I thought I wasn’t high maintenance enough for a man who worked in the TV news industry. He claimed to hate that type of woman, but he was attracted superficially to those looks of course. I never got my nails done. I yes, sometimes dressed like I was 40, when appropriate., though I tried to look sexy and hot for him when appropriate (but I wasn’t wearing mini skirt and heels when we were digging dirt in the backyard, thanks). I thought maybe I wasn’t ambitious enough for him. My book wasn’t published (or completed) yet.  The company for which I was COO flopped miserably (though to no fault on mine). I had three different master’s degrees I  genuinely planned to pursue. I thought, to him I surely was a basket case.

So I broke up with him. He didn’t want what I wanted. The idea of a future with me, while he sometimes thought about it, scared him, “because it was so grown up,”—yes, coming from a then 36-year-old. I wanted to know more about him and where he came from, but he didn’t see why meeting his mom mattered. So it went.

The next year and a half without him was a mess. I had an immediate head-over-heels fling with Harlequin Hero. He stomped my heart. I quickly tried to date someone else as rebound—he was completely wrong for me, though a nice guy, an odd fellow. Dated another way too intense for me guy for several months. Finally had the guts to end it. Had a friends with benefits period. V-Man surprisingly came to this show we went to and immediately ignored him and flirted with me like FWB didn’t exist. In that moment, the only one who cared, who mattered, who made me grin, made my heart thump-thump was V-Man.

The next guy who I really did try to make matter was in love with his ex for the first few months as well. But then he fell deeply for me—in his selfish way.  Still fairly early on, when the infatuation and lust was still high and I was heady with his musical talent, he and I went to an open mic to perform individually. Guess who showed up? V-Man. Even seeing the affection I showed Music Man, V-Man said hey, then turned his body and talked to me the entire night. This time he said, the only reason we weren’t together was because of me. That I and my parents had misconceptions about him because of half-truths or straight out lies I had told them about him. I was so confused and wanted to explore this theory, but not there, not then.

Music Man saw the obvious chemistry and was incredibly jealous to see that someone else could make me come alive like that, flirtatious, laughing, and it wasn’t him. I should have followed my heart and ended things then, Music Man wondered if we should as well, but we both stubbornly decided to give it another go.  It was the second New Year’s V-Man wanted to spend with me, and it was the second one I severely let him down. I should have been there at least one of those years, if I had only trusted myself!

Despite our non-couple status, last year, he saw Coldplay with me, Living Colour for the second year in a row with me, saw the Riverfest fireworks for the third time with me, continued to build memories that are part of my tradition with him that I never wanted to just give up. So when I got so sick this January, the first person I sought comfort from besides my parents and my best friend M was V-Man. He hates hospitals, doctors, blood, you name it. But when he heard what I was going through, he got his butt to my hospital room  and stayed for hours. He held my hand, learned what to do during my seizure-like episodes, and talked to my parents to find out what was going on and get angry on my behalf about.

When I got out of the hospital, my musically gigging “boyfriend” was too ashamed to take me to his first solo big gigs. V-Man was proud to take me out to see some interesting shows that I wanted to see. He came to the house and sat with me, holding me even when the whole family was right by my side. He held conversations and played with the little nephew. He didn’t treat me like an invalid. He joked as always. He even found me sexy still. After I broke up with the boyfriend who wasn’t, V-Man started taking me out for little day trips to his house for a change of pace, to keep him company and to keep me company. We realized the chemistry was still very much alive. He reminded me that he still found me irresistible even doing the most mundane things in not even the sexiest get-ups.

I basically asked him, “What’s going on between us?”

He deflected, as usual. “Let’s wait to have this discussion until you’re better. I’m not going anywhere.”

Surprisingly, he wasn’t. He hasn’t. He’s made more efforts to bring me over. One weekend here. A day visit there to help him pick out appliances and paint color. One dinner out there. This weekend I owed him a repair of the curtains my cat messed up the last time V-Man cat-sit for him, plus he wanted my help pulling down a tree and tying up some tree branch bundles. I initially asked him if I could bribe him to take me to the shore this past Friday. He said, yes, if he’ll get some help in return, then asking which bikini I might be wearing. Wanting to have time for both fun (beach state park) and the work, he thought an early start would be best so invited me to spend the night prior as well. I thought about for a half second before knowing that’s what I deep-down wanted to do.

We went to Rocky Neck State Park. It was incredibly hot and sunny. We found cool in the shade of the forest trails surrounding the area. There was an incredibly impressive stone arboretum with tree furniture inside. We walked along the stone cliffs down to the four-mile-river leading out to the Long Island Shore. Finally, when we couldn’t resist anymore, we dipped our legs in the warm water. It was peaceful and enjoyable and I loved how he’d always reach down or up for me on the steep inclines to  make sure I was steady.

When we came back to the house, we decided it was far too hot to do yard-work. So we made dinner together. We watched some Friday night TV. Saturday we set to work. Later we went clothes shopping (wound up with shoes for both), and then grabbed dinner. On my way home Sunday morning, we finally talked, meaning I asked the questions I was afraid to ask and encouraged him not to weasel out of them with humor or deflection.

Did my illness scare him? He hated seeing me sick. He wanted doctors to find a way to get me better. But me being sick was not a deal-breaker or a problem at all even. I asked if my idea of a future scared him. Again he said, if that’s what he wanted too, no it didn’t scare him. What scares him more is his individual future: the security of his job, the threat of losing his stability that he’s had for 10 years.

He sounded more like he had been worrying he wasn’t good enough for me. That he thought he was too boring for me. How could I think he thought I was boring, he wondered. I always had a million different things going on, half of which he didn’t even understand. I said do you ever think about getting together again. He said, yeah, sometimes. I said, do you really like being a bachelor? Your freedom? He told me hasn’t dated. He goes to work, he comes home and works on the house. He goes out with his friends one a month or two. He sometimes likes having free time to himself but he’s usually just messing around on the computer. I said, doesn’t that ever get lonely? He said, yes, of course it does. But he just snuggles with his cat, haha.

So I joked, if I got rid of the rest of my granny clothes and my new specialist in a couple weeks gave me promise, would you consider a trial run of us again? He gave the loudest, most genuine laugh in the longest time. Like, you’re so silly, you don’t need to do anything.  He said he enjoyed spending time with me. We talked about how nice it is to have a balance between fun things like we did at the beach and also being able to get things done like he feels pressed to do. And still find time for ‘me time’. It’s all about balance.

I can accept that. I need to earn his trust back and be more reliable and dependable for him to want to be with me again full-time.

And yes, I know some of you may want to know, the sex we had over those three nights and three days was absolutely amazing. He was attentive, inventive and thoughtful. Not just in the bedroom either. But yes there too. I would say in one day, we had more sex than we’d typically have in the average month in the latter section of our relationship. And it’s not like this is the first time we’d touched since we broke up. I think some walls were just let down and we could let more of each other in.

I’m afraid of this. What if it doesn’t really mean anything? What if this is just how it’s going to continue to be ad infinitum until I say I can’t do any of this anymore, you can’t ask me for favors, I can’t help you pick out things for your house, and we can’t have sex; I need to truly move forward to a relationship if you don’t want to give it to me. I felt real hope this time. He actually revealed his heart to me, which was the toughest thing for him to do especially after the first few months of our relationship. I know I will just go slow, not hope for anything more, and like he said “we’ll play it by ear.”

He may spook tomorrow, and come back in two weeks. Heck, I probably will be the first to go that route.

When An Ex Waxes Nostalgic, It’s Music to My Ears

The Music Man never fails to blow me away with the sheer perfection of his physique. Chiseled arms and legs, ripped abs, plus the tanned skin and perfect hair of a man who pays a lot of attention to his appearance. Even during my “man, this guy is a total jackass”-phase, I have never looked at him and not thought, “Wow, he looks delicious.” But his unchecked words, with their timing and delivery, still manage to catch me off guard.

Last week, he had promised we’d get together soon in the coming week, but it’s been months since we’ve actually been able to follow through on getting together. So this morning I woke up to a text from him asking if I wanted to get together at noon. On the drive to lunch in his gorgeous red Mustang, he informed me what he had been up to this morning. “Remember those sexy photos I have of you?” he asked, giving me a sideways glance. “I was jacking off to those this morning.” What? I didn’t know if I should choke him, or if I should be flattered. Later, I wound up doing both.

Before all this though, we somehow ended up talking about relationships and feelings, The Music Man’s second favorite topic behind, naturally, music. During our relationship, he over-analyzed everything, to the point where I, the typical feelings female, was like–“please give it a rest.” Today,  as he talked about the women he was dating, he commented on how much work dating these three women was becoming. I couldn’t help adding, “Like it became work when I got sick?”

He frowned at me and protested. “It was absolutely not work when you got sick. I wanted to be there for you, and I was happy to. You know we had our bigger issues far before you got sick.” I nodded. It was true. That was really what was behind why I broke things off with him, after all. When I was sick and he was at home playing the guitar by himself when he used to play so often for me, he said, one afternoon he just broke down crying. “I never did that over my ex-wife or even the ex-girlfriend. I was really sad and upset in those cases, but over you, I literally lost it for like sixty seconds.” He told me how he would always have a loving feeling for me because of how beautiful and caring and sexy a person I was and am.

I was touched but didn’t really know how to respond. Of course he asked, “What do you think about all that?”

After lunch, we went to the park and walked for a bit under the scorching sun. We quickly made our way to the shade of the trees and just lay on a sheet for twenty minutes relaxing. The Music Man reached out to put his arm under my head, and he pulled me in for some passionate kisses, but mostly we just talked. It felt good. I did miss our talks. As shallow as he sometimes appears, when The Music Man get below the surface, we always have great conversation.

When he drove me back to the house, he asked if I wanted him to come in. I gave him a quizzical look, but I remembered the sexy photos he showed me that had roused him earlier that morning. He reminded me then and there that there had been some passion in our relationship after all, that it hadn’t always been a case of me failing to live up to his fantasies and porn-style expectations.  He reminded me that yes, there had been too, in his odd little way, love.  He also reminded me that I was irresistibly sexy, just as I am, in this very body. All these things were beautiful to remember.

When The Tables Are Turned

In a perfect twist to my soap opera saga with Mr. Etiquette, this morning, he just found out he’s been the “other man” to his Miss Wonderful over the last 15 months. She broke things off again with him this past Sunday–in truth, there wasn’t really anything to break off besides words. In the last two weeks, she’d seen him one day for three hours and canceled every other “date” that they’d planned after that. Still, Mr. E. was crushed. He, of course, came to me for comfort, advice, etc. I was blunt with him, basically encouraging not to shed too many tears over a woman who has continually kicked him in the teeth for over the year. He seemed like he was trying to listen, even showing signs that he wanted to move on, be happy and at peace again.

Until this morning, when he decided to give things another try with Miss Wonderful, hunt down her father since he’d deleted all her numbers from his phone the day before, and put the father in the middle. He asked if he could bring some things to her father, explaining to him who Mr. Etiquette was. Dad was very confused and broke the news that Miss Wonderful was getting married…¿Cómo say what?

Obviously Mr. Etiquette is crushed, but he can’t say he couldn’t see this coming. Several times, he mentioned the gut feeling that his Former Dream Girl was seeing someone else. We talked about this on Friday night when we went to see a band, and I observed, “It is interesting that she never wants to get together on Fridays and Saturdays, and she’s totally fine with you hanging out with me on Friday nights.” She had time for everyone else throughout the weekend, but Mr. Etiquette was only deemed worthy of a couple hours late Sunday afternoons.

When FDG wouldn’t show, she would get hostile and defensive if Mr. E showed disappointment. Several of us in the know have been telling him her “anxiety” wouldn’t suddenly change her personality from sweet to bitch the way that it had over the course of the year if she really, truly loved him and wanted to be with him. Even with her anxiety she could handle the responsibilities of her job, being the maid of honor in a wedding with all the duties that entails, doing things for her family, spending time with all of her friends, so why was it only with him that she “couldn’t deal”?

My question remains why would he keep going back to this woman when he claims all he wants is to be loved by someone willing and capable of being loved, someone who respects, admires, desires him, and wants to build a life with him? Before I knew about FDG, I was capable of becoming that girl, and he knew it. He risked all that just to make sure FDG wouldn’t return to the love he thought she once was for not even 6 months over a year ago (when she got back together with her ex-boyfriend/now fiancé).

He kept saying he didn’t want to lose me as a friend, because he guessed things wouldn’t work out with FDG, and look–he was right. He got extremely jealous as I moved forward in dating, urging me not to move too quickly. He was going to come for me if things didn’t work out with FDG. Yet why would I want him? I would always know I was second-best. I know I deserve more than that.

Even more now, after she told him on Sunday after her last no-show, “please move on, please find love and get married, don’t call, text, email, or try to visit me again, I don’t love you,” he still tried to give it another chance today. He is more desperate than i thought. He is the one who needs extensive counseling, maybe just as much if not more than FDG. She is just a mean-spirited, cowardly bitch.  Mr. Etiquette is off his rocker. I feel sorry for him, but I don’t want to, to quote good ol’ Dr. Phil, “be his soft place to fall,” if it only drags me down to hell on earth as well.

In Grief and In Confusion, The Past Meets My Future

Monday was the wake. The place was packed with dazed and crushed 21-year-olds who had never faced mortality so close to them before. HH's little sister was loved by so many people from so many walks of life. Memorials to her young life paved the walkway–photographs, a video montage, her baptismal gown. At the head of receiving line was Mom, who burst into a new dose of painful tears when each person representing a different part of her life or the daughter's walked by.

When I came in with my oldest brother, who grew up with HH, HH gave me a huge hug and whispered how much it meant to him that I came. Later, in a text, he asked if I saw him smile when he saw me come in. He thanked me for making his insides light up.

The next day, Winnie and I went to the funeral together, as planned. We met up with two other childhood friends and sat together through the touching ceremony. The congregation was overcome with a chorus of sobbing when HH's middle sister, S,  got up to give her tribute to her little sister. She talked about their close bond, tearfully spoke of how her sister will never be an aunt to her kids, how she will never get to see her little sister get married, etc. She shared funny memories as well. I've never seen a crowd so overwhelmed with emotion before.

The burial was somber and mercifully brief. Afterward, HH came over, surprised to see me and nearly picked me up with a huge hug. He asked how I was, and I shook my head. "No, how are you?" He commented on how I was burning up in the heat of the sun, dressed all in black, giving veiled compliments about my looks. S came over to us, her friends, and we spoke about how it was a perfect day. How the birds were singing, the sun was shining despite the threat of clouds later in the day. Little sister was buried next to a plot carrying a Yankee flag, her favorite baseball team. HH and his sister said the family had been seeing signs of little sister everywhere.

We went back to the church for the reception. Winnie, M (one of the dear friends of my childhood), and I sat at a table by ourselves. We spoke in hushed tones about the accident, our worries about how the family was holding up, noting how neither HH or S were eating, how S looked like a frail bird.

M asked if HH was going to move up here. I said I sincerely doubted it. Somehow we began discussing my brief relationship with HH, how it went from absolutely amazing to heartbreaking. M commented that S was exactly the same way. She only let people get so close before she pushed them away. That brought me some kind of comfort and closure, even.  M said how our job was to stay in touch with S, to make sure she remained connected with her friends, and that my job was to convince HH to move back to the state to be back with his family.

Suddenly HH, S and her husband swooped upon us. HH sat next to me, pulling me to his side. He kept hugging me, squeezing me to his side, and finally he tightly grasped my hand in his hand. "It means the world to me that you are here." We closed out the reception, bringing smiles and laughter to S's face. When Winnie and I got into the car, she said, 'I would certainly say the HH was very glad to see you!"

Yesterday, I texted Harlequin Hero, asking if he wanted to get out and do something outdoors while the weather was nice, also allowing him to get away from the sadness and drama that surely overtook life at home this week. I wasn't too surprised when later, HH replied, "What are you doing tomorrow? Is the weather supposed to be nice again?"

Today, he wound up being caught up in family stuff all day. I was about to write it off as a raincheck or even a blow off, when he texted, "I'll pick u up in a few."

It was after 7 p.m. when he arrived in his new truck. "Did you have any thoughts for where you want to go?" he asked. "I just needed to get out of the house." I mentioned we could try to find a park or something that wouldn't kick us out after sunset. As we drove by the tavern where we met and where we went to many a karaoke night, he noted all the vehicles parked out front and I said teasingly that it was Thursday: karaoke night. "Really?" he replied. "Maybe we'll drop by there afterward."

First, we just drove. We talked about my illness and my plans for the near future. We talked about his sister. We talked about spirits and signs from loved ones when we needed them after they'd passed. He painfully spoke of her last attempt to reach out to him before she passed and his missed opportunity to reply. He shared more extended family drama.

We navigated the familiar streets of our hometown. We went through the automatic carwash to wash his truck. Then we headed for this pond that we thought was still accessible. It wasn't. We wracked our brains for other teen haunts, and tried another place. We saw a fence and a "No trespassing sign." Next to that, though, we saw fresh tire tracks through the grass. HH followed it until we got to the beach in front of a lake.

It was a beautiful night. The sky was clear, and we could see stars everywhere. We could hear frogs and crickets and smell the water as the breeze wafted its aroma in our direction. We found a park bench to sit on. He pulled me toward him. "You are so warm," he said.  "I'm freezing." Our bodies remembered history, as he pulled me onto his lap and pulled my face to his.

After a time, the breeze was no longer refreshing; it was just cold. We retreated to the truck. We continued where we left off. We enjoyed each other a little bit more, we laughed. Reaching for him, I accidentally grabbed the Gatorade bottle in the beverage console in front of us and started cracking up.

"Have your boobs gotten bigger?" he asked later.

"Why, do they seem like it?" I replied. "Yeah, I've gained a little weight," I said proudly.

He nodded appreciatively. "I thought they had an extra bounce to them; I can really cup them good now," he said, gesturing with his big hands.

We started talking about everything. He is looking at houses in town, including some in my neighborhood. The taxes scared him, so I told him to look one town over. He mentioned he'd need a roommate. I asked how serious he was about getting a house here. He said something about how he was almost 40, and it was time to settle down.

"What, with wife and kids?" I asked. He said he was too old to have kids. I said, you're an athlete, that's no excuse. "Marry a 23-year-old," I joked. He said that was too much for him to handle. "Okay, marry a 30-year-old." He said, yeah, someone closer to his age would be more realistic. But then he ducked his head and said something about how all that's not so important to him right now.

Then he told me how until last week, he had gotten back together with his ex-fiance. The one who had completely shattered his heart and forced him into a shell from which it took him months and months to emerge. I was the one who first drew him out of it over a year ago. His sister had sincerely thanked me for bringing some happiness to him again. Anyway, a little over a month ago, the ex drew him back again. He was ready to move her up with him, he'd bought a truck just to handle the horse trailer she'd need to bring her animals up. He planned on surprising her with the truck last week, but she couldn't/wouldn't find the time for him. Then, his sister died.

The gf's response was terribly lacking. Then, instead of comforting him on his long, agonizing drive home, even for just a few minutes on the phone, she couldn't find time for him, instead more concerned with her friend who broke her ankle. Boyfriend's sister dying vs. a broken ankle. The former kind of seems like it should rank as a higher priority in terms of being there for someone, IMHO. HH agreed. He couldn't believe that all he got were a couple of empty texts. Any time he called, she never answered. He wrote her off then and there. Deleted every text conversation, her phone number, etc.

He said, what am I going to do, go back down to my place down South and be a hermit or be up here with all these people who love and support me? Exhausted from an incredibly long day, he took a power nap in my arms. Wide awake, I thought about everything that had happened this week, the sorrow, the surprises left and right. I thought about the other person in my life who suddenly seemed very far away, and yet more concrete and complete, filling my cracks and never leaving me wanting except for his physical presence.

After HH dropped me off, I talked to one of my best friends who saw me through and after my relationship with HH, and she surprised me by saying he sounded like he was starting to realize how much I meant to him. I said he's probably just reacting in grief and will disappear. She said it was more likely that if this is what I wanted, I would have to be very, very patient but this might possibly lead to a happy ending.

At the beginning of this week, I was thinking about being ready to start a future with someone else. At the end of this week, a part of me is left pondering the past again. I feel like this is the story of my life, to always have the past drawing me back in, forcing me to make difficult choices or wonder if I'm really able to let go. Honestly, I don't even know if there even really is a choice to make, but if there is, I don't know if just how easy it would be for me to say no this time.

Read and post comments | Send to a friend