What Happens When Your Answer Temptation’s Call

On Wednesday night, I went out with The Renaissance Man, which turned out to be a fun evening with mixed emotions. Everything has been different since last week’s re-emergence of The European. Part of it has been TRM finding himself busier and more distracted than usual, but a lot of it admittedly have stem from the silent but visceral signals I must have been emitting ever since I disappeared to Boston on Thursday.

As some of you might’ve predicted, temptation and curiosity got the better of me when The European finally committed, several weeks too late, to get together again. I don’t want to mislead here—it’s not like this invitation came completely out of the blue. We’ve been talking for weeks and he’s expressed the desire to get together repeatedly, but there were also excuses about being so busy with work, not feeling himself due to a lot of emotional things he’s been going through and just feeling out-of-sorts in general. Perhaps they were genuine reasons at the time, but they started to feel like excuses, so to protect myself from getting hurt and disappointed again, I just made the decision I wasn’t going to be. I was going to actively start seeing others again. The fact that TRM came along in the process was an unexpected and wonderful surprise.

Yet, a part of me was still tied back to The European. It didn’t help that we often still talked at least once a week on FaceTime, where I could see his face grinning at me as if talking to me made his day. He observed all my expressions and surmised my moods and concerns just as he always did when we were in each other’s company. It was unnerving, yet comforting at the same time. During those conversations, it was easy for me to remember why I had started to feel like I was growing to love this person back when I trusted him.

But I’d started to believe that that is all they were—conversations. I was a friend that he trusted, with whom he shared his deeper emotions. He had his activity partners, even people he could philosophically or politically banter with occasionally, but he could be more vulnerable with me. I was safe—from afar.

So it was a total surprise as we were wrapping up one of our FaceTime conversations when he blurted out, “So do you still want to come visit me in Boston?”

Yes. No. I don’t know. Should I? Does he even deserve it?

I wrestled with these questions for almost two days, even up to a couple hours before I finally boarded a bus to South Station. I talked it over with my friends and my parents. My mom was wary and protective of me. My dad, ever the romantic, saw a bit of his and my mom’s love story in us, remembered their miscommunications and emotional conflicts that nearly led to a complete destruction of their relationship before they even took off, and even later, led to them spitting, before they finally reunited for good.

I thought about how I felt. I wanted to know if what I remembered was the truth. I wanted to see if TRM had erased some of that fairy tale magic I had once felt in The European’s presence. I wanted to see if there was still hope. I wanted, if I had to, the opportunity to say goodbye.

The European shocked me by meeting me at the bus station. God, he looked so good. His hugs. That accent. The way his hand slipped into mine like it belonged there.

There was an insistent ring on the cell as we headed back to his place. He usually ignored calls in my company, but this one he answered. He spoke in rapid Polish then he hung up the phone. His hand returned to my leg.

His roommate warmly greeted me before we headed out for dinner. We picked a lively BBQ restaurant with colorful ambiance and delicious food. Afterward, we crossed the street to an Irish pub, with a front room featuring authentic Irish music and a back room with an ‘80s cover band. After a drink, boisterous conversation and lightly tender caresses, we made our way back to the livelier music and dancing.

Dancing with The European is always electric. He comes to life on the dance floor, and together we have an energy that draws people to smile and watch. He put his arms around me, and I could feel the heat. Yes, it was all still there.

I was awakened the next morning by the doorbell. The European’s cell phone sprang to life with insistent noises that sounded like alarms that required more attention. I tried to rouse his attention, but it was finally his roommate who came to the door. “Someone’s here for you,” he said gruffly.

It was 6 in the morning. After what felt like a half hour at least, he returned.
Was it a co-worker?” I asked. No. A friend? No. A student? No. You’re not going to help me out here…was it someone you’ve been dating—a girl?

Finally, hesitantly, he says it is someone he had been seeing on and off. I think you can imagine what was running through my head. Something along the lines like, fuck you, when’s the next bus out of here?

He fell back asleep while I stewed. Finally he awoke to my questions. He claimed they were not “involved,” that there was no commitment. He said he didn’t understand why she came over, why she was emotional, but everything was okay after he talked to her. He apologized for the situation, but he assured me there was nothing fishy going on, that I was wanted with him. She had feelings he did not reciprocate, but it was hard to have to let her down.

Hmm. Yeah right.

Unfortunately, he left me with key as he went to work. I couldn’t just slip out and leave. I stewed. I called friends and my parents again. My mom said to forget him and the key, just come home. Drop the key off at his work if you have to. My dad said, act cool. Wait until he gets home, talk to him. You can come home then or wait until the morning.

He came home from work late as usual, stopping at the gym for a long session. We did a teleclass on meditation together. It was hard to stay pissed off at him as he coached me through things and made sure I was comfortable. When we couldn’t stand sitting any longer, we tried meditating lying down, but he fell asleep. We hung up the call and decided we needed to eat.

With all his Easter leftovers, we cooked up a nice meal at home, with the idea that we’d go out and catch another band at the same bar we’d hit the night before. But by the time we were done eating, it was nearly 11:30 p.m. We were both tired after an early morning and a long day. He was still game, but I honestly was too full and not sure I was up for a couple hours of dancing, and his eyes were pretty red. We wound up watching animal documentaries instead.

The next day we slept until noon. I had decided I was going home that day. The European said I could come again, but I didn’t respond. I was expecting him to leave for work right away, but he wanted to snuggle, talk and enjoy me until it was time to catch the bus.

Sometime before I left we got involved in a serious conversation that stunned me. Basically The European expressed to me his hesitations getting involved too seriously when he knew he was leaving his fellowship before a year was up. Chances are very high that he’s returning to Europe. He told me that he felt that length of time was too short to know a person before marriage; he’d made that mistake before with his ex-wife. He didn’t know her well enough before he married her to move them to the States, and she’d turned out to have major psychological problems. He didn’t want to make that mistake again.

“I get the impression that you want to get married right away, right?” he said.

Wait, what? Back up a second. I corrected him quickly. “I’m looking to find the right person. I want to follow my heart, not let obstacles get in the way of getting to really know that person, spending time with that person, letting the relationship progress naturally, and letting love flow in its proper course,” I said. “I don’t want to rush marriage. I’m looking for a partner to love first and foremost and grow with.”

“You Connecticut girls are very wise, aren’t you?” he said, giving me a squeeze. As opposed to the Massachusetts girls he’s been dating? “I’m so glad we can talk about things so openly now. There’s none of this pressure and worry about hurt feelings.”

Hmm. That’s when I realized he wasn’t necessarily talking about me.

Later, he waxed poetic about a dream scenario, how work would be, how his routine would be less stressful and leave more time for fun, socialization, and relaxation. And then he inserted me into that scenario, included aspects about my home and the things he loves about the area where I live.

And I knew then he was just a dreamer. I would never really fit into his reality. And I also realized that with all of his issues and drama and emotional imbalances, maybe he didn’t fit into mine either as much as I thought he once did.

Leaving for home felt like saying goodbye this time. It wasn’t as heartbreaking as much as closing a door, waking up to the next chapter.

Yet still, the other night, out with TRM, my mind began to drift when I got the first text from The European since I’d left. I think it was a feeler text to see if I was out because he never responded back when I told him I was enjoying a delicious meal out. Later TRM and I went to a blues open mic, where we were entertained not only by some excellent musicians but also by a group of college-age swing dancers as well. They were having so much fun on the dance floor that I wanted to be out there with them too.

But TRM doesn’t dance. That would be The European’s playground. Still it was nice to just be a spectator this time, and I snuggled into TRM’s big, warm embrace.

The next morning came with it’s own surprises. At close to 10, I felt the buzz of my cell, and I looked over to see a text message from The Music Man. The night before, he’d also texted me with the sad news confirming he does indeed have cancer. This morning, however, he had a surprise of a completely different nature for me:

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Are You In, or Are You Out?

Last night, I finally got to watch The Runaways, the film about the ’70s all-girl rock band that gave birth to Joan Jett (grittily played by Twilight’s Kristen Stewart), Lita Ford, and others. I’ve been eagerly anticipating the movie since catching the documentary about the band, Edgeplay: A Film About The Runaways, a few years ago. Familiar story of the meteoric rise of a band and their tragic downfall with sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll. What was truly unique was that this was a story about a rock band not just fronted by girls; ALL the members of the band were girls, a rarity in the ’70s. The members of The Runaways were pushed beyond their initially rather limited musicianship to make music that truly rocked and appealed to any gender.

One thing that struck me in the movie, besides the lack of any kind of healthy guardianship for the girls (at the time, Jett and Currie were just 16 and 15) and the indiscriminate drug use, was the casual observation of the bisexual nature of the relationship between Jett and lead singer Cherie Currie (played by a surprisingly grown up, though still deceptively innocent Dakota Fanning). The movie was inspired by Currie’s memoir and had Jett as one of the executive producers, so one is led to believe that this aspect of the their relationship was captured with some accuracy.

In an interview for the Toronto Sun, Currie said, “We loved each other as friends. Back then, Bowie had just come out. So had Elton John. And that was the groovy thing to do. Back then, there was this bisexuality thing that was going down and, hey, why not?” While Currie seemed to roll with the liquid nature of her sexuality in her youth, she later married to a man. Jett is rumored to always have embraced bisexuality, which is apparent in much of her lyrical content.

What truly impressed me about the movie was that there was no over-the-top declaration about sexuality. There were no scenes that forced characters to discuss their sexual preference or questioned their behavior. The kisses between Currie and Jett were acted as naturally as the one where they snorted cocaine off the palms of their hand. Currie easily went from sleeping with a male stage manager, I believe he was, to spending the night in Jett’s bed. The fluidity of their sexuality was accepted as a given that received no undue added attention.

The Kinsey Scale of sexuality, which ranks sexual behavior on a scale from 0 to 6,  recognizes sexuality along a spectrum, as something prone to change over time. Instead of labeling sexuality from homosexual or heterosexual, it asks people to consider a range of shades of gray in sexual orientation. In other words, a person could move from a “2” predominantly heterosexual, but more than incidentally homosexual as a teenager, but move to a “5” predominantly homosexual, only incidentally heterosexual in her adulthood.

Growing up as a good, modest Christian girl, I was surprised when I developed my first true girl crush around the age of 13 years old. S was my best friend through much of my childhood. We’d had dozens and dozens of slumber parties over the years, but something changed our freshman year. You could say puberty hit. We were on the same soccer team, and all the girls changed in the locker room  before and after practices and games, and for some reason, I’d find visions of S in her bra in my head at the weirdest time. I’d picture what it’d be like to have my hands on what was under her bra. Imagine the shame I felt. Not only was she one of my best friends and thus I was violating our friendship code, but I was also veering into territory that was just “not right”. Fortunately, around this time, our lives changed directions, and we were no longer as close as we once were; we moved in different circles, and I could forget those unbidden, forbidden thoughts of my friend.

When I got to college, I met my first openly bisexual friend at the dorm. She was beautiful, tall and athletic, with a pixie cut and a nose ring, She exuded intelligence, passion about various worthy causes, and her confidence was awe-inspiring. She was so out of my league. I had my first serious boyfriend now living 3000 miles away at home, and I was still fairly innocent and rather naive. So even if I knew the magical ways of seducing a woman, I’m not sure I’d have the moxie to use them.

After college, my opportunities to to explore whatever side of myself that was attracted to women seemed to drift off, for the most part. I locked those fantasies in a box, and put it under my dusty bed. It was only when curious boyfriends got me to share these past curiosities and crushes that I could relive this other unexplored side of myself. Later, when I realized old fantasies I used to help get myself off sexually no longer had the same power to arouse me, I started to allow myself to consider threesomes. Right now, I would say that a good maybe 75-80 percent of my fantasies, whether in my head or viewed on the internet, have at least some girl-on-girl action. That excites me. That, pardon the pun, gets my juices flowing.

There is some degree of regret that I never got to just see what it would be like to even kiss another woman. Sometimes I feel like I missed whatever window there is for people to just explore their fantasies like that. Yet it’s fun that I can, with boyfriends, check out other women and assess their attractiveness. If we’re watching arousing movies, we’re both checking out the beauty of the female body.

But at the end of the day (or night), I still want to come home to a man. I still want to feel a man’s cock deep inside me. There is nothing that pleases me more than sucking on a man to climax.

Yet I still have my girl crushes. In addition to some of my fellow bloggers, whom I won’t embarrass by identifying, my latest girl crush is the one of the stars, So-Yi Yoon, of “The Legend of the Shadowless Sword”, which I have been watching over the last couple days. What can I say? I have a soft spot for certain Asian women.

The title for this post comes from an Ani DiFranco song called “In Or Out,” which has always spoken to me with its beautiful message about not needing to fit neatly into anyone’s narrow boxes, whether that’s regarding race, sex, creed, or even gender. Here are more of the lyrics below:

guess there’s something wrong with me
guess i don’t fit in
no one wants to touch it
no one knows where to begin
i’ve got more than one membership
to more than one club
and i owe my life
to the people that i love[…]

some days the line i walk
turns out to be straight
other days the line tends to
deviate
i’ve got no criteria for sex or race
i just want to hear your voice
i just want to see your face

That’s me in a nutshell. At least my shadow self. What would your shadow self be singing?

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.

Steamin’ It Up, Old-School Style

“How do you always get mascara all over your face?” my mom asked coming out of her bedroom when I came in tonight from my third date with The Brit. “Maybe you should stop wearing any mascara at all.”

“It’s raining out,” I said. She gave me a look that told me she wasn’t buying it. “And I’m always rubbing my face,” I added, which is true. It might also be because I just spent the last half hour making out in The Brit’s car in our driveway, I thought, but I knew to keep that one to myself.

“This is a bit dodgy, isn’t it?” The Brit commented, as we paused for breath, in the close quarters of his VW Bug. “D’ya think your parents are going to get upset that we’re basically parking in their driveway?” It was a good question. But his car wasn’t too big, it was dark and raining, and we were safely tucked under the cover of some lush tree branches in the side driveway. “Your dad’s not the type to come out here with a bat or anythin’, is he?”

I responded by leaning in for another kiss. (No, Jaysey818, it turns out we didn’t need a lesson at all this time.) And no, Dad wasn’t home. Otherwise, he’d have the binoculars and flashlight out the window, recon-style.

After a lovely dinner at an Indian restaurant that The Brit likes–my stomach was totally fine, thank you very much, you guys–we didn’t want the date to end quite yet, but we didn’t know where to go. it was raining, otherwise we could go for a walk. Neither of us felt like doing any drinking. The Brit thought of taking me to his place, and I could meet his cat, but he said it was embarrassingly messy right now. Most of the stores would be closing soon, but we decided we’d pop into the nearby Marshall’s just for something to do.

The Brit looked at a few shirts, asked my opinion, and then the store announced it was closing. Not wanting to be pressured by time into a sale, The Brit left without any new clothes. We shrugged, restless but lacking too much imagination, so he ended up taking me home. I did notice he parked the car in the side driveway instead of just pulling up idle behind my unused car, so I smiled as he came in to kiss me. I wasn’t prepared for how much we were going to steam up the windows.

“Perhaps we should have gone to the park for a proper parking after all,” he mused later.

This of course reminds me of Bridget Jones’ Diary, where Bridget tells Mark Darcy: “Wait a minute…nice boys don’t kiss like that.” His reply, “Oh, yes, they fucking do.”

The only unfortunate incident of the night is that I started talking about blogging. I wasn’t even drinking, I tell you. I was talking about my health blog, which covers a range of health topics, from unusual disorders to alternative medicine to nutrition transformations in schools to traveling while disabled. This was all well and good until I started babbling about my other blog; yes, this very one.

“Am I in it?” he asks. Then throughout the rest of dinner, he tries to throw in, so you talk about x in this blog, which is called y? Fishing for the name, which I refused to give. I told him there is nothing negative to report about The Brit. However, it’s too soon for him to see this side of me, or to hear way too many details about my messy dating life. If he ever earns that right, or if I ever get up the cajones to share this blog with anyone in my personal circle…that’s because I will have reached the stability in my romantic life where I feel free to be completely open about my past because it is…in my past.

I did say that I may copy my personal guide to having great sex and email it to him, however. Though I do personally (through pseudonyms) mention previous lovers, which is not a good thing. But that can be easily edited.

Speaking of previous lovers, Harlequin Hero of course informed last night that he’s coming back up here at the end of the month. Don’t know how long he’s staying but he said of course he wants to see me. And it should surprise no one that Mr. Etiquette called me while I was on my date. I ignored the numerous buzzes I received from various people during the date, but I just knew one of them was from him. He surprisingly didn’t leave a message, which only leads me to conclude he knew I was on a date. T must have told him I was “out.” Screw him and his jealousy. He only calls when things are bleak with Sara, which of course is frequent lately, especially now that we’re talking again. Might need to cut off this “friendship” deal completely.

The Brit brought up a wedding in Michigan he was invited to go to this summer. He is friends with the groom, met the bride once, but knows no one else at the wedding. He feels terrible if he says no to it, though. I was wondering if he wanted my opinion, or if he was putting out feelers if I might want to go so he’d know someone else at the wedding. Seems a bit early for him to ask, since he’s a laid-back, average-paced guy. He brought up getting there via a road trip, asked my opinion on whether I thought it’d be a decent ride, etc.  Probably was just asking since I know this part of the U.S. better than he does. The groom’s not a best friend, so I honestly think it could be fun if we were still seeing each other, but whatever. I won’t ponder it further unless he specifically asks me.

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.

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Does He Always Come in Threes? Part I

For reasons that will become apparent later in this [way too long] post, tonight I started thinking about things that come in threes. According to Google: bad luck comes in threes. Bad news comes in threes. Trouble. Death. Good luck. Apparently even comedy comes in threes?
Thinking about my dating life, it always seems like romantic opportunity usually comes in threes. In most cases, this usually comes in the form of old flames. For me, when one old flame flickers back into the picture, I always have an eye out for at least two others to shortly follow. They usually do within a week or two. I always feel like God is pulling a sick joke on me when this happens.
At one point in my life, a guy I had dated for a month emailed over a year later to re-kindle our friendship (read: ring for a booty call while his nearly live-in girlfriend was away on a business trip, ass). At the same time, an old lover, always kindred spirit and good friend, from maybe six years earlier announced he was coming to town and was finally completely single at a time when I actually was too. Meanwhile, my ex-boyfriend, with whom I had lived for over two years and dated off and on for three, was making contact finally after close to two years.
The last time we had talked, he had admitted impregnating his (formerly our) neighbor shortly after we had last seen each other, which was a nightmarish scenario when I walked into a bar with my new boyfriend only to see him, the man who was still in love with me after four or so months.
This particular old-flame reunion was the most cherished one for me, as it was the first time R had picked up the phone to reach out to me and ask to meet. Some mutual friends were throwing a concert at our old stomping ground. He and the mother of his daughter had finally broken up, presumably for the last time, so he felt it was okay reaching out to me.
He talked to me about everything. He seemed a changed man; one, he was completely pot-free; two, he was a father of a beautiful little girl who he absolutely adored; three, he as changing his career back to teaching and coaching; and four, he was the fittest I’d ever seen him. I told him how proud I was of him, and I meant it. He took me back to the house, let me see my cats that he forced me to leave behind when I moved out. A lot of old memories swirled together with the new changes, and we stayed up until maybe 4 a.m.
Our relationship had never had resolution or closure before. When he had called me those years before to tell me his girlfriend was pregnant, he had been in tears, saying he still had love for me and hadn’t even been sure our story was over yet. As painful as it was to hear, I told him, this was his story now, and if he wanted to be a good father to his daughter, he had to be a good partner to the mother now. I told him I knew he loved the mother, especially if she was bearing his child. I knew his heart. He had to let go of the past and look to the future.
Sadly, this mean he cut everything off completely. I sent emails of congratulations when news passed via our mutual friends, I remembered his birthdays, but he couldn’t and wouldn’t reciprocate anything back. I understood why it had to be that way, but it still stung to have been so close so many years and now be nothing at all.
Today, we do not remain in touch. We finally had our one chance to say everything that needed to be said. Sometimes we are never given an opportunity to have full closure with someone we once loved. I feel especially blessed that I did with R because I never have had the opportunity to with V-Man, the one who came afterward.

When Temptation Knocks, Do You Answer?

Today I went over to J's house to listen to his latest set of music, grab some fried chicken and coleslaw at Popeye's, and watch The Tudors (which I highly recommend–it has romance, sex, violence, historical intrigue, and lots of sexy men). J is a singer/songwriter, like me, which is one of the common interests that brought us together. When we first met, he played to an invisible audience in his bedroom. I encouraged him to play at his first open mic, which led to a couple more. Then, I casually talked to one of my friends who is a drummer in three or four different bands, what would be the best way for a musician to start off getting gigs at a bar. He said, "Talk to someone like me. We just had a cancellation for our opening gig. Is he interested?" The rest, as they say, is history.

Since then, I have been J's "musical muse," as he often says, but mostly I have been his sound (wo)man. I listen to his music during the practices, tell him what sounds good, whether he should move up or down a capo, alert him when he's off key or playing a funky chord, etc. He feels I'm the only one he can trust with his sound. It's a fair-sized responsibility that I've enjoyed even after we broke up.

J and I dated for a little more than four months, and we broke up shortly after Valentine's Day when he began to passively withdraw, and I finally decided to end both of our misery. My illness made things difficult in terms of togetherness. I didn't get to see two of his big gigs. He never saw me without my family home. It broke his heart to be unable to just "fix" things, and I could feel it becoming a burden to have to come by every weekend. However, what really broke us up was admitting once again for the last time that we were just not right for each other, which we had been fighting since the very beginning.
J was still heartbreakingly in love with his ex when we began dating, which of course I didn't know until maybe a month or more until things. Yet it wasn't as painful as it might have been since I was still in love with the V-Man, who I had been seriously dating for two years up until November of the previous year. Over the year since, we still spent a considerable amount of time together and talked often.
J actually met V-Man early on, not knowing that he was an ex. The energy between us was something J instantly noticed and envied. Chemistry was never a problem for me and the V-Man. Throughout my relationship with J, he told me I never seemed excited around him. I didn't seem thrilled to share my world with him like I did with V-Man or any of the other friends and family he'd met. It was a fair observation. As sexy as he was, as much as we had in common superficially (writing, teaching, and music), we still lacked that magnetic pull. I found myself preferring to spend time with others more than him. So many times when we'd do something special, I'd be enthused and think I was showing, but he'd say I didn't really seem enthused. In the bedroom, I'd be aroused and ready to play, but he'd say I didn't seem into it enough. In short, I just wasn't into him enough. And you know what? With all his doubts, his back and forth between being present and being distant, he was right–I wasn't feeling it like I should.
J has a track record for either rushing in, way in too soon, which is what he did with me as soon as he finally accepted things with his ex were finally undeniably over, or distancing himself and creating a cocoon of J keeping him and his passions and toys inside and the rest of the world out. He recognizes this, and he calls himself broken and un-datable, excusing himself from ever having to try harder or compromise or admit he can have at least parts of it all.
Somehow, we've managed to stay friends post-breakup, but even a "platonic" friendship with him is confusing. The first time we really spent time together after the official break up, he came to the house, picked me up and we went to a nearby park to do a little hiking. We were walking along, talking peacefully, when suddenly he reaches out for my hand, like it's the most natural thing in the world. As we crossed the bridge, he stopped me, gave me the biggest hug, saying, "You really are a beautiful woman." I didn't know how to react, so I just kind of went with the flow and let the moment pass.
Last weekend, he asked if I wanted to go see a movie with him. Eager to get out of house lockdown, I agreed. We went out for sushi for dinner, on him. Yes, he's making money right now, and I'm not, but he shouldn't be assuming to pay for my meal like that when it's not a date. So we walk around the outdoor mall for a while. I have a couple episodes, he holds me close, protectively, jokes about whether he'll have to carry me back to the car. We head to the theater. I pay for the movie to be more fair. When we sit back and the movie begins, J's hand immediately crawls over to my leg and gives it a lingering squeeze before it just rests there, claiming it. It feels nice there, so I hug his arm with my hand briefly. After the car ride home, he kisses me.
Tonight, after music, food, and shows, J casually offers, "You can spend the night if you want." I remember the last time I came to listen to his music, when he couldn't keep his eyes and hands off me. But he stopped himself from getting too out of line. "No, I can't." On the car ride home, I asked him what he meant by that. He said he was worried about what I'd think. I said what that I'd be upset that this was purely a physical thing, it didn't mean anything more than that. He nodded. I said if we were to have sex, it would be no strings attached. I think I meant it, and I wasn't even so sure I did want it.
But tonight, I admit I was tempted. Our coats were on to go, though, but I allowed myself to feel the way his hands caressed my sides. I allowed my hands to slip under his shirt around his waist. He truly does have the most beautiful male body I've had the pleasure of intimately knowing. He greatly admires mine as well, but his body is truly a rarity in its perfect combination of height, leanness and muscular strength. Finally he pulled away. He knew I had already made my decision. I didn't want this. Even if he doesn't know what he wants, or he's just confused because he enjoys a female's company every now and again and it just happens to be me every time, he would still pull away immediately afterward. And even though I don't want the relationship back, I wouldn't want that emptiness. We had something meaningful between us at some point. I've done the friends with benefits thing, and it last left me with a shattered, splintered heart. I don't want my friendship with J to leave me with a bitter tongue and even icier heart. 

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