Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Weird conversation day

Warning: Marathon Post! (It's been a long day....)

Yesterday, I shared my ideas with Greg. I just spilled it. He's in full panic mode, though. He's worried about feeding and sheltering four people and two pets, on wages that really didn't even stretch for one. He's $150 short on rent, which was due in two days, and he can't work the hours he needs. He's already over 40 hours for the week, so they won't give him more. And on Monday, they had snow. That cuts the crowd down considerably, and Mondays are typically slow.

He had some ideas, to scrape the money together. But that was just rent....not food, utilities, etc. It hurts me to see him condemned to this life. He keeps saying, "It's not fair. Things were so good. We were divorcing. I'd found you. I wanted to go to Colorado. Then this." He had a glimpse of something better, here with me. And then the curtain dropped.

His response to my ideas was very much, "Yes, but...." People too close to a situation often go that path. "I can't just leave her alone because she has problems," he said. "She's actually the one who left me because she has problems. I can't take my son and go. I can't do that to her or to him."

Well, that's not exactly what I was saying, but he wasn't really hearing me. I'll clarify later, when he's not in panic mode. Maybe tomorrow. And she's telling him she doesn't want the divorce anymore. Well, of course not. He's the only source of income she has at the moment, even though that's putting an ungodly strain on him. Right now, he's looking at a woman and child who are grieving for the father and grandfather who died so shockingly. He feels like their last hope, the only person they can rely on.

In the midst of this, how can he tell a mentally-ill woman that he's in love with someone else and was about to start a new life with her? It's just too heartbreaking, all around. He said to me, "I want you to know, I'm really sorry this didn't work out."

I thought for a moment, and said, "First of all, I have a lot of trouble accepting that you and I did not come together for a reason."

"Yeah, I know," he said.

"Second, I'm not sure it won't eventually work out."

He gave a little laugh, like I'd surprised him, and just said, "All right." And then, "You'll be here next week, right?"

"Yes, Saturday."

"Good. I can't wait to see you."

I have this moment when I wake up, when the world hasn't come back to me yet. It's a small lull in life, where your brain doesn't remember that you hurt. I woke today and felt that delicious limbo. Then, the stirring started in my chest, and I thought, here it comes. And WHAM! The pain is back.

But I move through the motions of the day. Today was rough. I cried a lot today. A professor stopped by and asked if I had a cold. Yes, it's going around, I said. He's deaf, so he couldn't hear my shaky voice.

I heard from South Carolina on IMs. He told me the absolute worst first-date story you've ever heard. It involved an emergency room, it was so bad. I'll share that another time. Then, he asked what was new with me.

"I'm nursing a broken heart," I said.

"A broken heart?" he asked. "Yours?!?!"

"Yes." The tears were coming again.

"I'm so sorry," he said. "What happened?"

I gave him the condensed version. "It's awful when you feel something for someone else, and they finally tell you 'I love you,' while also saying you can't be together right now."

He was very concerned for me. "Call me tonight," he said. He has a new apartment and a new phone number, so he shared that with me. "Let's talk tonight."

I went to the chiropractor today. The front desk girls have been following the Greg story. They asked, and I broke down. So, I've pretty much blubbered all over everyone today. Even the chiropractor spent extra time with me, talking in reassuring tones and hugging me before I left. I do have a lot of sweet people around me, it seems.

Then, I went home. Turned on BBC America, watched Bargain Hunters, ate a bowl of peas (I love peas!), and cried some more.

I have to backtrack here for a moment. I have a friend on campus who is an Art professor. She is everything that the term "art professor" conjures in your mind. She has a friend who is a freelance artist here. The friend has lived in this area for 30 years, and her brother is coming to visit for the first time from Florida, this summer. He's single. Ten years older than me. Wanting to move here. Guess who they want to set him up with?

So, I let them give him my number, quite some time ago. We've spoken on the phone once and emailed. He's very sweet. He's a pool salesman, but looking to change careers. His name is Karl. He looks a lot like the character Jeff on BBC's "Coupling" (see pic at right, to see Jeff), but add 20 years.

Very cute. But this was all before I fell for Greg so bad. I didn't think about it much again, to be honest. Greg happened.

So, today, I'm at home, making my eyes puffy until it's time to go get my son for his dentist appointment. I need to call the dentist, so I look up the number, punch it into my phone, and hit Talk.

Ring, ring. "Hello?" says a man's voice.

Uh-oh. This is obviously not Dr. Nelson. "I'm sorry," I said. "I must have called the wrong number."

"That's okay," he says, with a friendly voice. "Who are you trying to reach?"

"Dr. Nelson."

He laughs. "No, that's not me."

"I'm so sorry."

"It's okay. Take good care now. Bye."

Well, at least he was nice about it. Some people are bloody rude about such mistakes. He sounded cute, too, if that means anything. Aw well. I checked the number again, then looked at my outgoing calls to see how I'd messed up.

I froze. I didn't see wrong digits on the little screen. Oh no. Somehow, through some rift in the universe, I'd managed to miss the dentist's number entirely. I'd called Karl. In Florida. How the hell did that happen? Shit.

I called the dentist. Then stared at the phone. Any moment now, he'd realize who had called. Best to fess up. So, I called him back.

"Hey Karl," I said. "It's Blogget."

"Hey!" he said. "Let me guess. You were trying to reach a doctor earlier."

Crap, he knew already. So, I confessed. We had a very good laugh. Then, we had a very good conversation. And for about twenty minutes, I didn't cry. I didn't think about crying. When it was time to go, I said, "Goodbye, Dr. Nelson."

He said, "Goodbye, and maybe we'll get to play doctor some time." And laughed. I laughed, too. He was being very flirty and cute.

This playful theme continued in text messages. Then, it turned more serious, as he asked what I looked for in a relationship, and he shared what he wanted. "I want a team...a partnership," he said. When I signed off, my mood was much improved. The heaviness in my chest had become a dull ache.

My mother noticed. "You're doing better tonight," she said. I told her about what happened with my wrong number. "Well, God bless Karl," she said. "I think your guardian angel was dialing for you." We started discussing what it is I want in a relationship. Or rather, my mother started telling me what she thought I wanted in a guy.

"You need someone who is your intellectual equal," she said. "You don't want someone to take care of you. You want a partnership."

I stared at her. Grabbed my cell phone, and scrolled to Karl's message. I showed her what he said to me: "I want a team...a partnership."

You could have knocked me over. How had that happened? How had she picked up on the same word he used? We were both a little shocked by the moment. Guardian angel? Really? I think Mom is on Karl's bandwagon now.

As he's going to sleep, Karl texts again. "Tuck me in," he said. "Tell me a story."

So, I did. "There was a heartbroken girl, who vowed to be her own woman. But her nights were cold and lonely. She prayed for warmth, but the world was mean. She lost hope.... One day, a light caught her eye. The light brought warmth....and the promise of hope."

My phone beeped. Incoming text. "Don't lose hope, Blogget."

His sweetness made me cry. He talked of how he would kiss me, smell my skin, my hair. How the room would have candles....and a fire extinguisher.

"Tell me another story," he said.

"How about this one," I said. "About the same girl. Having a very bad day. Very bad several days, that made her heart hurt. (Seems that happens to her a lot.) But in the most mundane of tasks, it changed."

"Tell me," he said.

"She had a phone call to make. A simple one. Call the dentist. That's all. Seven little numbers. She carefully pushed them into the phone, and listened. By some miracle, she got it wrong. Not just a little wrong. Hugely wrong. She called another state. "Hello?" said the voice. Familiar, but not the dentist for sure. She felt like an idiot."

"Do us a favor and read 'The Secret.' I'm reading it now," he said. "That might have happened for a purpose. You called for a reason."

I agreed, and promised to download "The Secret" to my iPod tonight. I'm curious to see what he's getting at.

I was on IMs late. South Carolina signed on. It would be after midnight his time. "Call me now," he said. "Okay? Ready to talk?"

So I called. He said it had been too long since we'd talked. He told me about his new apartment. He asked all about Greg. He wanted details, like how we met, how things progressed, and what broke my heart. I told him all of it. He's told me all about his ex, his dates, so it was my turn. But he was asking. "You don't know," he said. "It might work out." He was very present for me. Very empathetic, and sympathetic. Genuinely. He was very sorry for my pain, wanted to sooth it away. He told me of his own pain, described how it felt. "There's a gnawing in your chest, right?" Yes, he was right.

Even after all that's gone on, he misses his ex. "There was such a connection," he said. "I even enjoyed taking care of her. Her breakdown was too much for me to watch. I just miss her so much. I know men shouldn't, but I've cried a lot." I could hear the emotion in his voice, the longing for something long gone. In that moment, we absorbed each other's pain and wanted so much to comfort each other.

But it was nearly 3 AM for him. "You have my numbers, right? If you feel bad in an hour and want to talk, you call me." I told him to do the same, that there was no "bad time" to call.

"We're two vulnerable people right now," he said. "We need to...."

"....lean on each other?" I said.

"Yes, lean on each other. I'll hold you up if you hold me up." He paused. "And I hope it's okay to say this, but I love you. As a friend, of course, but I do love you. You're an incredible person and you mean a lot to me."

I choked a little. The tone of his voice was so tender, and so sincere. "I love you, too. I'm happy to be here for you. You're very special to me, you know."

"I know. You are to me, too," he said. "Hey, that time we had together....wow. That was wonderful. Wasn't it?"

I agreed. He went on. "You always let me know what's going on with you," he said. I hadn't told him about Greg until today, and I think he felt bad about it. "And I'll let you know what's going on with me. If anything changes here and it's hard to have you call here, I'll let you know to just call the cell." He means, if he gets into a relationship and she's in his apartment.

"You know, if you need a break," he said. "You come see South Carolina. You have a place to stay here."

So, I feel a little healing. I think I can face this trip to Lubbock without hurting so bad through the whole thing. Maybe. It's all hanging on by a thread at the moment.


Mike said...

Shit, after reading the empathy that these men posses, I feel like a bloody sociopath.

Maybe that's my problem?

Good story, you are an excellent writer.

Single In The City said...

Blogget, Hey girl things are going to work out for you , just sit back and enjoy! I loved reading this, and look forward to more updates!!

Mike, You are a sociopath!, I still luv ya tho!


Pixie said...

girl you've got more than one angel working for you right now by the sound of it.
keep healing it's the only way to go

Blogget Jones said...

Mike -- thank you! I wish I could say I had this good of an imagination, but I just can't make this stuff up. All the quotes are real. It's my blemished life. And I read your blog - a sociopath in a communist state? Oh my.... But I'm glad you're here!

Single -- update coming! Next week will be interesting....make or break, I think. Trying to relax and let things happen, instead of fretting so much. No more tears now, though.

Pixie -- I'm in a constant state of amazement. I have such beautiful people in my life, who are there for me. Including you :o)