Saturday, April 12, 2008

Stirrings

Ranger and I have many open and honest conversations. One of the problems he had when he was still married was that his wife became suspicious of any female contact he had. She had cheated on him and was convinced he's retaliate by sleeping with someone else. I had the same problem with Old BF. I got the third degree about any man seen talking to me or whose name I mentioned more than once. So, we had a conversation about opposite-sex friends we have who still call, but who will remain just friends.

As part of this, I need to have a conversation with Old BF. This will be a challenge. He's been holding on to the idea that I will someday get over all the crap, and I'll agree to marry him someday. He knows I'm dating, but he only wants to hear about it if it turns serious. I need to tell him that I'll continue to give advice (as asked) in helping him to raise his niece, but I have met someone I want to be serious about.

I told Ranger that Old BF might call for this advice. And Greg might call to vent about his mentally-ill household. And South Carolina might call to check on me and get some support of his own. I reassured Ranger, though, that the best I can be to all of them is a good friend. It is (or will be, in Old BF's case) clear to them that no romantic future is possible. Ranger trusts me, as I trust him with his list of female friends. But he gave me a picture to send any hanger-on stalker-types of him in uniform, wearing a sidearm. It makes me smile!

This conversation changed, though, to a run-down of his romantic involvements since his divorce, and why they failed. He was very honest with me about it all. One of them is proving hard to get rid of. He last saw her in January, but she's still calling and emailing several times a day. He doesn't answer her calls, and he's changing to a different email address that she won't know.

I told him that I'd been divorced 10 times as long as he has, so my history will be longer. Much longer. I told him I'd explain it all later. And I did. Later that night, I sat down and wrote it in a long email. A novel, he later called it. Writing it was more difficult than I imagined. As I wrote, I saw my pattern of relationships, both significant and minor. It wasn't flattering. I've been foolish many times, tolerating bad behavior much longer than was smart. I would let someone who had broken my heart to have the power to break it again, and they would. As I sent the email, I felt I'd revealed myself as a right idiot, not to mention pretty damn pathetic.

As I waited for his response, I wondered if I'd look too much like "damaged goods," once I'd revealed my not-so-tidy history.

He called me from the entry station at the park the next day. On those days, he does to the Visitor's Center and downloads email to his laptops. Then, he types replies from the isolated station and transmits them during his lunch break at the Visitor's Center. The services at the entry station are so poor that he has to lean against the flagpole there to get a strong enough cell signal to call me.

"Hi Beautiful!" he said through the static of his connection.

"Hi Sweetie!" I said.

"I can only talk a moment, but I wanted you to know something," he said. His voice sounded serious and heavy. "I read your novel. I appreciate you telling me all of that. You didn't have to, but I thank you for being so honest with me."

"Okay," I said. I was waiting for the "but" that I felt coming.

"You have to know that it's not your fault you got treated that way. You loved and you trusted and those guys took you for granted. They hurt you and didn't value you enough to stop being selfish. And that's what it was -- they were selfish."

"Yes," I said, still waiting for the rest.

"I promise you that won't ever happen again," he said. "All I want now is to fill your life with love. I wish I was there to hold you and make it all go away and tell you it's all right now. But I want you to know that it is okay. I understand and I love you. I'm so sorry all of this hurt has happened to you, but no more will."

"I love you, too," I said, quietly. "And thank you."

"You were worried about this, weren't you?"

"Yes, I wasn't sure how it'd go over."

"I thought so. That's why I had to call for a moment, and just let you know that it's all right."

We said goodbye and hung up. I had tears flowing, with the relief I felt. I didn't even realize I'd been so tense about him reading it. I felt like I'd been holding my breath, and could now breathe freely. It was all right, and he didn't think less of me. He still loved me, and he wanted to wrap me up in that love.

He constantly amazes me.



Sometimes, our lives parallel each other in not-so-good ways. Like Friday.

Work was rough for me. I was part of an email discussion with the woman who runs stats for instructor evaluations and a member of the administration, who was asking questions about setting up online evaluations for the online courses. This is something the stats woman and I had already worked out, so we just had to explain it to the admin woman.

The admin woman finally asks about using online evaluations for classroom-based courses. The stats woman replies, "Who wants to do their classroom evaluations online?"

Next thing I know, I get an email forwarded to me by a faculty member. She's asking what to do to set up her classroom evaluation online. The forwarded message is from the admin woman to all faculty, telling them that online course evaluations will be available on April 30th, and that if you want your classroom evaluation online, we can set that up by then, too.

WTF?!?!

"WE"?!?!

No, no...that would be ME. And no one ever told her that April 30th was set in stone. And no one ever even discussed that putting the classroom evaluations online would happen at all, let alone by April 30th.

I thought long and hard and it, and finally sent an email to her, explaining that I am a department of ONE. I'm in my busy time right now and I just don't know that I can deliver her promise by April 30th. Maybe next semester, when I have more warning to plan appropriately.

I also found out I have a major, huge project to do - at the state level - that's due Monday. Oh yay. There goes the weekend.

I call Ranger and he's very sympathetic. I mean, ready to jump in the car and drive two hours to give me a hug. Turns out, he needs that hug, too. He often refers to his job as the "best non-job job ever." Well, selfishness and politics is about to ruin that for him. The rest of the "team" at the park is no longer behaving as a team. Nasty notes, he said/she said, and "that's not my job" attitudes are running rampant. This is why he left corporate America.

The rest of the evening didn't go so hot, either. My son has become a major problem in the last 72 hours. Refusing to do things that have been planned, "punishing" me by not eating, speaking hatefully to me and his grandparents, threatening to "cut off" the family if he doesn't get his way. I won't go into all the dreadful details, but it's really bad. I'm worn out.

Ranger heard it in my voice when we talked. I heard something in his, too. Guess what? He'd had a big go-around with his teenage daughter and ex-wife. He was exhausted, too.

It's moments like these when we really feel the need for each other. Times when we just don't want to be alone anymore. It's so good to have someone to share the burdens with at the end of the day. And from my experience, it's rather tough to find someone who listens. Now, we just need to get to the same place.



I heard from Greg this morning. We've gone from talking four or five times a week to once a week. The first time I went a few days without talking to him, he worried that he'd done something to offend me. He was afraid to call and find out, so he waited to see if he'd hear from me again. He was relieved to talk to me and find out all was well.

He's making a conscious effort to have good things to say, instead of bad news all the time. I can tell when it's bad though because he'll say, "Things are okay. How are you? How's work? How are the kids?" See, he'll dodge his own news and focus only on me.

He did that this morning. I told him about being in crunch time here, that the kids are doing well, and that the dating world is going quite well.

"Now, tell me about your world," I said.

He paused. "I just like to have good things to say when we talk," he said.

"I know, but it's okay," I said. "What's going on?"

Basically, it sounds like he's already taken on the Only Functional Parent role in his household. He told me an example about having a problem with his son and that he took away his video games one day. His mother-in-law complained that when Greg went to work, she'd actually have to spend time with her grandson if he didn't have video games to play. No mention of the child's mother helping to take care of him....

Combine that with trying to work enough to make ends meet, and Greg is feeling the weight of many burdens. He's bartending full-time during the week and waiting tables on the weekends, and during any shifts he can pick up.

"I miss you," he said. "When will you be here again? I wish you were sitting in my section again, where I can talk to you face-to-face. And have more time to talk to you."

In recent weeks, we've had more to talk about that we have time to talk about, and things have settled into a comfortable friendship. My heart doesn't ache anymore.

He sounded like it was time to get to work, so I spoke quickly. "I might be there to work around mid-May. I'll keep you posted."

"Please do," he said. "I'd like to see you."

He said something I couldn't catch, with the background noise increasing. I figured it was something about getting a table or needing to get to work, so I said, "Okay, I'll talk to you later. Take care."

He was quiet for a moment too long. "Did you hear what I said?" he asked.

"No, I'm sorry. I missed it, but I figured you were getting busy."

"All right," he said. "I said I love you."

I sighed. It was a sigh of the impossible, of a chance gone by. I said, "I love you, too, Greg." And he knows I do, but my romantic life has moved on. I've found someone who can truly give of himself to me.

My love for Greg has changed to something akin to what South Carolina and I share. "I love you as my dear friend," South Carolina said. And that's how we are, and how we'll remain always.



Speaking of South Carolina, he IMed me tonight.

"I'm in a mess," he said.

"What's happened?"

"I did a very stupid thing."

"What's that?"

"I met a married woman."

"Uh-oh."

"Yeah. And her husband found out."

"Oh no."

"Yeah. He's a minister, over a church with about 2000 members here. Turns out, one of those members is my neighbor."

"What's happened?"

"He told all the deacons and word spread like wildfire. People keep calling me. The other day, I went out and two of my tires were flattened."

Apparently, the woman is "very young" and a "sex machine." From what he told me, it sounds like a young woman, caught in a situation where she doesn't get the attention she wants, and she feels stuck. An affair with SC was her outlet. And she's not willing to let go of it. She keeps calling him.

"What are you going to do?" I asked.

"I don't know what to do."

"From what you've said, it sounds like you know this isn't a long-term kind of thing."

"Right, that's true. I know that."

So, he doesn't want to continue it, but she's really focused on him. And he's tolerating all this harassment.

I think he needs to get out of Dodge for awhile. Time for a vacation, dear SC!

5 comments:

Sassy Mama Bear said...

I think that Ranger & you have the start of a great foundation of trust and love beginning, and I wish the best for you.
I wish people would stop stepping on you at work babe, sheer ridiculous.
You are a very sweet friend to care for SC and Greg, just remember to be honest with them all as you cross into this relationship with Ranger...because you deserve happiness.
As for son....phase? Mine can be sheer hell one minute and so damn lovable the next.

Single In The City said...

yeah I like ranger! glad you can be friends with the other 2. I Am happy
for you!

Blogget Jones said...

Yes, I think you are BOTH right about Ranger! In fact, he's sitting across from me right now, with his laptop going, and I couldn't be happier....wait until I blog about this day!

And don't worry about SC and Greg....I've been clear about what we can/cannot be.

Thanks!
BJ

Pixie said...

Ranger and you..... lovely!

Teenage son, ah now that's different.For what it's worth my 17 yr old has been bullying me and I've been letting him, single parent guilt and all that. But it came to a head and I realised I had to make a stand and I told him that if he doesn't like my rules he can leave home. He answered, wish I fuckin' could. To which I replied don't let me stop you. And suddenly he knew I meant it. I was sick of it and you do know what he's stopped being such a pain since and actually helps me now.
Can't say it will happen to you like that, but give him a strong enough boundary, a line that he can no longer cross and you never know he may stop being son from hell.
pxx

Blogget Jones said...

Yeah, Pix, I've set several boundaries for darling Son and things are still haywire....frustrating. People keep saying, "It'll get better!" and DANG I hope so!! He's being very difficult at the moment....