Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Is something in the air?

I don't know what weird kind of synchronicity is happening in the universe, but it started yesterday afternoon and I'd like it to quit.

In a work lull, I checked my home email. Lots of email, but one sender's name jumped out at me.

Karl.

Do you all remember Karl from Florida? Adorable, sweet Karl who dropped off the face of the earth when he hit some stress? Now, months later, there's an email from him. Okay, so it's one of those silly forwarded "Here's what life was like for school kids in the 50s" kind of emails. It was fun, so I replied and said so. Not sure why I bothered. He didn't answer email months ago, why would he answer now? Moving on....

That's when a professor walked in my office and started asking questions. This is the guy who not only wants instructions, but wants me to watch him go through the entire project he's working on, just in case he has a question. Uhm....no.

My cell phone starts ringing. I silence it, but sneak a glance at the caller ID. It's Karl. He actually leaves a voicemail. My curiosity is burning. The more this professor talks, the more fidgety I get. I listen patiently, but the back of my mind is screaming Go Away!

He finally does. The voicemail is sweet, about missing visiting with me and wanting to know how I am. Sounds like he was a little afraid I'd respond to the email with anger, or maybe not even at all.

I called him back. A lot has happened in his life. He's still looking for work out here, but it's more urgent now. His company is screwing him over. He's recently turned 50, but isn't nearly as excited as I am about 40. I told him he should be. What's really bugging him is that he just became (wait for it) a grandpa. Oh, he's not liking that word! But he sent me pics of himself and the baby, and Proud Grandpa is tattooed across his whole face now. He still hates Florida, though.

It was a lovely conversation. He actually called back later in the day, and we talked about dating. He's still frustrated with the high-maintenance types he finds there. "It's really tough to have a relationship with someone when they believe differently spiritually," he said. "Or they have different priorities. "

pause. "Or they don't like your music."

pause. "Or your truck."

I don't know where that last bit came from, but it cracked me up. It was said with such bitterness that I just knew he had a story to tell about some high-maintenance chick turning her nose up at his beloved truck. Too funny.

I called Ranger about mid-afternoon. He was on a break from work, but he wasn't chatty with me. I wondered if he was angry with me. "Nope," he said. That's about the extent of the conversation. His answers were "nope," "yup," and "okay." Very curt and pissy. But he said nothing was wrong. Isn't that one of those games women are supposed to play? He was better later, though, as if that conversation never happened.

I'm having trouble getting him to understand that I can't just go to his house after taking the kids to school, and lay in bed until it's time for him to go to work. My office is really public now, so any lateage is noticed. He's getting pissed about it, but I don't know what else I can do.

The day wore on and soon, I was sitting in bed with my laptop, in my jammies. I'd just talked to Ranger, who was drifting off to sleep and lamenting about wanting a weekend getaway with me. I was checking out the Gateway Canyons site when my text alert went off on my phone.

"How's things?" wrote Greg.

I told him, as best I can in a text. He's just gotten home and was headed to bed, but he thought of me and wanted to say so. Working three doubles in the coming days. It's rent time. When he stopped answering texts, I knew he'd drifted off, too.

Back to the laptop. I was checking an email message from a fellow Star Wars freak, and something popped up.

"There you are!" It said. It was South Carolina. No kidding. They're coming out of the woodwork, I swear!

"Hey," I said. "What's new with you?"

"Can I call you?" he asked. And so he did. His southern drawl was very soothing. We talked about cooking, work, kids, and dating. His kids are grown and he assures me it all gets better. He sounds about over his ex, although he has a wary toe in the dating pool. He's worried about the latest one he's been seeing because there's a sizable age difference.

Then, he made my night (note: that's sarcasm you hear): "I'm 48. You're...what? 42? 43?"

"I just turned 40, SC. Like three days ago."

Silence. "No way." And he giggled. He giggled!

"Yeah, really. 1968."

So, he went on with his story. But he stopped midstream. "You're being serious? You just turned 40?"

Okay, so what's the giggling about? I mean, he was incredulous. Lately, I've had about a half dozen people tell me, "Wow! No way you're old enough to have a nearly-17-year-old!" or "40? You can't be 40!" But then comes SC and completely bursts my bubble. Thanks, dude.

He told me several times how he can't wait to see me at the conference in November. He's a presenter, too. He laughed when I said I'd been talked into two presentations. Then he said he can't wait to see me. Again. His voice became very tender when we said goodbye. At 3:30 AM his time. What a sweet fella he can be.

Morning came way too early today. I'm dragging my sleepy butt into work and my phone rings.

"Hey," says Old BF. He sounds stressed.

"Hi. You all right?"

"Yeah, I'm fine," he said. "Just wanted to see how you are."

"Good. Working too much this week. How about you?"

"Just fine. I just wanted to call you and tell you to have a good day," he said. He paused. "Considering what day it is and all."

What day it is? What day it is? I'm at a loss. My birthday was three days ago. His is in March. His mom died in July, a few years ago.

"What day it is?" I finally asked out loud. I heard him sigh sadly at me. Simultaneously, my eyes find the calendar and rest on the date. Oh shit.

It would would been our 9th anniversary today.

Thanks for reminding me, pal.

"Oh," I manage. "Yeah. I remember."

That conversation ended awkwardly. He's been making an effort to let me know how depressed he is without me lately. I think I just caused another tailspin.

It's been 24 hours of reminders for me, of old pulling on the heart strings. Some are bittersweet, some I've found still have a little place in my heart. Some have not-so-little places. What an odd day.

2 comments:

Walker said...

At least you can't say its boring LOL

Blogget Jones said...

No effing kidding, Walker....

I think that's why I'm so interested in that little getaway. With no plans but to stay in my pajamas. I'd looooove to be bored right now!

:o) BJ