Sunday, March 30, 2008
"I understand," I said. "Like I told you, I promised my kids long ago that I wouldn't marry until they were grown. So, I'm not in a hurry for anything."
Ranger and I were having another serious conversation. We often talk of how we've broadsided each other with this relationship. But in his frame of reference, marriage is a place where he's devalued, unappreciated, and belittled. In my frame of reference, I hope for the lovely relationship, leading ultimately to marriage. BUT not for another five years, when my promise is fulfilled.
We traded emails this morning. Lovely, gushy emails. His email to me sets my heart fluttering. A sample: "I am grabbing onto you with both hands, and hanging on tight. You are simply so perfect for me. I want to FILL your life with love... to show you that there can be a shared relationship without lies, games, or bull. Where you would be a partner and an equal. Where you would be respected and loved without prejudice. Where you would not be judged, nor insulted."
He reads mine to him as I'm on the phone with him. The emotion in his voice is palpable. "No one has ever loved me like this," he said. "Wow. I have to take a moment before reading that again. You've really touched me."
The kids and I planned a day trip to "his" park. I want to see what Ranger does and where he does it. I wanted the kids to meet him. And I wanted us all to have a great time, and get away from it all for a day.
Ranger was nervous. First, he was honored that I was letting him into my world. Then, he wanted to be sure to make a better impression on them than my ex's second wife had. And he understood their experiences with stepparents who tried to dominate them and didn't value them. He wanted to be very different. "They have a father," he said. "I don't want to replace him, but I want to be the best friend they'll ever have, someone they can lean on when they need to."
He asked me about insights into them. Their likes, dislikes, viewpoint, personalities. He decided to make lunch for us, and asked about their preferences. He couldn't wait for us to be there, and wanted to make it the best day possible for us. He'd be working, but he'd take extra time at lunch to spend with us. He planned on keeping the displays of affection to a minimum, although he knows my daughter is also measuring how much he appears to "like" me.
I read one more email from him before getting on the road to the park. "Where were you," he said, "when I WANTED to get married? Instead of now, when I THINK I don't?" He thinks he doesn't? That's a change. A few days ago, he said he definitely did not want to again...or at least any time soon.
We made the two-hour drive this morning. As we approached the Visitor's Center, I spotted him smiling at me from the window. We walked in and were greeted with a big grin and friendly handshakes for the kids. He gave us the "10-cent tour" of the center, explained the lay of the land, and turned us loose. We played in the museum and went out to the observation deck for a preview of what we'd see, then we headed around the nature trail.
At this point, you gotta understand that my son is afraid of heights. This nature trail skirts the top edge of 1500-foot canyon walls, with a short wall letting you know you're close enough. He's even nervous when other people get close! He surprised me, though, by getting fairly close and venturing a peek down. The views were nothing short of spectacular. My kids and I laughed through the whole trail. Several times I heard, "This is so cool!"
Just what I'd wished for this day! We're having family-time, enjoying this together. Gradually, Ranger will become more a part of our day.
I looked back up the trail, and Ranger was on his way up. He was smiling, watching me and my children laughing in the wind there. "How do you like my backyard?" he called to us. The kids responded with resounding "It's huge!" and "It's so cool!" He walked to us, but didn't slow his pace. He jumped up on the short wall, and scared the devil out of me! My son just said, "Oh, no way!"
He hopped down and exchanged banter with the kids. He stepped over to me and said, "I'm headed to the entrance station. I'll meet you up the hill in 30 minutes. I want to get pictures of you up there!"
And he was off, down trail again. We continued our little trek, and my phone goes off. A text. "You look soooo fantastic today," he says. Oh, so sweet. That would be the first of four times he'd tell me that during this day.
We met up the hill. He took wonderful pictures of me and my kids. He walked hand-in-hand with me. Then, we went to his apartment for lunch. He made a wonderful chicken salad for us, which even my picky-eater daughter loved. He showed his wonderful super-computer gadgets to the kids, and they all played as we ate. When it was time for him to return to work, he told us we were welcome to stay there and watch movies. He'd be off of work in a short while, and we could explore a little.
So, that's what we did. We hung out. I cleaned up the little mess we made in the kitchen. Periodically, the door would open and Ranger would be back. Once, he gestured for me to come out. I did, and met one of his bosses. As Ranger got back in his truck, he said to me, "Thank you so much for coming up here. I know it's a long drive. But I can't tell you how much it means to me that you're here."
We talked more about this later, and he actually started to cry. When he was married and waiting for his wife to join him, as they'd planned, he couldn't get her to come visit. She had no interest in his "world." She came to visit a couple of times, "kicking and screaming" (as he put it). Yet, there I was, actually wanting to be there and wanting to know more. And showing it to my children, too. Plus, we're loving it! This is what he's dreamed of, and thought would never happen.
After his workday was over, we headed out to a little remote place. We had a short hike up to a cliff face, in a natural amphitheater where ancient Native Americans once lived. Ranger leads the way, I let the kids go ahead of me, and I settle into the caboose position. Ranger stops and lets the kids pass, pointing out the path. "I need to stick with the person with the trick knee," he says. "Besides, it's a good excuse to hold her hand."
He led us up the trail to a spectacular pictograph. He explained the history of it and the history of the wide cave where we were standing. He showed my kids the little traces of evidence of the ancient people here, and their lives. They listened, learned, responded. His enthusiasm sparked their interest and they asked for more. I took pictures of them all together, interacting. I'd never seen them like this with anyone. So...natural.
Later, Ranger told me he saw me taking those pictures and it made him smile. He felt what I was seeing -- my children relaxed and enjoying all of us being together. And he felt the same with them.
We headed back down the trail to the cars. He held my hand and slowed down, letting the kids get out of earshot. "I've figured out a solution to our dilemma," he said. Dilemma? I thought. I remembered the email I read before leaving home.
"Really?" I said. "What solution is that?"
He stopped and turned to face me. He brought me close and looked straight into my eyes. "When the time is right," he said, "I'm going to ask your children to release you from your promise."
My breath left me.
My "promise" would be the one I made to them, that I would not marry again until they were grown.
Ranger wants to marry me.
I started breathing again. "Really?" I said quietly.
He nodded. "Oh yes," he said. The look in his eyes was dead serious. No uncertainty. He kissed me, quickly. The kids were waiting. It was dinner time.
We'd follow him into town, to a place he knew well. "Hey, can Son ride with me?" he asked. Son wanted to, so we hopped in the cars and headed down the dusty road.
"Mom!" my daughter said, as soon as the door closed. "I saw you kiss him! That means he's your boyfriend now!"
"What do you think of that?" I asked.
"That's fine," she said. "He's cool!"
Ranger and Son had a wonderful time. Ranger was still playing ancient-civilization guide, pulling over to point out other pictographs and their meanings.
Dinner was spectacular. Good home-cooking type of food. But the best part was when I looked around the table at the content and happy faces that surrounded me and realized....we were enjoying a "family" dinner. Banter flew around the table. Everyone laughing and kidding each other. Telling stories. Asking questions and talking about the answers. Ranger lightly holding my hand.
I looked up to see Ranger watching me. A grin spread across his face, and he winked. He felt it, too. Neither of us had enjoyed such a sweet time, in much too long.
We started to say goodbye at the car. "Wait," he said. "We have one more stop to make, you and I."
He kissed me briefly. From the passenger-side door, we heard Son's voice. "Keep it G-rated back there!" Yeah, he liked this guy, too.
It was dark. I followed Ranger a short distance up a side road. He pulled over in a turnout in the road. I left the car and followed him, telling the kids I'd be right back. I could hear water splashing nearby. A waterfall? At the end of the turnout, we took a step down. The ground was wet and a small spigot protruded from the rock, pouring cold mountain water.
"The locals often get drinking water here," he said. "This spring has been here since to beginning of time. From its source, it takes six years for the water to come through the rock and come out here."
He paused. "This is a spiritual place, though. The Native Americans have always believed that a couple who drinks together from this spring, will be together forever."
"This is my promise to you, my commitment," he said. "I am yours and yours alone."
"I promise, too," I said.
He cupped his hands and filled them full of spring water. He took a long drink, then offered his hands to me.
The water tasted oh so sweet.
Ranger wrapped his arms around me, holding me tight for a moment. "We are joined in spirit now," he said. "I love you, Blogget."
We walked back to the car, and said goodbye. He asked if I had enough gas for the journey, if I knew the way, and if I'd call when I got home, so he knew we were safe.
The kids fell asleep quickly. My mind buzzed with the events of the day. The sudden left turns my life takes, and where they've wound me up. In the midst of another letdown, a gust of wind came and lifted me up, into the arms of a man unlike any other I've known. He fills my heart and only wants to give more, as he's continually amazed that I, Blogget Jones, have chosen him.
Dear diary, Blogget has a boyfriend. And he's one hell of a man.
Friday, March 28, 2008
We've had some serious conversations. We talk about childhood, exes, heartache, and secrets. His childhood was horrendous, but he's made the choice that it won't mold his life and his role as a father. He speaks openly and frankly. He's had experiences that could have been tragic, but he's come through them to become a better man. He's told me things he was afraid to tell me, and been relieved to find no judgment or rejection from me. These are the experiences that have shaped the man he is, I told him. It's what he chooses to do with them that matters.
He listens to my experiences and is sympathetic. He's curious and asks questions, and offers gentle comment. He understands the betrayal of trust I've been through, too often. He's been there, too. He understands the promises I've made to my children and respects that. He has great respect for me as a single mother, and tells me he expects my children to be first in my world.
He's a sweet, romantic, sensitive man who has been under-appreciated. In his nearly-twenty-year marriage, his gestures of affection were thrown back at him, as overtures for nothing more than sex. I've been starving for such things, and he's bowled over by my appreciation of the considerate things he says and does. That I find his interests at all intriguing, that I listen and learn, is amazing to him. That he wants to share with me his thoughts, passions, and even his hurt is amazing to me. That he speaks to me as his intellectual equal, and then listens in turn, is refreshing.
Before, I mentioned that his life has a soundtrack. Mine does, too, in that music is closely tied to my experiences. I identify with music to the point that it becomes part of the weave, for better or worse. He sends me songs that remind him of me, songs that were previously too painful to hear. For me, the bittersweet songs have turned sweet again. We can build new memories to go with them. Music seems to be life's blood to me, and he completely gets that.
Yesterday, he came to visit me again. We walked around campus, my hand in his as I told him what little I know of the buildings. His son has considered coming here for school, so it was good for him to see what's what. Then, it was lunchtime. As he opened the car door for me, he took my purse from me and set it on the seat. He wrapped me up in his arms and kissed me, for the first time.
After lunch, we had about four hours to kill before I was due home. I've been working a lot of night and weekend hours, so taking time during the day is not only acceptable to my boss, but it's also encouraged.
"I'd say let's go to a movie, but then I can't talk to you," he said. I agreed with that plan, or lack thereof.
Ranger and I decided to explore the Colorado National Monument. This is a major national park here, and I have managed to keep my feet in the valley for the nearly-year since I've been here.
As we're climbing to the top of the mesa, he's pointing out rock formations and colors, telling me about hiking with his daughter, about sitting on a ledge at the top, dangling his feet over the edge, about the last rock climb he did when he fell 300+ feet (saved by a rope), and listening to music all the while. The views are astounding. We stop at the entrance to Otto's Trail. The wind is really whipping around and it's chilly. He gives me a sweatshirt to wear, and we set out along the trail.
I'd confessed earlier to having a bum knee. I even let him hear the cartilage crunch when I go down stairs. Now, as we set out on the trail, he holds my hand again and leads me along the path, choosing the easiest way for my knee to take.
"Which is worse? Stairs or uneven surfaces?"
"Okay, I'm just asking so I know when to slow down for you."
He takes some pictures of me, with the wind whipping my hair. More pictures with the camera's timer, to get photos of us together.
At the end of the trail, the wind dies a bit. We look out over the view pictured to the right. He points out other formations across the valley floor. Ranger wraps me up in his protective arms again, sheltering me from the chilly breeze. He kisses me, and leans his forehead against mine.
"I really enjoy being with you," he said.
"I enjoy you, too," I said.
He pulled back and seemed to study my eyes. The wind blew curls into my face. He gently tucked them behind my ear. "I love you," he said. It was said with thought, earnestness, care.
Some moments in life are best viewed from within and from the outside, at the same time. I had a moment like that. I was aware of the magnificent world around us, the precipice we stood near, his arms holding me, the contented feeling I have when he's near, and of my heart melting. My guard relaxing. All at once. I closed my eyes for a second and just felt it, enjoyed it.
"I love you, too," I said, and knew it in every cell at that moment. Wonderful man, and wonderful words. Each was what I've been waiting for. We stood holding each other and kissing for a long time. No one was about that day. Then, we headed back to the trail. Half way back, he found a nice smooth rock for me to rest on, giving my knee a break. It didn't really hurt yet, but he wanted to be sweet and I let him. He took more pictures of me and of us.
We walked more little trails. We talked incessantly. Well, when we weren't singing along with the music. Soon, we were out of the park and headed into town again. He took me to my car and parked nearby. I still had over an hour to kill, so we sat in his car and talked. I scooted as close as the console would allow me, but that wasn't so comfortable.
This is a vehicle he camps in. There are no seats in the back. He put a pad down and we laid next to each other, snuggled up and talking low and soft about things magical and romantic. We talked about funny things, too. We laugh a lot! All the time. It's beyond delightful.
Now, I can hear some of you out there already. You're saying, "Dangit, Blogget, you slept with him in the back of his SUV? Already?" No, I did not. He didn't even unzip his pants, or take off any clothes. What I can say is that it's a weird realization to discover a man knows more about a woman's body than she does. He explained a situation to me, in which he was taught by an older woman how to truly make love to a woman, making her pleasure paramount, and deriving his from hers. Suffice it to say that his touch is nothing less than electric.
Too soon, we had to let each other go and get back to the real world.
"Hey, if I wanted to mail something to you, what address would you want me to use?"
I gave him my home and work address. "What would you mail to me?"
"Myself," he said, smiling. And we went our separate ways. I told him to be very careful going back to Moab. He had a two hour drive ahead of him. All I had to do was go home.
About an hour later, I texted him. "I miss you already. I wish you were here with me."
About 8:30 that night, I get a text from him.
"What are you doing right now?"
"Watching silly reality TV with my mom. And you?"
"Sitting by your mailbox."
"No, you're not!" See, we'd had this conversation earlier about how gullible people can be. I was not going to fall for this and look like an idiot, walking outside for no reason.
I sat and thought. How can I just walk outside and look around, then go back in. I'd look like an idiot. And how can I admit that I fell for the "made you look!" trick.
Okay, I don't have to admit it. I made up an excuse about getting something from my car, and I went outside.
And there he was. By the mailbox. He'd mailed himself to me.
I couldn't believe it. I hugged him tight. "You nut," I said.
"I was having dinner with my friend Mike and got your text that you wished I was here," he said. "So, here I am. I couldn't leave without seeing you one more time."
"I'd invite you in but my mother is in her pajamas," I said. He was already shaking his head.
"No, I don't want to meet your parents like this, just showing up at nearly bedtime," he said. "It's okay. I just wanted to see you and make your wish come true."
I got a beautiful goodnight kiss. And a silly grin on my face when I plunked my happy butt back down on the couch, to finish watching the show. I don't remember how it ended.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
After doing all the safety checks and balances I do, and much "get to know you" talk, we decided to meet. We were texting late at night, when I should have been sleeping and he was admonishing me to do just that. I sent one last, flirty message: "Can I have a hug when we meet?"
My phone rang immediately.
"Stop it," he said. This confused me.
"Stop what?" Stop texting? What?
"Get out of my head!" He was laughing. That's good.
"What do you mean?"
"I was just sitting here wondering if it would be too forward of me to hug you when we meet. Then, I get your text. You're reading my mind."
And so it goes. We have many things in common, but we're also learning new things from each other. He's extremely sweet and giving. He spends his days off bumping along the remote roads, in search of interesting rocks and fossils to sell and to keep. He stops for litter of the plastic variety, to throw away properly later. On the long stretches of barren highway around here, he stops for stranded travelers, to give them water and make calls for help if they need it.
He tells me of the beauty of living in the park. At night, he sleeps with the window open to hear the coyote's song. I mentioned my love of wolves.
We decide on a date. He works weekends, so we have weekdays and evenings. Lunch and a short excursion, so I'm home in time to pick up my daughter from school. I take about three hours off of work for this.
One of the things we have in common is music. He has a massive music collection, including some rare and obscure pieces. We talked about this incessantly one night, and I felt I'd found a kindred musical spirit. His life has a soundtrack, too. There's a large part of his collection he's been unable to listen to during and since his divorce.
So, he comes to pick me up for our date. His truck has rocks in every corner. "Is one of your kids into science?" he asks. Yes, my daughter is. He hands me a rock and says, "Give this to her. It's a fossilized dinosaur bone." He points out the traits that tell him this. I'm fascinated and tuck it away for my daughter.
We pick up some burritos and root beer, then head out towards Utah. He shows me some photos he's taken from his apartment balcony, in the park. The view is incredible, and he's captured some amazing sunsets, clouds, and storms.
He has a spot he wants to show me. We listen to music on the way. He takes a turnoff onto a dirt road and we're flying through the backroads. Periodically, he stops and we jump out to step down a hill and look at rocks. He shows me rock formations and describes how they got there, especially if they are likely to me fossil-hunting spots. He snags dozens of rocks from the ground, telling me what they are and showing me their qualities. He's tickled by one particular spot, with lots of large, rounded, white stones.
"We're in the middle of a dinosaur toilet," he says, grinning. "These are fossilized dinosaur poo." His enthusiasm for all things geological is contagious. His knowledge is beyond impressive.
Then, we're back in the car and flying over the twists and turns he knows so well. Finally, the road gets rough and we're four-wheeling along a dry riverbed. Now and again, we see motorcycles, campers, and a few hikers. He waves at every single one of them. In the car, we're singing along with the music and getting to know a little more about each other.
Finally, he climbs a hill and finds a place to park. We're at the base of this formation:
We walked up the hill a little ways, to a long rock. If you look at the foreground of this picture, in the center you'll see a rock sitting at an angle. This is where we sat to eat our lunch. We're facing a valley, where we can see campers and the highway in the distance, but everything is completely silent. I mean not a stir. He has me sit still and listen. We chat and laugh, and eat our burritos and drink our root beer. When I say something funny, he laughs and puts his hand on my leg. Later, he'd apologize, worrying that he was being too forward. Uhm, no dear....you weren't.
I noticed he has lovely blue-gray eyes. He looks at me with such a sweetness and intensity that it's hard to maintain eye contact.
As we're driving out of the valley, he stops the car periodically to look at a rock the catches his eye. He always explains why it's unusual and what catches his attention. He pulls over at one point and says, "I'm going to show you something, but you can't tell anyone where it is. Okay?"
We get out of the car and start hiking up a hillside. I haven't hiked in ages, so I tried my best to keep up with him. It didn't take long for me to find myself in a precarious spot.
"Look up," he said.
I did, and found his hand held out to me. I grabbed hold and made it over the obstacle, to stand beside him. He did not release my hand, but kept me close on the trail. He stooped and started picking up small stones and handing them to me. They were lovely crystals - selenite. Here's a picture of one of the small pieces he found for me.
We moved further up the hill, until he exclaimed, "There's one!" A little digging later, he retrieved a large crystal shard. It's close to twice the size of the one pictured.
He brushed it off. "Here, that's for you. Keep it in a windowsill." I followed his advice, and it's beautiful.
On the way back down the hill, he offered me his arm for stability. "Just step in my footprints," he said. "And if you start to slip, grab my shoulder. I'll take care of you." And he did.
Our day was drawing to a close. He returned me to my car. He wrapped me up in an intense embrace, his arms holding me tight to him. He moved his hand to the back of my head, cradled me against his shoulder. I haven't felt so protected and warm in ages. I could hear him breathe deeply, inhaling my scent.
We moved apart, said our goodbyes. I kissed him on the cheek and got in my car. My door was still open when he came back. He reached past me and put a package on the seat beside me. "You forgot this in my car," and he turned to leave.
I looked at the package. I didn't recognize it. This wasn't something I left. I called to Ranger to come back. He hesitated, looking bashful, but came along anyway. I unwrapped it, to find a the sweetest little statue of two wolves, one tenderly licking the muzzle of the other. He'd remembered my wolves.
It should be noted here that I dated Fella for six months. He never remembered this kind of detail about what I said, and he never gave me anything. Not that I'm about the material things, but it's the thought that counts. And this has a lot of thought in it.
"Thank you," I said, truly touched. "This is beautiful."
I looked up at him, and he slid his hand along my cheek, cradling my face in his hand. His thumb stroked the angle of my cheekbone. "No, you're beautiful," he said, softly. "And never let anyone say otherwise." He smiled, and left.
About an hour later, I got a call. "I don't want to leave," he said. "When am I going to see you again?"
"Maybe I can come up to Moab next week," I said.
"NEXT WEEK?! No, that's too long. I can't stand that."
He came back two days later....but that's another blog!
Karl has become silent again. When we last talked, he promised to call or text me soon. He says he loves talking to me. Two full days have passed with nothing. Now, I know he's on a big job this week. But for pity sake....nothing? Really? [insert big sigh here]
Bear is coming on strong. He's already asking how I want to be spoiled for Mother's Day. How about a full-service day at the spa? That's what he wants to give me. And my mother. I'm supposed to find a spa here and let him know any and all services I want there, for my mother and I. Including lunch.
I've been honest with him, too. I'm not in love with him and can't promise I will be. And I date other guys. Fine, he says. He'll just make it so I miss him a little more each time I see him. He wants to take me out this Saturday. I'm proceeding with extreme caution.
God help me, dear diary, but there's a new one in the mix. He needs a blog entry of his own, though. He was brave and sent me an email, after seeing my profile online. We've found some common ground. He's as passionate about music as I am, and he knows his way around a computer. He reads. He writes. He understands what it's like to have a dishonest partner betray you. His divorce has been cruel and bitter. He's a gentleman and as tender as I am. For now, we'll call him Ranger.
And a 13 has already happened. After our first date, today (which will be the next blog), he asked me to listen to a particular song on a CD he gave me. This thing is full of music, of all kinds. So, I searched and found the song.
It was track number 13.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Cool. Simple to do. I explained to the woman that I'd give her the instructions for formatting the exam for the online system, and some sample exams to look at. I talked to her about the process, the file formats, etc. All seemed clear, and she was sure she could do this without a problem. The professor would send the list of students to her about a month ahead of time, and she'd send it to me to grant them access to the exam. Cool. Confidence and smiles all around.
I sent her the formatting instructions. It's just a text file without formatting. No automatic numbering, and you indicate the right answer with an asterisk. I got her set up and ready to go, with clear instructions to call me if there's any problem. I'd be back in two days to show her how to upload the exam to the system. Should take about ten minutes, top.
Okay -- I heard that. Someone out there just laughed and said "famous last words." Okay, okay...I should've known, all right?
And here's a bit of foreshadowing: We'll just call this woman Stupidass from here on out, k?
So, two days later I head to the testing center, to help this woman upload the test. I haven't had calls from her, so I'm hoping it's all gone well.
The thing I didn't realize is that it's hard for it to go well, when you haven't even started it!
Oh yes. I walk in and find she's about 10 questions into formatting the test, and she hasn't even cracked the instructions or listened to what I said.
"It won't let me put the asterisk where you said," she tells me. "So, I put it over here. I hope it works that way."
I'm fuming. She still has automatic numbering on, so nothing will work right. As I'd said 48 hours earlier.
"No," I say, emphatically. "It will not work that way. At all." Assistant Stupidass is looking wide-eyed at me.
I pull up a chair. "We'll have to go to Square One," I said. "You have to turn off the numbering, hand number it, then put in the asterisks."
Oh, this sends Stupidass into a huff. "That's going to take a long time."
"That's what I what I was talking about the other day, " I said. This is a 100+ question test. And I have to sit here while she does it. I'm at a remote campus. I can't run to my office and come back. I'm a prisoner until she gets this shit done.
About an hour later, she says, "You know, we wouldn't be doing this right now if you had showed me this during our meeting the other day."
The meeting with the professor who designed the exam. The meeting that was NOT all about her. Like that man wants to sit there and watch me hold her hand.
She was trying to blame her ineptness on me. Oh, no effing way. I was furious and almost speechless. Almost.
"No, that's not what the meeting was for. That's what the last two days were for. That's what the instructions and samples were for. If you had a problem, that what my phone number was for. But you didn't start this until today, and you didn't use the instructions or samples I gave you."
She shut up. Another hour and a half went by, and the exam was uploaded and ready to go.
Later, in a meeting with my boss, I explained what happened. Covering my ass in case he heard about it. He just shook his head. It seems Stupidass has nearly lost her job over her ineptitude several times. So, it's not just me.
Fast forward to last Friday. My phone rings. It's Assistant Stupidass. She wants to know how to launch the exam.
This is a process I've explained to Stupidass several times, even in writing. As I explain it to her, it dawns on me. They're administering the test soon. However, Stupidass hasn't sent me any names of students who will need access. She was supposed to do this as soon as the final list came through, probably a month ago.
I mention this to Assistant Stupidass. There's silence.
"You don't have the names?"
"And you're supposed to give them access?"
"Right. Stupidass can't do it." Like I'm going to give that woman Admin access....
"I'd better send that to you right now."
"Yes, that would be a great idea."
It's 3:40 on Good Friday. I'm supposed to be gone at 4:00. The campus is practically a ghost town already. Except for me and Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, here.
Of course, the list contains names that are new to the system, requiring me to set up their logins before I can grant access to the exam.
Over the weekend, I sent an email, and copied it to my boss. It went to the exam professor and Stupidass. I outlined what happened Friday and what would have happened if I'd been out of town, had a project requiring more attention, or if Assistant hadn't called. Monday morning's test would have been a nightmare. They need to understand, ineptness on their part does not mean an emergency on my part. Nope.
I asked for better "protocols" for these exams. Professor responded that he sends Stupidass the list a month ahead of time. I emphasized that I need that list, too, at that time.
No word from Stupidass. Silence. Maybe I scared her. Good.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
I went out with a friend Saturday night. Dinner and a movie. She asks if it's okay to bring a friend, someone she wants me to meet. Okay, fine.
He's apparently smitten now. He's slightly older than Fella. Thirteen years older than me. Yes, there's that 13 again! Sunday, he calls and makes his case for "courting" me. I give my usual upfront spiel about how I'm in no hurry, I don't want to get married until my kids are grown, etc. That's okay with him, but I need to know he's found what he wants and is going after her...err...me. He's even deleted his listing on some dating sites. He's well-off and wants to spoil me and take care of me -- and my family -- even though he knows how independent I am.
So, I read "The Secret" last week, and I've been putting positive thoughts out to the universe as much as I can. There's some negative-speak I need to get over. I asked for "abundance" because of the bind my stupidass-ex has put me in. And this is what happens, darn near immediately. Another case for be careful what you pray for? I mean, this would be abundance, yes....but with strings. I don't like the feel of that. I mean, he's very nice and attentive. Very sweet. But I'm balking.
The weirdest thing was that this man seems to be somewhat clairvoyant. He was able to tell me things about my job, my family, and even my ex that there's no way he'd know. Things I don't talk about. Some of it was quite an insight into what's going on, which was interesting for me. But chilling at the same time.
Oh, and speaking of 13 -- I found where it is with Karl. He lives in voting precinct 13. And I'm not completely without Florida sunshine at the moment. Karl called tonight, just as he was settling down for the night. He's been spending time with his daughter, who is going through a rough time right now. We talked about my kids, too, and movies to see. We talked about his trip here, the beautiful pictures he's found of this area. We talked about what's happening with his job this week, which led to talking about how much he loves to swim and why.
Dang, I need to work on looking better in a swimsuit. Before July.
We had a great conversation Tuesday night, as I mentioned. He told me that he loves getting texts from me during the day -- they are his "escape" in a hectic day, he said. When things are busy, he can't always reply immediately, but said to not worry because he would as soon as he could.
So, I texted Wednesday morning to say "have a great day." The reply was "U 2. I'm driving." In other words, can't text right now. I sent a couple more that day and Thursday. Replied to one of his emails from earlier in the week. What was the reply I got?
I called Thursday night. We talked about his daughter and his business, which plopped a huge stress in his lap that day. When we got off the phone, he said, "I'll text you tomorrow." He didn't.
This morning I bit the bullet and sent him an email, asking if something was wrong. Maybe the conversation Tuesday went further than he wanted. He did tell me a lot of intimate details. Maybe my texts are no longer an "escape," but a nuisance. Maybe it's been too stressful of a week and he's had no time or energy. Maybe he's lost interest. I just don't know. I can't guess. At first, he told me he likes to communicate, but not this week, buck-o.
Now, I'm not the type who demands attention all the time. I'm not high-maintenance, as long as I'm clued-in. I just hate inconsistency and lack of communication. I don't like guessing games. He's been upfront with me until now, not letting me guess about anything. Now, it's different, and I don't know why.
So, once again, I'm left to wonder if it's gone bad so quickly. What's the deal? How did we go from intense "how compatible we are!" to silence? I just don't get it....
Thursday, March 20, 2008
One of the faculty members who has been scrutinizing this document pipes up and says to my boss, "Okay, I know you are the Director, and she" (indicating me) "is the Coordinator. But what's the difference? What do you do?"
To which he replies. "Oh, that's easy. I make all the money, and she's smart."
Everyone thought this was incredibly funny, and another professor said to me, "Aren't you glad to know that?"
But I thought, WTF?
This reminds me of a moment I think I forgot to put in my Spring Break blog. The last day I was there, I was sitting in the customary easy-for-Greg-to-visit booth at Fridays. I was aware of vacation time coming to an end, so I brought along my recent meeting notes and paper, to create my "Things the HAVE TO get done!" list. I scribbled for a long time, covering the paper front and back.
It took a long time because Karl was texting sweet things to me all day. That was a nice day.
Greg visited frequently (duh!) and would eye what I was doing. Finally, he asked.
"It's my 'To Do' list for work," I said. "Things I have to get done by the end of the week."
He picked up the paper and made a nice attempt at reading my scrawl. "Hmmm...." he said. Then he flipped it over, looked at the back, and said, "What the hell do you do for a living?"
He's seen my business card, so he knows my title and where I work. So, I gave him the condensed version, but I got the same look of consternation everyone else gives me. Outside of my coworkers, no one seems to get it. Even Fella once said, "No one really understands what you do, Blogget." Sigh. Maybe it's all in how I explain it.
But Greg made a comment no one else has. "So, you do a lot of the computer, online stuff...all the time. Right?" Yes, my life in is computers, I said. And I saw it register in his eyes, under the raised brows: she's smart.
Is it conceited of me to like that?
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
It's uncanny. I think of Karl for a moment. I mean, focus on him. And he calls or texts. He is sweetness and warmth, and all kinds of passion.
We emailed on Sunday, and he explained the hectic week he has ahead. Lots of traveling. When he's here, he'll look for jobs that don't require so much travel. It wears him out, but he loves the contact with people. He's very outgoing and personable.
He's also spent a lot of time thinking about what he wants. He's had all kinds of what he doesn't want. High maintenance, greedy women. Cold lovers. It's been dissatisfying for him, and he's sick of it.
He's beginning to understand what I'm about. He sees sweetness and passion in me, too. He sees a woman wanting strong arms to protect her, while letting her individuality flow. He sees someone who wants to take care of a partner - a real partner - and give him shelter and solace from the crazy world. He sees the "team," the "partnership," he's been looking for.
At the same time, he's not in a hurry. We've got nothing but time. He won't even be here, in the flesh, until July. In the meantime, we get to know each other. We talk at the end of the day.
Monday night, I was working on my laptop, thinking about emailing him. My phone goes off. "Busy?" he says, in text. We start to chat. He's woried about his daughter. She's 19, pregnant, with a bad boyfriend. Her hormones are going crazy, and she can't think straight. The conversation moves to actually talking on the phone. We talk about her, their relationship, his ex's parenting methods, and the fact that his daughter needs someone to talk to.
Turns out, he deals with a mentally ill ex, too. What's the deal with this? Are our exes the only ones without mentally ill exes?
Finally, I offer, "I know I'm nobody in this situation, but if she wants to call or drop me a line, she's welcome to. I can listen, and I'm on the outside, if that helps."
"That's sweet of you," he said. "And you know what it's like to be a single mom, and you've made it work. She might need that." He really wants her to move with him.
It was very late there, so I sent him off to sleep. Think about it another day, I said. I put down the phone, and went back to my computer.
The text alert went off again. "Hugs and kisses," he said. "I will dream I'm spooning with you."
I never did write that email. So, last night, I'm at the laptop again. I actually started the email this time. I got as far as, "Hi Karl!" and my phone goes off.
"Hello," says the text.
I reply, "Whoa. I was just starting an email to you!"
"Then I should let you finish it, shouldn't it?" He loves my emails. He says he's amazed at how I can just write out my thoughts, so fluidly.
"No, it's okay. I'm just writing silly daydreams to you."
"Daydreams? Of what?"
"You." It's true. I'd been sitting outside in the sun on campus yesterday. I imagined what it would be like to open my eyes and see him there. Maybe he'd be coming to surprise me for lunch, and we'd have a delightfully normal conversation about what to go eat, and enjoy each others company for awhile.
I sent a second text immediately. "And me. And us. Silly daydreams."
"Daydream about being together?"
"Yes. Little moments. I hope that's not too weird."
"No, it's not at all."
I started to write back and another text arrived. "To be honest, I've already made love to you in my thoughts." I caught my breath. This conversation just took a left turn.
My laptop dinged. Karl had signed in to IMs. "Hello. Was that all right?"
Yes, I said.
"What are your boundaries?" he asked. And so we launched into a discussion of my short list of sexual hangups and challenges. It wasn't really an erotic conversation, though. He really wants to know. And he really wants to help.
See, some men have found me to be a...uhm...challenge. If I'm at all distracted, the Big O won't happen. And certain types will, and certain types won't.
He told me that his ex initially could not achieve the Big O. So, he researched it. Researched it! He learned about female anatomy and physiological responses. He read books on how to deal with such problems. He read books and watched films on technique. All for a woman he knew was using him as a meal ticket.
Are you ladies out there as stunned as I am? And completely turned on by the thought of what he'd do for the woman he actually feels a "connection" with?
I just shuddered.
Sexual compatibility is important to him. And to me. This discussion was part of exploring those options, without it being any form of cybersex. However, I did get a glimpse of his more passionate side. He wants to much to give and receive real affection, on all levels.
And he feels drawn to me. Me. I find that astounding.
But know what? I'm feeling drawn, too.
I finished the silly daydream email. There's just so much happening here.
No, not me. Greg.
I spoke to him yesterday. That was our first conversation since I left Lubbock. When I heard his voice, my pissedness left.
"How are you?"
"I'm actually good," he said. "I got her out of the hospital yesterday."
"How's she doing?"
"I think she's handling things better now."
"I need some rest, though. I've either been working long days or spending the day on the road, from here to the hospital. I was late to work this morning because I had another flat. Of course, I get in about 15 minutes late, and it's the day after St. Pat's, so they ask 'Were you drinking?' Like I can afford that."
He was in the middle of setting up the bar, though, and had to go. "Can you call me back in an hour?" I told him it would be longer than that. I had a meeting to get to.
I got to call again after lunch. The person who answered the phone said what Greg usually says, but his Texas twang was deep and pronounced. So, I asked for Greg.
"You didn't sound like you!"
"No, I was playing around with an accent. Did you like that?" He was laughing. It was good to hear him in an "up" mood.
I had to pause, though. There's a guy on Bravo's "Workout" who looks very much like Greg, except with brown eyes instead of blue. But the guy has a deep twang. Now, Greg had one, too. Well, when he wanted. It made me laugh.
"Yes, you're very talented," I said.
"What are you up to?"
"Headed back to the office."
"Oh, I hate to hear that."
"Me, too. It's tough getting back into the swing of things here. How's your day?"
"Good. I've had good tips. I have rent saved up, and then some."
"That's good news!"
But I had to go. A short conversation, and I felt okay about it. Except he hadn't acknowledged standing me up.
"I'll be in early tomorrow. Can you call me then?" I said I'd try, but I had meetings all day.I didn't really. My morning meeting was canceled. But he needed to know that I do have other things going on.
I called this morning, but later than he'd asked. He answered the phone.
"Hey," I said. He knew it was me immediately.
"Hey you." He sounded different. The jovial attitude was gone.
"How are you?"
"Bad." He gave a derisive laugh.
"Oh no...what's happened?"
"Oh...I got pulled over last night on my way home. And the thing is, my license is suspended right now. I've been saving money to get that fixed, and just about had it AND rent. So, I spent the night in jail and spent all but 20 bucks to get out."
"Oh, sweetie, no."
"Yeah. I just can't catch a break, you know? I get ahead and crap happens. I hate it."
"I wish I could help."
"I know. But you don't need to. There's nothing you could do. Don't worry, I'll be okay."
I laughed. "It's me. I'm going to worry."
"I know. I appreciate that, really. How about this -- if you win the lottery, you can send me a check. Okay?"
"And I so want good news to tell you when you call. I want to talk about good things, happy things, but it seems like every time we talk, it's 'Guess what shit happened this time?' I don't want it that way."
"It's okay. I just can't believe how many things can go wrong."
"Yeah, I know," he paused. "And I feel bad, too. I wanted to see you that night, but I worked too late and I was so tired, so I thought I'd come by in the morning. But you were already gone. They said you'd checked out. And the phone died the night before, and I accidentally left it in the car, so I didn't even know I'd missed your call. And I felt like shit for it, because I don't want you to think I don't want to see you. Because I really do, always."
"I see. I understand." And I did. I could hear the edge in his voice. He's exhausted, and keeps yawning. He didn't sleep much, not surprising.
"But you might have called that guy, the one whose phone number you got," he said.
Ah-ha. There's a clue to his thinking. He saw the Hispanic guy give me his number. And I know the guy left right after I did that day. He suspected I'd taken him up on the offer.
"No, I won't do that," I said. "He not my type."
"Yeah, I thought so."
"Well, once a guy starts talking about having a rap-sheet a mile long, I kinda lose interest."
"Yeah, I bet. I can understand that." He was quiet for a moment. "Things are going okay for you?"
"Yes, it's starting to be my busy time here. What I need is help. I'm waiting to hear if the budget will be approved for me to hire some people."
"Some workers to do your bidding?" he laughed, between yawns.
"Yes! Exactly! I've never had that and it's what I need!"
He needed to get to work, and so did I.
"It's good to talk to you," I said."It's really good to talk to you," he said, and asked if I could call again later. I said I'd try, but I have a long afternoon with meetings.
He said a low, tender goodbye....and I could hear him listening still as I hung up.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
I stopped drinking in college, when I realized I could drink all my friends under the table and any buzz I got was killed the moment I stood up. Nothing. I've never been drunk, but I've consumed copious amounts of alcohol.
That scared me. So, I quit drinking.
(This was before my Mormon days. Not that I'm a good Mormon by any stretch of imagination....or I am to the outside world. But I can confide t you, dear diary.)
I haven't had a drink, not a sip, since 1991.
Until last week.
I was hanging out with my pal Mandy at ... guess where? ... yep, Friday's in Lubbock. Dear Greg was the bartender. She'd warmed up to Greg quite a bit by then. The day before, we'd been eating lunch and she made a comment about herself, along the lines of, "No, I don't need dessert. Can't you tell I eat too many of those already?"
He leaned on the table and said, "Don't slam yourself like that. You're a beautiful woman."
For the first time I've ever seen, she was speechless. She looked up into his eyes and gaped. Then she recovered, and smiled. "Oh, you're gooood," she said.
So, we were seated in the bar and Mandy had reason to celebrate. I can't go into details because legal action is involved, but we were in a joyous, raucous mood. Mandy's potty mouth was in full force, complete with innuendos about the size of Greg's foot.
She ordered a dirty martini. I looked at Greg and said, "I don't drink. What would you recommend for starters?" He smiled and said he knew just the thing.
It's called the Ultimate Electric Lemonade. It's blue and tasty. I liked that. Good choice, dear. I could tell it was a little light on the liquor, but okay. I wondered what had happened with my tolerance in the last 17 years.
Mandy tasted her martini and about fell over. "The boy mixes them strong!" she said. Too strong, apparently. She asked for extra olive juice to water it down. Still too strong. And this from a woman who can down these like water. She handed it to me. "You gotta taste this. I know you don't drink, but you'll understand this."
It burned a path to my stomach. And I liked it.
"I can't drink this," she finally said. I jumped on it.
"Can I have a chocolate martini," she called to Greg.
"A chocolate martini? What's wrong with the dirty martini?" he asked.
"I like it," I said, taking the glass from her. He gave me a funny look and said, "Really? Okay, then."
We watched him put the chocolate sauce in the glass. By the time he brought it, I was chewing on the olive from my empty glass. "You want something to eat? The sausage and chicken pasta is good," he said. I said no, and he went back to the bar.
"She already has enough sausage in her life," Mandy muttered. I told her she was very bad and to shush.
"I heard that!" Greg called from the bar, laughing.
Mandy eyed her martini. "I don't think that's what I want." She opened the menu. What she wanted was a mudslide martini. Oh well. She tried this one.
Nope, she didn't like that one, either. Too sweet. I tried it. I liked it. Greg saw me take that one, too. My Electric Lemonade was about half finished.
"What now? Was that not right?" he said, stopping at the table. He took my empty martini glass and watched me sip the new one. "Well, I have to admit, I just made that up. We don't have a chocolate martini on the menu." He said what was in it, and I thought it was lovely.
Mandy pointed at the mudslide martini. He took off to go make that one, eying me as I considered licking the chocolate sauce from inside the glass. I opted for my fingertip instead. Soon, I abandoned that to finish the Electric Lemonade.
He brought Mandy's mudslide martini, and she sipped at it for a few moments. "No, that's not what I want either," she declared.
It was lovely, too.
She put a hand in the air, and called, "Oh Gregory! Can I have a Coors Light?"
He stopped in his tracks, staring at her. He wallked deliberately to our table, a bit of a scowl on his face.
"What?" Mandy said. "Why not?"
"No, I mean that thing you just said. That won't happen. My mother doesn't even call me that."
Mandy stared at him and busted out laughing. He laughed, too, and shot me a look when he realized I was drinking the mudslide martini, too.
Mandy and I sat and finished our drinks. We had some chicken. Another friend and her (adult) daughter joined us. A good time was had by all, and Greg got good tips.
I needed to use the ladies' room. Here was the test. Would the buzz disappear when I stood, like the old days?
I put both feet firmly on the floor and stood.
I was lightheaded for a moment. Then, it happened. Everything stabilized around me and that was it. Buzz killed.
I was aware of Greg watching me walk past. Mandy was watching when I returned. "I can't believe it," she said. "You're not feeling this, are you?"
"How'd you get such a tolerance?"
"Long line of alcoholics before me, I suppose. It's my Irish-Scottish-German-Viking blood."
Thinking back, the only erosion of my normal behavior seems to be the moment I seriously considered getting a tattoo that night. But that thought left when I stood up.
And so why shouldn't I drink?
Because ever since, I've craved more of it. There's the danger for me.
Monday, March 17, 2008
Yes, new glasses. But there's something disturbing about this new pair. Can you guess what? No, no....if you're thinking bifocals, you can put your hand down. It's not that.
They are trifocals.
I feel old.
I need three zones for work. Focusing up to 10 feet, like for meetings. Focusing on my computer screen. And reading.
But they're cute, yeah??
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Some people say that when one door closes, another opens. As I mentioned before, something cosmic is going on with Karl. It's still a mystery how we each dialed a local number and wound up talking to each other instead. It's become a joke between us. He'll call me and ask "Is this so-and-so's wife?" I'll respond, "Yes, Dr. Nelson." And he'll ask if we can play doctor some time.
Oh, he's adorable.
This banter started on the day of my lowest point with the Greg situation. Karl doesn't know that. He doesn't know about Greg or my heartache. He doesn't know the salve he's been for that, in just being himself. He's lovely - in speech, thought, appearance.
Even though he asks about "playing doctor," he makes it clear that he doesn't want to get into any sex-talk. He doesn't want me to misinterpret him. He doesn't want me to think that sex is his focus when getting to know me. He's looking for compatibility in thought, aspirations, priorities, and then in sex.
"Your intelligence is a huge turn on for me," he writes. "I like that you're an educated woman."
"I hope all of your dates go awful," he says. "Except ours."
The soonest he'll be here is July. Oh, for pity sake! This is a challenge for The Queen of Impatience, here. I'm not good at waiting. It makes me even more insane than I tend to be on a daily basis.
He's always been draw to the western United States. He lives in Florida because that's where his ex's family lived. The ex would never leave Florida. He was offered a great job in a town not far from here, but had to turn it down because she wouldn't consider moving. Once the kids were grown, though, the divorce was inevitable. Their children are 23 and 19, with a grandchild on the way. He's 49. Ten years older than me. It's a big birthday year for each of us.
For years, he's made it known that he did not intend to stay in Florida. His sister has lived here for 30 years, and he's never visited here. When he started planning vacation, though, he says he felt drawn to Grand Junction. He felt driven to visit his sister. He loves the drier climate. He loves the mountains. He's researched this area and has bought a new camera, to get back into photography and capture what he sees here. He couldn't wait to get here.
Now, he really can't. Now, he's talking about looking for jobs here, shopping for housing. The draw of Grand Junction has gotten stronger, as he's felt more drawn to me.
One morning, he sent me a video. It's a foreign commercial for Knorr soup mix. The couple in it meet when she accidentally dials a number in a video conferencing room. She sees this man in Russia. They end up meeting for dinner via video conference, and romance is born. It's lovely and sweet, and started my day off with a smile and a warm heart. I told him so. He says he keeps videos like that on his laptop, to give himself a boost when he's down. How lovely is that?
He has an appreciation for the aesthetically pleasing. His father and sister were/are artists. He reads history and literature, but other genres, too. He recommended "The Secret" to me, to help explain our wrong numbers. He reads erotica, but only that written by women. "The stuff written by women is by far the best," he says. "Women writers are more descriptive and more about the act of love than the culmination of the act."
He collects pin-up art and early issues of Playboy. "The girls were curvier then," he says. "And I like curves." And he cooks, too! "I love cooking but not all the time. I always envision cooking beside my woman. Making dinner together." I often have the same kind of daydreams, when cooking alone.
What I appreciate about him is the lack of guessing games. I don't have to wonder what he's thinking because he'll tell me. And he really wants to know what I think. The other night, he asked me, "Do you ever want to get married again?"
"Yes," I said. "But anyone who gets involved with me must understand how independent I am, and why. I've learned to be responsible for my own well-being. It's nothing against them, but experience has taught me that anything can happen."
To which he said, "Blogget, I would want you to be in total control of your life and be respected for your ideas, perspectives, and opinions."
I told him that although I'm independent, I want to share my life with someone on many levels. He said, "I want my life to intertwine with someone as you do. I want to share our dreams, goals and heartbreak as well. A passionate person. Some who can express themselves physically and well as verbally." Yeah, I can do that. Anyone who's read this blog knows that!
We talked a little about dating and how hard it is. He told me, "Protect your heart. But be open to the person God may bring into your life. I don't believe in coincidences. I hope we can meet. I want to meet you very much. I have done alot of "what ifs". What if we were so attracted to each other, we want to be with each other. I would move to there. Its a place I feel I have been called to. I would have to find a job or opportunity. I do have a very good job now, but that job will never keep me from my dreams or a woman that I feel I was meant to be with. Something I have to pray about. And what I pray about is this... timing and open doors. Serendipity . I hope you are a spiritual person." Yeah, I am...but maybe I should quit railing at God!
We have had some incredible communications via text messages. Although sex isn't a big focus, we do talk about what we like, and we have some playful chats. He can be very blunt, though.
"I love foreplay, especially throughout the day, then connecting when we come home. I would love to know what turns you on, and what your turn offs are."
One morning, as I was slowly waking in my hotel room, I got a message from him. "You have me so curious," he said. "What do you really yearn for? What are some of your desires? Where would you go if you travel?"
And: "Could you just relax and let me put your desires first? I would like to experience every inch of you, kissing and....."
"And what?" I said.
"I do hesitate in saying everything until we meet. I never want you to misinterpret me."
I told him to not worry. He's made his intentions and priorities clear. Don't hold back, I said. I'd rather know what you're thinking than not.
And thus, I opened the flood gates.
"You arouse me," he said. "I think of how your skin smells. Your hair and how you taste. I want to taste your soul, your spirit. I want to taste the very secret parts of you. I want to swallow your essence. Will you empty yourself into me and allow me to nourish your hunger?"
There's something very earnest, sweet, gentle, and passionate about Karl. I feel very drawn to him. The sound of his voice is soothing to me. He makes things all right, without even knowing there's anything to put right. He longs for the give-and-take that I've longed for, and always manage to miss having in the end. There's a synchronicity between us that's almost spooky. I think of him, he calls. I need someone, he calls. July can't get here soon enough.
I told him this. He said, "I feel the same for you. I have so many things I think about."
I texted him when we got to to the hotel in Dallas, to let him know we'd gotten there safe. I was exhausted, and he knew it. "Shall I tuck you in with a bedtime story?" he asked. And I melted.
Friday, March 14, 2008
I first saw Greg on Sunday. He looks really unhappy. He's changed his hair and beard again. Looks like he tried a goatee, but is growing it all out now. And he has a flat mohawk, too. But it looks like he's growing all of that out, too.
He was distracted and down, but he was still attentive to me. Joked with my friends. Touched me as he went past. He wouldn't be able to come see me after work, but would the next day.
On other fronts, my ex has been a nightmare. I made a mistake and talked to my ex about the travel arrangements for the kids while on the phone. I broken my rule about him putting everything in writing, and it's biting me in the ass. Dumb Blogget! I think his wife got mad that they are coming, and so he's telling her that I booked it without his permission. He's denying the conversation happened and that he told me to "go ahead and book it." So, he's denying that he owes me his half of their travel. Jerkwad. Asshole.
Of course, for him, that makes it open season on me. He's been berating me about all kinds of things, born of his own paranoia and his wife's dislike of me. She does the thinking for him. I can go through his emails point-by-point and disprove it all, but he calls that me being "controlling" and "needing the last word." So, I've been fending this off daily.
He spent much of Sunday obsessed with finding out where I was staying. He even had my daughter text and ask. Sunday night, my phone rang and it was from my daughter's phone. But it was him. He called from her number so I'd answer. He had me on speakerphone with the kids there. He starts in on me about all these things he's been saying in email. With the kids sitting there!
I got mad. This was over the top, and I said so. I could hear my daughter crying. He started SCREAMING at me. I told him how wrong he was, how he couldn't do this to them, and.....then my phone lost the signal. I'm sure he thinks I hung up on him. Honestly, I'd considered it, but the phone decided on its own.
My daughter called back, wanting me to come get her. So, I did. I drove across town, and picked her up. She was still sniffly when I got her. I was about to pull into the hotel lot when my phone rang.
"Blogget, this is Jane at the front desk." This was my favorite clerk at the hotel. I'd spoken to her earlier about not giving any info on my reservation to anyone, anticipating my ex calling hotels to find me.
"A man came by looking for you. He went down where your room was, then asked if I could ring the room. But you're not there. So he asked for your cell number and I said I couldn't give it. I just thought you'd want to know."
Oh crap. I'd just left my ex's house, so it couldn't be him. That left one person. Greg.
"Was he tall?" I asked.
"Yeah," she said. "He was really polite and nice. Kind of a mohawk."
Ah shit. "Yeah, he's all right. His name is Greg, if he comes back. You handled that fine. How long ago did he leave?"
"About 10 minutes."
"Okay, thanks." I took a quick detour to the restaurant, which is literally less than a block away. His car was in the lot. Whew.
My daughter waited in the car, playing with my iPod and the car's sound system. I stepped in the door and he spotted me. He walked outside with me.
"You came to see me," I said.
"Yeah, I'm here for a bartender's meeting. I wanted to see you before, but I can come by afterwards and we can have some time together," he said. He was smiling ear-to-ear.
I laughed and looked towards my car. His eyes followed my gaze.
"What's wrong? You don't want me to come by?"
"That's not it," I said. "My daughter is going to be with me." I explained the whole situation, the hatefulness of my ex. Looking up into Greg's eyes, he had an odd look. I can't really describe it, but it was almost emotionless. An edge, a hardness I've not seen before. Things have been too rough on him lately, I thought. It's a look that has no hope in it. I felt worried and sad for him.
"Can she get her own room?" he laughed. "No, it's okay. I still want to come by and visit, if that's okay. We can just step out to visit." He grinned. "And if the mood strikes, the seats are out of the back of my van. It'll be like being in high school again."
I laughed. "Okay, we'll see how she's doing when you get there." No way I would leave an upset kid alone.
My daughter and I headed back to the hotel. She settled in immediately, and started returning to normal. She chatted, and drew, and watched TV. About the time she started playing on my computer, emailing her friends, we heard a knock on the door.
I opened it for him and he looked around. "Where did she go?" he asked. Her hand shot out from around that corner and waved. He stepped in and said Hi to her. She likes him a lot. I told her we were stepping outside to visit awhile, but to call me cell if she needed anything at all. She agreed and happily returned to her email.
We stepped outside the door. He stopped, brought me close to him, and kissed me. "I have to have you now," he whispered. His blue eyes turned intense, and I melted. He held my hand tightly as we walked. He walked quickly, his long legs taking much longer strides than mine, and I'm not short. I'm 5'9", but he is 6'4", and I have to step quickly to keep up.
Yes, it was like high school again. Hot, desperate, quick, with the edge of the fear of discovery. He laughed as he watched me struggle back into my jeans in the cramped quarters.
We walked back to the room, slower this time. He took my hand, then pulled me to his side, wrapping his arm around me and holding me very close. He sighed. "It's just not fair," he said. For a moment, I thought he was talking about his "quick" climax habit.
Then he said, "I mean, it's just not fair all around." He meant us. He meant more than the sex. We kissed goodnight, and he left.
The next morning, my daughter was back to her normal self. She was ready to try again, another day with her dad. I picked up donuts for everyone there, and took her to his house. Then, I went to my old office and visited my friends there. They asked about lunch the following day, and I agreed.
I already had arrangements to meet another friend for lunch at Friday's. When we get together, she calls us the "Bad Girls Club." She made me a member of this club when I was talking about Greg one day, and she said, "Would you just get it over with and tap his ass." When I said I already had, I became a member.
We have a great time. Her name is Mandy. Greg is bartending, so we plan to sit in the bar and dish.
When we arrive, Greg has us seated in a section a little out of the way. Away from prying eyes. My friend and I set up camp. She loves to hassle him.
He brings sodas and straws. She looks at the straw on the table and then back at him. "Something wrong with my straw?" he asks, with mock offense. "Fine." He reaches in his apron, pulls out a large handful of straws, and tosses them on the table in front of her.
Mandy looks at the straws. She gathers them up in her hands. Looks up at Greg and says, "Bitch." Then, she stuffs all the straws in her purse. He blinked.
"Is she really taking my straws?"
"Yes, she is."
"Hm." And he's gone.
A short time later, he's back. He leans on the table and looks at Mandy. "You need to go to the bathroom," he says.
"No, I don't. I'm fine."
He frowns. He waves his hand around her face, looking like Obi-Wan. "You want to go to the bathroom." She stares at him, so he does it again.
She looks at me. "Is he serious?"
I nod. "Yes, he is. But, dear, Jedi mind tricks won't work on her."
So, he stops. "Please? Just two seconds. Please?" She relents and scoots out of the booth.
"Okay," he starts, looking at me intensely. "So, I get home last night and she's having an episode." He makes that circular "crazy" sign by his temple. "And it's bad. I took her to the hospital. They transported her to Abilene this morning. So, I have to drive there after work today. But I'll come see you first. We'll have a little time to hang out."
I look up and Mandy is peeking around the corner. I wave her back to the table. "Is everything okay?" she says. I nod.
Greg shoots me a look, a question. "Yeah," I say. "She's cool. She knows the whole story." He relaxes.
As we visit later, I learn something new about dear Greg. "I used to weigh 382 pounds," he said. "About four years ago, I decided to stick to three meals a day, not eating after 10 at night, and walking A LOT. I mean, I'll always be a big guy. Six-foot-four, with a size 17 shoe." He held up a hand. "Look at this. I can palm a basketball. So, I'll never be a small guy, but I'm smaller than I used to be."
He left to help another table. Mandy stared at his feet. "Size 17?" she said. "I wonder if the wive's tale is true...."
"Yes. Yes, it is."
She turned wide eyes on me. "You're such a naughty girl! I'm so impressed!" and she high-fived me.
After much hilarity, we got out of there. We had time for an errand, then I went to the hotel, to wait for Greg. It didn't take long. He came in looking like he just needed to crash, the weight of things on him looking heavy indeed. He stripped down to his t-shirt (a Trix t-shirt), and stretched out on the bed. I watched him for a moment. He's truly beautiful.
I stretched out beside him, resting my head on his chest. My fingers drew light circles on the shirt fabric as we talked. He grasped my hand, and guided it elsewhere. "Do whatever you want," he said. "I love how you touch me." So, I did. We did.
But this time was different. It was longer, but he was rougher. Almost a frantic desperation to lose himself in me, in our physicalness. Not like the gentle man I've known.
And let me give some words of wisdom, here....to the fellas. If you don't know if a girl likes having her ass slapped, don't try to find out while she has your ability to father children between her teeth. He's damn lucky I have the control I do, because I do NOT like the slapping.
But the gentleness would still make an appearance. Kissing my neck, my shoulders....he still did that.
He made a new habit this trip, of dropping by to see me in the mornings. So, he's now very familiar with the Blogget-In-The-Morning look. Ratty ponytail, no makeup, bathrobe. These weren't "physical" visits, though. The most he'd do is hold me and talk, as he headed to work. There's a underlying dejectedness to his demeanor that makes me so sad for him. He's working out daily survival, but it's just that -- a daily struggle, in so many ways.
I told him that if I could take the burden from him, I would. But it's not mine to solve, and I wouldn't even if I could. It's not my life to fix. If he wants a different path, he'll have to make it.
I told him that I've been there. He knows he doesn't have to be alone in dealing with this. I'm someone he can say the things to that he feels guilty for thinking. I can be there for the frustrations that will come.
And that's what I told him. That was before he stood me up. But I digress....
Wednesday morning, I'm standing in his embrace. He's quietly holding me to his chest, warming me. I wrap my arms around his back and say, "There's something I have to tell you. My ex -- he's moving to Houston. So, I won't be bringing the kids here anymore."
He thinks for a moment. "Maybe it's for the best."
"Don't say that. I don't like the idea of not seeing you."
He held me close again. "I don't like that, either."
Later, he explained his schedule for the day. "I'm working a section for lunch, so come see me then. Tonight, I bartend, and that's going to be busy. If you come by then, I won't be able to visit." Okay. Got it.
So, I make my appearance for lunch I'm working on some work-related crap. He drops into the booth opposite me.
"Why Houston?" he asked. "My family is from there, and I hate it." I explained that his job was taking him there.
"So when will you come back?" he asked. There was an earnestness in his tone. He definitely wasn't still thinking that not seeing me was for the best.
"I don't know. May, perhaps."
"That's a really long time!" he exclaimed. "I'll be sure to come by and see you tonight. I'm not off until 11:30 or 12. Is that okay?"
"Yes, that's fine. I'll be up late, anyhow. I might come by towards the end of your shift, to make sure we're still on."
"That's not a problem. I'll be there." He held my gaze. "I promise. I have to see you before you leave." He reiterated that he wouldn't be able to visit if I came in that night, since he'd be bartending. Those shifts are just too busy.
Before I left, I handed him another of my notes. I kept it short, assuming he wouldn't be able to keep with with a not-yet-ex and her mother in the house. "Yeah, that's true," he confirmed. "I had kept all of your other notes. I wanted to hang on to them. But once they showed up, I couldn't. I'm really sorry."
So, I went about my business. I had to touch base with a couple of people before the day ended. I checked email. My ex wrote to say he'd figured out where I was staying and would bring the kids to me in the morning. Fine with me. I was going to tell him where I was later that night, anyhow. The front desk clerk started apologizing as soon as she saw me.
"Your ex called!" she said. "He asked if you were here and I wasn't thinking, so I said, 'Is this Greg?' He got REAL pissed."
Well, that's how he found out. I learned later that he grilled the kids about who Greg was. He might know Greg's boss. If he causes Greg any trouble, I'll have his balls in a jar.
I was about to climb back in the car for more errands, when my phone rang.
"Hey, are you busy?" Greg asked.
"Not yet. What's up?"
"I'm working the bar, but it's slow. Come have dinner over here. I can visit with you some," he said. "Just you, though. No friends. Okay?" He doesn't talk freely with friends around.
So, I went. I decided to break with habit and change my usual order. On the drink, I told him to surprise me. He made a delicious peach-mango smoothie for me. Nice.
I'm starting to draw looks. Two servers came up to the bar and whispered to him. They sent looks my way. I saw him smile and answer, but didn't hear what was said.
A little Hispanic man scooted up to the bar, apparently a friend of a guy in the kitchen. One of the other bartenders came through, giving him a hard time. The guy's name is Joshua, and he made an effort to include me in the goings-on. He had many questions for me. Offered me a shot. Hit on me mercilessly.
Greg brought something to me, talking about some kind of crap the manager was pulling with his hours. Joshua watched. "You two know each other?"
Greg turned to him. "Yeah, we do," and went back behind the bar. Later, he came back and said, "Looks like you have another admirer here. If you want to go with him, it's okay." No, it really wasn't, for a lot of reasons. Joshua gave me his number, anyhow.
When I left, Greg said, "See you later." But I had an odd feeling when I left the restaurant.
I wasn't all that surprised when he didn't show up that night. 11:51, I called. He didn't answer. Each trip, he hasn't shown up for the last night I was there. I don't know what happened this time. I haven't called, and neither has he. I knew he was going into two days at the psychiatric hospital - a three-hour drive away.
And life marches on. What will be for us? I have no idea. At the moment, I'm pissed about a broken promise. He could have called. I think of the contrast this time. Sweetness sometimes, harshness other times. The edge I don't like.
In the meantime, other things continue to roll in my life. I'll write about that later. Do I love him? Yes, we do still have that between us. But at the moment, it solves nothing that needs to be solved. Only time will tell, if I even ever see him again.
Sunday, March 09, 2008
I'm in Lubbock. My ex is being a nightmare. I see Greg today. I wake up and am meditating on a few things, on how I hope the day will go. But when I start thinking about Karl, my phone goes off. It's him, texting me to wish me good morning and let me know he sent an email.
This is how it ends:
"I am with you in spirit holding your hand. Kissing the lips of your soul and embracing your heart with my arms."
Thursday, March 06, 2008
I've lost ten pounds since the world exploded for me. Even though I'm mad at him, I think it's time for God to hold this in his hands. I can't do it. And other forces seem to be at work here, so I'll try not to interject my pain-in-the-ass ideas into it so much.
I spoke with Greg yesterday. He seems to be moving out of panic mode. His customary answer to "How are you?" is now "Horrible." He still doesn't know how he'll make ends meet. He's working his ass off. Lubbock had snow this week, so business was slow and tips were down.
"This is what kills me," I exclaimed. "You were on the edge of something else, something better, where this hand-to-mouth thing wasn't going to happen anymore. A new life, a better job, a better way to take care of everything, including your son....and then this happens, and it's just not fair."
As the words tumble from me, he keeps softly saying, "I know. I know."
I take a deep breath. "And while I'm thinking about it, I need to be sure you don't misunderstand something I said the other day."
"I didn't mean that you should leave her just because she has problems. I mean, I've been at the same place. I loved my husband and stuck with the problems. There's damage you'll put up with for yourself, but when it started harming my kids...that was where I drew the line. I had to protect them. And they were damaged for it because I waited too long. Son more than daughter."
"Because she was little, right?"
"Right. But I was just saying that if it gets to that point...."
"....we have someplace to go. I know. I appreciate that. Don't worry. I get what you're saying."
I ventured further. "How are things at home?"
"Weird," he said. "Just weird."
I wanted to know more. (Anyone surprised?) "Weird? How so?"
He gave a derisive laugh. "I don't know. It's just all weird," he paused. "I'll have an answer for you by next week."
An "answer"? For me? To what? This is the "trying not to overthink" part. What the hell is he talking about? However, I fully appreciate that he's talking to me while at work, so I don't press at the moment.
He had to go, and asked that I call later.
I did. A little later than I said, though. "Oh good," he said, sounding relieved. "I've been cut loose for the day, but I've been delaying until you called."
"Are you still coming Saturday?" he asked.
"Yes, I'll be there about 6:00."
"Okay, I'll pick up a double on Saturday so that I'll be here when you get in. If I'm not here, though, we'll just have to wait until Sunday."
"That's okay," I said. "I understand that."
"Are your kids with you Saturday night?" he asked. No, they won't be.
"I have to tell you," he said. "You have to know...I really can't wait to see you. I need to see you. A lot. I can't go without seeing you."
And again, with me trying to not overthink this. I started reading "The Secret," at Karl's request. Very, very interesting stuff. So, I'm trying to visualize positive things. Keep good thoughts. Think of love. And maybe I'll draw it to me...from whatever source.
Today, I'm at home. I'm sewing shamrocks on my daughter's St. Pat's dress for her performance. I'm doing the laundry, to pack tonight.
I forgot to visualize love for the washer, and it quit working. As I'm unplugging and plugging, switching on and off, slamming doors, my cell phone starts ringing.
I grab it and notice the caller ID. It's Karl.
"Uhm, hi. Can I please speak to (name omitted)?"
Effing unbelievable. Karl has the wrong number. And he got me.
"Karl?" I ask.
I laugh. "It's me....Blogget."
There's a pause. Then delightful, full laughter. "Whoa! No way!"
He starts explaining that he's at a trade show and is supposed to meet with someone, but can't find him. But how on earth did he manage to dial me? Deja vu.
"You want to know the crazy part?" I ask him. The name he asked for is the same as my son's name.
He does the Twilight Zone "do-dee-do-do" thing. He laughs more. I recall a message I got from him yesterday: "I love your laugh," he said.
I tell him to get back to work, and he says he'll call later.
I put down the phone and look around. Something is definitely going on with the cosmos, and I feel like I'm just along for the ride.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
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?"
"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?"
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.