Saturday, December 22, 2012

Just a Flicker, But No Flame

I hadn't seen nor heard from XBD for quite some time.  We were living our individual lives.  I'm not sure if he left a void in me, or I just missed a relationship itself.  I thought of him often, and he would come up in conversation occasionally.  Despite all the factors, I planned to go to our friend's big Labor Day Weekend party.

It was a big to-do every year, and lasted from Friday night on through Monday.  It was a wonderful opportunity for me to see the people I genuinely care for again.  I knew XBD would be there, and he texted me to ask if I would be coming.  I said I would be there.  He was bar tending the night I arrived and, after I checked into my hotel room, I went to see him.  The place was practically empty, and we had a chance to chat for a while.  We laughed and spoke easily, no tension between us.  That was how we always were, so it wasn't surprising; we always got on quite well initially.  We spent the night together and it was clear that we had missed each other.  We had one night between us before everything went downhill.  I won't go into the details because it involves common courtesy, Dairy Queen and a train derailment.  The events of that weekend reflected what we were.  Our relationship was a train wreck and I knew it.

Months went by and I didn't hear from him until Thanksgiving.  I had planned on spending Thanksgiving with Friend (from previous blogs), as I had for the past three years, including the years I had been with XBD.  So when XBD asked me if I would be coming out there, I told him no.  I begged him off by saying I had to work the day after Thanksgiving, which was true.  The day before Thanksgiving, he texted me and told me he was on his way to my house to spend the holiday with me.  I panicked.  It was about a two hour trip on the commuter bus, which was just in time for me to get off of work.  Knowing there was no way for him to get back until Thanksgiving morning on the train, I had to tell Friend that I would not be able to spend the holiday with him.  He was disappointed and clearly upset, but ever the gentleman, he acquiesced.

XBD stayed at my house for two weeks.  We did things together, we talked, and we laughed.  But we weren't intimate in a sexual way.  Sometimes, we would be affectionate toward each other.  We would be in the kitchen at the same time and he would draw me close and nuzzle me.  Or we'd be walking down the street and he would take my hand and pull me close.  He would steal kisses on public transportation.  He would come over as I was writing and demand to be hugged and caressed.  But those times were only occasional, with the rest of the time spent with an air of years-long friendship.

With the fog of adoration from my eyes, I saw XBD for what he truly was.  He was no longer a man who loved and was devoted to me.  He was now just a guy who would come and stay with me so he could satisfy his wanderlust.  I was just an oasis of relaxation, where he could put his feet up, while I supplied his needs for food, shelter, and water.  I took him to nice buffet for Thanksgiving, my treat, of course.  It bothered me to no end that he would sometimes show up with empty pockets.  With him not doting on me or meeting any of my other needs, I was less inclined to provide those things to him.  After two weeks passed, I felt relief flow over me when he said he would be leaving.  I thanked him, and told him I needed to get laid and I couldn't exactly do it with him there.  He was unaffected, and when he left, he said we'd see each other at Christmas.

With Christmas quickly approaching, I got a text from XBD, asking me what I was doing for Christmas.  Friend and I had planned on spending Christmas Eve and Morning together.  I told XBD that I had no plans for Christmas Day.  He invited me out for Christmas and I declined, telling him I had plans on Christmas Eve and Morning, and going out there involves travel time.  Although that is all true, I didn't really want to spend the holiday with him.  He offered to come to the city.  I declined his offer of company.  I didn't think it was appropriate for us to start spending holidays together; something we had never done when we were legitimately a couple.  Holidays just weren't important to him, and it would leave me heartbroken.  So his relentless pursuit of spending holidays with me now makes me wonder what he's up to.

I know that I can't go forever without seeing him again.  We were in the same circle of friends before we got together, and it is a strong circle, not easily broken.  At this point, I'm eagerly awaiting the new year, when there are no major holidays until at least March.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Social Networking vs Blast From the Past

Like any other morning for me, I logged onto my favorite social networking site when I woke up today. Because I moved across the country during high school, and then again as an adult, these sites put me in touch with family and friends that I haven't seen in decades. Today, there was a little reminder of the birthday of a "friend" of mine. That friend happens to be my first love.

We all know a first love is something special. And this guy was special. We were sophomores in high school and he was cute, athletic, sensitive, smart, and everything you'd want in a man, much less a teenage boy. I left him a birthday wish and went about my day.

But then I thought about him all day long. I tried to remember the time I spent with him, the way we talked to each other, and the things that happened between us. But to be honest, it was all fuzzy at this point. I remembered events here and there, but I didn't remember the heart flutters and the nervousness that you get when you're a teenage girl and really like a boy. I wanted to remember those times so badly but it just wasn't going to happen. And then it hit me. This all happened 31 years ago. 31 years! 31! My failing memory was there to show me that life had moved on, and so had I.

I've always said that if I hadn't moved away from that small town to Los Angeles, I would probably still be with him because we were just so in love at the time. In fact, when I moved, we wrote to each other every single day... for a whole year. This was all back in the days before cell phones, email, even cheap long distance; so when I say it was love, it really was love. When I got home after working 10 hours, I decided to look at his photos on said social networking site. That cute teenage boy was now a grown man who had married and had children. The pictures included his teenage kids participating in various sports, him and his wife at family gatherings, and him hunting, fishing and just generally being an outdoors man. His wife was pretty, albeit plain and unadorned. While looking at the pictures, I tried to see the life that I would have, had I been the one who married him. And you know what? I couldn't do it.

My kids are a good 10 years older than his, and although they're both athletic, they didn't participate in organized sports. The pictures showed he's clearly a part of these organized sports and so they probably spend a lot of time with him. Since my kids are grown up, they're independent now.

Nowadays, the men I date now are less outdoorsy, and more urbane and live less sheltered lives. They don't have weekend hunting or fishing trips; they have weekend jaunts to golf, or they head out to drink with their buddies,or they simply do things they haven't had time to do during the week. I realized that the men I see, as well as I, see our extended families on special occasions, as opposed to every day.

As a woman, I'm anything but plain and unadorned. I have regularly scheduled beauty appointments that include hair color and styling, waxing, and pedicures. I wouldn't dare let anyone take a picture of me without proper make-up and hair. On the few occasions that I do leave the house plain-faced, I try to hide behind a ball cap and sunglasses (Chanel sunglasses, thank you very much). Whether I'm dating someone casually, or even married to them, I always try to look my best at all times.

Concentrating on the differences in our lives after 31 years really put things in perspective for me. Our lives had evolved to be polar opposites of each other. My first love is now nothing more than that, my first love. And while I believe that I still may have ended up with him if my family hadn't moved across the country back then, the fact remains that I did leave that small town, and that life, behind.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Free at Last

Last night, a light bulb went off in my head. But the reason for it requires some explanation. Remember the guy in my Friends and Lovers post? Well, he's been a pretty major part of my life lately. With things over between XBD and me, I had been spending a bit of time with said Friend. Friend and I got involved 10 years ago, when I was in a separation period with my husband. It lasted for two years, ending with me getting back together with the husband. Friend and I had stayed in touch, albeit strictly platonic. We never alluded to the years we spent together and we carried on as if before the relationship. When the husband and I separated permanently, we had a tryst and briefly mentioned seeing each other again.

I met XBD a few days later and our tryst turned out to be just that. Recently, I had a couple medical emergencies and when I didn't know who to call, I called Friend. He came immediately and helped me immensely throughout the issue. This brought us together and, although he wanted to make the new found relationship committed, I wasn't so sure. The things that happened between our "break-up" weren't exactly rosy. He had lied by omission about some things and suffice it to say I wasn't the only one he was seeing.

But this time, it was different. He was regretful and genuinely seemed to have changed. He apologized to me so many times, I had to tell him to stop. He wanted the commitment that I once wanted and this time, I didn't feel the same. So I told him I wasn't ready for that, as XBD and I had just recently broke up and I needed some time to take care of myself.

And that's when the light bulb went off. I'm single. Completely and totally single. I have been dating, engaged, married with kids, or otherwise involved for the past 28 years, with the exception of a year after my first husband died. Things have changed! My kids are grown up and lead their own lives. I'm not attached to any man and the world is my oyster.

Of course, I'm an older single woman so things are much different now. The dating pool is much smaller, I'm less patient, and the world is just so much different than when I was dating in high school. But I'm excited anyway. I don't know if I'll be doing anything different with my new found single hood. **shrug** I've always been socially active with friends doing a myriad of different things, so it's not like I need to step up my social activities. Heck no, I'm happy with my life as is. I don't need to try to be 25 anymore, who would want that?

I'd like to think single hood is going to be a fun adventure. I'm wiser, more honest, and not afraid to dive in head-first. I hope you'll stick around to see how it goes for me!

Sunday, July 25, 2010


As a relatively new single person, I started thinking about what I wanted out of my love life. The first question was "do I even want a love life?" Hmm, I'm not sure. I have good friends and even some very special friends whose company I particularly enjoy. Am I happy with that set up, or do I want that one special someone? Truth is, I have no idea.

At my age, new relationships are different. I remember when I was younger, during the brief times that I actually did date, there was that excitement about meeting someone that you just clicked with. Nowdays, not so much. Oh sure, you still get excited about clicking with someone, but it doesn't stop there.

Now when I meet someone who seems great, I wonder what the hell is wrong with them. What is HE going to do that will bug the shit out of me after a while? If he's so great, why hasn't he been snatched up yet? Why have all his relationships up until now fell apart? Why does he seem so perfect? Surely, something HAS to be wrong with him.

Don't get me wrong, I know I'm not perfect. In fact, I've been known to tell men to run the other way from me. I have abandonment issues, I'm suspicious of drug use, and I readily look for something "just not right" in other people (see last paragraph) so I can prove that I'm right about them being wrong. Trust me, I get it. But I'm upfront about my problems and I don't keep anything a secret. Of all the men I've told to run the other way, only one actually has.

And therein lies the problem. In one of my older blogs, I commented that at my age, you live with what remains of your love life between the ages of 18-35. And when I say remains, I mean it. Gone are hopes of a long happy life together. Gone is the desire to please someone else, just to watch it fall apart. I've had very few big relationships in my life; the first ending in his death, the second ending in his drug addiction, the third just ending unresolved. Those are things that individually can fuck up a person's psyche. To have all three happen has been almost catastrophic for me. To put the nail in my love coffin, none of these things had anything to do with anything that I'd done. Even still, any new relationships are sure to be affected by them.

So what do I do with this Catch-22? Try to be optimistic that there is someone out there with whom I'll share my life? Or just accept the fact that nobody deserves my baggage? Even if I'm a good person inside, I'm not a good relationship prospect and I know that. And what can you do with knowledge like that?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Prize Inside

A few months ago, I received a message on one of those social networking sites. It was from the brother of a guy with whom I'd gone to high school 30 years ago. That's right, 30 years ago. I had rigged my profile shortly before that, so that when you did a search on my maiden name, I would come up. Apparently, his brother did that search, saw me, and immediately called said guy, who is now an executive chef, and told him not only did he find me on this social networking site, but we also lived in the same city.

I grew up in the midwest, living there until I was 14. It was during this time that I knew the Chef. We met in high school during sophomore year. Once that school year ended, my family then moved to Los Angeles, where I truly grew up, graduated school, got married, had kids. So how unusual was it that he and I now lived in Pittsburgh? The Chef's brother then messaged me again, gave me Chef's phone number and told me to call any time.

I had always rued the fact that I didn't know anyone from my days growing up in the midwest anymore. Even some of my cousins and other family members are complete strangers to me. I called the Chef and we chatted and made plans to get together. I remember him from back then, and he was one of the cute boys in high school, but we didn't date or anything like that. After all, I was only 14 back then! He joined the networking site and I then got to see pictures of him too. He doesn't look the same to me, but folks, it's been 30 years. Who would?

We made plans to get together today and although we've both said we can't wait to catch up, I'm worried that this looks alot like a date. A blind date. Oh sure, we knew each other 30 years ago, but we don't really know each other anymore. Not to mention, we're both single now. We talked about dinner and drinks. He mentioned a party being thrown by a friend of his. These are all date-type activities, people.

I don't know how things are going to go. I'm hoping that I made a new friend, who just happens to be an executive chef. And that, dear readers, is what they call a bonus prize.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

Well folks, XBD made it home that weekend back in late May. It was awkward and uncomfortable at first. I had told him that I wasn't waiting for him anymore and now here he was, back at home. We nervously and pensively moved through the days and before you know it, after a week or so, we were back into the routine of our relationship.

A couple weeks after he got home, XBD's son came and spent a week with us. He was being hunted by a local university for a basketball scholarship. XBD was incredibly proud of him. It was a nice time, with XBD taking him around the city and us sharing evening meals and time together. He left and went back to Fayette County with us on his heels.

The weekend that XBD's son left was the same weekend we had planned a birthday party for XBD. Remember last year's party? Well I do, and I was feeling so much anxiety about this year. I had no need to feel this way. We made our way out to the country and started setting up his party at the local American Legion. It was a much smaller turnout than we had expected, and there was a torrential downpour for about an hour. But we enjoyed food, drink, family and friends. The party was perfect, his children came and it was so comforting having them there. Normally when he gets around his "crew", XBD is the center of attention (more so than usual). And while this happened, he made sure to come over and constantly shower me with attention. So many of our friends came up to me and told me how nice it was seeing us so much in love again. I agreed. Even though I was still considering this a period where I was trying to decide if I wanted to stay in this relationship, I couldn't deny that he loved me and he had no problem letting everyone know it.

And that is why this week came as such a surprise. XBD's party had been a mere five days before and he'd only been back from the south for less than three weeks. Thursday, he called me while I was on my way to work and told me that he was leaving for the country for a couple of days to help his cousin with a construction job. My heart sunk. Before he came home, XBD knew how I felt about him leaving randomly. He knew that I was tired of waiting around for him to come back from somewhere. He would often leave, intending to be gone for only a day or two. Something would inevitably happen and he'd be gone for a week longer than planned, and he knew that I was at my wits end with this behavior. But he agreed to go help his cousin anyway.

Folks, I'm not sure why he decided to leave when he knew it was such a problem for me. Did he feel he owed it to his cousin? Did he feel like I should understand that his cousin had to finish this job before leaving on vacation so he HAD to help him? Or did he just agree to it, without thinking? None of those options sounded good to me. After all, when he had told me he didn't want me talking to certain men in my past, I agreed to stop communication with them because HE was more important to me than them. So when he said he was leaving, in my head, I screamed, I cried, and I whined. But when he told me he was packing an overnight bag, my mouth said, "I'm not going to wait for you again, just pack all of your things". And he did.

I have no doubt in my mind that this man and I love each other. In fact, I can go so far as to say we are in love. But love does NOT conquer all. Somtimes you have to figure out if you're willing to live with the things that other person does, or doesn't do. And I'm not willing to live with him running off on a regular basis, particularly when he knows how much it bothers me. This would probably be a non-issue if he'd spent maybe a few months at home but he never even made it to a month here. And my patience wore too thin.

I wasn't very emotional about this break-up. I knew what I wanted, what I had wanted for the past two years, and I wasn't getting it. It's pretty simple, really. I removed my emotions from the equation and I was satisfied with my decision. But when I think about the way he held me, loved me and shared his life with me, it really had an effect on me. My journey with XBD has been long and the road has changed dramatically along the way. I can't say it hasn't improved, it has improved quite a bit. But the key behavior that has bothered me in these last two years hasn't changed. And it's time to end things for a while.

I don't know if this is the end of XBD. I've said things were over so many times, and the relationship comes back. But I do know this... I'm aware of this behavior and if I think about reuniting with him, I have to expect this to happen over and over again. If I choose to reunite and he runs off again, then it's my own fault for being disappointed. After all, you can't be mad when someone does something that you expect them to do, can you?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Volver, Volver, Volver?

If you're not Hispanic, particularly Mexican, you may not know what the word "volver" means. Well, it means "to return". Relevant today, because XBD returns from the South.

It's been a whole 2-1/2 months since he left. I haven't seen him for well over a month. So many things have happened since I left him at that Florida airport. Oh sure, I came back home and busied myself with friends and events. But then I started getting lonely. And when the date came for XBD to come home, it was clear he wasn't going to make it. There was never really anything in stone at first, but in early May, he had shot for mid-month and that came and went. I finally asked XBD what was the deal. I told him I understood completely if he wasn't coming back. My parents mean the world to me so I understood him staying to take care of his aging mom. He assured me he was coming back.

He finally made plans to be back last Friday. That never happened and my patience was wearing thin. You see, I would have been able to accept him telling me he wasn't coming back, but this constant postponing was making me wonder if he just buying time. Either way, I was done waiting. I realized a good bit of our relationship was me waiting for him to come back from someplace. I was tired of waiting. Not only that, I was tired of doing things alone. I wanted to get out and socialize with a man. It didn't have to be anything romantic. I'm happy to say the men I know treat me very much like a woman, even if we are just friends. They pay tabs, they open doors, and pull out chairs. And that's exactly what I needed.

A couple of days after that same Friday, I called up an old friend, who had been early competition for XBD. There's nothing between us anymore, but we enjoy each others' company. We met that Sunday for drinks at a local bar/restaurant. We had a few, and then ate. At one point, XBD called and I told him I went there alone. Technically, I did, I just met the friend there. Later on in the evening, after I had drank way too many Hoegaardens, XBD called again and I spilled the beans about who I was there with. XBD was livid. I tried to tell him that I didn't originally tell him who I was meeting because of exactly this situation. He'd be riled up over nothing. As it turns out, my guy friend gave me a ride home, and went straight home himself. XBD didn't talk to me for a couple days. When he did, I told him that I didn't know if I wanted this relationship anymore. I told him I needed certain things in my life, not hundreds of miles away. I told him I loved him and I understood, but I wasn't waiting for him anymore. He assured me he would be home that Friday and I knew it wasn't the truth.

The following Tuesday, I met a girlfriend out to do some shoe shopping. We shopped at one store and decided that having a couple martinis sounded like a better idea. We had a few martinis and contemplated how we'd get home. She called a friend to see if they'd give us a ride and they couldn't. We had settled on calling a cab until I told her to let me make one more try. I'm not sure why I did this, but I called the gentleman from my "Old Lovers and Friends" blog. He answered immediately. I asked him what he was up to, and he said he was out having a drink and asked if I'd like to join him. I said no, but asked if he'd be willing to join my friend and I and have a drink, and give us rides home. He jumped at it. He met us where we were and when he walked in, I went to greet him. He immediately but his arms around me and kissed me. Not just a light peck, but a full-blown kiss, in front of my friends.

I didn't fight him at all. I've always been attracted to him. We had spent some time together about 10 years ago, when my ex and I were separated. Two years, to be exact. There was always a tension between us and I knew right then what was going to happen. When it came time for us to leave, he gave my friend cab money, and took me home. Oh people, I have missed this man. But the fact remains that even though we spent two years together in the past, and I still love him, I couldn't allow myself to forget how he had broke my heart in the end. I knew that even if we had encounters every couple years, I'd never let him have my heart again.

A day passed and he called me to talk. He told me that he has never been able to forget me, and he was so sorry he had hurt me in the past, and he knew that he had blown it. He professed his love to me, and I started to cry. I still love him, there's no doubt. But there are decisions that he made that are not so easily changed. A couple days later, XBD called and said he would definitely be home Saturday night, instead of Friday. I laughed because I figured this was just another ploy to keep me waiting. I told him that we had alot of things to talk about, if he actually did come home.

Last night, the old love called me and apologized for putting me on the spot. He told me he knew he had broken my heart, and he had no right to try to get me back now. I thanked him for understanding. He interrupted me and said if things don't work out between XBD and I, to call him and he will be waiting for me. I was stunned into silence. This man who had broken my heart with absolutely no warning, who had given up on us every "really" being together (his words), who had spent an entire weekend with me before asking someone else to marry him, was still getting to me. But I stayed strong and said nothing. How could I say anything? I didn't know if I'd ever be able to let myself go with him, like I had before, and who needs another paranoid relationship?

As soon as I hung up the phone, some friends showed up and we went to the movies. While sitting in the movie theater, my phone vibrated and I saw it was coming from XBD's mom's house. I knew it, I thought, he never actually left and he won't be home tomorrow. I finished watching the movie and checked the voice mail on my way home. It was XBD's mom, telling me he had left and thanking me for letting her have her son for a while. On one hand, I felt horrid for taking her son away from her. On the other hand, I had told him several times that if he stayed there, I would understand. But chances are, he knew that meant I wouldn't be waiting for him.

I'd like to think that XBD made the decision to come back because he loved and missed me. But I know he has personal business to take care of up here, not to mention his kids are here. He called me today from Tennessee and said he was on his way and he'd be here tonight. Right now, I'm torn between relaxing and doing things around here until he shows up, or going out and getting a few drinks in me so I can deal with seeing him again and what kind of feelings will arise in me. I still have an entire afternoon before he gets in about midnight. I'll figure it out. Cross your fingers for me, okay?