Over It

I feel sick. I feel hopeless and alone, and sick. I feel worthless and unappreciated and unwanted.

I tried so hard, when I started this new job, not to get in my own way. I tried not to let my insecurities and doubts hold me back. I tried to make friends, to be sociable, to prove I had something to contribute to the organization and the community.

I tried to be open emotionally and intellectually.

I failed. In every way.

Well, not EVERY way. I was open emotionally. I opened myself up to being friends with people. I opened myself up to romance with The Guy. I made myself vulnerable.

And I fell flat on my face.

The Guy doesn’t want me. My sadness and my efforts to compensate for my ADD have left me isolated and unapproachable. No body talks to me anymore unless they need something from me. Nobody wants me around. I’m convinced my boss is planning to fire me. And I’ll have nothing left. No way of supporting myself. Nothing to live on. Nothing to live for.

I hate my life and I’m so sick of the fact that no matter what I do, no matter how hard I try, I always end up back here.

I want to be dead.

I wish I had never been born.

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A Lack of Self-Respect

I’m hard pressed to understand why it is that I can’t seem to muster up any more self-respect than this.  Why would an otherwise intelligent man continually subject himself to the whims of a person who doesn’t value him?  How long does he go on making excuses for someone who doesn’t communicate?  Who toys with his emotions and shows no more concern for his well-being than to completely ignore him all week-end and then offer up some mostly useless excuse for why?

Anyone with a modicum of self-respect would have washed his hands of this a long time ago!  So why can’t I? 

I doubt myself.  That’s the only answer I can come up with.  I doubt my worth.  I doubt my judgment.  I doubt my sense.  Because what if I’m wrong, and this guy is the guy that I’m meant to be with and I’m just dealing with some incredibly painful, seemingly interminable growing pains at the start?  Twenty years from now, will I be looking back at this time and appreciating the struggle we had to go through to spend the rest of our lives together?

I doubt it.  I think it’s far more likely that 20 years from now I’ll be looking back on this time and kicking myself for not washing my hands of the whole thing faster.  Probably from my deathbed, where no one will be there to hold my hand and see me off.

Most of the time I feel like he’s toying with me.  He doesn’t want me.  But he doesn’t want to let me go either.  He likes having me hanging on and when it seems like I’m about to let go, he throws me another bone.  It’s cruel really.  We have these deep emotional conversations and I think yes!  Finally we’re getting somewhere! But then his behavior doesn’t change.  He still doesn’t respond to his text messages in a timely manner.  He still ignores the ones that make him uncomfortable.  And he still offers up worthless explanations.

He has all the control.  I’m not sure if he realizes it or not.  He might.  He might be doing it on purpose.  Or he might have no idea. 

But in my own sickness, I’m afraid to hurt him, so I don’t say anything, and I continue to just hide in the corner and wait for his next scrap of affection knowing it will never be enough.

Clogged

During my therapy appointment the other week, Deb offered me an additional form of communication I was previously unaware of, in the form of encrypted e-mail messages.  The idea was for me to have an outlet of some sort as I deal with the emotional fallout of my recent…  can it really be called a “break-up”(?), with The Guy.

I didn’t take her up on it.  I mean I made it available to myself, but I never actually used it.  I didn’t know where to start.  I felt – I feel – compelled to make my writing logical, and fluid, with a clear beginning, a middle and an identifiable end.  It needs to be…  Entertaining seems like the wrong word…  But certainly it needs to be interesting.  It needs to hold the reader’s attention.  So I wrote a little bit here.  Targeted, specific stories to convey the strongest of my current emotions, and the utter defeat that I feel.  But I never wrote to Deb.  I thought about it a few times, but I just didn’t know what to say.  I have no idea how it works.  Would she respond to my e-mails?  Would it just be a dumping ground for all the crap that I’m thinking and feeling?  Would it result in stored up ammunition to use against me in our next session?

I have no one else to talk to…  The couple of people I started to talk to about this, gave me songs and dances and bubbled over with platitudes that don’t interest me in the slightest.  As I mentioned on my Facebook page (and then subsequently deleted)

“The next person who tells me how awesome / amazing / special I am and how lucky somebody is going to be, damn well better follow it up with a declaration of love, and gratitude for how lucky they feel to be that person.”

I’m absolutely sick and tired of being told how  great I am and that someday, somebody will want me.  All I hear is, “I’m sure there’s someone that would want you…  It’s not me, but there’s bound to be somebody somewhere…”  The fact that it took 38 years to find one person with whom I thought there was a real possibility (and proved to be dead wrong) would seem to suggest that, in fact, there might not be somebody somewhere who will want me.  I don’t think anyone has done me any favors by ignoring that fact and pretending everything is bound to be just hunky dory.

As it happens, there actually are a few other things going on in my life right now that don’t center around The Guy and the resultant breaking of my heart.  Admittedly, my broken heart and the litany of emotions that result from it (hurt, sorrow, anger, depression, resentment, jealousy, fear, loneliness, desperation….  Just to name a few) are highly prevalent in my mind and I do frequently come back to them.  But there are other things in my life, things that are affected by said broken-heart-induced hysteria.

In the meeting I had with my boss last week, the one in which she offered up a different (but equally problematic) cubicle for me to try on, she also told me that I really needed to think about whether this was the right job for me.  She said that I seem to get really frustrated a lot and…  Actually I don’t remember exactly what she said, but the implication was that I’m not being nice enough to people who come to my desk.  She asked me when I started, and when I reminded her of the date, she said, “Ok, so you’re about halfway through your process.”  We had been discussing the fact that I’m process oriented (something I was very clear about in my interview) and that we don’t have enough processes for how we get things done for people to know how to ask for things.  Process was, I’m quite certain, a misspoken word on her part.  She meant probation.  The organization where I now work has a six month probationary period.  And as much as I’d like to come up with a better explanation, I can think of only one reason for her to mention that in the context of that conversation.

Now, in addition to all those feelings I just listed above, I’m also feeling threatened, and vulnerable.  I suspect she is thinking about firing me, and my only option is to stuff down all my feelings and pretend that everything is great and wonderful in my life, and welcome each new frustration– er, interruption as if it’s the greatest thing that could have happened to me.  I’m supposed to never let on that anything is bothering me…  Even though, everyone else does at one time or another.

In a recent ill-fated text conversation with The Guy, he made a comment about me “snapping at folks”.  I don’t believe I am.  But if I am, I’m unaware of it.  What I am aware of, is that I’m struggling with a lot of negative emotions without possession of any coping skills to make it better, and in spite of that, I have been very deliberate about not taking that out on other people.  There was one instance when I vented some anger about a specific thing to but not at my manager, and I do admit that I was wrong about the thing I was angry about, and wrong to vent in that moment, but I also give myself credit for the fact that it was an isolated event (to my knowledge) and that I’ve actually done a pretty good job of containing my feelings…  Or so I thought.

But now I can’t help but wonder.  If my boss is telling me that I’m not being nice enough to people, and The Guy says I’m snapping at folks, and I’m not aware of it….  Well, what does that mean?

I admit that I’m not happy right now.  I have lots of very good reason not to be.  I also admit that I do not possess the proper coping skills to compartmentalize and separate my personal problems from my work life, which, admittedly, would be better.  But from where I’m sitting, there’s a huge difference between not being happy and bubbly when I talk to people, and being aggressively angry with them.  I am under a lot of pressure and stress right now.  I get that my stress is not someone else’s problem and I don’t mean to make it so.  But who is to say that “how can I help you” spoken without a smile is less appropriate than “how can I help you” spoken with one?  I may not be happy to speak to someone at any given moment, but I still give them my complete attention.  I still acknowledge and fulfill their request as efficiently as I can.

I’m actively searching for some affordable and feasible anger management or stress management programs.  I can, and might, write a whole separate post about the anger management thing.  It’s a very touchy subject that stirs up a lot of feelings on its own.  But if what I’ve been interpreting as emphatic passion, on my part, is being seen as anger to everyone else…  maybe that’s something I need to look at.  There’s no question that I experience a considerable amount of stress.  I imagine the two are related…  But it’s a lot harder than you might expect to find what I need, when I need it.

So, I’ve thought about writing e-mails to Deb…  multiple times.  But…  It’s like my fingers are a funnel.  They take the big, wide-mouthed vessel full of emotions,  a vat of roiling, battling, conflict, and as the emotions roll around and around in the vessel, making smaller and smaller concentric revolutions, they reach the narrow mouth of the funnel, only to find that they all want in at once.  And the battle is amplified there as everything tries to escape at once.

My funnel is clogged and I don’t know how to clear it all out.

Because There Are More Problems in Life Than Love

I’ve been at my new job now for about three and a half months.  Long enough, I think, to have a feel for how the foreseeable future will go.  I’m disappointed, to say the least.  I was so optimistic when it started out.  I wanted to believe that I had found a good place for me.  It was presented to me as an incredible opportunity to help establish the Facility Management department for this new organization and really build something that could be great…  Not unlike the opportunity I thought I was presented to build something really great with The Guy.

When I started my job, my boss was in the middle of moving a big group of people from the main site of our parent organization, into our satellite location.  I understood and accepted that in the middle of this project was not the place to involve a new employee who didn’t know how anything got done in the organization.  It would have taken my new boss longer to introduce and explain things to me than it would take to do them herself, so she did.  She did give me small tasks along the way that contributed toward the project; tasks which gave me enough insight into what she was doing to see that there were some definite inefficiencies.  One of the matters that was focussed on in my interviews was the fact that I had ten years experience in Facility Management and had done a number of large scale project moves for my previous employer.  I’ve dealt with multiple outside Facilities Groups, IT groups, outside move coordinators, moving companies, furniture companies, etc., etc.  I know a thing or two about moving a hundred or so people all at once, and I know what’s pretty standard operating procedure for moves like this, because I’ve seen the same tactics and techniques used, over and over again, among all those different entities, without fail.  So when I saw that my new boss wasn’t using these techniques in this large scale move, I saw an opportunity to make some suggestions and utilize my “expertise” to help make things easier and more efficient in this new organization.

When my new boss asked me to create a spreadsheet for the telecommunications group that would be dealing with the relocated workers telephone needs, I asked her why were were starting from scratch, and after explaining to her the industry standard of a single spreadsheet with all the information for the move, which is then shared (after being frozen – no more changes) with all the functional groups, thereby reducing the likelihood of human error, her immediate response was, “Oh we can’t do that here.”  When I asked why not she said, “They won’t go along with it.”  Then, as I was recreating the wheel, because “they won’t go along with it”, I pointed out what I felt to be some missing information from the spreadsheet she had me making, and her response was, “I don’t think they need that.  I don’t want to confuse them.”

(As a quick side note, in my early 20’s I worked for about 3 1/2 years in the telecommunications industry.  A lot has changed in the ensuing years, but I know a bit more than the average Joe, about how these things work.)

The day that the phone tech came to do the phone work, it was a complete cluster #@(%, and when it was finally sorted out, the tech told me, next time if you could include blah, blah, blah in your spreadsheet, it would help clear this up really quickly.”  In case you really didn’t already see it coming, “blah, blah, blah” was the information I told my boss I thought we should add and she said she didn’t think they needed.

I could now go into a whole long list of examples of what’s been happening in the three months since, but really that one sentence summed up the whole thing.  She doesn’t think this, or she believes that.  I make it a habit not to question the advice or opinions of people who know more about the subject at hand than I do.  If the opportunity presents itself, I will ask clarifying questions to educate myself, but I do not question their judgement.  My boss questions everything.  And she makes decisions about things that she is not an expert on, frequently.  One such instance of this, resulted in me, as the person who is actually managing the project, and on her orders, questioning the judgement of the person who knew more than I did about the issue at hand.  I was forced to ask the contact for a new quote for something because my boss didn’t think the dimensions originally quoted were necessary.  The contact was offended by the inquiry, gave a very gruff explanation to both myself and my boss, about why the dimensions she had quoted were the recommendation, (all things, by the way, that I had already told my manager) and in the end, we left the quote as was, but not before I alienated the contact (who happens to be the property manager for the building we’re in – someone I have to deal with frequently) and wasted everyone’s time unnecessarily.  All because my boss wouldn’t accept the judgement of someone who know more about a thing than she did.

Last December, while I was unemployed, and finishing up what turned out to be a single semester of college classes, I was diagnosed for the first time in my life with having Attention Deficit Disorder.  I was quite surprised by the diagnosis, but it also explained a lot of things that I’ve struggled with my entire life.  Like the fact that I am incapable of blocking out distractions and annoyances.  I overhear conversations at restaurants and comment about them to my table mates only to find that they don’t know what I’m talking about.  I hear absolutely everything that goes on around me.  Always have.  As it turns out, this, among many other things I’ve experienced are classic ADD symptoms.

This is relevant to the story because, in my job, I’m sitting in a cubicle, something I haven’t done for 11 years.  Not only am I sitting in a cubicle for the first time in over a decade, but it’s a pretty small one.  There’s not much storage, and by the nature of my job, I’m responsible for lots of little things.  And I literally mean things.  Sitting on my desk right now, are five iPhone5 cases, waiting for someone to ask for them.  There’s a box of AA batteries, because randomly and frequently, people come to my desk to ask if there are any AA batteries anywhere, but my boss doesn’t want to add them to the community supply room because they will disappear.  I have a box of badge holders, and after-hours access cards, because people randomly stop by asking for one or both of those things.  I still have all the old files from the Project Manager whose desk I inherited.  He’s the one who managed the development of the space and operation we’re currently running, and he was expected to hang around for a while, only during the three weeks between my accepting the position and starting my job, he announced and then left to take a new job at another division of the organization.  I haven’t just trashed the files because I can imagine there is bound to be some valuable information in them, but I haven’t had any time to review them and find out, either.  Clutter is the enemy of the ADD mind…

Minion to do my bidding.

In addition to the clutter, there is also a nearly never ending stream of noise.

On one side of my cubicle is my boss, who frequently calls out my name to talk to me over the cube.  She asks me for information, or how to do something or, if I have done something, or to please do something.  She frequently asks me to go check something, or go find out something.  Quick, little things, that generally shouldn’t take long (unless someone sees me walking around and wants to take that opportunity to ask me a question or request some service I don’t have a chance of remembering when I get back to my desk) but which are interruptions to whatever I’m doing at the moment.  And as a person with ADD, returning to a task after having my concentration disrupted, and picking up where I left off is nearly impossible.  (I’m aware that lots of non-ADD people have similar issues, but not many ADD people don’t.)  Most of the time, these requests from her, seem very much like she’s trying to wrap up whatever she’s working on and this little piece of information is crucial to that, but having to go and get it would derail what she’s doing.  I totally get that, because I tend to put off going away from my desk to get information, so that I can finish things that I’m working on, and wouldn’t I love to have a minion that I could send out to do my bidding.  But see, unlike the minions who spend their “downtime” playing games and pulling pranks on one another waiting for some instructions, I am actually diligently working on my own tasks and projects that were given to me by the same boss who is now sending me on her little gofer runs.  When I return to my desk after, I’m lost and it takes a while to get my concentration back…  if I can do it at all.

On the other side of my cube, is a really sweet woman who I have a lot in common with, in terms of our backgrounds and how we came to be where we are in life.  I like her a lot, I enjoy my conversations with her.  She’s one of the reasons the office celebration of my birthday happened.  And when her birthday came up a couple of weeks later, I made sure that we did something for her.  Everyone loves her.  She’s awesome!  And, she has zero internal dialogue.  Absolutely everything that enters her mind, comes tumbling out of her mouth.  And she does it at a normal speaking voice.  She would do it whether anyone was around or not.  People frequently come to her desk to talk to her, both about work stuff and not.

The office is a former factory, and it was decorated with an industrial look in mind, only, usually when that’s done the ceilings are much higher.  This building was finished with only slightly higher than standard ceilings, and zero ceiling tiles.  Maybe this doesn’t mean anything to you non-Facility Management types out there, but one of the biggest reasons to have those tiles, is to absorb sound.  It prevents the noise from the air conditioning units and duct work above from carrying into the work space, and it prevents the sound of the voices of all the people in the office talking at the same time from reverberating around the room.  WE DON’T HAVE THAT!!!

There have been a couple of smaller moves that have taken place sense I started my job, and I have had nothing to do with any of them.  Well….  That’s not true actually.  I’ve not been involved in the planning of them, but my boss has happily handed off the menial, manual labor tasks that related to them.  For example, I got to order, assemble and distribute “welcome kits” of office supplies to the desks of the new occupants; something that took hours of my time, caused me to sweat like a pig in work clothes and environment (something I absolutely HATE and makes me very cranky) and in the end proved to be a waste of time as the people we were moving in were not new to the organization, already possessed most of what we offered, and most of them discarded the items the day they moved in.

And speaking of manual labor, there have been a number of things that I am responsible for that were not discussed in my job description, or in my interviews.  Things that, had I known, I would have thought twice about taking the job.  For instance, I’m responsible for receiving, sorting and delivering the mail every day.  I’m also responsible for receiving, opening, sorting, recording, and distributing any and all packages that come in.  I’m responsible for keeping the office supplies inventoried and replenished, and as if that weren’t bad enough (at least it is to me,) the supplies are located in ELEVEN different places in our four story building, because on a whim she decided we needed office supply way stations spread around the building so people didn’t have to walk so far to the central supply room to get them…  in our four story building.  These tasks can take anywhere from half an hour to six hours depending on the day and what we’re receiving.

I am the highest paid mail room boy in the area, but my job description doesn’t even mention it.  Meanwhile, my job description does mention lots of other things which I’m still held accountable for, but barely have time to get to.

The presumably unintentional understanding (at least I assume it’s unintentional) that is established every time someone new comes to work in the building is that if they need anything at all, just ask me or my boss.  Every new person get’s a tour of the building, and that tour always includes the locations of our desks and the introduction that we are the people who “take care of everything in the building”.  I have heard more than one person tell the new employee “If you need anything at all, these are the people to talk to, and now you know where they sit.”  The problem is, we don’t really have a viable alternative to offer them.  (Speaking of industry standards, I don’t know of another Facility Management operation anywhere, that doesn’t have some sort of ticketing request system for people to submit there service requests on-line.)

Because we are introduced this way, and because we don’t have an alternative to offer, people – especially brand new people – really do just come up to our desks and interrupt what we’re working on to ask for what they need.  Mostly little things that simply aren’t that urgent.  More often than not, they’re things that people should be asking their immediate supervisor for.

I really like the people I work immediately around.  I haven’t been able to say that for a very long time.  But it’s true.  They’re all friendly people.  They’re all nice.  I had barely even been working there for a month, but when word got out that my birthday was happening, a bunch of them took me out for drinks after work.  I genuinely like them!  And I completely can not function around them, work-wise.

In the earliest days of my employment, I told the chatterbox behind me about my ADD.  I didn’t do it to make her feel bad, or to complain about her.  In fact I don’t remember how it came up, but I told her about it and she acknowledged it in the context of the conversation.  She knows it’s an issue.  Not long after that, I told my boss the same thing.  I told her that I’m really struggling to focus and concentrate in the environment.  In a subsequent conversation I reminded her of the ADD, and the difficulty I’m having being able to focus on my work, because of all the noise, and the constant interruptions.  She asked me what I thought the solution was, and I told her, unfortunately, I thought I probably needed to move.  She told me that if I moved then she had to move and asked me to give her some time to think about a possible solution.  I did.

Last week, in the middle of a meeting with her, I asked her about it again.  “I know we’ve discussed this before,” I said, “and I know you’ve heard me, but I can’t tell if anything has come of it.”

Before I could say anything else she said, “This is about the noise and distractions.”  She didn’t sound angry, but she didn’t sound particularly positive or helpful about it ether.  In the end she offered to let me “try on” another specific desk in the same suite and see if that helped.  If it did, she had no objection to me moving into it.  But in proof that she doesn’t really understand or get what I’m telling her, the cube she offered up, is right by the entrance to the suite, along the main route from the opposite side of the suite to the shared kitchen which is three desks down from the cube she offered me, and not enclosed in the least.  Plus it’s just outside of the office of one of the loudest people in the whole suite.  I haven’t tried it out yet, because my laptop has been on the fritz and I’m not going to move my whole desktop and two monitors for a “try on”.   But IT will return my laptop tomorrow and I will try the new desk, so that I can speak with authority about whether or not it helps.

 

Crushed

“What are you doing, showing off in that dress?”

The office is so small, and so open that there is no chance that I won’t hear the conversations of other’s as they take place. This time around it was The Guy talking to his manager who was, apparently wearing a very flattering dress that showed off her figure… I guess. I don’t pay attention to such things…

The thing is, he used to make those comments to me.

“Don’t be walkin’ around in here, showing of that ass!”, he would text me. I didn’t really know what he meant. I have, all along, used my anti-decision making, decision-making tactic (or ADMDMT) of picking the next pair of work-worthy pants out of the drawer and then finding the first shirt on the closet rail that went with the pants I was wearing. As it happens, I have lost about 65 pounds from my heaviest weight and some of my clothes fit better than others. He liked the view of them all…. I liked to wear my smaller sizes, because they fit better and make me feel better about myself, actually fitting into them despite their significantly smaller sizes. I admit to you, the reader, that I wear those clothes proudly and with confidence – Not because I am “showing off” for The Guy, but because I am happy to be thinner and in better shape. And yes, I was aware that some of the articles would elicit… Well illicit comments, from The Guy. But I never at any point picked clothing, based on how I thought The Guy would respond to it. I still wear the larger sizes too, I don’t have enough of any one size clothing to call it a “wardrobe” so I cycle through them. As it happened, the “fat clothes” came back around in the cycle, right about the same time that The Guy, broke my heart. He has interpreted that as some sort of “keep your hands off” message from me, when in fact it’s just “what was next in line”.

This time, the comment wasn’t aimed at me.

“Just ignore me,” I texted him, “because I’m sure I’m being unreasonable, but that ‘don’t be showing off…’ comment to (his boss’s name) just now, kinda bugs me…”

He replied “Well… She’s showing off her body today just like you used to do…”

Used to do

“Yeah. That’s why it bother’s me.” I answered. Using the same “complimentary” terminology, with someone else, feels decidedly (to me) like having been forgotten or ignored. It certainly makes me doubt his sincerity toward me.

“I see the statements as very different. We had a physical connection / attraction. I complimented her… Very Different.”

had a physical connection

“That’s a big part of why this was a bad idea in the first place,” I told him. “Sooner or later, probably sooner, your interests will move elsewhere and I’m not going to enjoy watching / listening to it happening.”

“I don’t think I’ll be engaging in amorous activity anytime soon. I mean, I’d do you. And I’d do (senior boss’s name), just ’cause it’s cool to hook-up with the big boss… but now I wouldn’t do you because I know it makes you and me crazy.”

Seeing as how he never “did me” in the first place, I’m not sure where this conclusion of “makes [us] crazy” comes from.

I was already struggling with some jealousy just watching his interactions with people, before the poop hit the fan. Now that it has, I’m really not happy to hear him using the same lines on other people that he did on me… It cheapens whatever it was that we had.

I began to think better of the whole conversation and told him, “You’re probably taking this all wrong and feel like you need to modify your behavior to ‘protect’ me. That wasn’t my point at all.”

“No, I’m acting the way I alway have… I am an extrovert and I compliment folks, not with intentions to sleep with them, but because I like to see their faces light up when I say something flattering or nice to them.”

And the fact that he’s using the same terminology and tone that he used with me, the person he made a choice to reject out of hand, is, apparently, completely unimportant…

My Own Addiction

It wasn’t an exaggeration when I told The Guy that I have thought about him every minute of every day.  It was the absolute truth, and it is disturbing.  It’s been fourteen weeks.  Only fourteen weeks.  All of fourteen weeks.  Fourteen very short, very long weeks.

I can offer no explanation for my behavior.  There’s nothing I can say that would tell anyone why I let him touch me the way he did, when he did, where he did.  There’s nothing to justify allowing him to convince me to sneak into the never used stairwell at work to experience the first kiss with a man in my adult life, though, I suppose that experience helps to explain why I allowed him to convince me to do it again…  and again, and again…

Certainly there’s nothing I could say that would make any sense out of the fact that I really did fall in love with him after just six weeks of not dating.  We spoke every day during that time.  Flirted at work, had short private conversations, hours long text-athons in the evenings.  Back then, we really talked…  or so I thought.

I tried to really explore where that feeling could be coming from.  I wanted to be the first to disprove it.  “I can’t love him,” I tried to tell myself, “It’s just the newness.  It’s just that he’s the only person to express interest.  It’s just that it’s my only shot at this.”

None of that bore out.

It had long since stopped feeling new to me.  (Honestly!  Has it really only been three and a half months?  It seems like it’s been years.)  It wasn’t that he’s the only person to express interest.  It would have been more in character for me to discourage his attraction and to do my best to turn him off, than to reciprocate out of desperation, or loneliness.  I thought long and hard about the fact that this was my only shot at this.  I had to know that I wasn’t allowing that to affect my thinking on the subject.  I had to be certain that my feelings for him were based in something more real than fear of losing my one shot.  And the day I realized that I already knew I would be none the worse for the wear when this ended, that I wouldn’t have lost anything that I had before it began; that was the day I knew that what I was feeling, however absurd it may seem, however little logic there was in it, was, in fact, genuine love.  And really, who says there’s any logic in love anyway.  How you act on it, sure, but the feeling?  Not so much.  When I knew I wasn’t going to run away from this, just because it was destined to end, I knew that, for me at least, it was real.

And I still stand by all of that.  But at the same time, it makes it really tough that it’s still true, even though it’s over; even though any hope that once existed for a miracle has been killed.  The hope?  It is bloodied and broken and lies helpless and alone in the corner of some alley where reality and certainty ganged up on it and kicked the crap out of it, before leaving it for dead.  Even as I type these words, hope is breathing its last breath as it watches the puddle of blood in which it is lying, spread.

So knowing all of that, why is it that I still spend every minute of every day thinking about him?  Why do his words continue to waltz across the stage of my mind, reminding me of all the questions that went unanswered and that fact, ignored.  Why do I continue to search for, and yes, ask for, clarity where none can possibly exist.  I know I cant trust him to give me the truth.  Not that I think he sets out to be deceitful, but one minute, he’s ashamed of the truth, the next minute he doesn’t want to hurt me, the next minute he wants to push me away so he tells me things that might be the truth, but how can I be sure, because later he tells me they weren’t, that he just wanted to push me away.  And really, if he wants to push me away…  Why am I holding on so tightly?

This afternoon, even as I was sitting in the theater with Lil’B waiting for our movie to start, I was thinking about my conversation with The Guy on Friday evening and I thought about how badly we have communicated this entire time.  He says things that are cryptic, and I don’t always ask for clarification because I know that his hold on the emotional gravity of the situation is already tenuous at best. He misinterprets my words, (which I always think are clear, but apparently are not), and rather than ask questions, he goes off on an internalized tangent of what he thinks I mean and how he should react, to satisfy me, or to push me away, depending on what seems like his best course of action at the moment.

I made my usual, pre-movie trip to the bathroom, because apparently the 11-year-old has better bladder control than I do, and I won’t make it through the movie if I don’t do my best to empty the chamber before the movie starts and then I’ll make a mad dash for the restroom again after the credits, while he stands in the corner of the restroom and waits, (after having consumed an entire vat o’ Icee).  This restroom run, also gave me the opportunity to shoot off a “quick” text to the Guy wherein I established our poor communication and that I needed to be sure I had properly understood something he said on Friday.  I told him to tell me the truth, because it won’t change anything at this point anyway.

“You were being dishonest with me when you said you had not ‘done anything in months’, right?  You are still actively having sex with anybody who will, on a regular basis.  And when I started working there, you hoped I would be one of those people.  That fact that I was not going to be one of those people has not slowed you down.  Did I understand you correctly?”

“No,” he answered, “I never wanted you to be in that category and I have given that life up.”

He told me on Friday that all he wanted to do was have sex.  That he doesn’t want relationships or dating.  Just sex.    Now he says he told me that to push me away.  He wasn’t after that with me.  He would have pursued me differently if he had…  I can’t even imagine what that would have looked like.

When I pressed him, he did admit to having had sex in the last few months. He says he has “an arrangement that is fizzling out.” but that he hasn’t pursued anything new with anyone.

Like a sucker, I listed the contradictions he’s presented on this issue, asking him what I’m supposed to believe.  I wanted to know just how much of a fool I have been.

And then I told him never mind.  “There’s nothing to be gained by continuing to hash this shit out.”  I know how much of a fool I am.  The degree of my foolishness is directly proportionate to the number of breaths hope has left.  Except, it’s like someone has found hope and is attempting to administer emergency care.  Hope flatlines, and gets revived and flatlines again.  Some good Samaritan, determined to save hope’s life, is only prolonging the agony.  Hope’s inevitable demise is still on the horizon, it’s just taking longer than it should to arrive, and I continue to be slave to the foolishness that is my heart, imagining the possibilities of something that just becomes more and more complicated and seemingly impossible by the day.

I genuinely do not know how to put a stop to it.

 

Round Two

Go ahead and imagine the scantily clad woman holding a giant card with a big number “2” printed on it, prancing around the border of the ring, in high heals …

I mean, if that’s what you’re into…

 

“What are you still doing here?” I asked him as evenly as I could manage.  I wasn’t exactly happy to see him, under the circumstances, but I didn’t want to be uncivil to him, as I promised I would not be.  Besides, if we have any chance at all of being “friends” it’s got to start somewhere, right?

That’s the same argument I made to myself when I questioned whether or not I really wanted to go to lunch with him the other day.  That turned out well, right…

He stood there, hands on the edge of the counter with his head hanging down and looking at me sullenly.  I repeated the question, and after heaving a heavy sigh, he said, “I’m going in a minute.”

“Okay,” I answered, continuing to sort through the papers on the counter in front of me.  He asked me what I was doing with them.  They were related to a small, but important task that I had needed to accomplish for the three days, but hadn’t had the time to get to.

 

The Bay Area Rapid Transit system or “BART” is having issues.  Some union that they’re involved with has decided to go on Strike, starting Monday, and there will be no service for an indefinite period of time.  They went out a month or so ago for four days, and my 8 mile, usually 15-20 minutes commute was taking closer to 45 stressful, fuel guzzling minutes.  Some days longer.  I told my boss on the fourth day of that event that I was going to start taking my company issued laptop home with me so I could work for a couple of hours in the morning and then come in when traffic had died down.  She was fine with it, but as it turned out to be the last day of that strike, it didn’t even matter.  I spoke to her yesterday afternoon and proposed the same arrangement, to which she agreed, as long as I had things to work on, which I do.  Plenty!

As I was preparing to go home last night, I looked at the stack of papers in their folder, frustrated that another day had gone by and I couldn’t get this simple task accomplished, when it suddenly dawned on me; I’ve got lots of tasks that I have to struggle to get to because of all the distractions and interruptions I deal with on a daily basis.  There will be no distractions and interruptions while I’m working at home next week.  I can get the nagging stuff done then, as long as I plan ahead for it!  I took the stack of papers that I needed to sort and scan and walked to the counter in the open Kitchen, near the scanner.

 

Without looking up from my work, I answered, “I’m sorting them so I can scan them into a couple of emails and deal with them on Monday morning.  What’s happening right now?”  I asked the question so quickly after answering his it was almost a part of the same sentence.  I put the papers down and looked up at him waiting for an answer.  He just continued to stand there with that dopey look on his face.  “What?!” I asked again, slightly bothered.

“I don’t know,” he said, “you just seem so unhappy.”

Actually, I felt quite a bit better than I had the day before, but that’s not really saying much.  There are a number of factors about work that have had me really stressed out and this emotional turmoil with The Guy has only added to the stress and tension.  It feels like there’s been a lot of tension in the air in general and I don’t know if I’m imagining it because I’m so tense, or, as I’m afraid might be the case, it’s just wafting off of me and affecting everyone around me.  I just looked at him.  I didn’t know what to say.

“I feel like it’s my fault,” he said.  Fucking genius, that one!

“I don’t think it’s unrealistic or unreasonable that I would be hurt and angry, six hours after being told what you told me,” I said, referring to our text argument on Wednesday night.  “The fact that you think I shouldn’t be, just pisses me off more.”

“No, I guess it’s not,” he said.

We ended up talking for over an hour.  It was one of the most emotionally open conversations he has had with me.  I suppose, in some ways it was for me as well.  I’ve always been honest and sincere with him, but I’ve also not said a lot of things that I knew he would have a hard time hearing.  There was no reason to hold back any longer.

He changed his story, not for the first time.  He claims he didn’t say, “not ever”.  To be fair, I don’t remember word for word what he said, I just know the gist of what he said and the tone of his voice.  The “ever” was implied, if not actually spoken.  He said that he thought about me the entire time he was in the UK.  He and his friend were “running around at all these different sites,” and all sorts of events and the entire time, I was on his mind.  He couldn’t understand why that would be.

“I have thought about you, every minute of every day, since I met you,” I told him.  “The difference is, you think it’s a bad thing.”  The look on his face caught me off guard.  He seemed genuinely surprised by that.  “Do you even understand what I meant when I told you I ‘completely fell for you’?” I asked him.  “I haven’t said it because first of all the word terrifies me, and secondly, I knew you couldn’t handle hearing it.  The Guy,” (obviously, I used his real name here), “I fell in love with you!  It’s stupid, really.  It shouldn’t have happened.  There’s no logical, explicable reason for it.  But here we are.  This doesn’t happen to me.  But I thought you were worth taking the chance.”

I think if I had exhaled a little more forcefully, he would have fallen over.

One of the most tragic things about this situation for me, is that something new happened in me and I thought he was worth taking a chance.  Something new happened in him and he didn’t think I was worth taking the chance.  The fact that he doesn’t think I’m worth taking the chance, is probably why I was wrong about him.

There are a lot of things I need to sort through, now, things he’s said to me over the months that I have to figure out.  It would be better, of course, to not rehash any of it and just let go, but that’s not really how I function, especially not with him right in front of me every day.  Even if I made the “decision” to do just that, it wouldn’t actually happen anyway.

He opened up a lot last night and a lot of the aspects of his damaged psyche that makes him who he is came to light.  The recovery he’s claimed to be in for the last seven years, is really just an explanation to use to when offering up excuses for his lustful behavior.  He admitted that his efforts in that arena have been minimal at best.  Which lead to the revelation that he lied to me right at the start, when I asked him what his intentions toward me were in acting the way he did.  “So you really were just trying to get in my pants.” I said.  “You really just wanted to fuck me.”  When he nodded, I climbed down off the counter, picked up my papers and walked away.

I finished at the scanner and walked back to the kitchen.  I was silent for a long time.

“The bottom line,” I told him, “is that I have never lied to you.  Everything I have ever said and done has been completely sincere.  But I’m no magician.  If you think about me as much as you say you do, that’s because at some point along the way, something happened inside of you and I started to mean more to you.  And that scares the shit out of you!  But it’s all! Inside! Of you!!

 

We went back to our desks to pack up and go home.  It took me longer, but that’s not a surprise.  When he walked past my desk on his way to the door, he stopped.  He just looked at me for a minute and then without a word, he walked into my cubicle, put his arms around me and pulled me to him.  With my head against his chest, I listened to his heart beat while I put my one free hand on his back and squeezed lightly before giving him the thanks-for-the-hug double tap, but he didn’t let go and neither did I.  It felt amazing to have his body pressed against mine, again.  It’s a feeling I’ve missed and longed for.  It’s been three long weeks since the last time I felt that.

When he finally let go, he just whispered, “Good bye” and walked away.