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.