So T-Bone was jettisoned and guess who calls? Right on the motherfucking heels of that shit. Don Juan/Hypocrites. He called and I had deleted his number so I answered with no fear or hesitation, thinking it was a student or the Gurl Child. When he said, “Hi.” Followed with, “It’s me.”, the bottom dropped out of my stomach and I wondered what in the world he’d be calling for. I just couldn't imagine and my mind raced out a 100 different scenarios in a split second before I simply said, “Hi.”
He stumbled over his words but eventually told me he wanted to say hi and see how I was and he’d tried to tell a person we both knew from Schmome Schmeepo to tell me he’d said hello but then what kind of coward would he be if he didn't tell me himself and a bunch of other stuff that I didn't really hear because I was still wondering what this was all about.
He said that he’d missed me, that he knew he had no right to be saying any of this to me and that he would understand completely if I hung up but he wanted to tell me, “Hi.”
I simply said, “Well, hi.” Again.
He asked what I thought about his calling and I said, “Well honestly, DJ I don’t know what to say. I’m dumbfounded and I’m going out of town and I’ll be back next week and I guess we can talk it over then?”
He acquiesced immediately and said,
”Whatever you want. Take your time.”
I said okay back and we hung up. I still, to this day, wish I’d have been a bit more of a hard ass. Made him work harder for my agreement to even speak to him. Chances are, it would have turned out the same but I would have maybe come off like a bit more of a someone who wasn't a doormat.
In any case, he sent some of the most panty-melting, heart stopping, Nicholas-Sparks-would-be-proud sweet talk via text until I finally said, “Yes, come by the store and we’ll talk.”
He walked in while I was working and my stomach flipped and I grinned because there he was. He followed me throughout the store, he told everyone he was there to take me away from it all, he practically made me swoon and he waited for me until I had closed the store.
I walked to my car slowly and I was so scared and sick. Why? Why was I scared? Because last time he had so completely broken my heart that I drank myself into a crying, sobbing stupor that had my best friend and daughter pouring me into bed? Because last time it had taken me weeks to feel normal again? Because last time I had taken back TBone on the rebound from a shattered heart? No biggie.
There we stood in the parking lot, his arms around me while I felt my worth being buoyed. I felt at once stupid and elated. Why did I need this indecisive jackass to make me feel so good about myself and yet here he was, another one crawling back. He was offering himself up as my life partner telling me that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. Telling me how insane he was to ever let me go. How perfect I was for him and that he would NEVER EVER NEVER do to me what he’d done to me before. Never shut me out and push me away ever again. That he loved me like he loved no other. I cried and felt an enormous sense of relief. I told him that I felt like less of a fool for putting myself so completely out there last time and I wasn’t as stupid as I’d thought before.
I was wondering to myself how two men had come to ask for me back in the space of just a few months and how had I ever settled at all at any time for anyone. I must be pretty fucking awesome. The glow of all that awesomeness led me right back into temptation with DJ. I ate it up.
He held me and crooned, “Oh baby, you are not stupid, I am. I’m the fool for ever thinking that I could do better than to have you in my life. You are beautiful and a beautiful soul. I can talk to you and tell you my heart and my fears and I can trust you with them.” He laid his hand on my heart and said, “I was the stupid one and I’ll never let you go ever again.”
I cried from relief. I cried from the relief that I hadn’t imagined all that had gone before with us. I had agonized over whether I’d imagined this great love and passion and here he was telling me he felt it too.
I pulled back and asked point blank, “Why did you leave me then?”
He paused, he took a breath and launched. “Remember when I first started this job and I told you I needed to get some good shoes and slacks and you offered me your Macy’s card?” I nodded and opened my mouth and he held his hand up. “And you did that because you thought we were going to conquer the world together and now I understand that, but at the time I felt like a supreme failure.”
I wrinkled my brows and backed up against the car and hung my head. “I offered you help and you didn't want to take it and so you flirted with some girl on Facebook and then broke my heart?? How do I know if you were to get sick or if something terrible were to happen, you wouldn't act exactly the same?”
He advanced and scooped me off the side of the car. “Because I realize what an idiot I was. You were right. You were right about everything. Nothing and no one in my life has or ever will compare to you.”
I sagged against him and buried my nose in his neck. He still smelled so fucking good. We kissed like we’d never kiss again. Ridiculously passionate, grasping and desperate right there next to my car. I was swept up in all those sweet words and let myself be carried away. I told him I would give him another chance that I’d loved him so and never really stopped and he told me the same. We hugged and laughed and talked and kissed and it was a bit of delicious déjà vu in that parking lot where it had all started.
So it went … loving messages and conflicted schedules and stolen moments and we did more this time. We all went to dinner…me and DJ and my daughter and his 6 year old son. The Girl Child and his Boy Child cut up and played during bowling and then dinner. Suddenly, as we were sitting at dinner, his BC said, “Is she my new sister?” I panicked and all the blood drained to my toes. He didn't ask me and so I sat back in the booth and let his dad take the lead.
His father took a drink and said, “Yes.”
I almost slipped under the table in shock but it felt like he was all in this time and I began to relax into it. We looked at houses; we talked forever about what, when and where. I stopped looking for work out of state and decided that this is where I could stay because this man, this great love and I were going to build a life together. I really could not have been happier. In those moments, I was standing in the sun again because this guy had so much more than any that came before… a hard worker and a good father and dedicated to succeeding. He was sweet and complimentary and appreciative. I had a purpose… for all of us.
One thing I have learned about myself in the last couple years since leaving Tucker is that if I don’t have direction, I’m not happy. I can’t just drift by every day and escape depression. The more days I let just float by without doing something in service of accomplishing something else, the more the black fingers reach up and pull me back under the covers. Enveloping me and soothing me into nothingness. Nothingness with nachos and Netflix...but nothingness nonetheless.
This purpose and drive moving forward made me overly optimistic and I suppose slightly blind. It happened that our schedules conflicted so much that we hadn't seen each other in over a week when he called me very early on a Monday morning. So unusual for him and it threw me. I won’t divulge the entirety of the situation but he had an issue with his son that had sent his ex-wife into a full on freak out. A freak out that was not warranted but pushed DJ into super fixer/sponsor/protector/man mode.
I offered what I knew to be calm, sage, loving advice because I’d been through very much the same thing with my daughter and step kids and told him that I was here for him and anything me or the Gurl Child could offer was his.
“Thanks, Medi. If I don’t answer my texts or call, it’s because I’m wrapped up with this. I spent all night with Barbara last night trying to calm her down.”
My brain imploded. You spent all night with your ex-wife trying to calm her down???? What the codependent fuck?!?
I was silent and I think he sensed that did not settle with me particularly well.
“Her fiancé is out of town working and she had no one and she’s really flipping out. I had to stay with her and keep her calm so she didn’t make the whole situation worse.”
“I understand. Something like this can be unsettling but it’s what kids do and I’m sure it’s nowhere near as bad as all that.”
He hesitated and sighed then, “Well Barbara can be a bit hysterical when life doesn’t follow the script but we’re talking about my son here. I needed to keep the situation as calm as possible.”
“That’s fine. I understand.” But I didn’t understand. I felt like I was dealing with a pack of idiots here and wanted to shake them all and knock their heads together.
That moment, when he called me by my name instead of baby or honey or sweetie; that moment was when I really knew. Oh, I hung on for 3 more weeks sending encouraging emails…hearing from him via phone call exactly twice and a few scattered texts, but I knew.
Here’s the thing…he had all these wonderful qualities. Goal oriented, handsome, cared for other people but he was also tortured. I knew this already from the last go round but I had let the fact that he’d tortured himself over losing me sort of blot that out. Have you ever met someone that doesn’t necessarily seem happier when things are going wrong but they seem comfortable there? This, I was discovering, was DJ. He picked up misery and wrapped it about him. He wore it well and may not have reveled in it but he certainly thrived. He wore the hair coat with pleasure and I finally figured out why.
He once told me that being 20+ years clean and sober was still a struggle some days because when things were going well were the times that he thought, A beer would be good right now, I can handle a couple of drinks. So…he was more comfortable in turmoil or strife. He could handle that. He could work his steps and talk to his sponsor and go to meetings and have this thing working that kept him on a path that he knew how to navigate without fucking up and using or drinking.
There was also this slightly martyr-ish portion that told him if he had to sacrifice his ultimate happiness for it then that was okay because he was doing important shit. He was saving his kid or the world or whatnot. I was vaguely reminded of my dog that used to roam our acreage and always managed to find something dead somewhere to roll in. He would come home reeking of funky decay and be thrilled with himself. It’s like DJ shrouded himself with funk because it was his comfort zone. It was the only way he knew how to forge ahead with any sort of regularity or normalcy. He flourished in his funk because happy and normal was scary as fuck.
The two phone calls I DID get from him were one sided conversations about how he counseled his ex through everything and kept her relationship with her fiancé intact because he was, in fact, such a fucking wonderful stand-up dude. Those things made me angry when they should have made me proud of him but how is it a man can ask someone to share his life or even say, “You are the love of my life.” when he doesn't even manage to speak to them or think about them for 3 weeks?
I was already lounging in bed one night wondering what the fuck I was going to do about all this when called and he said, “Everything is starting to work out and the counselor told us much of what you told me and I think everything is starting to get better.”
“Well that’s great.” I answered cautiously and without much enthusiasm.
“I’m ready to see you, babe.” He said it quietly and I made him repeat it.
Not I need to see you, not I want to see you but I’m ready.
Omg hallelujah. He’s ready. I should drop everything and make sure I can meet all his needs in this moment.
Guess what? I’d been ready for weeks but what I wanted hadn't mattered. I felt sort of like an asshole and as if I were being a bit selfish because he was dealing with shit about his son but I also knew deep down that they’d all overreacted and turned something that most kids with blended families go through into a major ordeal that didn't need to be one. I felt like a casualty of a stupid, pointless war. Not to mention all I’d been going through and it hadn't been world ending but it had been a pretty shitty month for me.
He said, “I’m going to text you first thing in the morning even if I don’t have anything to say.”
I told him okay and that I’d talk to him the next day. Guess what, again? Nothing. All morning I stared at my phone willing the light to notify me that he hadn't forgotten about me, that I mattered to him as much as he mattered to me. At 11:55 while it was still morning, I texted him. I sent it on Kik so I knew when he had read it and that he had simply chosen not to fucking answer me.
I wrote an email that day and I agonized over sending it. I agonized over and over. Was I ready to let go of this shit? He had made me realize what I wanted out of life, finally. I had been adrift since I’d left Tucker and didn’t know if I’d be trying to travel the world or be looking for a place to settle down. I basically hadn’t figured it out. The excitement I felt when looking for a place to raise our family together was genuine. I hadn’t felt it because it was what he wanted. I had seriously felt it in my heart. An experience during all of this where the Girl Child had friends over and I cooked them all breakfast and we sat laughing and chatting had made me realize that I am happiest when I’m nesting and being a homebody. It solidified what I wanted. For that, to him, I am grateful. He helped me find my way but sadly, now it just wouldn’t be with him.
I sent the email which you can read if you click the pic over there. Who knew if I’d ever be able to see him face to face again? I wasn’t important enough for him to make time to see much less even text me apparently. I felt awful and okay all at the same time and mostly like I’d been on a rip roaring roller coaster that had taken me to an incredible high full of promise only to leave me 3 seconds later feeling like I was going to puke.
He sent a short text two days later:
You’re right. You were right about all of it. I’m sorry I dragged everyone into this
He missed the point. He missed the entire fucking point. It solidified my decision but it didn't ease the hurt. I’d made the same wrong decision twice. I’m going to blame it on hubris and chemicals. His stroking my ego was legendary and I’m not gonna lie, he made my panties fall off but he had to go.
It was a mess. I was a mess. I have no idea how I feel about anything anymore except I know more of what I don’t want. I know I’m ready to settle down and I have to be happy doing that alone. Unfortunately, this little episode catapulted me into Tinder/OkCupid frenzy in an effort to bandaid the stab wound, which I can assure you has made everything shittastic for my emotional well-being. Whoever said the whole getting under someone to get over someone was the thing apparently had zero emotional baggage.
I’m not trying anymore. I’m going to make some goals that don’t have penises involved. I’m going to post a prologue for my book this week. I’m going to make myself accountable for finishing the damn thing. If I’m not holding a copy of my book by 2016, it’ll be because I wrote a piece of shit and not because I didn't write it.