Cultural District, Portland, Oregon. Seven stories up.
I’m wide awake and can’t fall back to sleep. This hasn’t happened in a while, but tonight, I find myself restless, tossing, turning, unable to get comfortable. The source of my discomfort tonight, is physical pain rather than emotional. Hours on Zoom calls during the day, sitting at a desk in a chair tilting my head at angles that are anything but ergonomically correct is creating neck and shoulder pain that cannot be tamed with acetaminophen. I’m out of ibuprofen and it is too close to dawn for any pain meds left over from last year’s thyroid surgery. Those might well be outdated anyway.
I lie for a moment looking out the window of my bedroom, shifting my position to get comfortable. My mattress is the exact level of the bottom of the window that fills one entire wall of my small bedroom. It’s not the floor to ceiling wall of windows I enjoyed when overseas, but it is pretty close. The view is fantastic, no matter the hour, but at night, it’s a spectacular collage of color and light against the night sky. Tonight it is clear and cold. I can tell from this particular shade of darkness that there’s not a cloud in the sky and sunrise will be an event for which I will have front row seats. It’s entertainment that never gets old. It will be a beautiful day in the Pacific Northwest. I shift again, trying to get comfortable. It’s no use. I give up the fight against consciousness and give in wholly to the fact that, against my will, I am awake. I throw back the comforter, slide open the pocket door that seals my tiny bedroom off from the rest of the small 500 square foot space I call home, and head to the bathroom for some Tylenol. It won’t help…much.
I swallow two of the bright red gel capsules and walk about twenty more paces to the kitchen, flick the coffeemaker to “brew now”, never even switching on a light. My condo is small, but the windows are large, taking up one entire side of my living space. No matter where I am in this space, I have spectacular views of downtown. City lights serve as a built-in night light. It’s one reason I live here now. The condo is small on space, but large on cityscape. As I wait for the coffee to brew, I pick up my kitten, a gorgeous gray, cream and tan Torti-Lynx I found last October on Craigslist. She’s definitely a pandemic pet, and it’s a constant battle to keep her off the expansive granite counters in the kitchen, but I love her. I take a few more steps to stand at the door to my balcony and gaze out at the world. The view from seven stories up is perfect. High enough off the ground to see some incredible distances (through the buildings) and yet low enough to the ground to see everything that goes on. High enough off the ground to mute the noise of the traffic below, close enough to still have birds land on my balcony and bees flying in the windows if I leave them open during the summer, which I do. I face east, toward the waterfront, Mount Hood and the rising sun. I’d have a perfect view of all of these except for the skyscrapers that stand in the way. The very ones that provide light and interest as I allow my thoughts to drift from one unrelated idea to the next. When the sun comes up the lights will transform to glass mirrors reflecting all the colors of sunrise.
The coffee finishes brewing. I put the kitten down, return to the kitchen, and choose a mug from my vast collection. In the last five years, I reduced my living space from 1500 square feet to 500 hundred, but somehow, in all the downsizing, my mug collection made it. The kitchen in this place is surprisingly spacious. It is only slightly smaller than the kitchen I had when I lived in the three bedroom, three bath townhome in my past life. I downsized everything else, and kept the mugs. I have an entire two shelves of cabinet space dedicated to coffee drinking receptacles. It’s crazy what people collect, sometimes. A mug collection is not that unusual a collection to have, I suppose, but when faced with downsizing, especially as much as I had to in order to fit in this space, you wouldn’t think mugs would be the priority. While I downsized in terms of space, I surely upgraded in terms of quality. This is a well-designed small space. Not perfect, but damn near.
The mug I choose is a smooth dark mug; the word “Oregon” etched on one side, the Oregon license plate etched on the other…the letters ORE separated from GON by a single Doug Fir, Mount Hood in the background. This mug, found on a dusty and neglected tourist shelf in some big box discount store last Christmas when my oldest and I were out picking up some last minute items, speaks to me. It’s a totem in a way. All my life, I’ve tried to leave this state, tried to leave the Pacific Northwest, but I can never get away or stay away for long. Even when I had the chance to go literally anywhere in the world, I chose here. Four and a half years ago, my life was in free fall. I had the opportunity to decide where I was going to land and I.chose.here. I am part of this place. I’ve ceased fighting that. This place is part of me. This is home. When I saw the mug on the shelf, I loved the feel of it, how smooth and comfortable it is in my hands, and also how it represents my metamorphosis over the last half decade from fighting where and who I was, to accepting, embracing and loving me. After all, I am the one constant companion in my own life. I should be nice to that person. With the lights still off, I add creamer to the bottom of my mug, and pour my coffee. I head to the couch, and curl up and gaze out at the cityscape. My world is not what it used to be.
I reflect on the past decade. They say change, even positive change, can be a significant source of stress. In the last two decades of my life, beginning with my divorce from my first husband, while pregnant with my youngest child, I have endured the gamut of human experience and emotion. Change, dramatic, unexpected and traumatic change has been the capstone of my existence.
Ten years ago, I was stuck and stymied. I was nearing that half century milestone in my life and I was miserable. Unhappy and struggling to make ends meet as a single mother of four children, I worked endless hours to keep up with all the needs and demands, taking on any extra job I could find. I had little support in my world. My job was stressful and so were my finances and my home life. I drank to get through it. At first the alcohol relieved the anxiety and helped me get through. I was unaware, at that time, how much I was depending upon it. Now, as I gaze out on the slumbering city, my life now is the impossible dream I fantasized about despairingly back then. Had you told me then, that I was going to be living this existence, I’d have thought you were crazy. Had you told me what I’d have to go through to get here…well, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be here now.
As I watch the sunrise, I think of all the horrible decisions I’ve made. Of all the wrong turns, the missteps, the failures. In 2016, when I finally hit bottom, I was alone and without a job or a place to live. My stress was off the charts, as was my anxiety. The drinking kept pace. In spite of everything, I managed to land a fantastic position (off the charts stressful, but fantastic), I settled the divorce from the marriage that should never have been, and I settled in to my new city. I was desperately lonely, but alcohol helped me forget that. Things gradually began to improve for me. I finally realized that I’m the only person in my life I can rely on to be there for me, so I’d better start stepping up.
Everything is great until it isn’t, right? That’s how drinking was for me. It was great fun, until it wasn’t. Until every time I drank it was too much. Until even when I didn’t drink I felt like I had a hangover. Until I began forgetting things and my hair started falling out in clumps. It was no longer any fun and the anxiety was still there. As is typical, I was drinking more and more, but I was long past ever feeling a buzz. I would just go straight to feeling sick. It was no longer any fun. So, at the beginning of 2021, after joining a wine club the summer before, and having put away more bourbon in a night than should be imbibed in a week, and doing that every night all summer long, I decided I just didn’t feel very good, and I stopped drinking. On January 2, 2021, I finished the last drop of bourbon in the last bottle in my condo. Tomorrow will be seventy days since. It will also be, the one year anniversary of moving in to my little condo. I reflect on the hardships, but I also celebrate the triumphs. Completely redesigning a life is hard work. Getting sober is too. I have much to celebrate and to be grateful for. As I gaze out on the city, I welcome the overwhelming sense of joy and gratitude that inevitably results in such musings. I made it, I think to myself. I actually did it and it’s really, truly just as wonderful as I imagined. Not perfect. Life is still life and there are challenges and struggles, but it is still wonderful. This is a small space, but that is city life. It suits me.
The timer on my phone goes off. It is fifteen minutes before sunrise. My coffee mug is empty. I step out onto the balcony, breathe in the crisp morning air. The streetcar lumbers past below as I snap a photo of the pink and marmalade hues along the Eastern horizon, a ritual act I’ve participated in nearly every day since moving in a year ago. The buildings reflect each other and the colors in a fantastic display of mutual admiration. The cityscape is beautiful, but the skies are the real artwork here. It is going to be a brilliant day.
I have a friend I’ve know for quite some time who is an executive coach. This man makes a living coaching top executives at companies to improve outcomes (and I imagine this means profits) for the organization. He makes more money in one gig than I make in several years. He’s probably made and lost more money over the years than I will see in several lifetimes. As I type this, he is involved in putting together a deal that will allow him to quadruple his income and expand his business. He’s doing this at a time in his life when he should be (or most people are considering being) retired. He doesn’t punch a time clock. His office is in his home or in a coffee shop or cigar shop nearby. He lives in a tower and drives an Audi. He controls his time, his life and mostly his levels of stress. He does what he wants, when he wants with no demands imposed on his life other than those he chooses for himself. It’s a pretty good gig for supposedly being retired. But it hasn’t always been this way for him. He’s had some pretty rough moments along the way. Read the rest of this entry
I must confess. I have not been up late at night…much…lately. I’ve been sleeping very well and feeling good when I wake up the next day. Never mind that I was sick for two weeks with food poisoning. My bills are paid. There is food in my cupboards. And there’s a wee little bit to offset the unexpected thing that might come up. It is amazing how having a little extra cash in the bank and a car that is reliable changes one’s outlook on life. It’s also pretty incredible how that makes it easier to sleep. It’s been a good month. Or rather, a good couple of weeks. I can’t complain. And I won’t start now, even though, life has turned on the proverbial dime for me, once again. Read the rest of this entry
So, go figure. My finances suck. We’ve been over that. My love life is non-existent. I just had a guy I supported walk out on me after two years. He gave me three days’ notice and he was gone. Haven’t heard a word from him since. After my two epic fails at marriage, I don’t know which hurt worse, to have the marriages end, or him walk out after I invested so much financially and emotionally for two.fucking.years. It is now all water under the bridge, but at times, it still stings.
I’m at an age and in a demographic where there isn’t much dating action, and if there is, it isn’t serious, nor is it even remotely authentic. Face it, after 45, there are so many obstacles to overcome, so much history to wade through, so many people’s scrutiny you have to undergo before a relationship can even be viable, let alone long term. I’ve given up on that area of my life ever being a source of pleasure or happiness. People who really know me, will know what a big deal that is. Most people tend to understand that it is the nature of the beast these days. Dating after divorce is, at best, a difficult thing, and unlike wine, this does not improve with age. Oh, to be 35 again. Before the wrinkles. Before the mistakes. Before the calendar reveals the stigmatizing number of years you’ve been on this planet (because you cannot lie about that).
In spite of all that, the little surprise I’m experiencing is this: I’m actually having fun. I’m enjoying life more than I ever have. I’m happy, in spite of the fact that nothing (except my delightful children) is as I would have expected it and most of it reeks of pathetically miserable failure. I can’t keep a relationship. I can’t catch a break financially. I rent, on purpose, instead of owning. My car is ready to self destruct at any moment. I should sell the thing and try, if possible, to get some money out of it to put down on a more reliable car. But…how to do that? It’s crazy. I have more problems facing me than solutions. I have experienced more endings in the last year than beginnings. I have more reason than ever to despair, instead of hope. Read the rest of this entry
I’ll cut to the chase. I’m an idiot. Who signs up on an online dating sight at the most busy time of their professional and personal year? I do. Like I said…I’m an idiot. I admit it. I have only one excuse. I was three sheets to the wind when I did the signing up. Yep. Had one of those down days. One of those days that proves living a block from the local liquor store is not necessarily the benefit you might think it would be. I don’t know the particular circumstances. I think I successfully drank them out of my memory. I just remember it was one of those days, which, for whatever reason I was feeling blue about the whole situation that transpired in my life recently. Actually, I wasn’t really feeling blue about that situation if the truth be known. I was feeling blue that I’d wasted the last two years of my youth on the man. Okay, enough with the drama. It is also very possible that I was feeling happy. I feel that a lot these days. In fact, I almost get giddy with the lack of stress and the ease with which my family functions right now. No more walking on eggshells. No more having to ask permission or wonder when the next derisive comment is going to come. No more worrying about money. Since I’m not paying his bills, there’s an extra amount in our coffers this month, and that makes me genuinely silly with the giddy factor. Read the rest of this entry
Most people have one day a year that they dread. For some, it is the day they have to finally own up and pay the taxes. For others, it is the particular day of the holidays when they have to sit next to one of the least favorite outlaws at dinner. Some dread the day they have to put a child on the plane bound for dad’s for the summer. For me, it’s The Company Picnic.
My company is a rather large organization with 19 offices in three cities. We serve over 13,000 clients annually in a personal face-to-face environment. Our clients receive services from us, some of them for over 20 years. We also have affiliates in other communities nationwide. So, essentially, my organization is a large one. But it is dreadfully small on Company Picnic Day. As long as I live, I will never cease to question how I can be in a basketball gymnasium filled with thousands of people and never see a person I know, yet, take that same stadium and fill it with thousands of people from my company on what we dub as Company Hug Day, and I can find The Evil Ex even if I’m not looking (and I always am, just to avoid him). This year, not only was The Evil Ex present and accounted for, but so was his Wife, who apparently has now been hired by the company and working in the same office he is working in. To add insult to injury, his son’s wife, a cute young thing was also there. Now, I have nothing against their happiness, or the fact that apparently there is some real nepotism going on which I don’t understand, because The Evil Ex is not even good at what he supposedly does for a living. Why would the Powers That Be hire anyone associated with him? I don’t get it. (In fact, the company had grounds and could have fired him 12 years ago. I know. I was there. They didn’t. Instead, in a classic case of sexual discrimination, they demoted me (the more experienced and qualified female employee…and I’m not making this up or being bitter…I can prove I’m the more qualified and skilled individual) and promoted him. And why? Because I foolishly made the mistake to fish off the company dock. (I was not informed that this only works out for the men in the equation.) I was also too fearful and intimidated to take on the legal battle. What I take issue with is that it just seems unfair that those who are so inept, succeed over those who are more competent …or seem to. Okay, the job situation ticks me off, but he’s also inept relationally. How is it that he gets a relationship though he’s a jerk and I’m a decent person of good character and I can’t find a match that will last to save my soul??? Yeah, let’s not go there.
He is a creeper. I had a restraining order on him. He has less than the normal minimum days with our daughter. He should have been fired. But that’s not how the world works. They retain the men. And fire or demote the women, essentially ruining their careers…especially if they get pregnant.
I guess I am still bitter about all of that. It doesn’t eat at me…at least 364 days of the year it doesn’t eat at me…but on Company Picnic Day…when I see him representing the most prestigious office in our region (think monied clients and a comfortable corner office to work out of)…the injustice of it all floods my psyche. You see, back in the day, before we decided to fish, before he decided to stalk me and later abuse me, I worked at one of those elite locations, with that elite clientele, with a very comfortable corner office, with windows, all done up in blue. My life was made. Until he entered the scene. And I’m not bitter when I say this, the man is incompetent. He can’t handle his own personal matters, let alone those required for his job. The deal is this: he’s a great liar and pretender. He can present himself to so many as something he really is not. He has a way of lying about things so that, while preposterous, they sound believable. For example, this summer he perjured himself under oath. He told the judge he was still providing insurance for all of his children due to the fact that one’s children are now covered until they are 26. The reality: he has 7 children…not including the one we have together which makes 8. Of his 7 children, 5 of them are adults, and 4 of them are married, over the age of 26, and/or have their own insurance coverage. So, he told the judge he was paying insurance and covering all these people and what it shakes down to is, he’s covering exactly two other children (besides himself and his wife) and not our daughter. I was stunned. I was not able to reply to this statement because I wasn’t given adequate opportunity. He lied. He wins. He puts himself off as this great man of character and of God, but then he doesn’t pay his half of the medical expenses and he’s an asshole when it comes to negotiating the differences regarding our daughter. In fact, there is no negotiation. He just does what he’s going to do and I am left dealing with the fallout. That’s how our marriage was. Can I expect anything different in our divorce?
So, he won in the work arena.
He won in the court arena this summer.
And today, apparently, he’s winning in the Love Arena, because he was there with his wife and daughter-in-law, while I was there, completely, undeniably, and obviously, ALONE.
And by alone, I mean really alone. The last couple of years I told myself it didn’t matter. And, really, it didn’t, because I didn’t have his wife and daughter-in-law in my face at close proximity. (Yes, our last names all end with the same letter so I must attend all the excruciating meetings with them.) But also, I knew I was going home to someone. I knew then, at least, I was in the relational ball park. Last year at this time it appeared I was winning or, at least, staying in, that particular game. This year, it is a totally different story. I’ve been kicked off the island, or my partner couldn’t leave my island fast enough. My inability to maintain a relationship over time is glaringly apparent to me, to the world, to the company and, worst of all, to the Evil Ex and his family who now, apparently, works for our company.
This does not feel good.
I mostly don’t mind being alone, but never having a significant other in my life was simply not what I ever wanted in life. In fact, even more than kids, I wanted that quality relationship with another adult. I gained in the kids arena, but apparently I’m a complete flop in the relationship arena. This just doesn’t always sit well with me. In fact, at times, like today, when I am faced with my failure, it is incredibly painful. I wonder why he gets the happy relationship though he never spoke to me ever, once, in six years, in his passive-aggressive abusive manner of dealing with people. He is disrespectful, unreliable, and irresponsible and all sorts of other things I don’t want to take up space with here. How does he get love and I can’t find a quality partner to save my soul? He’s a taker, an abuser, and people flock to him. I don’t take, I give, I deal honestly and fairly, and men use me up and move on. No one stays. What’s wrong with me?????
So I posted that video and post about being Alone. I’ve made my peace with being alone. I can handle it. I’m content most of the time.
The truth is, I’ve lied. I like being in relationship with a man. I like the companionship. I don’t like being alone…in that way. I especially don’t like the idea that this is the end of the relational line for me (and the sad reality is that age being what it is, and men being what they are, it is the end). Like I said, most of the time, this is not an issue with me. I enjoy my boring, little life. I have wonderful friends. I love my kids. I’ve been blessed with four beautiful, intelligent, dynamic individuals as children, who are so successful, in spite of the fact that they had so many risk factors (divorce, poverty, etc.) working against them. I can’t take credit for that. They chose that. The work I do daily matters, not just to the people I work with, but to the people they, in turn, impact. It’s an amazing job and I am good at it. I’m grateful for that. And if you asked any of my friends they would tell you and they do tell me that I am an amazing person.
at the end of the day…
when the kids have gone home to their families…
the friends are busy with their own lives…
…and I can no longer work
…I am alone.
I don’t exactly want the highlight of my days to be my latest, greatest Facebook status update.
I don’t exactly like the idea of rocking alone on the front porch of the old folks’ home.
Apparently, I’m just not amazing enough.
I hate Company Picnic Day.
He walked out at 7:00 a.m. yesterday. He looked worn, tired, angry, and so disgusted. As he shoved the last few things in his truck, he didn’t even really look back. He just got in the vehicle, turned on the motor, and drove off. Never mind that he left most of his clothing here and all of his precious books. I haven’t heard a word from him. Not a text. Not an email. Not a phone call.
Part of me is crushed. How could someone spend two years of their life with me and then walk away like that without a second glance? And then, to leave all of his belongings? He must have been so miserable for so long and yet he hid it. The question I keep returning to is, “Why?” The unanswerable, why. Was he so desperate that he stayed here and “put up” with us because he had nowhere else to go? Did he feel about me the way I felt about my last ex? Like I just couldn’t take it any more or I’d go crazy or maybe even do myself in? The other part of me thinks, “Wow. I can’t be rid of someone like this fast enough.”
It is a beautiful, warm, peaceful late summer evening. My urban garden is flourishing. I’ve packed up his belongings and placed them in a corner of the garage. Yes, even the things I would like to keep…like the books. I’ve changed the locks, changed the code to the storage unit, and removed him from all of whatever accounts he was on that I was paying for. I’m stuck paying his bills for this month…but next month should be easier. Tonight, we grilled hamburgers, my son and I, and my daughter and her friend sat at the kitchen counter eating their foot long sub sandwiches, and we just chatted, freely, easily, without contention. Something that hasn’t happened for a very long time around here. It was peaceful. Later, my daughter left to go to the theater with her friend and I watched Napoleon Dynamite with my son. It was the most relaxed evening we’ve had in, what, two years? There was no grumbling about the minuscule crumbs left in the sink, no complaining about how poorly the dishwasher was loaded. There was no guilt about the fact that we were relaxing instead of cleaning our already spotless place. It was truly a peaceful, lazy, golden summer evening. And…for all of that…I am deeply relieved and grateful. I believe I may have, as they say, dodged a bullet, somehow.
And yet, in the background of my mind and my life, the questions seep through. Why hasn’t he contacted me even to make arrangements for his things? What is going on? Where is he sleeping at night? Is he okay? Is he really relocating to be closer to his ex and the kids? How long was he so unhappy? How long was he hiding, lying, keeping secrets? What went wrong? How could I have seen this coming? How on earth could I have avoided it? And then, the recriminating accusations that always surface, “What a fool you have been…AGAIN. You are such a relational loser. When will you ever learn? You are just no good at relationship.”
And this is when my strength fails.
I tried like anything to learn from the mistakes of my past.
I tried like anything to put 100% into this.
I tried to the best of my ability to give and to love.
And, for what?
Again, I’ve failed.
In times past I could point to mistakes I’d made. Things I did that created stress, strain, tension in the relationship. I could point to ways I was too controlling, ways I over-reacted. This is not to say I was the only one to blame for the demise of the relationship, but I could, in these past situations, at least see areas that I probably didn’t handle so well. Areas, that I could improve upon next time. Things I could point to that contributed to furthering the misery instead of alleviating it. With the Non-Boyfriend, I’m simply at a loss as to what went wrong, why it went wrong and what part I had in it. I have nothing I can point to that I screwed up (other than that I gave way too much with far too little in return). Maybe that is completely the problem. Maybe I did give too much, invested too much, without adequate commitment up front from him to begin with. Maybe that set the precedent for everything that followed. It’s possible then, that when I finally got tired of the giving with no return on my investment, he just created a situation he knew I would not tolerate, and freed himself. I just do not know and the wondering is going to drive me crazy.
I’ve dated a few men since I left the Evil Ex.
I’ve had a few “relationships”, none of them lasting this long. All of them, the men ditched (or I did) as soon as we were uncomfortable. We didn’t just hang on. Now, I’m not thrilled with how some of those men chose to exit the scene, but I have to hand it to them, they did exit the scene as soon as they knew it wasn’t a fit. They didn’t hang on for two years, then bolt.
I may go to my grave wondering what happened here.
It’s going to be difficult to stifle my own accusatory tendencies that want to make me the culprit for whatever it was that transpired here. I’m going to have to fight the tendency to blame myself for what went wrong. I’m going to have to continue to listen to those good, and decent, and objective (I hope) people in my life that tell me, sometimes shit just happens and you can’t see it coming and you can’t necessarily avoid it. My friends would tell me, “Well, maybe you didn’t do everything perfectly, but that’s just no excuse for someone living on your dole, while actively planning to leave you and tell you about it after the fact. That’s simply not honest.”
So, I swirl in the post-breakup emotions of despair, hopelessness, and wondering what the hell I did wrong all the while feeling like somehow I’ve been gifted a pass out of a horrendous nightmare that could have transpired had we stayed together. It is the epitome of mixed emotions…and I hate it.
I miss what I thought we had.
I miss him when he was at his best.
I don’t miss his unhappiness, his negativity and the stress I’m now realizing he brought into our home, because he somehow just didn’t think we were good enough, or clean enough, or whatever enough. (I personally think those are excuses. He was miserable, for whatever reason, and he just needed to get out. He created an out and went for it without looking back. Maybe that’s just my rationale designed to comfort myself about this crazy situation, but, maybe there’s some validity to it. He had everything going for himself here, and he tubed it.) I don’t miss a lot of things that he brought to the table that I didn’t like, but which I overlooked because he brought other strengths to the table.
I can spin around in this place forever, wondering what happened and why it happened. I may never know the answer to those questions. It’s possible I don’t really want to know the answer to those questions.
At some point, I’m just going to have to let all the questions go…unanswered…if need be…and move on.
In the meantime, the comfort of friends is a most welcome thing.
The beginning of love is always fun, exhilarating, scintillating, exciting, happy. The end of it, if analyzed, is bound to be many things. Sometimes volatile, dangerous, and painful. In my case, this ending is interesting, if not completely humorous. How can I possibly refer to the end of a relationship that was (or so I thought) the love of my life, certain to go the distance, as…humorous? I mean, after all, I am devastated. I really am. I would never have considered living with a man if I wasn’t 100% certain this was the real deal. We really had so much going for us in so many ways. I can’t even begin to explain or list the ways this relationship seemed so right. And yet, apparently, it wasn’t. I have yet to learn all the lessons from this. Much of what has transpired and will yet transpire will teach me important lessons only after the throbbing pain of loss has subsided and I can try to look at what happened with a bit less emotion. I get that. But right now, I’m riding an emotional roller coaster that rivals anything Disney or Six Flags could come up with.
So, in spite of the pain, how can I view this as humorous? Well, having two very stiff drinks helps.
The truth is, I am crushed. I am hurt. I am in all sorts of pain. (So much for that “calm before the storm.”) I’ve cried a lot today. He does not know this. I will continue to brush back the tears, to sob silently behind closed doors (read in the shower), until he is finally gone from my residence and, sadly, from my life.
Since there is now no “faking it” in our relationship (I never did, but I know he did…if not in the bedroom, then certainly elsewhere), we’ve had some very interesting conversations. He is one who likes to dodge issues; pretend like things are fine when, in fact, they are not. I, on the other hand, prefer to know the truth straight up. So, as people do, we had yet another conversation about the details of unwinding this thing. Mind you, we aren’t storming around tense and antagonist. We woke up this morning had coffee together, and began talking about the “unwind” like an old married couple might discuss the return on their mutual fund or the sale of some property or the latest developments with the grandchildren. Since the Non-Boyfriend (NBF), is not exactly one to be direct and honest about his feelings, and since I for some idiot reason felt I needed to know where he stood (this is critical, because I have absolutely no clue how he feels about me and how he feels about “us” in general and haven’t for a very, very long time). So…I started out asking questions and got some good information.
He admits to being such a neat freak that he makes Felix Unger look like a slob. He admits that this is not healthy, has created problems for us, but he’s at a loss as to know what to do. (Read: He’s unhappy with me because my teenager doesn’t leave his room Better-Homes-And-Gardens perfect every day. ) Here’s what my son’s room looks like…normally.
And the downstairs guest bathroom that he complains that my older daughter leaves a disaster (Yes, this is normally how it looks, not cleaned up for the picture.) :
And here is the kids’ bathroom, another source of contention for him:
He says he just cannot deal with the mess anymore and he is tired of cleaning up after everyone.
Let’s make it very clear, folks. This man is NOT paying rent. He is NOT contributing to the bills. He only pays for anything when asked and NEVER volunteers. And he DOES NOT clean up after anyone. Lately, even though he’s making more, he doesn’t even pay when asked. He comes and goes as he pleases and he is tired of cleaning up after everyone? (I was careful to point out to him that he had done absolutely nothing to clean or contribute to this place, without being directly asked, for the last two months. He agreed with me.)
I responded to his above statement, by reminding him of the fact that he pays nothing to live here and, lately, he contributes nothing, and he comes and goes as he pleases. I told him, if I were in that place, I would consider it my rent to do whatever I could around the house to keep the landlord (read: me) happy.
I pressed him further about his perspective. Here’s how the conversation went:
Me: So, how long have you known that this relationship was a dead end and you weren’t willing to go to the next level? (Read: how long have you known you wouldn’t every marry me?) Has it been, what? January? December?
Him: Oh not quite that long.
Yeah, end of conversation.
I have only two words for him at this point: GET OUT!
Actually, that’s not true, I have four words for him: GET THE FUCK OUT!
Instead, what I said was this:
“Well, then. You could have at least have been a gentleman and gotten out once you were sure, instead of taking advantage of me. I’d like you to work on finding a place where you can stay immediately.”
He mumbled something about working on it and named the 10th as a deadline.
I followed up with, “Well, since I just paid your rent, your utilities and your car insurance, and since you have absolutely no ability or motivation to pay me back, you will make sure this house is spotless. You can start with the floors downstairs and making dinner tonight.”
I’m changing the locks on the afternoon of the 10th, maybe even before. (He does not know this.) He cleaned the floors and made dinner tonight.
He can’t leave my life soon enough right now. (And, yes, obviously, he is not telling me the entire truth about where he is with things, which is really the reason we are breaking up; he simply cannot be honest, not with himself or with other people.)
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
~ William Shakespeare
I find it humorous how relationships can turn on a dime.
I find it humorous, how, when a relationship end, the emotions can turn on a dime.
I have one week…just one more week.
I was sitting there, in the Dairy Queen, waiting for my daughter and her friend to come back from the bathroom. I felt a cold wet sensation on my side, my back, my arm, my thigh. I thought for sure that my daughter and her friend were playing pranks and throwing ice.
I turned to look at the offended locations on my body. Instead of ice, I saw, ketchup.
Disbelieving, I looked up to see you looking my way just as dumbfounded. As if you, in your wildest imagination, could not believe that you had dropped the ketchup, let alone that it landed all over me.
You were obviously embarrassed.
You fumbled. Desperately seeking to right a wrong that somehow strangely couldn’t be righted. You handed me all your napkins and there were many. You went to get water for me to use to wipe the red stuff off my attire. You were worried that you had damaged my fine attire. Never mind that I was wearing a discount skirt purchased from Ross Dress-For-Less and my bike shoes. Okay, the bike shoes were somewhat expensive, but you wiped them clean.
I, in return, was so shocked that I did not, I’m afraid, respond well at all.
You see, when I felt the cold liquid on my body and through my clothing, I was really certain, the girls were playing games. They’d been a bit silly all day and after a meal laden with carbs and chased by sugar in the form of soft serve ice cream cones, I was certain, they’d grabbed ice from the ice machine and were tossing it at me…for pranks.
My shock, Mr. Ketchup Guy, was not because I had ketchup on me, as much as it was because I did not have water or ice on me. I was stunned…but not for the reasons you supposed.
You hurriedly helped me clean up, then disappeared to your table on the other side of the dining hall. I walked by you on my way out, in shame, you didn’t even look up or glance my way.
Mr. Ketchup Guy, I owe you an apology.
You did not deserve my response today. Never mind that my response was not what you thought. I was not angry with you. I was not, though I’m certain I came off that way. You did not deserve to leave that place thinking you had offended me or angered me or upset me. You did not deserve to experience embarrassment.
I was just so completely stunned that my kids were not throwing ice at me, that it took me a bit to realize what was going on. You handled everything so smoothly and so well and so quickly, I didn’t have the time to tell you. Then, as I left the place, suspecting you still harbored some embarrassment about the entire episode, I failed to approach you and to thank you for the napkins and the water.
But it really wasn’t the napkins and the water that I’d have thanked you for.
It would have been for the courtesy, the chilvary, the emotion in the person that felt that spilling ketchup on a lady in a fast food restaurant was worth being addressed rather than ignored; that the incident was worthy of some embarrassment on your part.
Many would have acted like the incident never happened.
Thank you for not being one of the many.
Please accept my apologies for not letting you know how grateful I was for your response and for relieving any embarrassment you might have experienced as the result. I was amiss to not assure you that I was fine and the clothing washable, yes, even the expensive bike shoes.
It was clear to me that you are a gentleman, while I did not behave like much of a lady.
Thank you for being part of an endangered species rarely seen these days. I regret to think that I might have taken steps to hurry your kind closer to extinction.
Please forgive me.