I spent the day breathing through my nerves and trying to swallow my fear instead of puking it up. I can do this. I know I can. I know I can. I know I can.
I simply didn’t want to.
I’m loyal to a fault and when I invest my heart, it’s long term because I don’t shift well and my affection is neither feigned nor conditional.
The Dumpling was safe and sound with Sober One Kenobe, I was zipped into the cute little black dress she’d loaned me and broke out my red lipstick for a little added push.
Determined to be excited and not hesitant, I flew like a bird to the spectacular benefit dinner that was set up in the middle of my mother’s front yard.
The power that’s been bestowed on me through work, shines through every awkward part of my life these days. I used to pick at my fingernails or hide in the kitchen for these events because I hate hobnobbing with the rich and entitled. I still hate it but I don’t let their rude comments slide off anymore. I looked around the crowd and saw a dozen of the worst customers I ever had the misfortune of serving in the restaurant industry.
I was struggling to keep my eyes from rolling when I felt a hand on my back and was enveloped by his cologne. Mmmm…. damn it. I love an artificially scented man more than just about anything.
McS- You are beautiful.
J- You’re sweet to say so.
He’s so pretty it hurts to look at him and I laughed out loud at the thought as he pulled me in closer for a hug.
McS- I like your hair color. It’s my favorite on a woman.
J- The same as yours?
I looked up to see the worst therapist I’ve ever had, approaching.
J- Oh no. Not her. Uck.
There aren’t words to adequately describe what a fucking nightmare her and her rude husband are. I had many horrible evenings serving the two of them and from her excited shout, I know she’s still oblivious to her poor behavior and worse attitude. More so, she was my rape counselor and made a traumatic event, horrifying.
McS- Hey can you help me with something in the kitchen?
He was all giggles as he pulled me into my mom’s empty house.
McS- It’s great to see you. Do you like my shirt?
I grabbed a bouquet of flowers from the table and walked back out… avoiding the forced intimacy the empty house created. He followed me and we took our seats at the table.
He has crystal blue eyes and dimples you could swim in. He’s a walking underwear model, with an enormous crush on yours truly. I recognize the look on his face because I work overtime to keep my own feelings for someone else, under wraps. Bless his heart, McSteamy isn’t working too hard to keep it a secret.
We caught up over caprese and his hand landed on my knee under the table somewhere between quinoa and a ribeye. I was praying for sparks but it only felt hot and uncomfortable. I bit the inside of my cheek to keep the frustrated tears from flooding my eyes and forced myself to smile brightly at him. I downed a glass of rose and internally begged my foolish heart to stop cataloging everything I wanted that he wasn’t.
He started talking about his divorce and the impending disappointment that brings. No matter how welcome, endings are always difficult. I relate to him when I see the pain in his eyes that mine also work hard to hide. We’re both in a desperately sad place and in need of a lifeline.
That’s not hot. That’s codependent and unhealthy.
McS- What are you doing later? Can I come over?
J- No, but thank you for the offer. I’m going to be completely honest. I’m desperately in love with someone who does not feel the same and I don’t want to be the next person that hurts you. If you want to go see a movie or take a bike ride, I’d love that… but that’s about it. You’re beautiful and I’m flattered, but I’ve grown up a lot and I know that jumping from the frying pan into the fire will only land me feeling worse, with first degree burns.
He leaned over and kissed me on the cheek and those damn tears showed up again..
McS- What a dummy.
I laughed and nodded my head yes.
J- I know. I would love to be your friend if you’re in the mood for a dumb one.
McS- I meant him, not you. You’re the best girlfriend I ever had. I’m sorry I was a drunk jerk and I’ll go anywhere you want to go, any time you’re free. Please don’t cry. Do you want to talk about it? What happened?
J- No, I sure don’t. Thanks for understanding though. It’d be really cool to have a guy friend to go do stuff with.
McS- We had a lot of fun together. I think you called me a God?
J- I called you a lot of things.
McS- I owe you an apology, you helped me through a tough time and I’d love to return that favor.
J- Then keep your clothes on and be my friend.
McS- You got it.
I drove back to Sober One Kenobe’s house and picked up my little Dumpling, climbed into my bed and fell soundly asleep for the first time in months.
I’ve finally mustered up a little peace and can breathe through the heartache instead of drowning in it. I can finally laugh and be charmed by a pretty man. More importantly though, I have learned to take care of myself and be true to the realization that I don’t want anyone else. Sad is a place and I’m stuck there. That’s ok. Filling that space with a body or someone else’s innocent heart will only make me feel worse.
So the date wasn’t that exciting and I may as well go buy a pack of granny panties and settle into my celibacy… but I’m so proud of myself for learning something from this awful lesson.
Instead of sadder, I’m nicer.
Instead of bitter… I’m more mindful of my affect on people.
…and instead of doing the same thing and expecting different results, I decided to grow up and learn from it.