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Just a Silly Phase

I don’t typically drag out loads of the deeply personal Nosferatus of my life to watch them writhe and scream in the harsh light of day because 1) Who cares? and 2) Some people actually read this stuff, at least according to my stats.

If I had another blog – for example a Way Super-Secret-Blog® that I didn’t tell anyone about and just let people stumble upon it entirely by accident one day to discover all the occasionally cruel, hurtful, and unpleasant things I’d written about them – I would put all the personal stuff there. But I don’t have one of those, so you’ll just have to deal with it here for a moment. Or stop reading now and move on to LOLCats or something more thought provoking.

A short while ago, someone who used to be a friend of mine and who really isn’t much of one any more but keeps the pretence of friendship alive on Facebook posted this in a status update, attributing it to author unknown, though it is actually part of a quote from Robert Fulghum’s book True Love:

We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.

About a year ago, I struck up a brief correspondence with a fellow blogger who, like me, had been through some unimaginably rough times. Both long-time visitors here will know, of course, that my life has been something of a train wreck for the better part of almost three years: an unwatchable slow-motion catastrophe leaving a wide swath of destruction in its wake – personal loss, job loss, business loss, financial loss, foreclosure, depression, anxiety, insomnia, weight gain, spiralling self esteem – and all of it unfolding during the worst economic climate in over 70 years.  It’s not been pretty and there are a fair number of people who no longer involve themselves with the tedious burden of friendship, as if the Series of Unfortunate Events of the last 34 months are all that define me as a person, diminishing me in their view and making me unworthy. (And let me tell you, there’s nothing more uplifting to someone who has really been beaten down than to reach out for people who turn their backs).

So it was refreshing to commiserate with someone who had some degree of understanding. Though our situations were not at all the same, we did have some very odd parallels, she and I, both in our efforts to put our lives back together with very little support and in the less than stellar success we’d experienced with the Dating Ritual (which, despite the effervescent claims of places like eHarmony, Zoosk, or Steamy Seniors, only seems to get tougher with age).

Probably the oddest parallel was that each of us, having reached the point of just throwing in the proverbial towel and being resigned to the likelihood of a solitary existence, has had someone of vital importance from our past make an appearance after more than two decades. You will note, of course, I said some odd parallels. In her case this particular someone had an amazingly transformative effect and she now has a new and better life.  As for me, well… that would be too easy, wouldn’t it?

The beginning of 2010, February actually, marked the second anniversary of my dire little life journey and I spent a great deal of time reflecting about choices I’ve made – good and bad. You do that sometimes when things seem bleak. During that period I wrote a post about the pain of knowing that the person you had once perceived as your ‘soul mate,’ that person to whom you feel the strongest attraction and with whom you have the deepest and most profound connection, really wants nothing whatever to do with you. On a curious side note, the irony of that specific entry, I think, is that the person who reacted to it the most (not in the traditionally vacant comment section) is not the person about whom it was written. The person about whom it was written had quite rightfully walked out of my life on Friday, 5 January 1990 (not that I remember that date for any reason) during a stupid argument which I, like an idiot, had started over some ridiculously misplaced jealousy and petty insecurities and, apart from a tiny handful of times, I never saw her again.

My dark period of introspection in February lead me to many discoveries, some more enlightening than others, and to the understanding that I have made quite a whopping number of really monumentally poor decisions in my life, one of the biggest being not so much letting her walk out as not putting forth as much effort as I probably ought to have done to get her back.

Confession, though good for the soul, can also be incredibly embarrassing but, in the interests of clarity, I have to explain that I’d already attempted a Facebook search for her and it had come up negative so, shortly after I posted my blog entry, in likely one of the most High School-like things I’d done in a massively long time, I sent her a letter. In it I attached a copy of a photograph I’d taken of her at a party in 1988 (in which she was frowning and giving me the finger, because she hated having her photo taken) and, above it, I wrote a single line, saying  ‘And I have missed that smile every day for nearly twenty years…’  I didn’t sign the letter nor did I bother to provide a return address. I’m not entirely sure why. Maybe fear that she no longer lived at her old address and that some angry freak would respond… perhaps stupidity because I already new the admission of fear was a lie… who knows. I said it was High School-like. I’m not proud of it…

Nearly a month after, in early March, pissing away time on Facebook late one night, I typed her name in the Search box once again. And not at all coincidentally, it also just happened to be her birthday. Can’t imagine how that happened. But this time, to my surprise, there she was. After hovering over the Add as Friend button for a moment, I chose to send her a message instead, simply wishing her a happy birthday. That was it.

More than a week later, she responded. To my even greater surprise, it was an actual response, not merely a request that I a) fuck off and b) sort of nowish. My message back to her included a click of the Add as Friend button this time with the caveat that there was certainly no pressure to accept and that I would completely understand if she ignored it.

A week later, logging on to Facebook , I saw she had accepted me as her friend. I honestly had not expected that.

So fast-forward (yeah, I recommended you go see the baby preacher, didn’t I?) and ten months have passed since our first meeting. It’s felt as though the twenty years between us have vanished and we’d picked up were we left off (the childish argument notwithstanding). Our connection has been almost immediate, and very often we find ourselves talking for hours (the longest conversation spanning some 12 hours which started with a day of antiquing and ended in dinner and watching football, a sport she appears determined to make me enjoy despite my ambivalence to it). I’ve had more laughter and joy in the last ten months with her than I’ve had in ten years, even if she did chastise me for the unsigned letter and the photograph. Of course we’ve had our share of deeply personal discussions as well (she knows all about the things I’ve been through lately and is unfazed by them) and we’ve shared not just a few tears regarding ghosts of our respective pasts. The messages sent back and forth on Facebook and the sporadic emails would fill volumes – most of it trivial but all of it attesting to the fact that we communicate endlessly about absolutely anything – and each time she smiles I am acutely aware of why I asked her, twice, to marry me.

And yet… with all that said, there also seems a determination on her part that there is nothing – and will be nothing – more than the current ambiguity of our undefined though obvious non-relationship. One evening, after hours of conversation over drinks at a small pub, we walked out into the freezing rain and I pulled her close and kissed her. The last time I’d tried that she’d quickly spun her head away like Regan MacNeil from The Exorcist. This time she didn’t and it was like hold the warm glow of the sun. On the down side, she told me days later not to do it again because she didn’t want to confuse and complicate things.

I didn’t really think of it as confusing. I thought it was fairly straightforward. It was no more confusing than her buying things for me on a whim because she thinks I will like them or because they reminded her of me in some way, or that she came to my house on Thanksgiving and stayed for hours when she probably ought to have been with her family. I found it no more confusing than when she secretly decorated my front porch for Christmas one evening as I made dinner or that, as a Christmas gift, she bought us memberships to a local brew pub (in which members get special numbered mugs and discounts and various other things for a full year). It seemed no more confusing than the clear future tense she often uses in conversation including references to what ‘we’ will or ought to do. No. Not at all confusing.

So, much like my aforementioned fellow blogger, it seems after a 20 year separation I’ve reconnected with someone whose weirdness is compatible with mine, someone with whom I can share random thoughts or feelings without reprisal; someone who will discuss the relative merits of Friz Freleng or Chuck Jones, or the odd topics from apparitions to xenobiology; who gets the dry, esoteric, cynical,  peculiar, admittedly infantile and often-times utterly scattershot sense of humour I manifest because hers is precisely the same; who understands the need for more cowbell – and someone who appears absolutely horrified by the notion that we could have any sort of mutual weirdness; someone who might very likely read this one day and be quite irritated with me.

ina-morataI’m not sure what a good or healthy relationship actually looks like. I don’t know that I’ve ever really seen one up close before. But I do know that the nearest I’ve come to one has been with her, then and now. It’s not been perfect and it’s not been easy, but the way we have fitted together again so quickly after so long, to me, is probably exactly why she has expended so much energy running away. Or maybe it is just me and I haven’t bothered yet to notice. ‘The truth is,’ Bob Marley once said, ‘everyone is going to hurt you at some point. You just have to find the ones worth suffering for.’ And, so far, it’s been worth it.

Ina Morata, if you’re paying attention, yes, I’m giving you The Stink Eye…

2 Responses to Just a Silly Phase

  1. Erika says:

    If this had a “like” button, I would click it.

  2. Geo says:

    Thanks! It’s proving to be a long strange trip, as the Grateful Dead would say, but definitely worth every step…though she does have this annoying habit of being somewhat elusive. And I mean annoying in the nicest possible way…

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