I was pissed before I even got into Mister Hazel Eyes’s car. He got lost on the way over and when I called to see if I could help, he yammered for like 20 minutes without telling me his cross-streets or asking a single thing about me. I think this is a thing that I do when I’m nervous, too, though, especially if it’s somebody I really like. Nonetheless, I went from heels to flats before he got here.
I remember him picking me up for that last date last August and seeming put-upon, like his life was way too hard and I was making it harder by being his date. All of the anger I felt about him ditching me last year came out, I had no idea I was still mad!
As we drove and talked, he told me I’d been right about him having a secret-someone at home when we were dating—he says she was his ex-wife then and that they are still living together now. I’d always wondered if I’d been being paranoid thinking he had a secret-lady, but I guess I really was reading the clues right—go me!
He’s still living with his (he says she’s his ex, anyway) wife after all this time!? If that doesn’t remind me to get my still-too-dependent-on-Sweetie ass in gear, I don’t know what will!
So here’s what I realized as we drove along and everything he said was making me more and more aggravated, every story showing him to be petty, immature, and needlessly harsh—I felt the same way then. I didn’t like him, plain and simple. There was no reason to have tortured either one of us about it. Back then it felt like every guy was a rare chance, my only way towards happiness because if I didn’t learn to like this one, if I didn’t somehow adapt myself to whatever mess he was, then I would never be flexible enough to find love.
I know I was doing that that trying-to-make-myself-like-someone-who-doesn’t-fit thing with The Man, too, and to a lesser degree with some others, but hopefully that nasty habit is behind me now. Part of the reason I thought that way was because that’s just how I saw my marriage—I thought that if I didn’t force myself to love Sweetie for the rest of my life, then I was failing at love and would never be mature or responsible enough to have real relationships. It’s one of the ways I was convincing myself to stay with her and I am so, so thankful that I don’t have to feel that way anymore, that hopefully now I have a chance to find loves that actually work.
Mister Hazel Eyes pulled the car over so we could be face to face (A relief, his driving gives me the jitters.) and I started to cry.
“You treated me like shit, like I was an imposition, and I didn’t deserve that. I was afraid to say anything because I thought you’d leave. I didn’t really have any self esteem back then.”
“I’m sorry. You’re right. I treated you badly. I disappeared because I knew I wasn’t good enough for you.”
Which sounds like a really bullshit thing to say, but in this case it really rang true. It’s never really seemed fair to me, seemed undemocratic somehow, to say that someone’s not good enough, but if you look at the guys I’ve liked lately, there’s absolutely no comparison at all. I wonder if I’ll say the same thing about these guys in a year—I hope not ‘cause I heart having them as pals.
“You just left me like I wasn’t there, like I wasn’t anything. I just wanted to say goodbye! I thought it was because of something wrong with me all this time, but it wasn’t.” I was still crying lightly into my wasted makeup.
“I’m sorry. You’re a beautiful, intelligent woman and you didn’t deserve to be treated that way. I can never really make it up to you. You can totally punch me in the arm if you want to.”
I laughed and said “Can I smack you right across the face?”
“I respectfully ask that you don’t.”
He told me some more off-putting things about his life, all the proof I needed that I’m now officially in the post-schlub phase of my existence.
“I’d like to go home now, please.”
We hadn’t been driving that long, but the way home seemed to take forever, full of tentative wrong turns. To lighten the mood I did punch him on the arm, and it made me laugh. He said I could beat him up some more when we got out of the car, and I’d been kind of spoiling for a fight all day, but this isn’t that kind of story. Without the respect and joy that I feel for my playpals, it would have just been sad.
On my street, he pulled onto the same spot where we’d car-cuddled after our last scene.
“Sure you don’t want to hit me?”
“No, there’s no reason to hit you. It just wasn’t a match and I can’t believe I made such a big deal out of it. I should’ve been able to just scroll past. Let’s have a high-five for closure.”
It was a very sad high-five, and he is a very sad guy. Where my present pals wake me up and make me feel more vital, he dulled my senses and made all the good things seem far away. That’s what looking to the past does, and even though I’m up-in-the-air with my living situation and still kinda aching ‘cause I can’t smooch CBATP, I love the present so much, and I want to just stop and revel in how far I’ve come.