in which i catch a glimpse of maturity.
so, in my last post, i wrote about how i felt sad that the Year of Maturity and Discretion had gotten off to a rather immature indiscreet start.
in this one i will write about how maybe i’m doing better than i thought. maybe i’m doing all right after all.
i intended it all to be one post, but the last one had gotten too long.
so i begin here: i saw Tread-Lightly last night. the period of discernment has come to an end. i’m very glad about that. and it was very good to see him.
i was worried about it. worried that it might be a capital-b Bad Idea. The Gift Horse thought so. ‘you need to wait at least a year—you need to wait until he’s just a person to you. until you’re over him. why do you even want to see him again?’ ‘because i don’t have a lot of friends here right now. and that sucks. i need more friends. friends are good. we’re friends, aren’t we?’ ‘yes. but it didn’t end badly with us.’ ‘i just want to see him, is all—i just want to hear the sound of his voice.’ ‘see. now that’s bad. what you just said. you need to cancel.’ ‘maybe you’re right.’
i saw Tread-Lightly walking with a girl on saturday afternoon—not holding hands or anything—and they weren’t even smiling—there was nothing romantic about the scene, she could have been anyone—but it made me miserable. just seeing that, i felt all disordered.* and i was on my way to work. and so then i had to stand in the bar looking out the dreaded window trying not to cry. (‘maybe The Gift Horse is right….maybe i’m not ready. at all. maybe i should never see him again. maybe i should even stop working here. stop torturing myself.’) i saw him walking home from work one night last week (through the dreaded window) and i felt a kind of weird hot flush—then my bartender colleague asked me if i was feeling all right and i went to the bathroom to look in the mirror and lo and behold, i was red all over. from my forehead down to my shoulders, at least. just like i was blushing—but, you know, a lot. it went away after a few minutes. but. certainly it was weird.
AND YET in spite of the evidence that i was not remotely over him, i met Tread-Lightly for drinks last night.
AND YET and it was perfectly fine. mirabile dictu!
i don’t really know how or why, but it was. i didn’t cry, i didn’t suddenly break out in mystery hives, and miracle of miracles it didn’t stir up all my emotions again. in fact seeing him had the opposite effect. it calmed me down. it was like meeting him for the first time. he was just a person. a mere mortal. i can’t explain it, but it’s like whatever got switched on in my brain a couple of months ago and started all this troublesome machinery—finally somebody up there was kind enough to switch it off. ahhhhhh. (hear my sigh of relief.) we had a few beers, a nice chat, and then he drove me home. where i also did not cry or break out in hives—i did some chores and talked on the phone.
the meeting did have a rather datelike structure—ending with a ‘so, do you want to hang out again?’ and then when i was about to get out of the car, i gave him an awkward little wave and he asked for a hug—and of course it was a quality hug. and i could see him looking at me at the bar in a more-than-friends way, and trying not too—and i could feel my eyes roaming around too—but it just did my libido good. i didn’t think, ‘was that a date, or not?’ because i didn’t really care. ‘does he want to get back together?’ i didn’t worry about it—it does no good to speculate—he’s slippery as an eel, that one—i’m not in a scheming frenzy to get back together again because we never really were together. somehow i realize that. somehow maturity breaks through?
he told me he’d spent the past month happily dating himself. ‘and you know what, it’s been great. because i really like myself!’ ‘yes. i know,’ i laughed.
i’m glad to know him. glad to have him in my life. this rather strange man who had me acting like an absolute fool. i think we might turn out dear friends. ‘so, do you want to hang out again?’ ‘of course. yes. and i’m really glad we did this tonight—i honestly never thought you would ever talk to me ever again, after i wrote that letter.’ ‘really?’ ‘yes! my God. i’ve never made such an ass of myself.’ ‘i read it in completely the opposite spirit, you know—well, i mean, i didn’t say “i love you too,” of course, but i thought it was excellent.’ ‘well of course it was. you think i’d write you some shitty letter? but that’s the problem, i think…the writing. because i’ve been writing again. after so many years when i didn’t. it’s bad.’ ‘how can that be bad?’ ‘i think i get carried away. i definitely got carried away when i wrote that…i confused myself. i mean, i don’t know you very well at all….and i know that. i think i got carried away with intense empathy and intense lust.’
(i was very glad to be able to articulate that.)
there were other things i wanted to write about last night but. i have to get ready to go to work. i’m not too excited about that, but at least the window holds no terror for me now!
i will conclude by saying that i think a Year of Empathy and Lust sounds heavenly. i would like one of those. please.
* but i would have felt so much worse if she had been prettier than me. petty female mind!