Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A New Guy

I've fallen off the radar because a guy swept me off my feet. But now I'm getting up and brushing myself off and getting oriented and creating a new routine. There will be more to report here soon. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Chasing the Franciscan to Francisco

            When you make it together for fourteen years in a relationship that our society says isn’t legitimate, it should end with a celebration.  Instead, ours ended with simple signatures on legal documents.  Closing this chapter of my life so that I could freely move on to the next one did bring a bit of relief, but it was far from a happy moment.  We shared very good times together and the finality of our signatures underscored that it was truly over.  Done. 
            We were both getting what we wanted, relatively.  We met in the conference room at his office, and signed all the paperwork.  Most of the major details had been worked out, but there were still a few loose ends that still need to be cleaned up.  And given that we hadn’t really reached a stalemate during any part of this process over the past two years, there was no reason to believe any details would fall through.
            He got the condo and I got the car, as well as my freedom.  Without a legal mailing address, I had half my clothes at the condo – my winter wardrobe, and a few other items. The loose ends were minor, like leaving your jacket at a friend’s house one night while watching the Miss America Pageant and you just have to schedule a time where you can retrieve it.
            He handed me the car key. He still had to sign the mortgage papers.
            “That’s all you need from me, right?” I stuffed the copies of my paperwork into my bag.
            “That’s it,” he said.
            I stated to get up.
            “Oh, the condo keys,” he said, “could you just leave them with the doorman?”
            It felt like I had been kicked in the stomach.  I knew I would have to give him the keys at some point.  But keys were a big deal to us.  In our life together, we gave keys to friends who we trusted to come sweeping in at a moment’s notice to do things like feed the cat in a crisis, or if we were stuck in traffic, they could get the vodka chilling on ice before we arrived. And now, even with half of my wardrobe still there, a dog we have cared over for fourteen years, and boxes of stuff that I needed a place, he was asking me for the keys.  I had figured when I had those details worked out, I would volunteer the keys to him, suggesting he leave my name on the emergency contact form with the doorman.
            If I were the crazy lunatic ex-boyfriend who left boiling rabbits on the stovetop, I might understand, but I’m not.  Since moving to the lesbian pad, my arrival was always announced.  And when I came to get something I needed, I always cleared it with him first.  I felt that all we had left was respect, and if I didn’t at least honor that, we’d be throwing chafing dishes at each other.
            “Okay. They’ll be with the doorman.”
            It took everything I had to hold it together until I could get out of the building—the building for the job that my professional network helped him get.  I practically ran to the street, where I lost it.  Walking to the condo to get the car, the finality of our separation and the depth of its sadness hit me like a city bus squashing a bicyclist.
            I walked to the condo to get the car, unable to hold back the ugly cry, making it one heck of an ugly walk. 
            I am alone now, I thought. I don’t even have a mailing address.  All I have is a car.
            I walked past the Paralegal’s building.  Alone, I walked the route we took to discover gin martinis.  I walked by myself down the sidewalk where the Lawyer and I plastered “You Are Beautiful” stickers on street signs and overpasses.  The stickers were still there, staring me in the face.  Permanent mementos to the bliss we once had.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Landing With Airport Guy

            I had a date with Airport Guy.  After months of going back and forth, we finally crossed paths again.  I had met him sitting in the Admirals Club in St. Louis while on a layover on my way to Atlanta.  This was nearly ten months ago.  We hit it off instantly, and have managed to stay in touch.  Not two weeks after our initial meeting, he was on a business trip to Chicago and we had arranged for our first date.
            Joint massages at his hotel spa followed by a leisurely dinner.
            “How long have you been dating?” The massage therapist grilled me with all the questions as she massaged my body.
            “About fifteen minutes,” I said.
            “Ooo, and he’s treating you to a massage? This guy is a keeper.”
            “He is.  A genuine guy, caring, compassionate, dedicated.  Loyal.”
            “So you’ve been chatting for a while?”
            “Yes.  He lives in St. Louis.”
            “And you’re from here?”
            “So if you’ve all been dating for fifteen minutes, it’s probably too soon to be talking about who is going to be moving where? Or are you just going to do the long distance thing?”
            “Well, he appears to be pretty perfect, but he has a boyfriend.”
            “Oh, I see.”  She kneaded my shoulders, working in silence for a few minutes. Her tone of voice had indicated that she was dying to know more, but didn’t want to appear too judgmental.
            “So, if you don’t mind my asking, how do you feel about him having a boyfriend?”
            “Oh, it’s fine, really.  This is all just practice until the real one comes along, sweeping me off my feet.”
            “That sounds like a pretty open-minded way to view that.”
            She moved to my feet and started started working on a knot in the center of the arch.
            “What part of the body is that connected to?”
            “Oh, it’s connected to a muscle that goes up the back of the leg to your calf.”
            “No, I mean reflexology, what is it connected to?”
            “Oh, right. It’s connected to your intestines.  The G.I. track.  Sometimes people get knots here when they have a lot of stress in their life. Particularly if you have a lot of change.  Men tend to hold that stress in their stomachs.”
            On the upside of getting a massage on a first date is that all the stress of the day, week, and quite possibly the month gets worked out.  But on the down-side, when you have the knot connected to your intestines rubbed out, it can only lead to one thing: flatulence.
            So much for making a memorable impression on a first date.
            Gassy and bloated, I sucked down water and wine to cover for my excessive trips to the restroom.
            Despite what felt like a suffocating dying baby kicking its way out of my body, we had a pleasant conversation over dinner and our time together was enjoyable.  Airport Guy approached life with an emerging sense of adventure, and I could tell he was on his way to single life, even if he didn’t know it.  Together, we might possibly be each other’s rebound.
            When I returned from the bathroom for the twentieth time in about an hour, I came back to the table to a text message from the other side of my table: “Would you like to stay with me at my hotel tonight?”
            I quickly tapped out a reply: “I thought you’d never ask; I’d love to.” 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Finding Home

            I was catching up on Glee. I have to admit, I hadn’t watched it all summer. Not a single episode. For some reason, it was just too painfully lonely to get through an entire episode, so I didn’t even try.
            In the middle of the episode, “Home,” Will Schuester and his high school squeeze April Rhodes launch into a melody of Burt Bacharach’s “One Less Bell to Answer.”

            One less bell to answer
            One less egg to fry
            One less man to pick up after
            I should be happy
            But all I do is cry

            I completely lost it, descending into the downward spiral of a snot-inducing ugly cry.
            Cry, cry, no more laughter, I should be happy
            Oh, why did he go, I only know that
            Since he left my life’s so empty

            Wallowing in a pit of a snot hole, I realized why this show is so challenging to watch alone: its humor, the sophisticated writing, it’s over-the-top campy flair are all qualities the Lawyer and I enjoy in a good show, and I’d like nothing more than to be sitting with him, watching and sharing. The music used, is, after all mostly from our childhood. It’s celebrated with teenage characters that sing with heart-felt passion the sentiments of a song that was a hit long before they were supposedly born, giving a new ironic twist to these numbers. I love it. We love it. It’s part of the show’s appeal.
            But I’m not wrapped up with the Lawyer. He’s wrapped up with a Flight Attendant who comes from a different generation. A Flight Attendant who doesn’t even understand that Cindy Lauper used to be straight, George Michael wasn’t always a sex addict, and Madonna – well, she invented the formula Britney Spears is now using to propel her career forward.
            That’s what makes me so sad when I watch the show. The Lawyer and I could be sharing pop culture on such deep and meaningful levels. Could be.

            Though I try to forget it just can’t be done
            Each time the doorbell rings I still run
            I don’t know how in the world
            To stop thinking of him
            ‘Cause I still love him so
            I end each day the way I start out
            Crying my heart out

            Laying there in a puddle of tears, no egg to fry, I realized that’s what was so comforting about the Lawyer. He was my home. It’s why the Paralegal rose to such an elevated position in my world. And the few times I’ve been wrapped up in the arms of the Marine all night, spooning. Each of these men, in some way, they were my home.
            They grounded me. They filled me up. They made me feel like we’re all going to be all right.
            And I miss that.
            I grabbed my iPhone, and despite having deleted the Paralegal from my phone, I managed to fire off a text message.
            “I felt at home with you. I miss that.”
            An hour and half later, my phone chimed. It was the first time I’d received a text from him since he texted telling me he was headed to rehab.
            “I felt the same also. It sorta came from nowhere.”
            My heart sank. If he feels the same, if the feelings are mutual, then why is he not here? Why?

            (One less bell to answer) Why did he leave me
            (Why, why, why did he leave)
            (One less bell to answer) Now I’ve got one less egg to fry
            One less egg to fry
            (Why, why, why did he leave) And all I do is cry
            (One less bell to answer) Because a man told me goodbye
            (Why, why, why did he leave)
            (One less bell to answer) Somebody tell me please
            Where did he go, why did he go
            (Why, why why did he leave) tell me how could he leave me

            I threw the phone across the room. Recognizing my own ridiculous nature, I realized that while the Paralegal can help me to find my home, my center, my groundedness, I can’t depend on him solely. Or the Lawyer. Or the Marine. That place of home must come from me. From within me. Glee is just a silly show, and it will always be there. New shows will come, and with them, new men will enter my life. And at this moment in time, I’m watching Glee alone. But in that, I am home.
            I am home.
            As much as I wanted to know why, and as much as I wanted to know the answers, I knew in my heart that pummeling the Paralegal with questions would accomplish nothing. And why must I know? He just said he felt the same. He just admitted it came from nowhere. Why must I know, when it just is?
            I typed a reply and hit send.
            “I know.”
            I had found my home. 

Monday, September 13, 2010

Never Say No to a Party

            About a week after my appointment with the Psychic, I came home to the Lesbian Pad.
            “You’re not going to believe this. Our friend who we haven’t seen in years just stopped by last night and he’s throwing his fiftieth birthday tonight.  He’s a really successful gay guy. Don’t know if he’s your type, but there are sure to be other gay guys.  You want to come?”
            The words of the Psychic echoed in my mind.
            Don’t say no to any birthday party invitations.
            I went about my day with expressed enthusiasm.  And when I got home before leaving, the Lesbians indicated they were exhausted from their day and not really feeling like a party.
            “How about you ladies write out a card, extending birthday wishes. Then I’ll hand deliver the card on your behalf.”
            I don’t know where this inspiration came from, but when the spirit knows, it moves into action.
            The Lesbians signed a card, and I was off and running to a party for a man I did not know.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Thrash Him With a Dozen Roses

            I was torn between two lovers.  Feeling like a fool.  One lover, inside of me, wanted to lash out against the Paralegal.  The other lover wanted to respond with love and compassion.
            Neither felt appropriate.
            The First Lover wondered what the sense was in keeping any semblance of secrecy to this blog.  Part of the reason it was anonymous was because the Paralegal had gone to rehab.  Now that the rehab storyline appeared to be completely fiction, it didn’t seem to matter.  Why not come out of the closet?  Why not send a link to the Paralegal with a note saying, “I know you like a good story; this one should be a pretty good read.”
            But the First Lover was not completely satisfied with that concept.  Why not send a dozen roses to the office, the card reading, “”?  The women in the office would turn rabid.  They would have to know who sent them, ripping the card from his lying, texting fingers. They’d gather around a computer, unable to pull Internet Explorer up fast enough, only to discover the corporate firewall is preventing them access. They’d swarm from computer to computer, trying to find one allowing them access.  The skirts would chase the pants suits, who would take the lead shoving unsuspecting men out of the way.
            Someone would try pulling it up on their Blackberry.  Another racing for the site on their iPhone. 
            “AT&T, don’t fail me now.”
            Chaos would erupt as a pants suit would be to task breaking into the office of a partner who is gone for the day.  The link would spread like wildfire, as people fired off e-mails to their personal accounts to dive later from home.
            Finally, they would gain access, and the nosey, resourceful pants suit would begin to read it for all the ladies swarmed around.  Their hearts would collectively break as they realize the coworker they adore is not the coworker they thought they knew.
            It was delicious; First Lover savored the thought.
            “It’s just going to cost you eighty dollars, and you wouldn’t get the satisfaction of seeing that because he would never share that with you,” the Office Ladies said.
            They were right. And the Second Lover realized that he reached out to me. He accepted my friend request, and he had to know that I would discover the truth, yet he still reached out.  He’s wanting to connect, and it’s quite possibly the most he can do.  I should be grateful for that.
            The two lovers inside of me were having a spat that escalated to a full-on argument with screeching back and forth. I made a bag of popcorn as I watched the scene unfold in my head, munching on a kernel at a time, wondering what might happen next.
            But the next morning when I went to restalk the Paralegal, all the Wall posts that had any connection to me were gone.  The message he was missing someone, that he was at the gym for four hours on my birthday, that he was getting a sunburn while he was supposed to be in rehab, they were all gone.
            It was as if he was trying to erase his past mistakes.
            Yoga Girl suggested that I send him a message, saying what I learned from reading his Facebook page.  It sounded like a good plan. I could say what I wanted to say, I could convey the pain he caused. I could demonstrate to him how deeply he hurt me.
            It sounded like First Lover was taking over.
            I had come to discover that if I eat a big bowl of spaghetti with meatballs before I head to clairvoyant class, I’ve filled myself with the gluttonous comfort food that helps ward of the desire for four chocolate martinis after class.  While sitting there, sucking down a noodle, I realized that I actually don’t have to do anything.
            First Lover clearly was in a food coma, allowing Second Lover to take over.
            Let him come to me.  And then, if he does, I can say to him all the things I wanted to say to him.
            I was feeling good about arriving at this point.  I shared it with a friend in my clairvoyant class.  She listened carefully.
            “You want some feedback?”
            “Sure,” I said, excited that maybe she held the key to the universe and was going to unlock some universal knowledge.
            “I keep hearing, ‘you, you, you’ in what you want to say to him. What about you? What do you want? What do you need? Why not something like, ‘I’m in close intimate relationship with people who can be open and honest with me.’ “
            Clearly, First Lover was not in a food coma, Second Lover was.  Chocolate martinis and meatballs are a strategy of first lover.
            As her words resonated through me, Second Lover began to shake off the food coma.  I realized I don’t have to heal the Paralegal. I don’t have to right his wrong. I don’t have to reach out to him.  That’s not my responsibility to clean up the mess he has created or to solve his problems.  And if he’s going to be in my life in any way, he’s going to have to fix the mess.
            For whatever reason he reached out to me. For whatever reason, he is trying to erase his past mistakes. And in that moment, is it right for me to thrash him with a dozen roses?
            I can just keep on keeping on, living my own fabulous life. Posting my own fabulous Wall posts and photos.  He will see the same messages motivating people to say, “I love reading you posts, your life is so interesting.”
            And that’s the me that I want the Paralegal to fall in love with.  If he can step into that space then, great. And if not, that’s his experience.  If for whatever reason he can’t step into the love I have to give, that is his choice, his loss, and its not mine.
            Second Lover was on to First Lover.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Facebook Friends

            The Paralegal accepted my friend request tonight on Facebook. A few weeks back in clairvoyant training, we had been playing with manifesting things, flexing our ability to make a request of the universe and then receive it.  It’s a powerful tool, we were warned, and before we asked for something big, like a new job or a new relationship, it was recommended we play around with smaller things.  Like flowers.
            “Something frivolous.  It doesn’t matter.  Anything,” our instructor said.
            “Love notes?” I blurted out.
            “Love notes?  You want more than one?”
            “Why not?”
            “Okay, love notes, then.”
            So I made my request of the Universe, to receive within two weeks a love note from the Lawyer and from the Paralegal.  And then I forgot about it.
            Later that week, while dancing the night away on a bench at Big Chicks, one of the songs of last summer came on.  One of the songs from when the Lawyer and I were spending our weekend nights tearing up the dance floor.  I Shazamed the song, and fired off an e-mail with a message about the song.
            “Dancing on a bench at Big Chicks. How much fun are you having?”
            The next day, I got a reply from the Lawyer.
            “I miss Big Chicks.”
            Later that day, I was flipping through photos on Flickr, when I found an image that made me think of the Paralegal instantly.  I fired off a message with a link, simply saying that I thought he would enjoy the picture.
            He, too, replied that day.
            “Beautiful picture. I’m well. I hope you are, too.”
            I replied with a picture of his watch on my wrist.

* * *

            A few days later, while running during lunch, it occurred to me that those were my love notes.  They were the most love either of these men could ever express toward me.  And that I was asking the Universe for something neither of these men could provide.  The Lawyer, in his brevity, said as much with words as he did without.  He’d never been to Big Chicks before, and I was the one to introduce him to its charm.  By declaring this he missed Big Chicks, he was really saying that he missed us, and the time we spent together there.  Our nights on the town, flirting.  And the Paralegal, it was the most he could do to acknowledge the message.
            But it didn’t end there.
            About a week later, I got a random message from the Paralegal. It was an image of the skyline of Chicago. There was no text in the message, just a subject line.
            “My walk.”
            A few days later, I sent him a simple message recalling our relaxing adventures together.
            “I miss Sundays.”
            He replied the same evening.
            It seems a simple dialogue with the Paralegal had begun again.
            So when I exchanged some credit card points for movie vouchers, I fanned them across my desk, snapped a picture, and emailed them off to the Paralegal. A nod to our shared fondness of walking across town and going to the movies.
            I was completely surprised when the Paralegal, after weeks, maybe even months, accepted my Facebook Friend request tonight, the same night I sent him a photo of movie coupons.
            I looked over his page, and his wall post updates.  His spirits seemed to be high, he still had the quirky view on the world that I have fallen in love with.  He’d reported through Wall posts that he is running more and more. I was happy for him.
            But then I noticed he was posting messages from parties.  He was still going to dance the night away at Visions Nightclub.  Curious for a boy who had just been in rehab. And then, Memorial Day weekend, when he was in rehab, he posted that he was headed to the beach, only later to have a sunburn.
            My internal stalker kicked in, and I kept clicking “Older Posts.”  For two hours, I sat there combing through his Wall posts, pulling out my journal and comparing dates and time stamps. The day he went to rehab, he went for a run. The night he was supposed to be at a fundraiser with me, he was at home in bed, watching a movie.  My birthday, which he had agreed to take off to spend with me, he spent four hours at the gym.
            I was heart broken. Wrecked. Furious. The tears I shed for him. The pain I felt for him believing he was going through rehab. The confusion of whether or not I should let him go or keep him close to my heart, sending him light and love.
            When I was there, with him, I just felt his love was real.
            But then, there, on his wall it was.  On the Saturday I was at my friends’ lake house and I was receiving text after text from him of adoring love, he posted, “I’m missing someone.”
            After our walk to the zoo, dinner on the town, and watching a movie, he posted, “The most BEAUTIFUL day.”
            There were others, too. The nine pictures he uploaded all snapped in the Art Institute on our afternoon there.
            All evidence that what was there was real.  For the moment that we shared. For the moment our spirits tickled each other with laughter.  For the moment we held each other’s hands.  For the moment we looked into each other’s eyes and stopped breathing.
            I am certain it was true love we had.
            And I am certain it was true love that had been broken.