I actually don't mind Scott smoking as much as I thought I would. His fingers stink and his mouth always has the faint taste of tobacco, but when he smokes we go outside on my balcony and talk--really talk--without the distractions of TV or music.
I stuck my foot between the rails and looked down, "What are we?" I was comfortable asking him this, perhaps because I already knew where he stood.
He took a drag of his cigarette, "Well I've always been in relationships ever since I was young--"
I cringed. This was not the response I wanted to hear. I am the available girl when he wants a girlfriend. I am not special.
"My family actually suggested to me that I needed to take a year off of relationships," he continued, "And I decided to do it. At first I was really lonely, but then I began to enjoy not having to always worry about someone else. I actually didn't go out much at all. I was working at the restaurants and I was too tired to do anything. I learned so much about myself, Sarah. I really got to know me. And I think I'm ready to get back in that stuff."
I felt a little sorry for Scott. He only just got to know himself. This was my second time living alone, and that's when I learned my strengths and weaknesses. Being the exact opposite of Scott in that I rarely have relationships, I had plenty of time to learn me. I was comfortable with myself by the time I was 25, not 30 like Scott.
"And how long have you been single?" I wanted to know if he followed through on the year-long pledge or not.
I smiled. A year and then some. It wasn't as dire as I originally thought. He sounded perfectly primed for a relationship. He's had his act together for two years and has been single for a year. He says he knows who he is and is comfortable with himself. He has a firm foundation for the way he's going to live the rest of his life and I know I won't have to worry about him slipping into his old habits.
"I've been single for close to two years," I admitted. "But then again I'll date someone for months and not be committed."
"Not me," he thoughtfully took another drag of his cigarette, "If you want to do this, Sarah, and be together, I'm willing. It's up to you. You tell me."
And in that moment I hated Scott. I hated him for making the decision mine because I knew I would never ask for it. I couldn't. I am too scared of what a relationship brings to have it be my idea. My fault. I wanted him to say, "This is what I want" to absolve me of all responsibility. No, this couldn't be my idea.
"So what are the ground rules, Sarah?" he prodded.
My heart thumped and I didn't like myself very much at the moment either because I knew I was about to give the wrong answer.
"How about you tell me when you start sleeping with someone else."
~Friday, June 29, 2007
I actually don't mind Scott smoking as much as I thought I would. His fingers stink and his mouth always has the faint taste of tobacco, but when he smokes we go outside on my balcony and talk--really talk--without the distractions of TV or music.
I took a couple of days to think about Scott's boyfriending. In the meantime, we went to another happy hour at The Musician's restaurant.
The Musician who still hasn't called.
He ran into Helen before I even arrived. "Oh you guys are here tonight?" he asked her excitedly. "Where are y'all sitting?"
I looked at Helen skeptically, "He was excited?"
"Yup. He said it just like that."
Shortly thereafter The Musician came out to visit me. He greeted me with a hug and showed me his stained shirt, "I brought some food for you."
I leaned my head away from it and gave him a look. He. hasn't. called. And now he's standing in front of me acting like nothing happened.
He pointed to the guitar player, "Is he any good?"
"Of course, he plays whatever we tell him to."
"Except for "Karma Police," he smiled. He is so proud of himself for learning it and playing it for me.
"Yes, I know! It was so classy the way you just started playing it."
We spoke for a few more minutes before he hurried off back to his tables. I turned around and my friends stared at me with their mouths open, "He was really flirty with you."
"Do you think?"
Four girls nodded, "Definitely. What are you going to do?"
"Nothing I guess. I'm still figuring out things with Scott and The Musician didn't mention anything about going out again. I'm okay with that; I have Scott."
And you know what? He still hasn't called.
Love, Sarah at 11:08 AM|
~Thursday, June 28, 2007
Poor Sarah!! A really cute and really awesome boy wants her to be his girrrrrl friend!! What a stinker!I was not getting a lot of sympathy from my friends.--Harvey
The next morning I sent around e-mails and phone calls to those I trusted. They all came back with very much the same opinion:
Coworker Mike: So what's the problem?
Sarah: He wants to be exclusive.
Mike: Yeah, so what's the problem?
Sarah: I've only known him like a week and a half.
Mike: Is he nice to you?
Mike: So what is it then, does he smell bad?
Sarah: He smells like Old Spice. Mmm.
Mike: Sarah, listen to me. Since I've known you, you've wanted one thing: a boyfriend. Now here it is and you don't want it. This is you screwing things up. He wants to be with you and you are pushing him away. When this goes sour and you're standing in my cubicle and complaining, I'm going to let you know that you had your chance.
Sarah: (muttering) Okay.
I was accused of sabotaging the relationship across the board. I think I was even called an idiot on more than one occasion. My friends watched how I suffered with Jack and they adored Scott for his confidence and easy affection. Everyone who has seen us together has made the exact same remark: With the way he looks at me, he obviously really likes me.
And I like him too. He's five kinds of adorable. He takes charge of our relationship, but not in an overbearing way. He uses my name when he talks to me. He loves his family and, just as importantly, he loves my dog.
But he talks about the girls of his past, and there's a lot of them. I don't jump into things. Ever. I'm such a careful decision maker that I haven't had a proper boyfriend since I began this blog.
I'm worried that I'm not special. That he's like this with all the girls. Maybe he's one of those who gets really excited in the beginning and then fizzles just as quickly. And what would happen if I allowed myself to get caught up in that? I would fall and I would get hurt AND feel like a chump for believing him.
On the other hand, he is five years older than me, leaving more room to have exes. And maybe I don't have as many boyfriends, but I date. A lot. I had Christopher, Adam, and Jack within the last year and all of those had spanned over several months, punctuated by at least 20 other men. But having a committed relationship means so much to me that I won't enter one until I feel safe. I want to know that it has the same importance to him.
And I don't know how he feels because we never talked about this.
I know that I'm commitment phobic. The idea of having a boyfriend makes my chest tighten and my stomach nauseated. I feel trapped and accountable and knowingly headed towards disaster. The last relationship I was in was so horrible that I swore I would never put myself through that again and here I am foolishly thinking, Maybe this time will be different.
My friends are right, I am an idiot.
~Wednesday, June 27, 2007
I love OK Cupid quizzes, especially when I'm at work.
Random Brutal Love Dreamer (RBLD)
Colorful, but unpicked. You are The Wild Rose.
Prone to bouts of cynicism, sarcasm, and thorns, you excite a certain kind of man. Hoping to gather you up, he flirts and winks and asks you out, ultimately professing his love. Then you make him bleed. Why? Because you're the rare, independent, self-sufficient kind of woman who does want love, but not from a weakling.
You don't seem to take yourself too seriously, and that's refreshing. You aren't uptight; you don't over-plan. Romance-wise, sex isn't a top priority--a true relationship would be preferable. For your age, you haven't had a lot of bonafide love experience, though, and this kind of gets to core of the issue. You're very selective.
| Your exact female opposite: |
The Dirty Little Secret
Deliberate Gentle Sex Master
"You're never truly single as long as you have yourself."
ALWAYS AVOID: The Bachelor (DGSM)
CONSIDER: The Vapor Trail (RBLM).
Link: The Online Dating Persona Test @ OkCupid - free online dating.
Wow, makes me think they read this post.
Love, Sarah at 4:38 PM|
~Tuesday, June 26, 2007
"Tell me a story." It's the line I use when I'm tired and I don't want to talk anymore. I'd rather just sit and listen with my eyes closed.
Scott took a deep breath and said, "Okay." He then told me the story of his past. The pregnancy, the marriage at 22 because he wanted to do the right thing, the divorce at 23, the adoption papers that his wife signed and he eventually signed too. I had actually heard the story before--he told it to me during the storm when we were sitting in the dark at the bar and on beer number umpteen.
At first the story scared me--this guy has a past in more than one way--but some very understanding coworkers talked some sense into me.
"When was the last time he was in trouble?" asked my confidant and cubicle neighbor, N.
"His last DUI was at 24."
"And he's 31 now?"
"Now here's the thing: everyone has a past. You have a past. Did he learn from it, or is he still partaking in dumbassery?"
I laughed, "He recited me the number to the cab company."
"There you go. None of that matters, Sarah, if he has learned from it."
"So he has a kid," repeated Mike, my male confidant at work.
"Yup, but they gave the baby up for adoption."
"Because he was young, and 23, and couldn't take care of it. He did the right thing. Now someone like me is raising the baby as his own. Someone like me can now be a parent." I had forgotten that my coworker has four foster kids and he's giving them better homes than those kids could ever have imagined. He was the best person in the world for me to talk to about it. If Scott's past was his "shoe" as M-Joy and I called it, then we were going to be okay.
Scott finished the story and turned and looked at me, "Don't you ever wonder when it's going to be your turn, Sarah?"
OH MY GOD YES. My eyes widened as I nodded fervently. It's like he read my mind. I didn't know guys thought that way.
"I'm 31. I want to get married. No, it's not even that--I just want to date someone that I could see myself marrying."
"I just want to be loved again." Vulnerability slipped out before I could catch it and stuff it back in.
He reached out and smoothed my hair, "Again?"
Stiffly, I shook my head no, like if I barely moved, I could grab that moment back. Scott let me drop it.
We stood on my balcony, watching the Westin tower disappear and reappear in the night fog like a David Copperfield illusion, and saw Scott's coworker walk his dog below us. Small world. After hearing our story, Scott's coworker offered to sell me his motorbike at half the MSRP.
"That bike would be great for you, Sarah." He told me how--as a customer--he doesn't do with everyone what he does with me. "If someone wants a bike and I think it would be an okay fit, I just put them on it," he explained. "But you, I'm constantly worrying what would be best for you: a faster one to get you out of the way of traffic, but then maybe I think it would be too much power for you. I don't do what I do with you with anyone else."
I lowered my voice and threatened under my breath, "You better not."
Another beer later, Scott begins the next story with "So I guess I'm your boyfriend or whatever."
I got boyfriended.
He mumbled it quickly and quietly and I didn't know if he said it to appease himself or me. I was joking when I made the earlier comment; I hope he didn't say it because he thought that's what I wanted to hear. I sat there stone-faced, once again thinking if I ignored it, it didn't happen.
He continued his next story and the moment was over as quickly as it came.
~Monday, June 25, 2007
Scott called me Saturday afternoon after he got off work. Scott works on Saturdays--a concept I haven't been used to since the university days.
"Would you like to do something? My boss gave me a twenty for staying late and helping him last night. What do you think, a movie?"
Just like my Friday had been previously planned by going to see The Musician's show with my friends, my Saturday night was already planned with them too. We were going to go to the movies. I stammered.
"Well is there a movie out that you would like to see?" he prodded.
"My friends are going to see Knocked Up at the seven 0'clock showing."
"We can do that."
I had only known Scott for a week and I had only seen him three times, and he was okay with meeting the friends. Usually that's something I consider after a month of dating, and only if things are going well. But like I have been saying, he's unlike anyone I've ever dated before. I'm attracted primarily to his confidence and his take charge attitude. Of the five boys I went out with in the past two or three weeks, he was the only one who made a solid move on me. It made sense that he would be okay meeting my friends. Besides, he's heard about them enough.
Scott knocked on my door, cigarette in one hand, motorcycle helmet in the other. I leaned against the frame and smiled. He wore a polo shirt and khakis. I had never seen him outside of his work clothes and I didn't know his personal style. I wouldn't have cared what he wore to the movies, but I was elated to see he's preppy, just like me.
While I was racing on the freeway trying to make the seven o'clock time, I realized that this was our first real date. With seven of my closest friends. As we walked towards the theatre, Scott grabbed my hand. There was so much I didn't know about him: I didn't know how he dressed, or if he's a hand holder or not into PDA, I didn't know if he preferred coffee or tea, but I liked finding these things out about him.
The same people that screamed "Herpes!" at me and my date a couple of weeks before now stood in a semi-circle and smiled goofily at Scott. They were completely enamored with him. Once again Scott took control, "It's really great meeting all of you and we should all get together sometime soon."
The girls in the group just swooned. "I just want you to know how you met our Sarah is just the greatest first date story period," giggled Helen.
"I was so scared," he told them, "I looked in my side-view mirror and I saw her go down and I thought how I just hurt this woman. And then when she did it the second time--"
"What second time?"
"Uh, yeah, I didn't tell them the about the second time, but thanks for that," I told him. His mouth formed a perfect O.
"It wasn't an accident so much as it was a fence/bush situation," he explained. But I had already begun to run away out of pure embarrassment. My friends were falling over themselves in hysterics, shocked that I would keep something like this from them.
Scott turned around and bear hugged me and brought me back to the group. "Come here you," he laughed. And then he whispered in my ear, "Why didn't you tell me they didn't know? I wouldn't have said anything."
"Scott," laughed Dee, "You are officially welcome to hang out with us anytime."
"Well what about Thursday a week from now? When they're showing movies in the park?" he offered as he put his arm around my shoulder. He was making plans with my friends.
This time I swooned.
~Saturday, June 23, 2007
cuts and bruises from regrets and mistakes
--Hot Hot Heat, "Bandages"
Scott and I are both damaged.
But for right now at least it's on the outside.
I'm still healing from my accident and he sliced his finger up pretty badly working in the kitchen. We were sitting on my couch and inspecting each other's wounds, laughing at the dysfunctional pair we looked like.
"I almost didn't put any Band-Aids on today, that way I could get a Superman one," he said as he nodded towards my palm. On it was the giant Superman bandage that I thought I would never get any use out of when I bought the box of Band-Aids. I chose the Superman ones for the irony: he's the Man of Steel and yet he's a bandage--Superman would never ever need a Band-Aid. Surprisingly, guys get really excited when they see Superman in my bathroom.
I smiled and lifted my palm to him, displaying my bandage, "Not only is he the Man of Steel, but he also fights infection!" I laughed.
Scott leaned away from me and looked into my eyes. It was a subtle double-take, but one in a good way. His face softened as he looked at me. "Come here," he said as he grabbed me and kissed me. "You are such a nut."
He melted and kissed me as a reward for my joke, but instead I felt guilty because it was half-stolen. Earlier that week a coworker was making fun my Superman bandages. "Did you put Neosporin on the wound?" he asked, "So he can also fight infection?"
Here's this guy who is seemingly so great to me, and he melted over words that weren't mine. When is he going to realize that I'm not as special as he thinks? Granted, I'm the one that chose the Superman ones and wore them proudly. I made the Man of Steel jokes. I even thought to reuse the joke, and I probably said it in a charming way. But the words weren't mine. And we all know how important words are to me.
What Scott doesn't realize is that he actually adores my half-Mexican coworker named Mike.
~Friday, June 22, 2007
Scott called the same afternoon. And the next. And the next. Each time I thought he was calling to tell me about the damage I did to the motorbike, but he never brought it up. He was concerned about me. He asked how well I was getting around (not very), how many anti-inflammatories I was taking (a lot), and how I was feeling (better, now that he had called).
"He's using that as his in!" exclaimed Helen. "He's using your accident as an excuse to be in contact with you. Am I right, guys? Am I right?" She looked at our friend who took a moment and then tilted his head to the side and shrugged.
We were actually sitting at The Musician's show when I told everybody about my meeting Scott. The girls cooed while their eyes glazed over and wistfully spoke about destiny. Even my guy friends admitted, "That's a 'how Grandma met Grandpa' story." However, I'm too cynical and scared to get caught up in that.
The Musician never called and I was okay with that because I had this incredibly nice guy hanging around who seemed interested in me. Scott had actually tried to come out with me to The Musician's show, but I was relieved when he got caught up at work.
I poured another beer into my glass from the pitcher. "But Scott is so different than anyone I've ever dated."
"That's a good thing, Sarah," the girls told me. "You always date the same kind of guy and look what happens," they said, referring to Jack. "How is he different?"
"I go for the yuppie professionals. Scott is chipped-toothed and tattooed and works at a motorbike shop; he's blue collar."
"Do you think he's cute?"
"This is going to be good for you. I have a feeling about this," spoke up Helen. "You deserve a nice guy--you really, really do."
The band was setting up on stage and doing a sound check. An odd bass pluck or a keyboard tinkle accented the generic bar noise. Suddenly Radiohead's "Karma Police" began to play very loudly and very distinctly on the piano. I stopped cold and turned around to face the stage.
The Musician was looking straight at me.
On our date just four days earlier, I asked him if he knew how to play "Karma Police." He didn't. And I asked him to learn it and play it for me. Four days later, I got my song. No one else in the bar noticed or thought of it any differently, but I waved and smiled and blew kisses at him. The Musician and I were divided by a stage and an entire roomful of people, yet we shared this private moment. This shared secret.
I turned back to my friends and grinned ear to ear, "He does like me!" However, I don't know why he would not call but learn and play a song for me like that. Very confusing indeed.
Scott called several times during the show and talked me into coming by the shop when I got back in the city. So when the show ended, I blew out the door. At 2:30 a.m. I pulled behind the bike shop and honked my horn. Scott appeared in blue jeans and a plain white t-shirt and unlocked and opened the gate for me to enter. It was the first time I had seen him since the night we met.
I walked up to him and he wrapped his arms around me. I lightly kissed his neck and nuzzled into his chest. Instead of starch, the boy smelled of motor oil--and I was okay with that.
~Thursday, June 21, 2007
I met Scott when I decided to go motorbike shopping after yet another very mediocre first date I had with a guy I met from my dating service. It was a late afternoon and I had time to burn and needed a pick-me-up. Scott worked at the bike shop and spent the afternoon showing me the different motorbikes that fit what I was looking for. I said I was 90% sure I wanted one, but I wanted to take one out on the road first and make sure it would be something I would enjoy. Scott lowered his voice and said it's not something they normally do, but if I came back to the shop after it closed, he would take me for a ride.
After giving the address to a friend, I met Scott behind the shop. He strapped a helmet on me and we pulled out into traffic. We rode to the nearby park and then turned onto the adjacent side streets, out of the way of other cars. I'm not sure what happened, but Scott later described looking in his side view mirror and helplessly watching me deck the bike. I was sprawled out on the road with the bike on top of me before I could even complete the thought, I'm going down.
He parked his and ran towards me, "What happened?" He said he needed to know so he would know how I was injured. I mumbled something about the front brake. For the most part I was okay; I was just completely horrified I had an accident in front of this guy. I tried to get up as quickly as I could, but my left foot and ankle were trapped under the 200-something pound machine.
"Are you okay?"
I pointed down to my leg and then shrugged, "I'm stuck," I said matter of factly. "I can't move my leg."
So he pulled it off of me and I gingerly put my foot down, and was surprised there wasn't any pain. I alternated each ankle and gently stood on the tips of my toes, and my foot was fine. My shirt and jeans were bloody and we quickly saw that my hand was bleeding where I tried to catch myself.
We stood there on the side of the road looking at each other and trying to figure out what to do about my hand, which was filling up with blood. I looked towards the front yard of a house to see if there is a leaf I could use, and he sort of looked at his shirt, tugging at the bottom and debating if he should offer it or not. However my hand wasn't cut or gashed, it was just missing several layers of skin.
"Just stick your hand in your pocket," he said. "Let the pocket soak up the blood."
So I did.
"Omigod, you're shaking."
"I shake naturally," I said, trying to play it off. And my hands do naturally shake, but it's much closer to a subtle quiver. Here I was standing wide-eyed and my whole body was shaking--my hands alone were jumping inches without my consent. "I always do this," I tried again. Yeah, if I had Parkinson's.
"Are you sure you're okay? You're shaking pretty badly."
"I'm fine," just really, really horrified.
"Well if you want to climb on the back of mine..."
"You want to keep going?"
"Are you sure?"
"Yup." I stuck my hand in my pocket again so I could keep the amount of blood on the handle bar minimal.
At the shop he led me directly into the bathroom where I ran my hand under the faucet until the black and red skin turned soft pink. Now that the ride was over, I began to shake again like I did right after the accident. My knee began to throb and felt puffy under the thin veil of my blue jeans. My shoes were missing entire chunks of leather. Scott took charge and pulled out the first-aid kit and made me sit while he bandaged me up.
"Now we drink," I informed him. I didn't give him an option. I needed to start drinking until I stopped shaking.
He got back on his motorcycle and I climbed into the safety of my SUV and met him at the local bar between his and my apartments. There we ordered rounds of beer while he told me in painful detail every time he's decked a motorbike.
"I did it once in a Kroger parking lot," he admitted. "I went over a speed bump and it was wet from the rain and I just went down. You think you're torn up? I cracked a rib on the curb. People were running up to me, and I was so embarrassed I just got up and sped out of the parking lot before they could get to me. Oh, here you have something on your face." Scott reached up and romantically wiped asphalt off my cheek. Awesome.
When it seemed like a natural time to leave the bar, the TV in front of us began to beep with colored maps of our state plastered all over the screen. I turned around and looked out the window of the bar and saw the sky was green.
"Thunderstorms. Maybe even a tornado watch," I guessed. Before we had time to see if I was correct, lightning crashed and the bar lost electricity. We should have been scared, but we were surrounded by kegs of beer and the bar freely poured while we waited out the storm. So we sat in the local dive bar in the dark and talked and drank. The conversation drifted away from accidents and onto where we grew up and our pasts.
By the time the storm had passed, Scott and I were pretty drunk.
I was planning on going home and nursing my increasingly aching knee, but Scott didn't want to end the night just yet. I was curious to see where this would go. "I dunno. What do you have in mind?"
"Well I would invite you to my place, but I'm painting. I'm not going to lie--it's a pretty shitty place. I don't even have air-conditioning."
"What!? You don't have air-conditioning in the South?" That was a mistake I made exactly once while at the university. "Well my place is right around the corner, walking distance even."
So I brought Scott home with me. I peeled off my bloody jeans for my cheerleading shorts and he set me up on the couch, my swollen knee crooked over his lap while he wrapped it with an Ace bandage and some ice.
It was then I knew I would sleep with him. He kept repeating how scared he was when I crashed, but he still managed to take charge and take care of me. And maybe it took me losing control to allow someone else to step up and take it away from me.
"I really took it like a man," I began.
"I know. You didn't cry and you popped up so quickly. As soon as I got the bike off of you, and before I could even turn back around, you were up and moving. And then you said you wanted to keep going."
"I had to save face."
"Can I kiss you now? Cause that's all I want to do," and before I could even respond, his lips were on mine. The lights were on in my apartment, and it seemed like all my body parts were either bloody or swollen, so when he tried to take my shirt off, I protested.
"You're so skinny, and I'm so not." I know I'm not heavy even in the slightest but the difference between our bodies made me uncomfortable. I ran my hand up his back, "See when I do this, I can feel your ribs." I ran my hand up my own back and was shocked at the difference. "I can't feel my ribs in my back."
Scott scooted me back an inch on his lap so he could make eye contact with me, "You don't think I feel self-conscious about being this skinny? I wish I could gain weight. Everything you're feeling--and you shouldn't--I feel too."
I still felt more comfortable in my bedroom. Once again, as things progressed sexually I got anxious. I felt panicky and I began to plant my palm on his chest to push him away like I had done with Jack so many times in the early days...
"Hey, hey, hey. Look at me." Scott stuck his face in mine so all we could see were each other's eyes. "I didn't expect any of this out of you, but I'm happy we're here."
"Just... if you're going to use me. Could you not?" I don't know why I said it. I actually didn't plan on seeing him again. I liked The Musician. But in my alcohol-fueled haze, I decided I needed to get the stink of Jack off me and here was a nice guy who took care of me when I never even asked.
I actually have no idea what Scott said next. I just remember that he had stopped to look in my eyes. Whatever he said was reassuring and it calmed me down before I could have the anxiety attack.
He kissed every one of my bruises. And I had a lot of them.
The next morning I was surprised to see him. And then I moved my knee and remembered everything. I was nauseated from the beer and the pain, but I got up and got dressed for work. I really didn't know what to do about the boy in my bed. I rubbed his chest until he opened his eyes. He grabbed my arm and pulled it to him as he fell back asleep.
Affection the morning after, that was a good sign. But I wasn't supposed to be looking for signs; this was supposed to be a one-time thing.
He finally got up and I crawled in bed and waited as he used my bathroom. He came back out and saw me curled up, "Aww. Let me take a look at you."
I sat up and pulled up my pant legs for him to see my mangled legs. He pointed to a black one the size of a dollar bill on my calf. "That's new."
Actually it wasn't. He saw it the night before and leaned over just to kiss that one. He doesn't remember--that's a bad sign. But I don't care about signs.
We walked out of my apartment, and he put his arm around me while we walked to the parking deck--good sign. I stopped in front of his bike, but he just laid the helmet down and continued walking me to my truck--another good sign. Then he kissed me and told me he would call me later to see how I'm feeling.
I smiled as I got into my truck. This might actually turn into a pretty good story, I thought.
~Wednesday, June 20, 2007
When the waitress returned to The Musician and my table, he stuck his hands up mockingly, "Is it okay if I order an appetizer? I'm hungry."
I looked down. We walked up to the restaurant I chose, but the wait was ridiculous, so we left and sat down at the pizza place next door. I had chosen the restaurant, I asked the wait time, I said we should leave if it's really going to be an hour and a half, and I walked into the pizza place. If I notice someone not stepping up, I will take control. So when the waitress asked if we wanted an appetizer, I said no.
I had my sandwich picked out, but The Musician wanted to split a pizza. In an effort to be compromising, I relinquished the control. It really can't be a flattering personality trait.
After beer and breadsticks, things loosened up with The Musician and me. He was a half-hour late picking me up and I think we were both snippy because we were so hungry.
"Sorry I didn't call you back last night," he began, "band practice went late."
I nervously laughed, "I didn't think you were going to call."
"You thought I was going to stand you up?"
The Musician softened, "No, it was just awkward last night because all the guys were around and you said you were confirming. Only dentists 'confirm.'"
"Well it was awkward for me too to have to call you! I thought you only said yes at the restaurant to be agreeable." He lifted his head and I knew immediately I was right. My eyes widened in embarrassment--I bullied this person to go on a date with me. How incredibly horrifying.
"I'm here now! Do I look like I'm here against my will?"
"Well okay then."
The Musician talked a lot about his ex. His ex named Sarah. "Yeah, if things got serious with us, I'm not sure I could ever say 'I love you, Sarah' again."
Sheesh. "Well would it help if you called me something different? I have tons of nicknames I answer to."
He wanted to know about my past relationships, but I'm just not good with the opening up to complete strangers bit. So I chose and ex from five years ago and told him about that. Things lightened up and got incredibly flirty, but in hindsight, I wonder if it was because he was into me or just testing the boundaries.
After the meal was over, we picked up his car from the valet and headed back to my place. I was pleased when he asked if he could come in. I opened a bottle of wine and I got The Musician's story: why he quit his photography gig to wait tables, what it's like to be almost 30 and not know what to do with his life, the band.
Between stories he'd look at me, "What are you thinking?"
When you're going to stop talking and stick your tongue in my mouth. Instead I just smiled and said, "Nothing. Just listening to you."
"You have the most mischievous glimmer in your eyes."
He's not the first person to say that and I love it about myself. Eventually The Musician moved from my leather armchair to the couch with me. And we sat there and talked until 2 a.m. All in all, I'd say the date started off shaky but went very well.
"So, call me this week. Remember we have two shows this weekend."
"Yeah, I don't know which one we're going to, but we will definitely make one or the other."
"Why not both?"
I gave the mischievous glimmer, "What do I get if I go to both?"
"What do you want?" He quipped just as slyly.
"Well, I'm not going to call you. You call me if you want to go out again, that way I know I didn't force you out with me."
"I'll call you."
Love, Sarah at 1:23 PM|
~Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Because The Musician works exactly a mile from Jack's house, I brought along Jack's things and was going to shove them in his mailbox after we were done at the restaurant. I said as much to all my friends.
So, of course because this is my life we're talking about, when I pull up in front of Jack's house, I see Jack standing in the driveway. At 10 PM on a Thursday.
I lowered my window and called out his name.
Jack walked up to my truck. I couldn't see his face because the lights were reflected in his glasses. "What are you doing here?"
"I came by to give you your stuff back and get mine."
"Did you call?"
"Well your book is on my shelf. Let me go get it."
I could have said that I was that I was nearby, but didn't. I could have said that I explained my stopping by to my friends, but didn't. I don't think I even mentioned the mailbox. This looks bad. Very bad indeed.
Jack came back up to my window and thrust my book towards me.
"I wasn't stalking you," I nervously laughed.
"Well you see how it could look that way, Sarah."
So no, it doesn't look like I will get getting out of this with my dignity. Awesome.
~Monday, June 18, 2007
Almost a week later and I had not heard from The Musician. I began to wonder if me and my 12 closest friends in drunken stupors were a bit too much for him. But whatever, I refuse to apologize for it. It was Saturday night, we were in a bar, and it was my friend's birthday--what did he expect?
Damn you, mini bourbon bottles. I knew you were trouble.
On my first (and only?) date with The Musician, he told me about a summer special the restaurant he waits at has on Thursdays: all-you-can-eat appetizers for free as long as you're drinking. My friends and my three greatest loves are 1) food, 2) booze, and 3) getting one or the other for free.
In typical The-Musician form, my friends already alerted me that he had seen our table and had hid outside peering in. A few beers later and I ran into him on my way back from the bathroom. "Come say hi to us when you get a chance," I said casually.
The Musician stopped by twice that night. He apologized for not getting to us sooner.
I made my friends apologize for the herpes incident, "Uh yes," Harvey stammered. "Sarah does not have herpes. Sometimes I drink too much and scream STD names." The fact that this even had to be cleared up still blows me away.
"We asked the guitar player to play "The Power of Love," but he didn't know it," I frowned.
"He did play "Dead or Alive!" So The Musician was paying attention to the outside tables even though he wasn't working them.
"Uh, yeah, because we told him to!" And time to change subjects, "So... the weekend..."
"What about it?"
"Are we getting together?"
He said he was busy for most of the weekend, including band practice on Sunday.
"Okay, then what about next week?"
"You tell me."
So we set up another date on Monday. He ran off to attend his tables and I looked back at my friends and grimaced. I just had to do all the work again.
"He likes you," Helen butted in before I could verbally protest. "He's just really nervous."
I have to agree that he's nervous--it's pretty obvious by his body language--but I still couldn't tell why. Was it because I wouldn't leave him alone, or did he really have an interest in me?
I guess I would find out Monday, the end of a very long weekend in which I had dates set up with 2 other guys.
Love, Sarah at 9:03 AM|
~Friday, June 15, 2007
With a new fabulous shirt purchased and hair restored to summer blonde and professionally ironed, I was sitting at a table watching The Musician set up.
"What do I do?" I leaned over and whispered to Harvey, "I've met him once and I'm at his show. Do I approach him, do I wait for him to approach me?"
"Quick, he's looking over here. Laugh!" and Harvey leaned her head back and laughed like I just said something hilarious.
In the end, I opted for the wave.
In the bar, my group of friends made the largest group there. When The Musician had a solo, my friends cheered extra loudly for him. They really are the most supportive group of friends I ever had. They also watched him to see when he was looking at me. Obviously it was a job I couldn't do myself without being labeled as creepy. According to Helen and her boyfriend, their conversation went something like this:
BF: He's looking at her. He's looking at her again. He just checked her out again.It reminded me of the other musicians I've dated and the reason I liked them. They would be on stage performing, but checking me out. It's their time to shine, but they are more concerned with what I'm doing. It makes me feel special. I need to feel special. I haven't felt special in so long.
Helen: Don't tell Sarah or she'll get nervous.
BF: He's looking at her again.
During their first break, we still hadn't spoken. The band went outside to do whatever they do outside, so I got up to meet one of Mel's friends. This was when the rest of our group saw the entire band peering through the bar window at where I used to be sitting. They were looking for me. So when I saw The Musician approach the bar for a drink, I went to say hello.
"Are you having a good time?"
"Of course! We have buckets of beer and my friend brought mini bourbon bottles from his recent visit to the distillery. Believe me, we're having a good time. Hey, your band sang 'Happy Birthday' to my friend, did you remember I told you it was her birthday?"
"No, apparently someone in your group asked the lead singer... I mean, yes. Yes, I did remember."
He continued, "Well in this set, you're going to see a lot more of me."
"Am I going to get any love?" I winked.
The Musician kept his promise. We he made his first round dancing through the bar, he came up and danced against me. And the second time he worked his way into our dance circle and danced with me.
Two song sets, and 2 buckets of beer followed by 2 mini bourbon bottles later, the show was over. We had a fabulous time and we have the drunken photos to prove it. I approached the Musician, thinking I was only a little tipsy, not nearly as tanked as I actually was.
I also didn't realize exactly how tanked the rest of my friends were.
When The Musician and I stepped outside to talk, my friends opened the bar door and screamed, "Herpes! Herpes! Herpes!" as loudly as they could. Oh yes they did.
Then our conversation went something like this:
"Did you have a good time?"
"Yes, we did! (pause) I'm a lil drunk."
"You should stay with friends tonight instead of driving back to the city." So it was obvious that I was more than a "lil drunk," awesome.
"I was nervous you were coming."
"But I brought the biggest group! I guess we can be intimidating in a group that size."
"Yeah, I guess."
"Do you think it's weird? I do."
"That I've only met you once and I'm at your show. That my friends know you better than I do, just by seeing you play. It's a little weird."
"I don't really think of it that way. (Pause) We have another show on the 15th."
"I know. My friends were talking about it and I said I couldn't go unless I get the invite from you. Otherwise if I just show up, I'll look all crazy and stalkery." And admitting this out loud looks just as crazy and stalkery.
"Well you're invited then."
"I think I have band practice tomorrow." Read: we're not going out on Sunday.
"That's cool." (pause) "But we're gonna go out again before your next show right?"
Way to play it cool there, Sarah. We walked back inside and the drunk friends then proceeded to get him to sign my friend's birthday poster and pose for pictures with them.
My friends posed for pictures with my date.
They see him as The Musician that they've been following for years. Because I had never been to a show of his before, I don't see him that way. I know him from the sushi bar and from outside on the patio when he said he was nervous I was coming.
Fortunately for me, he loved the attention.
Love, Sarah at 4:33 PM|
~Tuesday, June 12, 2007
My first date with The Musician was nice. I organized a date at a place that wasn't open on a Sunday, so we ate next door.
We sat at the sushi bar and The Musician properly introduced himself, "So I'm [first name, last name], I live [here] and I work [here]." He said it comfortably and confidently that I knew he must have a lot of experience with on-line dating. I did it for a month last summer and went on some very mediocre dates before I met Adam. The Musician was my second meeting this time around; I had started the day with a very mediocre lunch with my first date and was still rusty at the whole blind/Internet dating thing.
We talked a lot about his band; it's what we have the most in common. I originally e-mailed him because I recognized his screen name's association with the band's name. While I had never seen him perform, all of my friends have and they are obsessed with him.
We huddled our heads together over the rolls we decided to split as I went over my karaoke list of songs I sing and he matched them with his set list. We both still dig the 80's music in a major way: Blondie, Bon Jovi, Journey, Guns 'n Roses, B52's, Huey Lewis & The News. I told him about my 80's-themed birthday party I just had and how my friends wanted to get his band to perform, but we couldn't afford them.
"What do you mean you don't know 'The Humpty Dance'?" he asked, astonished.
"Nope. I remember the very first music video I ever saw--it was 'Baby Got Back'--but I don't know 'The Humpty Dance'."
So he leaned in closer and quietly rapped me "The Humpty Dance" as I giggled over my spicy tuna and Sapporo. He was half-goofy and half-nerdy and I thought it was the perfect combination.
"We're actually playing next Saturday," he said, "I'm a completely different on-stage than I am in-person. On-stage I'm outgoing and zany and in person I'm quiet."
"I don't think so."
"Any person that raps me a song in the middle of a sushi bar isn't shy."
"Yeah, well you should come to my show."
"I'll bring it up with my friends. It's one girl's birthday and she is your biggest fan, so I don't think it will be too hard," I winked.
Thursday, I sat at my desk at work, still frustrated with what's turning into the most unprofessional commercial website in the history of teh Intarwebs when "Sweet Child O' Mine" began to play on my phone.
"I would be lucky if you came to my show on Saturday," he propositioned.
"We're coming. See you there."
Love, Sarah at 11:10 AM|
~Sunday, June 10, 2007
I said goodbye to Jack and began very slowly getting ready for bed. As I brushed my teeth, I stared at my brown eyes in the mirror and brushed slowly. They're a unique color--almost black so it's difficult to distinguish the iris from the pupil. E2 says I steal every photograph because my eyes are so expressive and pop against my light-colored features. I tried to see what she sees. Instead I saw my own loneliness.
This is it, this is all there is, I thought.
And then I did something I very rarely do: I flossed. Since it's going to be just me I may as well have great teeth.
By 10:30 p.m., I was showered and my hair was dry. I drowned single NyQuil capsule with a glass of white wine. I never take any kind of medicine, but for one night I didn't want to toss and turn. I just wanted to sleep. It's just me so I may as well have a good night's rest. It worked.
At my desk the next morning, I lazily logged into my Hotmail account. Waiting for me was a response from The Musician, a guy I e-mailed through my dating service the previous week.
I squealed and clapped my hands. The letter couldn't have had better timing. It felt like a reward for keeping the high road and ending things with the ex.
~Saturday, June 09, 2007
To try to reconnect, Jack and I set up a date for Sunday. 2:30 on Sunday afternoon I gave Jack a call. Jack didn't answer and Sunday went by uneventfully.
It didn't bother me that he didn't answer the phone nor returned my message. I can put up with a lot shit, but once I hit my threshold, I usually just want out of the relationship instead of trying to repair it. I had exceeded my tolerance level when Jack went to the movies with another girl. No, it wasn't a date, but one day it would be and I wanted to prevent being the girl sitting at home on a Friday night while her friends update her via text message about the date.
Tuesday I sent Jack a text message. "Call me tonight. It's time we talk." We need to talk means either one of two things: we're breaking up or we're pregnant. I assumed Jack knew which one it was.
It was important for me to end things with him civilly. We had about 12 friends in common and frequent the same stomping grounds. We will run into each other and for the sake of our friends, I didn't want to make it more awkward than it already had to be. Besides, it's important for me to man-up and end things with class.
Jack didn't give me that opportunity.
Because Jack never called.
Jack did, however, publish a blog post about me:
That fucking asshole. He knew I wanted out so he avoided calling me and then posted this on the Internet for everyone to read. The night I yelled at Jack I told him how I did not like being made a fool out of, and that's exactly what he did. All of our mutual friends would read this about me. Humiliation washed over me and I began to cry.
Jack was right: he wasn't who I thought he was. I thought we could end this properly. I thought he had enough respect for me to do that.
He didn't. I had spent the past few months building a website for him. He kicked out my access rights, deleted all of my work, and then put up a generic template with "This site is being designed by people who give a damn."
For someone who clearly didn't care about me, he sure went out of his way to hurt me. He destroyed my self-esteem while we were together by telling me things like I wasn't qualified to attend his literary society meetings. One time we were walking up a flight of stairs hand in hand and he yanked my arm down because he thought I was walking too fast. The arm jerk made me lose my balance and I almost tumbled down the stairs. The last month he didn't even see me unless it was to meet over his website--he had begun to use me and he didn't even try to hide it.
And now I get that posted on teh Intarwebs: he could have feelings for me; he just doesn't want to.
He couldn't even let me have enough dignity to end things with him first. He stripped that from me as well.
"Dating isn't about winning or losing," a friend tried to console me.
"You know what? Sometimes it is!" I shot back. I needed my dignity; it's the only thing I have to hold onto. I can't remember the last time I felt so utterly worthless. He wouldn't touch me when we worked on his website, making me feel ugly. He wouldn't invite me to his meetings because he thought I didn't have the right mind frame, making me feel stupid. I needed my dignity.
So I didn't tell anybody about the blog post outside a trusted friend. As much as I wanted to leave the comment, If you had taken the non-drowsy formula of your herpes medication and called me..., I pretended I never read it. And then I waited another week and called him.
"I can't do this anymore," I told him. "I just don't want to."
"You haven't been happy for awhile," he said, unaffected.
"I'm tired of feeling like a piece of crap."
"Why do you feel like a piece of crap?"
"You just make me feel so ugly and so stupid."
He dropped audibly, "That's not it." It was the only redeeming thing he said to me.
"I just feel like I did something wrong when you stand me up and don't return my calls. The person I'm dating shouldn't avoid me."
"I wasn't avoiding you; I just wasn't thinking about you. I'm very focused on myself right now." He paused, "I can't believe you would be so selfish to not let me think about myself."
He has a way of twisting things around that stuns me into stupidity and puts me on the defensive. "I didn't say that. I think it's good spending time on yourself."
"You just expect too much. You're always yelling at me."
"I yelled at you the one time. We haven't even spoken since. I said I wanted two things: for you to respond when you're invited to something and for you to return my phone calls. I don't think that's too much. And the fact you never called me when I said we needed to talk just reinforces things."
"It's too needy to expect a return phone call."
Once again, I was stunned into silence. I thought of everyone else in my life and how they call me back. Did I just have really extraordinary friends? Was this not normal behavior?
"I never treated you badly, you know," he said.
"I disagree with you."
"I know you do."
I thought of the time he play-slapped me in the face when I said something snarky in front of our friends. My mouth had dropped open at his audacity to even lightly strike in me in the face and he dared me, "Go on, get mad at me for no reason."
I wanted to be vindicated. I wanted him to admit, I really did treat you like a piece of shit and I'm sorry. But the longer the conversation circled, the more apparent it became that I would never hear that. I would never hear that because I think he might actually believe everything he says. And that thought terrifies me to my bones.
As he repeatedly put me on the defensive, I knew that I made the right decision by wanting out of the relationship. There was no other possible ending for us.
And he said I could have the friends. He doesn't respect them anyway.
~Friday, June 08, 2007
This weekend I am pulling a hat trick: three dates with three boys in three days.
Man, I really need to get back into blogging.
Love, Sarah at 11:18 PM|
~Monday, June 04, 2007
Jack didn't offer up any information about the girl at the theatre and I didn't ask. Instead I deleted him from my life: I didn't call him, sign on-line, nor e-mail. After five days, Jack called me.
"Hey what's up?"
"Nothing, I'm just shopping." I shop as a form of therapy and had spent the last five days redecorating my apartment. The hunt for new pillows for the couch was keeping me distracted.
"I promised Helen that I would meet up with her tonight. Will you come out? I want to see you."
"Um, okay." I have no spine. No spine at all.
I beat Jack to the bar by two and a half hours and had managed to down four half-priced gin and tonics. As soon as Jack arrived, Helen had to leave--her boyfriend was back in town and she had to run to meet him.
Jack turned to me, "So talk to me."
"I dunno, you said you were redecorating-"
I snapped. "Why don't I talk to you about the job I found five days ago that I wanted to talk to you about. Or my big office move--I have a window now--or what about my apartment? It's completely different!"
"Yes, you could talk to me about all of those things."
Gin and tonic number five arrived. "No! You said that you would call me back, FIVE DAYS AGO! Here let me reenact the phone call for you," the few people left at the table got wide-eyed and signaled for their checks. I stuck out my pinky and my thumb and jabbed it against my ear, "Hi, my name is Jack and yes, Sarah, I really do want to hear what you wanted to talk to me about. Hey, let me call you back though because I have to go!" I put away the pinky and the thumb, "That was five days ago!"
Everyone scurried away like cockroaches. Jack counted the days on his hand until he hit five and nodded. "That wasn't how the phone call went," he put his head down, "but it was pretty close."
"AND THEN I have to hear from my friends that you were out with another girl!? I don't have a lot, Jack, but I have my pride. I know we're not exclusive and you can do whatever you want, but to flaunt it around my friends by introducing her to them! They text messaged me the whole time, I know." I then went into detail and reenacted every text message. I'm big on the reenactments when I'm drunk and angry.
Jack listened patiently. "So did Harvey message you after the movie?"
"Yes, she said her name was Andrea and that I'm prettier," I scrunched up my nose at him.
Jack flinched and I knew Harvey was telling me the truth about Andrea's looks. "So did Harvey tell you she also met my roommate?"
I paused. That information was entirely new to me, "Well, no."
"Well she did. It was me and Andrea, the customer service girl at my company, and my roommate who works in the same department as me. It was three coworkers. Andrea sat in the middle because she a girl and that's just the rules.
"Harvey met us outside when my roommate was smoking--you know he smokes. And my roommate asked Harvey if there were any nicknames that I have that he didn't know about. She said, 'Yeah, doucheface.'"
I laughed. Harvey is the best friend a girl could have by saying that in front of everyone, including Andrea. And then I leaned over in my booth and laughed harder, hard enough for Jack to realize that Harvey was speaking the truth and not just making a joke.
"Wait, they really call me Doucheface?"
"Who called me Doucheface?"
Everyone, including the people of my blog. "E2."
Because of everything, Jack. It started with that horrible way you spoke to me before Easter. The way you get angry with me when I hang out with my friends because you don't even want to see me. Because you are borderline verbally abusive with me. Because you make me feel like a piece of crap and everyone has noticed that I'm not happy around you or talking about you.
"Because they thought I was out with another girl?" he guessed when I never actually opened my mouth.
"Well will you straighten it out with E2 that she wasn't a date and just a coworker?"
"I don't know that it's my place to do that." I was hurt and angry and the bravest I've been in months. I wanted Jack to hurt like I've been hurting.
"Given the information you had, I completely understand why you're upset. But if I were you, I would ask Harvey if she met my roommate and then ask why she lied to you."
"But it doesn't explain the other stuff."
"What other stuff?"
"Like you haven't called me on your own since before my birthday. That was over three weeks ago."
"I looked for you on-line this week and you weren't there and then I called you today."
"Outside of today, you haven't called me in three weeks. I had to call you to make sure you would still take me to the baseball game for my birthday. Everyone had called me but you. And then Cinco de Mayo, you didn't even let me know you had decided not to come after all."
"You sent me a text message. You know how I am about invites."
"I don't care how you are about invites! You got the same invitation everyone else did and--once again--everyone else showed up but you. When you are invited to something, just respond if you're going to go or not!"
Jack then argued that he didn't know one form of communication was better than another, i.e. IMing versus a phone call. The sober me would have said we IM when we're at work and distracted, but the drunk me was stunned into silence that this was his honest argument.
My confrontational spirit came in 10-minute waves. I would rant for 10 minutes and then stop and put my head in my hands, "I'm sorry. I know you didn't come out to be bombarded like this."
"No, go on. You obviously have stuff to say."
And then I'd rant for another 10 minutes. Jack handled it as best as could be expected. He mainly just stayed silent and let me get everything out that I had been holding in since the beginning. Honestly, it's the best way to act when I do reach my limit. Mainly I just want to spew everything I've been suppressing; I don't need an actual resolution to feel better.
After I was done, I wasn't angry anymore and we spent the last hour and a half at the bar talking about what was going on in my life: the job opportunity, the new office, and my new blue apartment. Two and a half hours after Jack arrived, we got up to leave. He walked me to my truck and planted a kiss on me. This time I flinched. I had come to expect nothing from Jack, so I was surprised when I actually got something.
And I liked that I flinched.
~Sunday, June 03, 2007
I stopped my TiVo and rewound the commercial. There, during Grey's Anatomy, was The Actor on TV. Not the guy who called me Moxie, but his friend--the one who had asked me out.
I slid my phone open and returned his call that I avoided earlier during the week. Again he asked me out and this time I accepted. He was a nice, good-looking guy who made it clear he was interested in me and I instead scoffed that he came on too strongly.
I'm not interested when things are too easy; after Jack, I should be so lucky.
Love, Sarah at 6:38 PM|