Let me finish summing up.
Actually, first let me preface this post with a couple things:
- You’re right, it’s not really summing up if it takes two posts to write. Humor me.
- That sound you’re hearing, the one that’s like gagging and teeth gnashing, it’s MadamBob, who is exceedingly tired of this subject.
“I’m here,” I texted after walking into Chuy’s to find nobody there – not even a hostess to ask me “How many?” I sat down to wait.
*BUZZ* “So am I.”
I looked up and found a tall, handsome, blonde man smiling wide at me from the entrance to the bar. He quickly closed the gap between us and we made the usual thanks-for-meeting-me-it’s-so-nice-to-finally-meet-you-in-person small talk until a hostess noticed us. Just before she asked “How many?” I caught a glimpse of something he was holding. A gift bag.
It is extremely rare men show up to a first date with anything, not even flowers, and this guy brought me a present? On the way to table the freak-out commenced in my head. “Oh, I don’t like this. It’s going to be awkward and weird and it’s too much! And I didn’t get him anything! Why’d he have to go and do something…NICE?!”
The waiter sat us in a booth, took our drink orders and disappeared. Before I could pick up the menu he was sliding the gift bag at me.
Me: Oh my God, what is this?
Him: Please don’t freak out! I was out shopping today, saw this and had to buy it for you. Open it!
Me: You shouldn’t have done that!
Him: Of course I should, besides, there was no way I could NOT get it. Open it!
Me: Ok… (awkwardly reaching into the bag)…but you really shouldn’t have OH MY GOD IT’S A CHEWBACCA BOBBLE HEAD!
Him (smiling wide again): Do you like it?
Me: Are you kidding?! He’s my favorite!
Him (very proud of himself): I know.
Me: I’m taking him to work tomorrow and putting him on my desk. Wow. You paid attention.
Him: I did.
Me: I like that. And I love the gift! Thank you so much!
Him (eyes twinkling): Don’t mention it.
Me: Oh please, the busy-bodies at work notice everything, so I’ll be mentioning it to EVERYONE.
The date I was only mildly excited about turned out to be one of the best I’d ever had, even without the very thoughtful gift. We closed the place down talking about work (he just moved back from Colorado where he spent a year managing an Indian casino), past relationships (he’s divorced with two kids and the last person he dated passed away a year ago), family (he’s the youngest and staying with his brother until he finds a place of his own), dating and eHarmony (I was the first person he talked to or met from the site), with Simpson’s quotes and conversations on Star Wars thrown in. We laughed and laughed and time just flew by. Another hour disappeared as we stood in the parking lot talking, neither one of us seeming to want to say good night, but it was a Wednesday so I finally said I’d better get home, we hugged and went our separate ways.
The next morning I was debriefed by MadamBob. I told her his living temporarily with his brother while he looked for a restaurant manager position and someplace to live bothered me. No way I’m dating a sponge, but I honestly wasn’t worried about it. When I told her about the gift she said “Wow!” I said “I know. I might have to marry this guy!”
At work I unpacked Chewbacca and was almost immediately answering questions. Where did he come from? Who gave him to me? Was I going to see him again? And on and on and on. Finally, I decided to do something I’ve never done before…break the three-day rule…and sent him this:
Him: Yes they are! When can I see you again?
Our next date was Italian food and then sitting on what would become “our bench” on the Woodlands Waterway for 5 1/2 hours. Just talking and laughing and talking some more.
Date three was the movies (The Family, meh), a late dinner at Chili’s then off to Lake Conroe for our first kiss on the water, underneath a starry sky (and above some guy swimming and smoking in pitch darkness under the pier). We made our way back to the Woodlands where we talked and made-out like teenagers on our bench. When he mentioned his nose being crooked from breaking it twice I told him if he didn’t have that nose I’d be out looking for it on somebody else. He kissed me hard (sweet baby Morgan Freeman he’s a good kisser), until I was lightheaded and my skin burned and then he confessed he had turned off his eHarmony account. He didn’t want to see anybody but me.
I don’t remember the drive home but by the time I got there it was almost 4 in the morning, and I had to go to work in a couple of hours but there was no sleeping. The sound of my head splitting in two from smiling so wide kept me up. That and thanking Morgan Freeman for this miracle after so many years thinking it would never happen to me. At the same time I was asking him to give me the strength to stop freaking out about how fast everything was moving. It’s the opposite of normal for me to get caught up so fast. I’m very cautious and take things slow, but everyone kept insisting I was feeling how I should feel and to just let it happen. If it felt right I needed to get out of my own way and just let it happen.
And it felt right. It felt like nothing I’d ever experienced before. It felt like magic. It felt like being five years old on Christmas morning. It felt like the beginning of love.
And so it began.
We dated. A lot. And if we weren’t together we were emailing or texting. Two weeks later he started training for a general manager position at a restaurant close to me. Since his brother lived an hour away he spent nights when he closed the restaurant at my house, not getting much sleep. I was as close to in-love as you can get without saying the words.
He had a toothbrush in my bathroom and there was talk of the future, lots of talk, about meeting MadamBob and my family and about living together and marriage and going to Ireland in 2015 for his 50th birthday.
One day he handed me pictures of his kids, one of each of them in their soccer uniforms. I told him how cute and lucky they were to have such a good-looking father, thanked him for letting me see them and handed them back. “Oh no,” he said, “those are for you, if you want them.” Really? “Yeah,” he continued, “I figured if you’re going to be their step-mother you should probably get used to seeing them.”
I put the kids’ pictures up on the wall with my family and friends, cleared out space in the closet and made him a key to the house. We weren’t quite two months in yet, but this was it. This was the guy. This was the rest of my life unfolding in front of me.
Slowly, over the course of a week or two, things started to change.
His “good morning” text was only every once in a while instead of every day. Figuring out when we would see each other next wasn’t urgent anymore and I had to ask for his schedule instead of him sending it to me the minute it came out. He was insistent everything was fine, that he was just exhausted from working 60-70 hours a week and in person he was great, but out of my sight he was distant. Something was seriously wrong and I couldn’t figure out what. Had I said or done something wrong? Had he, after pushing so hard for the relationship and being so sure of our future, changed his mind now that he’d convinced me? I can’t tell you the number of times he said “I’m just trying to make you fall in love with me” and now that the chase was over, now that he succeeded, was he bored with me?
What the hell was going on?!
Finally, after a short but particularly moody text exchange on Friday morning he fell off the face of the earth. I knew he had the kids that weekend and we typically kept communication to a minimum so he could focus on them, which I was all for. The kids came first. Always. But this time he was completely silent. I spent the weekend in a panic and texted him Sunday afternoon “What’s going on? This silence is breaking my heart.”
By 8:30pm I was a wreck and couldn’t take it anymore. I got in the car and stated driving North. An hour later I was standing on the porch of his brother’s house and the second after I rang the doorbell I realized his car wasn’t there. Oh God, was he out with someone else? The door swung open and his brother stood there, wondering who the hell the girl quickly tearing up on his doorstep was. Stammering I apologized, introduced myself and then apologized some more. My guy’s dog, who I’d only seen in pictures, came bounding out of the house at me. A big, lovable golden retriever who acted like he knew who I was. Fortunately, his brother knew exactly who I was, invited me in and asked if I wanted to stay or text and find out exactly where my guy was since he’d left over an hour ago to take the kids home to their mother, who lives very close to me. I asked him just to let his brother know I was there and was worried about him. After apologizing some more I got in the car and headed South, knowing I was likely going to pass him on the road as he made his way back home. What I was hoping is he’d see the text from his brother, which I’m sure he sent after I left, and I’d find him in my driveway when I got home, waiting to tell me how silly I was to be so worried.
The driveway was empty. But, I thought, surely he’ll call or text soon.
By 12:30am I hadn’t heard a peep out of him, so I went to bed. There was nothing else I could do. At 5am I got up to let the dogs out and checked my email. This, titled “Reason,” was waiting for me:
Recent personal events have affected my life. Sadly you have been caught in the middle of a tragic event. I am still emotionally compromised from the loss of a loved one. I ask that you continue to seek other relationships as I am as of yet able to release this memory.
And that was that.
No “I care about you, but…” no “I’m sorry.” Hell, he didn’t even sign his name! Just go date other people. I was crushed.
At first I couldn’t figure out who he was talking about, but he meant the last person he’d dated before me who passed away a year ago. Some digging by MadamBob on his Facebook page, which I’d never looked at because I’m never on Facebook, revealed what I suspected – it was the anniversary of her death.
My first instinct was to email back, telling him how sorry I was he was going through this but being with me didn’t mean he had to stop loving her. That I’d give him time if he needed it but I had no intention of seeing anyone else.
But I didn’t.
I suspect, because he didn’t sign his name or say goodbye, he expected me to respond. He expected me to talk him out of it. To try and convince him he was going to be ok and I’d be there for him through it all.
But I couldn’t.
That same morning I went to work, put Chewbacca back in his box, then back in the gift bag I was so freaked out about and took him home. I couldn’t look at him anymore. It took a week but eventually I couldn’t look at any of the other things he left around the house. His stack of DVD’s on the kitchen table. His non-girly body wash in the shower. His toothbrush behind the faucet on the bathroom sink. All of it, including Chewbacca, had to go, so I packed everything into a box, which sat on the kitchen table for a month. Eventually, I couldn’t stand to look at THAT anymore either, so I stuffed it in the back of a closet and tried to move on.
But he LEFT me.
And I am BROKEN.
And I can’t seem to snap out of it.
I’m too busy doing all those stupid things people do when something like this happens – looking for signs he’s coming back.
He hasn’t asked for his stuff back. He must be coming back.
He hasn’t returned any of my stuff. He must be coming back.
He hasn’t reactivated his eHarmony account. He must be coming…wait a minute.
The very day of our breakup, while I was at work trying to get it together and not turn into a puddle every five minutes, most people were insistent he would come back. “He absolutely did care about you. Give him time and he’ll come back.” But one person made the suggestion the best way to get over one man is to find another and I should turn my eHarmony account back on.
Yeah. YEAH! That’s what I’d do!
So I did. And the very first thing I did was look for him. The picture was gone so his account was still inactive. Well good! At least I know he didn’t leave me so he could date someone else!
And so I left my account on and responded to a couple of guys, but I really wasn’t interested. I was too busy being happy his account wasn’t back on.
Until it was.
I logged in and there was his picture, clear as day. The first thought that ran through my head was “He signed in to see if I reactivated MY account.” But then days went by and he didn’t close it down. He also, to this day, still hasn’t blocked me, which I also like to see as proof he might be coming back.
Eventually, I did go out on a date with someone, but it was a disaster of epic proportions. I spent the whole night with my guy popping into my brain and comparing the two. The poor shmuck across the table from me didn’t stand a chance. It was horrible, I regret it and I haven’t been out with anyone since.
It’s too soon, and none of them are HIM.
Where in Morgan Freeman’s name IS he?! If we would have had another couple of months going the way we were, and he asked me to elope with him to Vegas, I’d have come home with a new last name. How do you go from planning a vacation in Ireland two years from now to this?! I don’t understand! And now I have to start ALL over again with someone else…IF I can find someone even remotely close to this. And what are the odds of that?!
How long until I drive down my street not hoping to see his car in my driveway? How long until I can not be haunted by a box of inanimate objects in my closet? How in Morgan Freeman’s name am I ever supposed to trust anyone again? How much time am I going to waste on someone who clearly doesn’t want me?
What the hell is the matter with me and how the hell do I fix it?!
I’m up for suggestions. You know, if there’s anyone who actually made it to the bottom of this post.
And to think, I was *this close* to telling him about this blog. Specifically, I wanted to him to read this post, proving psychics are real and he was the proof.