One frustration in dating a writer may be that while that person may often be unable/unwilling to vocalize his/her thoughts in conversation, he/she will have little difficulty/compunction publishing them for the world to read. Even more frustrating, perhaps to someone who puts oneself through the drama of dating a writer, is coming across a piece that was never meant for one to read.
When I wrote this entry over a year ago, I never thought that my object of inspiration would read it. I never thought that I would ever find the daring mettle to let her know how I felt about her, making it likely that she ever would have a reason to read it. Though a few days prior to composing it, on Fourth of July, I spent a good deal of the night ignoring my friends at our rooftop party and drunkenly texting her. I had very much wanted her to come to our party, but I knew that her parents would never allow this. Instead, she had to accompany them to a firework show at the city lake. From the rooftop I could see those same fireworks, and this made me feel that I was still enjoying them with her. I told her that I wanted to kiss her, and she told me that she wanted me to get off the roof, fearing that I would drunkenly stumble to my death–my city’s own two-bit version of Palinurus. She told me that I needed to forget everything that I had texted her that night the next morning, for my romantic intentions were only alcohol-induced.
When the next morning came hazily, I told her that I had meant what I texted. That exchange is what led to her telling me that I knew her well and that such scared her and that she wanted distance–distance in a relationship that had yet to materialize.
About a month later, when I wrote this entry, I was still reeling from having seen her unexpectedly at a wedding. I wrote this as a way to console myself over the likelihood of never being able to love her from any place closer than an idealized distance. I tried to convince myself that I was better off not ever dating her, for it would end, ultimately, in disappointment for us both.
Not quite a year after composing those romantic ruminations, we happened to see each other at a Mexican restaurant, though both of us pretended not to see the other. I accepted this as a gift–a surprise near-encounter with her in what had become increasingly rare near-encounters. This being said, I was very surprised when she texted me a few days later to ask how I was doing. She would later tell me that the reason why she had reached out to me was that the night before we saw each other, she had dreamt that I was in her bed with her and the she had to hide me from her mom. This text renewed our communication.
A year later to the day that she told me she needed space, I would get uproariously drunk at a bar, get slapped in the face by a woman with her cell phone, and take part in a series of unfortunate events that would result in three people getting banned (not me, unfairly). The next day, hungover and disgusted with myself at a coffee shop, I started texting her with no inhibitions. I told her that sometimes I wish that I had never met her because ever since having met her, she has haunted me. Not really thinking this would lead anywhere, she responded that she liked me too, but was not looking for a relationship and did not want anything to proceed too quickly. I completely taken aback by this revelation. (I also complimented her breasts–a compliment that both offended and pleased her.)
This emboldened me to start asking her out again. I did. We had coffee at the same place that we had, up until this point, our only coffee date two years prior. We went out the next day to the local Thai place where I used to work. I quickly grabbed her hand to gauge her reaction. She did not flinch or pull away. I saw her soft, luminescent eyes water as I told her that I was the mystery faculty member who had offered to pay for a ticket back to her home country two years ago when she had feared for her grandmother’s health. Her eyes watered again as she recounted the way her mother has emotionally manipulated her. I revealed that I had a blog and that I had written about her. She demanded to know. She read “The Entrance of Suffering” and responded by telling me that I was one of the greatest people she had ever met and one of the best writers, too. That weekend I texted her, telling her that the next time I saw her, I wanted to scratch her head. She replied that she loved having her head scratched. I took that as an invitation, and the next time we met, we initiated a relationship–despite the seventeen year age difference–in which we would not stop touching and caressing and holding each other until the bitter end.
The seven weeks that followed were a dreamy blur of encounters during which we met secretly to avoid raising the suspicions of her mother, she had tea while I had drank sterner stuff, we made love–both softly and vigorously, we laughed while lying in each other’s arms, we ran in the rain, I would often pick up her lithe figure and throw her over my shoulder, and we talked late into the night. Given that I had fantasized for so long about this, the actual experience of dating her was never too far removed from its more fantastical feel–and that may have been what led to its downfall.
As with anything too good to believe, if there is a possibility that it may happen, one struggles to enjoy it day by day because one fears losing what one never thought would happen in the first place.
Perhaps I acted in a needy manner, wanting from her signs and comments, affirming what we had to reassure me that we would not lose it. I, not able to keep my doubts to myself, would write idiotic and regrettable posts like this and then tell her to read it. Who can blame a woman for not wanting to be with a man who is not able to believe in himself or others? A man needs to be the rock in a relationship, but I was only a shattered one at best.
The very fears that I expressed to her–that she was with me only for the experience of dating an older man and that she still needed to grow and explore–were reasons that she would recycle and tell me when she decided that she needed to end the relationship. I confided in her that my fear was that because she still did not know who she was because of her mother’s strangling control, that she would not be content in a relationship until she had lived more of her life independently. As served me right, the last time we talked (after the break-up) this is what she said. For her, more important than anything we shared and still could, is finding out who she is–something that she assured me she must do without me. Though I think that she genuinely has these concerns, I cannot but wonder to what degree I helped feed and foster these fears.
The day before it ended is the day that I will strive to hold at a distance, only because I do not want the dulling effects of reality to reduce it to merely another day, robbing me of what little remains as a testament to our relationship.
I got home a little later than usual from work because of a “strategic planning committee” meeting, only to find her in my bed–I had given her a key to my apartment. Amusingly, I noticed her shoes on the floor before I noticed her. I retrieved my copy of The Little Prince that had been lying on the kitchen window sill and asked her if she remembered the interaction between the Little Prince and the fox. She responded, “Of course–that is only best part of the book.” I read to her what the fox said about having once been tamed by the Prince, the wheat fields which currently meant nothing to him, would forever remind him of the golden hair of the Prince. We then made love. Sensing that this may have been destined to be our last time, I put every bit of my body and soul into this act, leaving us both sore and exhausted. Lying with my head across her chest, I admitted that I saw her in my future. Tellingly, there was no response from her, but her eyes started to water–I thought that was the answer, and a good one. As we left my apartment, I threw her against the hall wall and told her that I loved her, and she responded that she loved me, too. As we got into my car, the Nick Cave song to which I had been listening the last time I had driven started to play–the perfect song…at the perfect moment:
And I wish that I was made of stone
So that I would not have to see
A beauty impossible to define
A beauty impossible to believe
A beauty impossible to endure….
After dropping her off at her car, we happened to stop at the same light. I motioned for her to roll down her window, hopped out of my car while waving at the traffic behind us, and and leaned into her car and kissed her in the street. She laughingly screamed, “You’re crazy!” She was fond of telling me that.
If only that had been our last day together. If one of us had disappeared, as emotionally selfish as it may be for me to say this, at least the other could treasure that day without necessarily having to pair it to its bipolar twin. However, neither one of us did disappear. The next morning she texted me that she had had another dream about me–this time we were in a cave together back in her home country, and she was once again trying to hide me from her mom. I told her that she had to make a choice: either me or her mom. I flippantly told her that I liked that dream; she did not. She told me that it was difficult enough having to consider this dilemma in real life; she now had to dream about it. When she came over that afternoon, I knew that there was something on her mind. She said that she wanted to discuss her dream. As I held her, I asked her to tell me what she was having difficulty saying. She said that she felt that she was complicating my life and that she felt that she needed to remove herself from it. She then restated the fears that I had delivered to her earlier in the week. Stunned into a motionless silence, I struggled to push her away from me and to tell her that she needed to leave. She tried to get me to punish her verbally to assuage her guilt; I told her that I would not play into that dynamic. She said that I knew her too well. She implored me to say something cruel to her; to that I responded that I would have married her in moment’s notice and would have gone anywhere in the world with her. Her eyes watered once again. She ran out of my apartment, repeating, “Don’t hate me.”
Hurt, that ensuing weekend I lashed out by sending her a few texts in which I called her heartless, expressed that I felt our relationship had been fake, and indicated that I only wasted her time. This angered her–and that was exactly what I wanted to do. Two weeks later, I would convince her to allow us to FaceTime (yes, just used that as a verb) each other. I explained to her that I did not mean what I had said in those texts–but that I meant everything I had said in our relationship, namely that I did love her and that I would have married her. I asked if we could try again, but she was insistent that she needed still to grow and make mistakes–and that she could not do that with me. She said that if we remained together she would grow only to resent me like she does her mother. If that is what she truly thinks, then there is nothing that I can do but to let her go; no healthy relationship can be sustained through rational argumentation. The heart uses logic only after it has decided for itself. She also added that, for as well I do know her, in many ways I do not know who she is–and she is right. Perhaps this entire time I have made her into an ideal as opposed to looking at her for who she truly is; she became an ideal whom I was able to hold briefly.
Just given the number of “chance” encounters that we have had and times that, out of the communicative blue, we have contacted each other, I do think that we will eventually talk to each other again. One charming event in our relationship: On August 5th, 2017, I saw her at the wedding where it was too awkward for either one of us to speak to each other; exactly a year later; August 5th, 2018, we met at the coffee shop where it began (or was renewed). Being the Taurus that she is, she is enamored of the moon. I gave her a picture of the moon. What a difference a year made. Who is to say what another year will bring.
This being said, I have already begun to dread any immediate encounters. Though we do not run in the same social circles, our city is too small not hear about each other, not to see each other. I have already begun to feel the sting of seeing her with another guy. Granted, I truly do believe that she wants to stay single for a while to live more freely than she has been allowed to live, but curious how meeting a new person–or re-meeting a familiar one–can cause us to forget quickly our self-appointed goals.
I do not know if she still plans to read my blog. Yes, I want her to continue reading, revealing that she is not able completely to abandon me. However, I also want to think that this break-up has been as painful for her as it has been for me so that she needs to cuts ties completely in order to heal.
As much as I presently identify with the Nick Cave song quoted earlier, I am thankful that I am not made of stone. Having to wake from this dream has been more painful than I imagined it ever could be. I nourished this specific dream for years, only allowing it to build in intensity, encouraging it to become a guide–one that could inspire me, even though I never believed I would ever see it in the flesh. To have it, then, assume bodily form only to be taken from me has made it a cruel tease of circumstance. As my friends have told me, I need to be grateful for the time spent together, especially as not many thirty-nine year old men can claim a similar experience with a beautiful, charming twenty-two year old Eastern European. However, I do not want to reduce our time together to one experience among others, as transcendent as it is among its sublunary peers. The last time that we talked, I told her that I do not regret the time that we shared together even though, in retrospect, it allowed me to hope beyond what was reasonable. Yes, I am thankful that I am not made of stone, for I will always then be able to treasure what we shared–even if it is a beauty impossible to define. Such a mission will allow to me no end of opportunities to attempt the impossible–like holding an ideal, and perhaps seeing her eyes water one more time.