I hadn’t seen D for five days, which felt like forever. It’s only been five weeks since we started dating, but we’ve been seeing each other three or more times a week so it’s been pretty intense, the way it always is with me, I guess.
Ever since I blurted out the L word a couple of weeks ago, things have returned to normal, and I’ve been able to enjoy my time with him and languish over every sweet word or nickname or embrace. He’s Russian, and I’ve been called zayka, and slatkyia and krasaviza. He’s been saying that I make him feel alive again, that I’m special, that he loves being with me, that he misses me, that I’m fun, that he wants me. He even used the words “corrective experience” to describe our relationship. Moreover, we’ve begun acting a little more couple-ish, which I’ve been enjoying. And we’ve been talking a lot and sharing stuff. I’ve even talked to him about M, and he’s been asking, cautiously, how I’m doing and saying things like, “I know this is a rough time for you.”
Still, it will be a lie to say that I’m not anticipating his first “I love you” or dreading the notion that he might never say it. All signs clearly state that things are going well between us, and 90% of the time I am able to let go and not think about who likes who more and whether or not that presents an issue. My friend R suggested that I think about it like a gift that I’ve given him. It would be weird if I’d bought him a gift, like, cologne, and the next day he’d buy me perfume. I’ve given him a gift, saying that I feel love towards him. That’s a big gift. But he is constantly giving me gifts as well, other gifts, and that should be OK. And it is, most of the time.
I was discussing these five days apart. He was called in for reserve, and had a really crappy week. He was placed in a base up in the mountains where it’s freezing cold, and they had no warm meals or coffee or heating anywhere. While he was freezing his ass off, writing me texts about his fantasies of what he would do to me if he could have me then and there, I experienced one of the hardest weeks of my life too.
With the background of parent-teacher conferences, with 34 sets of parents to meet and talk to and be presentatble with, all the while keeping my classroom functioning as they rehearsed preformances for Grandparents Day and got into the types of fights and arguments that only 9-12 year olds can get into, I was busy attempting to say goodbye to one of the people closest to me in my life. It’s been 20 months since I first realized that we might not get to grow old together. But my mind seems to have that unique ability to only take in what it wants to, and completely ignore all the rest, so I think it’s only been in the last several weeks that I’ve begun accepting the fact that M has very little time left to share with me, with us. And this realization is devastating.
So on Monday, I was so easily agitated in class, that one of my co-teachers asked me to step out for a breather. When I did, I began crying and could not stop for a full hour. I walked around campus, hoping I would not run in to any children, and tried to calm myself down.
I recovered eventually, and I’m back to acceptence now. I feel better about it actually, like I really needed to let all of that out, and despite the unfortunate timing of my meltdown, I am glad it happened.
When D came back though, it felt like these five days, which objectively are not a long time, created a huge void between us. I hadn’t called him to share what I’d been going through. We texted a bit. I’d said encouraging stuff to him. I’d mentioned I’d had a few rough days. But I couldn’t talk about it. It was too personal, too powerful, and I was afraid I’d break down again if I mentioned it. I was also afraid that he might withdraw, because it might be too much for him to handle.
So seeing him again, feeling his embrace, it was comforting, and at the same time it felt a little like the beginning again. Which was not neccessarily a bad thing. Now, as the weekend progresses, and having spent some time with him, things are beginning to unwind. He came over to spend the night last night, after we each went to our separate dinners with family/friends, and when we met, close to midnight, we cuddled under the blanket and fell asleep at once. And for the first time in what felt like a long time I felt like everything was going to be OK, or more specifucally, like I was going to be OK.
Until 6 a.m.
His phone rang and with half closed eyelids I saw him fumble for it, saying, “at this hour, it could only be L”. L is the ex. Ex-wife and mother of his two girls. And indeed it was her. Having a melt down, crying on the phone. One of their girls won’t stop coughing, and she doesn’t know what to do. I could hear her desperation through the phone, her sobs and gasps. I remembered a time when I called my ex at 1 a.m. sobbing and gasping the same way, because our son had a high fever and I was freaked out. It was too much for me to handle so I went to the bathroom, and brushed me teeth, and drank some water, and then I basically sat in the kitchen and waited until I couldn’t hear his voice responding calmly and assertively to her hysteria any longer. I stepped back into the room. He looked at me with troubled eyes. “It’s OK.” He said, “She’s just coughing, It’s nothing. L panics easily. Her mother is right across the street, I told her to call her. She always calls me when something is wrong. She expects me to drop everything and go be there with them. And I can’t.”
I thought about telling him that he should go be with her. But I didn’t. “She’s adjusting.” I told D. “There will come a time when she doesn’t call every time something happens.”
“I hope you’re right.”
There was no point of going back to sleep. D works every other Saturday and he had to get ready. So we got up and had some coffee. And I tried to put the other woman’s 6 a.m. cry out of my mind. But I couldn’t help but remember my own meltdown of the week, which I hadn’t shared with him, and ask myself if there would ever come a time when he would love me and I would allow myself to lean on him.