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Collecting Snapshots

29 Oct

“Hi,” I smiled nervously and got into the car, perfectly aware of how awesome my favorite seven-year-old black boots that I’d repared with superglue the night before looked over my jeans, and how my top was just slightly drooping over my shoulder exposing a purple bra strap.

He leaned over to give me a hug, which I recieved greatfully, and when he started to drive, I sighed with relief. First dates are always awkward, but I had a feeling I was going to like this guy, based on the three nights in a row we’d spent chatting online and talking on the phone, sending one another pictures and youtube links to our favorite music. Also, this was not going to be a boring old date-date. This was a picnic at my favorite spot at the park, where I had fantasized all day about sipping wine, listening to him play his guitar and making out a bit if the moment presented itself.

Still, it’s always different seeing someone face to face, no matter how many pictures you’ve seen of them. He wore a beige collar shirt with brownish stripes, but the fabric was soft and droopy, and the top button was loose. He was shorter than me, and smaller, but not by much. His hair was light brown and messy, cut too short for curls to form, but long enough that you could see its tendency to curl. His complextion was light, there may even have been a few freckles decorating his face. His eyes were serious, but his smile was boyish, with a bottom lip that was fleshier than the top one, and which I later found to be delicious and sexy.

“You came on time.” I commented.

“No I didn’t, I was late.”

“Two minutes doesn’t count as late.”

“But it wasn’t two minutes, it was four.” I  smiled. “So where are we going?”

“You’ll see.”

An hour later I was sitting there on my green fleece banket in my favorite corner of the park. My boots were tossed to the side, as were his. He was sitting close to me, facing me, with only his guitar between us. His shirt was slightly open, from before, when I was touching his chest as he kissed me. Now he was playing Wish You Were Here, and I enjoyed immensly watching his fingers playing with the chordes, and listening to him sing, slightly off key. As I joined in, my hands were on his thighs, stroking them gently.

I closed my eyes and took a snapshot of this beautiful moment, of a girl and a guy enjoying music and warmth on a cool evening at the park. I was, once again, reminded of the numerous gifts that life continues to grant me, when I am open at heart and at mind and willing to accept them. When he placed his guitar on the blanket to his right, and leaned in to kiss me again, less cautiously and more passionately this time, I felt his warmth, surging through his body, leaking through those fingertips that stoked my back. With my eyes still shut, my mind was clear and I allowed myself to drown in an emotion that I can only attempt to describe as a sea of cotton balls and warm milk.

What happens next doesn’t even matter. My life is so intense and complex and challenging. But I am collecting beautiful moments for the collage that is my life, and they balance out the uncertainty, the drama, the pain, the guilt, the struggle.

Every single snapshot counts.

 

Happy Place

12 Oct

porch swing

In the midst of the chaos and uncertainty that are constantly intertwined with my routine, I pop up for a breath of fresh air every now and again, driving to work on one of those rare morning when I’m not racing against the clock, walking to the supermarket on my morning off, closing my eyes and nodding off on a night when I can still remember my name…

And there I am. A year after my divorce. I’ve moved to a little house with a garden, or a small apartment with a balcony, full of plants, green and pink and flowery. Baby isn’t a baby, he’s a lovely three year old boy, who talks and has opinions, and is growing more and more independent. We live alone, with our dog, Barry, and enjoy a routine of daycare, work, afternoons in our backyard, or at the park with Barry, home cooked meals and bedtime stories followed by cuddles and lights out.

BD and I have stayed in good relations, and he spends time with our boy, and gives me my night off, which I use to go out, get laid, paint, blog and do laundry.

There may be a guy in my life, nothing really serious, just someone to make my heart flutter and kiss me on the nights that I don’t have the Boy.

And with this as a background, there I am in my happy place, sitting on a porch swing, looking into the distance, with a cup of tea in my hand. It’s autumn and the evenings are chilly, so a blanket is wrapped around my shoulders to keep me warm. I’ve just checked on the Boy and he’s sound asleep. And I just sit there, in complete quiet and wonder about how everything that happened, him leaving, me crying, getting back together and breaking up and getting back together and going to therapy, and giving up and trying again, and giving up again, how it all led to this beautiful moment, in which I sit, quietly and peacefully and just feel happy.

Once Upon a Tuesday, Six Months Ago

21 Jul

“Have you heard of Margaret Atwood?” He asked. He was holding my credit card in his hand, tapping it repeatedly on the counter.

“No.” I answered, feeling uncomfortable, like this was some sort of test.

“And Haruki Murakami?” Now I realized that Margaret Atwood was a writer, and I immediately felt at ease. A bookworm like me, with a Masters in Literature, this was my territory.

“Sure.” I answered bravely.

“What have you read by him?” He asked inquiringly.

“The Windup Bird Chronicle,” I responded a little too quickly, please don’t ask me about specific details, I begged in my mind. It had been ages since I read it.

“And?”

“It was good. Though weird, I mean a little too weird, for me that is.” Apologetic smile.

“Weird is an understatement.” He answered to my relief. “I’m going through a Murakami phase right now. I’m reading everything he’s ever written. Have you read Hardboiled Wonderland? You should. I mean, it’s even weirder than the Windup Bird, much weirder. But you’d love it. I think.” A thin dark haired boy, who seemed barely 20 to me took my credit card out of Skating Guy’s hand.

“Two tickets?” He asked, looking at D who smiled and nodded beside me. A minute later my card was back in SG’s hand, and he was writing the closing time on the receipt and explaining to my friend and I where to pick out our skates. He was shorter than the dark haired boy, and seemed older. His hair was light and drawn back into a tight ponytail. He had enormous brown eyes, with long auburn lashes drooping over them heavily, which matched his oversized lips, the bottom of which I found especially tempting. Despite his overgrown features there was a softness to his bristly face.

“Have fun.” He said with a smile, and just as I turned to leave he added, “Maybe I’ll come skate with you later, if you want.”

“Was that guy hitting on me, or was he just being friendly?” I asked D.

“Hitting on you.”

“Geez, I’m so out of practice.” I smiled. “He was kind of cute, wasn’t he?” It was exciting to be noticed, and even more so by someone who seemed intelligent, someone who seemed to be interested in someone intelligent, and much more so now that I was single for the first time in thirteen years.

We stepped on the ice, our legs wobbly, attempting to stabilize ourselves, grabbing onto the rail. A few rounds later we were a bit more confident on the ice, and that’s when T joined us, sexy and energetic in her skinny jeans, tight top and perfect hair, bouncing about, giggling like a school girl as she stepped on the ice. Behind her was my guy, with his hair, and his lips and his Margaret Atwood.

“Huh. I guess he found T.” I told D, only slightly bitter.

“Actually it looks like he found you.” She laughed as the skating instructor popped up behind me with a “Hey.” I nearly lost my balance, which made him ask, “You OK there?” He’d be asking me that same question in the future, and the answer would be no, but right now it was “I’m starting to get used to this, but I’m counting on you to show me a few tricks.” Which he did. He had the appearance of the shy-quiet type, but he was actually rather talkative. We discussed books we liked, and books we despised, and books by Margaret Atwood that I promised to read.

“How old are you anyway?”

“Twenty-five,” The boy answered. “You?”

“Thirty-one,” I answered honestly. Screw it, if he wasn’t into me because of my age, he was welcome to leave. Pop music was blasting in the background, and I was feeling high on adrenalin. Half an hour later I was explaining the benefits of my Kindle to him, and he was defending the old fashioned paperbacks, and the irreplaceable feeling of flipping through their pages. “With my Kindle I can change the font size and read while I do stuff at home, like umm laundry.” And breastfeeding, I thought to myself.

“Laundry is important.” He laughed. Where do you live? I told him. “Roommates?” I smiled. “You could call it that.” He waited for an explanation. “Forget it, we just met. Let’s wait a bit longer before I shock you.”

“Uh-oh, you’re married with two kids aren’t you?”

“Not exactly.” I had a nice time flirting with him, and that’s what counted. It couldn’t last forever. I might as well tell him now, I thought, and go back to skating with my friends. “I live with my son.” I said. “Separated.”

“Ah.” Well? “He must be cute, how old is he?

“Seven months.” Nice of him to stick around and not bolt. So he’s polite on top of everything else, I thought.

“So, separated, is that like divorced?”

“Pretty much.”

“And that’s supposed to shock me, huh?” He smiled mischievously and we continued skating. “He must be grabbing stuff now, right?” He asked knowingly. “I read about that. Or is he putting everything in his mouth?” It took me a second to realize he was talking about my son.

“Both!” I laughed with relief.

It was ten o’clock and we were exchanging phone numbers, and setting up a date for Sunday. It would be my first date in thirteen years. I was as high as I’d been in a long time. I couldn’t wait.

It’s been six months since I first met SG at the Skating Ring. Five months, three weeks and two days since we sat at that bar on our first, magical date, since he kissed my shoulder and told me I was beautiful, and turned me on so bad that I had to follow him home and lie to the sitter that I had decided to watch a late-night movie. It’s been four months since we broke up for the first time because BD wanted to get back together and I was confused. Three months and three weeks since I told him I loved him, and he said it back. Three and a half months since we gave Baby a bath together and made animal noises, making him laugh hysterically. Three months since I cried into his shoulder, after a sick friend was told she’d have to have surgery. Two and a half months since I told him I was going to go to couples therapy with BD. Two months since I changed my mind but continued going nevertheless. Six weeks since I stopped therapy and spent and insanely passionate night with SG. One month, three weeks and six days since he told me he wanted to end it because he couldn’t be in a serious relationship with a woman who had a son. One month since I texted him miserably, desperately, and was answered with a straightforward, though kind goodbye. Four days since I found his email and foolishly wrote him a letter and got no response.

Less than a minute since I last fantasized that I might ever have him back.

Butterflies and Dirty Habits

6 Feb

butterflies

Allowing myself to feel again is not easy. On Sunday, Skating Guy and I went to a movie. We saw Hitchcock, which was eerie and terrific, with Anthony Hopkins outdoing himself, and Scarlet Johansson being her regular admirable self.

That morning had been so rough on me, that I was very close to cancelling the date altogether. It seemed wrong, suddenly, or rather – wronger – to be out with another man, while I was still technically married, in the process of separation. But as we sat in the darkness of the theater, absorbed in the film, though slightly distracted by each other’s presence, my hand was in his and our fingers were playing around, holding, touching, tickling one another, like each of our hands had a life of its own, a background story and a personality, and together they completed one another. And I felt happier than I’d been in a while. I felt optimistic.

It was a rush. It was butterflies and sparks and all that stuff you yearn for when you’re 16, and sober up from when you grow up and realize that a serious relationship is much more stable and predictable than all of that. I’d truly forgotten about the butterflies. How comforting it is to know that they exist!

So here we are. And what do we have before us? A thing. This is definitely becoming a thing. I’m not quite sure what kind of thing exactly. But it’s a thing, an easy thing, a thrilling thing, a thing which brings some good old fashioned light hearted fun into my complicated present.

Unfortunately however, along with the light-hearted uncomplicatedness, comes also my dirty habit of overanalyzing everything, and constantly searching for clues that can account for my insecurities, proof that all of this wonderfulness is somehow faulty, that I’m not worthy of it, or that he’s an asshole like all men apparently are. A text message lacking punctuation and emoticons, becomes a sign that he is tired and has had enough of me. The same goes for a message that is not instantly answered. And it makes me realize how shitty text messages are, and how I hate that I obsess over them, how bad it is for my mental health to be as attached to my phone as I am, to check my messages and emails and refresh my Facebook page more often than I smile, or glance out the window, or take a deep breath.

But I’m optimistic still. I think there is a learning curve for everything, and I am a diligent student. I’m learning what it is to let go of the past and to welcome the future. Scratch that. I’m learning to welcome the present. And this is, perhaps, another lesson. I’m learning to enjoy the present, which I’ve always tended to discredit.

Skating Guy is here now. He wants to take me to the opera, and cook for me, and tell me that I’m special. And I’m going to let him. Even if it ends tomorrow, even if he disappoints me, or I disappoint myself, it’s not all about tomorrow. Today counts for something, doesn’t it?