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Real Woman

28 Jul

As usually happens when I’m confused about where my life is going, and as usually happens after hooking up with an ex (sadly that’s happened to me more than once in the past couple of years) I enter a melancholy pondering mood, which brings me to revisit former relationships and wonder about what went wrong and how somehow I was to blame for everything.

Even though I haven’t seen him in almost 14 months, my go to guy for memories of what it felt like to be in love, is still SG. So I was thinking about him, about how much I had allowed myself to open up to him and be vulnerable, about how he broke it off with me that morning, after having spent an incredible night together, how he’d said he loved me, but couldn’t be with someone who had a son.

SG was a kid, I know that now (In all honesty, I knew it then too). A 26-year-old Peter Pan type, who could not commit to anything, from high school, to military service, to college, to a real woman. His ambitions were out of this world, he was always in the middle of a huge undertaking, never actually following through with things to the end. That’s what I was to him. An undertaking. His childish omnipotence-fantasy blinded him and made him decide to choose me, despite the age difference, the marital status difference, the fact that I had a son. He was excited by the fact that I wasn’t another one of these girlie-girls he was used to dating, the thin, pretty, clingy, boring type. I was a woman. A real woman. Happy with who I was – most of the time. Confident in my intelligence and competence. Curvaceous and beautiful as a real woman often tends to be. Knowing how to show affection, how to make a man feel special. All these qualities that drew SG to me, that made him feel lucky that he was free at last from past meaningless relationships… These qualities were also the ones that made him leave me.

I am a real woman. And alongside the benefits of being such, are the problems. Real women do not have girlie-girl-problems. It’s not about getting a bad grade on a course, having a bad hangover or arguing with a girlfriend. We have all the benefits of real women, and we have seriously fucked up real women problems to go along with them. Toddler temper tantrums. Juggling personal lives and careers. Mending broken hearts and wondering if we will ever be able to trust again. SG couldn’t handle me. So he left. Just like he’d left high school, and the army, and college. Just like I don’t really believe he will ever finish that list of 200 books he’d decided to read in the next 10 years, or learn French, Italian and Russian, or start playing the piano.

You can’t hail a cab in life, to get you from one point to another. Often, you have to walk, through murky filthy shitty sewage water to get to where you want to go. If you’re willing to put in the time, the effort and the faith necessary for the journey, you might actually get there.

I’m just about neck-high in shitty sewage water in my life right now, but I have the stamina to keep putting one foot before the other and keep my mouth shut so I don’t swallow any crap. I’m not the type to give up. Real women never do. I’m taking my real womaness and the problems that come with that awesome title, and we’re trekking to a place where we’re going to be truly happy. In like a year. Or two.

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.

Are You Listening to Me? I Said V-a-m-p-i-r-e P-o-r-n.

30 Jan

vampire novels

I mentioned in my previous post that I was going on a date with ice-skating-instructor-guy, so I realize that I owe everyone a follow up, and here it is.

My first date since the separation. My first date since, well, basically forever. The last time I was “on the market” was 13 years ago. Also, I’m still technically married, which makes me, technically, not quite on the market, more like on hold, more like may soon be on the market again. And still. I have been pretty much walked out on by a man I used to call my husband, who made a baby with me and then picked up and left the minute things got a little rough. So I don’t think I’m supposed to feel guilty about going out on a date. And I don’t, honestly. The thing I feel guilty about is the fact that I enjoyed it.

We went out to a bar. Following a friend’s advice, I came with my own car, to give myself a sense of control that I might not have had if he’d picked me up. I showed up exactly on time. He was already there waiting for me. I liked that. BD was always late.

At the bar, we chatted away, about books mostly, but then about life and it’s surprising turns.  I’ve got to hand it to this boy, he sure knows how to make a woman feel awesome about herself. There was a lot of complementing going on, the kind that surpasses the superficial/artificial you-have-pretty-eyes thing. He said he liked my attitude towards life. And I liked him for noticing that I had one, because I’m almost sure BD never did in 13 years of togetherness. But maybe that’s a bit harsh. Maybe he did notice, but just never bothered to acknowledge it. Or maybe he just didn’t care for it.

There we were, chatting and laughing, hardly any awkward silences, actually just one. We looked at each other, and he smiled apologetically. I smiled back. Then he finally remembered something he wanted to ask me. Something unimportant, maybe about work. And just as I was beginning to answer him I suddenly found his face very close to mine, and I realized he was going to kiss me, and I also realized that I was very happy to be kissed by him.

After that, on his part, he seemed more relaxed, like for a while he’d been planning his move. He moved his bar stool so that now he was sitting beside me, rather than opposite of me. He had his arm around me. He kissed me again from time to time. He was fun to kiss. It wasn’t so much that the kiss was extraordinarily spectacular. It felt good to be kissed by someone who seemed to really want to kiss me. It made a world of a difference to feel wanted, not just taken.

“I thought I’d have to wait for the end of the evening to get a kiss.” I said.

“I couldn’t wait that long.” He smiled.

On my part, I became more nervous after the kiss, somehow more self-conscious, but not in a bad way, just in an unfamiliar way, or more precisely in a way that has been absent from my life for quite some time. I didn’t really know what to do with all those compliments. My instinct was to negate them, to prove him wrong. Thanks, I’d say, but you know what, I’m really not as intelligent as you seem to think. No, no, no, listen, I don’t only read good books, I also read a lot of trash. Really, just recently I read vampire porn. Are you listening to me? I said v-a-m-p-i-r-e  p-o-r-n. Hey, I know you think I’m good looking, but you just haven’t seen my stomach yet, it’s just not what it used to be.  Trust me, my boobs used to be much perkier.

But I resisted, thank god, and he didn’t think I was demented. He thought I was unique.

We’re meeting again in a few days, and I already know what I’m going to wear, and I have all the scenarios of possible conversations that we’re going to have in my head.

I can also only barely stand the wait until he kisses me again.

Those Who Never Fall Have Never Tried Anything New

25 Jan

 skating

Part 1: Standing Up and Falling Down

Baby has finally figured out how to stand! Well, finally is a slight exaggeration, he’s not even eight months old yet, but he’s been trying really hard for the past two weeks, and I was so proud of him when he managed to do it on his own! And now that he’s learned this new trick it’s literally all he ever wants to do. No crawling, no rolling over, seriously mom, that’s so 2012, he seems to be telling me. So everywhere I put him he grabs onto something and stands, smiling at me with the joy of accomplishment, making his little excited-noises: Heh! Heh! Heh! Often he gets so excited that he loses his balance and falls. I’m usually able to break his fall, and I surround him with pillows as he plays, so that helps, but every so often, I miss, he misses, and he bangs his head and cries.

I felt terrible about this the first time it happened, and the second time, and the third. But then I realized that the only way that I was going to be able to prevent him from banging his head was if I never put him down for a second. I’m still trying to minimize injury, but I accept the fact that head-banging, and I mean that in the literal sense, is a part of growing up. So now, when he falls, I pick him up, give him a hug and say as calmly as I can: That’s OK Baby. You fell. Falling is a part of life. Sometimes mommy falls down too, but the important thing is that she gets back up again.  Those who never fall have never tried anything new. As he calms down I kiss his belly which makes him laugh and forget that he has ever fallen. And within two minutes he’s already squirming around, wanting to get back to it.

Part 2: Ice Skating and LOWLOWLOW Self Esteem

My girlfriends and I have decided that we are sick of movies and coffee shops and we are going to start doing more unconventional things when we go out. So this week we went ice-skating. As we were standing in line to pay for our skates, the ice-instructor-guy started chatting with us, well, with me. He asked if I had read any books by Margaret Atwood, if I read a lot in general, if I liked Haruki Murakami, and finally if he could come skate with me later.

After a few rounds on the ice I began to feel a bit less wobbly and there he was, Mr. instructor guy. Kind of cute, very young, a 25-year-old-kid basically, coming to chat to me, 31-year-old-single-mom. Well, I decided to just go with it. And since I was in a good mood, it worked. We chatted for about an hour, about books mostly, and then a bit about music, travels, cooking. Eventually there came the point where he asked where I lived and if I had roommates, and I told him I lived with my son. But surprisingly he was not totally freaked out (only a bit weirded out maybe) and he still asked for my phone number, and also asked if I’d go out with him, to which I replied that I would.

And then, the following day, there I was at home, thinking back to how much fun I had had skating with a boy, and the LOWLOWLOW thoughts started pushing their way into my head. What does a cute 25-year-old see in me. I’m not that fit. He can get a better looking girl. I’m old. I have a baby. Maybe he just felt bad after I told him I was a single mom so he took my number with no intention of using it. Maybe his friends had put him up to some bet, like getting as many phone numbers from girls as he could that night. STOP IT! GO AWAY! I hate it when I get like this. But it’s hard to shake it off once it starts. It’s the same part of my brain that produces the: “You must have done something to drive BD away”, “Baby must be mad at you for sending him to his grandparents”, “Who’s ever going to want to date you when you’re Divorced+1?” and “A good mother wouldn’t have let her Baby hit his head!”

Part 3: Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Vodka

I set up our first divorce-meeting yesterday. We’re going to try working together with the same divorce lawyer and try to come to an agreement without too many battles.  I had to set it up of course because if it’s up to BD he’ll never get around to it. He’s comfortable just being separated, he’d gladly keep things the way they are for a year or two until he figures out what he wants. But it’s a terrible place for me to be. On hold. Waiting for him to wake up and realize what he’s missing. His family. So I’m not waiting. I’m moving on. It’s the only healthy thing that I can do right now.

BUT after having set up the meeting, letting BD know, having him email me back saying thank you for setting it up, then having him come pick Baby up for his night with him, it was all just too much. So I sat on the sofa and stared into space, and then I decided that I needed a drink, or make that two, or make that three, and I basically got wasted and drunk-statused on Facebook. Good thing I don’t have any guy-friends to drunk dial because I would have.

I woke up this morning, still slightly intoxicated, drank a liter of water and thought to myself: Those who never down three vodka-apple-juices, have never tried anything new. Like divorce. And I smiled to myself and hit the shower.