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So Much Love in My Life, and Still I Want More

27 Dec

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A colorful plastic star hangs on his crib and plays soft, soothing music, while pale pastel images are projected on the ceiling of his bedroom. He observes the images, wide eyed, with glee, and slowly, mesmerized, releases his grasp of awareness and sinks into a deep sleep. I sit beside him, my hand on his back, concentrating on his breaths, and on the soft movement of his back, like ripples in water, rising and descending. So small, I think to myself. How can I love something so small, so much.

Five years later, here I am, organizing the closet in the guest room, and wondering who gets the musical plastic star. I change the batteries and clean the toy with a wet cloth. PLAY. The soft ringing music is suddenly too much. Without warning, tears well up in my eyes. I’ll be 38 soon. He’s going on six. We have our cute little ground floor apartment facing an orchard filled with grapefruit trees, and our goofy dog runs around the yard, chasing away the cats (and mice) and getting into fights with a hedgehog every now and again. We have D and his girls, who spend time with us every week. And still, at the end of the day, it’s still just the two of us. At least it often feels this way.

There’s D. My man, the one who’s loved me for over three years now, who’s allowed me to truly get to know him, without censorship, who’s broken through the fortress that used to be my heart, who’s seen me cry, and made me laugh, who’s strong arms hold me on the nights we’re together, and when he’s inside me I sometimes can’t believe my luck, that I get to have my legs wrapped around him and experience such pleasure.

I love his two girls, although I don’t see enough of them, because we’ve decided not to live together. Or he’s decided and I’ve gone with it. Or I had to go with it, because it was non-negotiable. I’m not sure. And every time my period comes, I’m a little disappointed, because we’re not trying for a baby – that too is non-negotiable – but still I hope to somehow, accidentally get knocked up and ruin everything.

It sure would make things easier if I had another child. To begin with, I’d be so busy, there would be no time to think about my life and debate whether I’m content or if something is missing. Some things would definitely be missing: sleep, and alone time, and sex. But I would probably be too busy to notice. I also wouldn’t notice how my boy is all grown up, going on play-dates instead of listening to me read, and suddenly acting as if getting a hug from his mom after school is embarrassing.

But there is no baby, and probably won’t be another baby. Or – there can be another baby, maybe, but then I need to find a father. And I don’t want another father. I just want D.

I was reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to my son before bedtime tonight. “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that.” Dumbledore told Harry, who was enchanted by the mirror of Erised.

I don’t want to forget to live. I don’t want to forget that even though he’s nearly six, he still crawls into bed with me on Saturday mornings. And that sometimes, when D is over with his girls, they crawl in too, and we all steal a few more minutes of sleep, all five of us together.

I don’t want to forget how even though we’ve been together for over three years, I still feel in love when I see him, and how he says things to me, like that I’m the second best thing that’s ever happened to him after his girls being born, and that he wants to love me for always and grow old with me by his side.

I don’t want to forget how lucky I am to be working in a place I find meaningful, to be affecting the lives of so many children every day, to truly like going to work in the morning and meeting my friends, who are my co-workers.

There is no baby. There may never be one. But I don’t want to stand there staring into my mirror of Erised and become addicted to the sight of a little bundle of happiness cradled in my arms, and forget that I can cradle my boy, or my man, or his girls, or my goofy, lovable dog.

He started reading now. My boy, not the dog. He’s outgrown all his clothes and shoes, and he no longer runs into my arms when I pick him up from kindergarten. But he does tell me about challenges and fears he’s overcome, and smiles at me with pride. He’s no longer obsessed with proving to me that he can do stuff on his own, and he’s not interested anymore in understanding how the world around him works. He now wants to understand abstract ideas, things that cannot be seen by means other than his own imagination. How did the universe begin, he asks. And what happens when you leave the atmosphere, and what is it like in space? And what will happen if I dig a very very very deep hole in the ground? I love how confident he is, not the way I was as a child, and so much more evolved than me – even as an adult. He knows his self worth, he loves himself. Looking at him I know I did a good job, and I know I could do it again.

I could.

But I won’t, I guess. And then when this saddens me.

And as I sit in the guest room, crying into a little plastic musical star, I think to myself that it’s unfair, that I have so much love in my life, and still – I want more.

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A Nightly Chat

30 Sep

“I wanted to tell you something earlier, but I didn’t want to make you laugh while you were… you know. Safety first.”

I laugh. “Well?”

“This might sound weird, but I mean it.”

“OK, come on. Out with it.”

“Well, it’s just that you really put you heart into that blowjob.”

“What the fuck? D?”

“No, I’m not saying it to be funny. Well, maybe a little. But I mean, when you do that, it feels like you’re not just doing it, you’re really.. well… You put your heart into it. Sorry, I’ve no other words to describe it. And it’s amazing, in case that part wasn’t clear.”

“Well, thanks babe. I do put my heart into it.”

“I do too. You know, when you let me do that to you.”

“Yeah, I can tell.” I put my head on his chest. “You know that’s why we’re so good at this.”

“We’re amazing.”

“If only there were sexual Olympic games. We’d totally score high.”

“There are actually.”

“No there aren’t!”

“Yes, there are. You want to go?”

“What? How? Explain to me how that works.”

“Well, you have a bunch of girls, blowing a bunch of guys, and there’s a judge…”

“You’re such an idiot.”

“And the first one who comes – ”

“Now just wait a minute. No. That makes no sense. The first one who comes? That’s not necessarily the best one! You could totally have a quick mediocre orgasm.”

“Hmm… Well, maybe they attach electrodes to your head or something to measure your level of pleasure.”

“Now, that makes more sense.”

We lay there quietly.

“I like laying here in bed with you, talking nonsense.”

“Me too.”

“I like being with you, hanging out, just talking,”

“I like that too babe.”

“And I like fucking you.”

“What a coincidence. So do I.”

“You do, huh?” He smiles. “So which do you like more?”

“What do you mean?”

“Talking, or fucking?”

“Is that a real question?” He laughs. I roll my eyes. “I like the whole package, OK?”

“Well, it’s a pretty awesome package.” He holds me. Just go to I love you I think to myself.

“Hey, I love you.”

“I love you too.”

Navigating under the Influence

28 Sep

Picture this: I’m on a highway, my left hand on the steering wheel, my right holding a beer, my left foot on the gas, my right up on the dashboard (I’m a righty, just in case you were wondering). Loud music is playing – and I’m on the highway. Driving.

Suddenly, I spot a cop, and I freak out. I try to put my right foot back down, to toss my beer somewhere, but everything is happening so quickly, I’m driving so fast, I feel like I’m losing control of my car. How could I have been so reckless? Suddenly, I feel something cold and wet on my foot, soft, velvety, it’s a tongue. It’s licking my foot excessively. Charlie, our dog, has woken me up, and thank god for that.

My son and I collapsed together on my bed after lunch today. That hasn’t happened to us in a really long time. It was a big day for us, well, for me mostly, because honestly I’m not sure how much of it he’s really taken in – despite being the brightest, most insightful 3 year old I’ve ever met (and we all know that as his mother I’m completely objective).

Today, I met D’s twin girls for the first time, and he met my son, and they met me, and my son, and my son met them. All of that happened in one quick hour over ice cream.

We’ve been dating for about ten months now, and I guess it just felt like it was time. I had been kind of pushing the agenda of meeting the kids for a couple of months now, and when he finally said yes, I totally freaked out. This was a serious step. What would I tell my son about D? How would I introduce him? True, his father has a girlfriend that spends every moment of their visits with them. They’re pretty serious – they go abroad together, they take our son on so called family vacations. I hate her guts, but I also think it’s a good thing, in principle. Our boy likes her. She seems to have a head on her shoulders and her heart is in the right place.

But this is different. I the past 3 months, custody has shifted a bit. I have gladly allowed our son to sleep over at his dad’s twice a week, instead of once. It’s been very good for the two of them. Still, I’m the one in charge of raising him. I’m the one who makes the big decisions, the one who gives him stability, who sets boundaries and stands behind her word. I’m pretty freaked out about letting a man into my life – well, about letting a man into OUR life. Because, actually I’ve already let one into mine.

The meeting went well. The ice cream was sweet and cold and the children licked it vigorously under the blazing midday sun. We walked by the water, and I had brought some bread to feed the fish with. The kids loved watching the little fish pounce one over the other, fighting over each bread crumb.

I looked at my man. He was as handsome and sweet as I always feel he is. But there was a softness about him, the way he handled his girls, the way young dads do, fumbling through early parenthood, with a charming clumsiness, a complete contrast to those power moms that blindly push through everything and have answers to all questions and a datebook full of plans for every minute of the week. I’m in love with him, and his girls, and his problems, and his shortcomings. I wasn’t sure for a while, but now I know, I’ll accept the whole package, if he only offers it to me.

Still, I got back home and crashed – well, we both did. Though I had made a huge effort to make our little outing as little a deal as could be made, my son, being a constant reflection of my emotional state, must have felt the tension. I told him: we’re going to meet two sweet girls, new friends. Their dad is mommy’s friend. We’re going to all go have ice cream together at the marina, feed the fish and look at the boats. Won’t that be nice? He said: Are they 3? And I said: Almost. And he said: If I’m older than them I can teach them things. Like, if they don’t know Anna and Elsa I can tell them about the story, and how Hans was bad in the end and how Christof was good, and about Sven and Olof the snowman. He was excited. When we left he said: Can we meet them again soon?

After lunch I felt so exhausted I told my son mommy needed a nap, and he could play if you didn’t feel tired. He crawled into my bed and snuggled by me, and at once we both fell asleep. I don’t know what he was dreaming about, but I hope it wasn’t about his mother’s extreme and untypically reckless driving.

Am I being reckless in my life? Maybe I am. I love D, but I don’t know where this is going. I didn’t wait for certainty before making introductions. Maybe because there could be no certainty before introductions. Maybe because there will never be certainty. There will just be a togetherness for a while, for as long as we both shall enjoy it.

I don’t know.

I guess for now, the DUI is on me, and all I can do is pray there will be no great repercussions. Let this go by smoothly, please! For once, let something be easy.

“Damaged Goods”

24 May

I told D I was ready for our children to meet. So far, we’ve been having a secretive affair, mostly meeting at night, sneaking out and leaving by dark. I haven’t met his friends. He’s met mine once, at my birthday party, where we were all crazy drunk.

He said he wasn’t ready. And I couldn’t let it go.

So I wrote him a letter, about the separation we’ve created between our relationship and our lives, how we’re conducting an affair within this bubble of nightly encounters, in which we love each other and have great sex, and offer one another a brief moment of peace before going back to our hectic schedules. I presented it as if it were a bad thing. I said I was ready to take our relationship to the next level, the one where it is integrated with the rest of our existence. Where we meet during the day as our kids play, or have Friday evening dinners together.

He answered kindly. He said he loved me, but he wasn’t ready. He said he’d only recently been given back his life, after eight years in which he felt like he wasn’t allowed to be himself. And now, he’s healing, and it’ll take time. This is why he can’t move any further with me.

The first thing I sensed from his letter was love. It was tenderly written. Then I saw the immense pain, the scabs and wounds, and I was thankful he shared them with me. Then I realized, I’m still following my pattern. Falling for men that aren’t there yet, that like me, are damaged, that like me, are in the midst of a healing process. And it made me really sad. Because until recently, D was exactly what I’d been craving. A solid relationship, where there was love and understanding and warmth and comfort and great sex, but that was completely separated from the rest of my life. When I met him, I still said things like, “I don’t see myself living with anyone again.”

But now that’s changed. I’m craving such closeness, to have the man I love become a true part of my life. But more than that, I want more than anything for him to choose me – to really choose me. Not just to be with me. I spent 13 years of my life loving someone who loved me a little less, who stopped loving me at one point, who thought about leaving me for six months without my knowledge, through the end of my pregnancy with our child, who left me with a four month old infant. So I’m constantly looking for proof – that I’m not just wasting my time, my energy, my emotions on a man who might never be ready for the next step. My insecurity is really getting in the way of my patience.

What’s odd, is that actually, our little arrangement meets my needs perfectly. I do love my life, and it is FULL, I mean, it’s hard to squeeze a pin in. My job, my son, my close friends, who are like family to me, my grief, my growth. It almost feels like the only reason I want to move forward with D, is to know that I can, like I’m still seeking proof that he wants me, that we’re not just passing time.

I’m damaged. He’s damaged. I guess that’s what relationships in your thirties are like. It’s more complicated than it was when in our first time around, falling in love, testing out the waters of closeness. There’s a knowledge that you can’t un-know now, that things end, even when you think they’ll last forever. That people may betray you, even if you think they’re trustworthy.

I do love D. He is the perfect prescription for my loneliness, my grief, my need to be held, enveloped, complimented, loved. Why can’t I just embrace the gift that he is and not constantly worry about what’ll happen when it expires?

Itineraries, Sexy Rendezvous and Maintaining Sanity

9 May

Today is a down day, how surprising, as it’s a Saturday and I am home alone with no itinerary. I woke up at ten and it took me a full hour to get out of bed. Finally I was up, getting some work done in my pajamas. I had some coffee, but I only remembered to eat when I felt like I was going to faint. You’d think I’d have this down by now. I just don’t know how to be alone anymore.

On a different front, things are going pretty well with D. We seem to have survived my meltdown last Saturday, and our nearly six month old relationship is slowly evolving, two steps forward, one step back. Each in turn pushing forward, and pulling away. It’s like a series of contractions, only less painful and more pleasurable. I clutch and he releases, I release my grip and he tightens his. I’m desperate, he’s patient, I’m easy, and I can sense his need.

He’s working this weekend and again we’re finding little loopholes in our schedules to see each other. It’s kind of exciting, these hastened lunch breaks and naked afternoon rendezvous. Yesterday, on his way to work, he dropped by for an hour, and I was waiting for him in a tight sheer spaghetti strap top, and a skirt that I never wear without tights, since it’s way too short to be appropriate. But this time I passed on the tights, and underwear too for that matter.

It was one of the sexiest encounters I’ve had with him, or with anyone. He was beside himself with excitement, and something more, a kid of gratitude that you can only understand if you’ve been in a sexless relationship for a long time, especially in one that made you feel emasculated. There he was, showing me in every way that he could not resist me, his body warm, built just the right amount, his biceps streching his Tshirt only slightly, his face unshaven, his bristles prickly as he kissed my shoulders and neck.  “I missed you, zalataya.” (That’s my new nickname) “A lot.”

Minutes later he was naked and on top of me, my skirt rolled up, his arm firm around my neck and his other hand grabbing me by my waist. He moved me, positioned me, and repositioned me, and I loved him in control, molding our bodies like an artist. There’s a moment during sex when my mind goes foggy, and even if I tried I wouldn’t be able to think of anything. All systems shut down. I love that moment.

It was such good sex, that when we were done, I kissed him and said thank you. That made him crack up and he said, “I’m crazy about you.” and after a pause he added, “A lot”. And that made me laugh. We lay there in bed, holding each other and smiling to ourselves, and I wanted to hashtag the moment #Feeling blessed motherfuckers.   

Yesterday was an up day. I was at work in the morning, then running errands, meeting D, family dinner, and meeting up with J for a beer later that evening. All time accounted for. No time to overthink my life or sink into melancholia.

I really should stick to what I know.

Insecurities and Meltdowns

4 May

My insecurities got the best of me the other day. Missing M horribly, crying nonstop, panicking about everything and anything. I finally cracked and went berserk on D. Just like I had told myself I wouldn’t.

If he only says I love you in response to me saying it, how can I be sure he really means it? I was going nuts imagining how he’d be off soon enough leaving me, alone once again, surprised and insulted, unloved for months without having suspected.

I was sobbing hysterically when I finally decided to text him. It was one of those things you don’t think through, and you kind of know that if you did – you’d stop. But it was a mistake I wanted to make, moreover, it felt like something I needed to do, so badly that it would be a mistake not to.

I was straightforward. Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything, but at least there was no beating around the bush. He responded clearly: He loved me. He thought I was incredible. I gave him things that had been missing from his life for years. He wished he could say something more to convince me that that’s how he felt.

I took a screenshot. I would have to reread this message in the future. I said: Thank you. I’ll try to remember that.

Then he came over and we had sex and went to the Robbie Williams concert which was awesome. By the time we got back home, it felt like things had gone back to normal between us, and I thought to myself, it’s not such a high price to pay, my emotional meltdowns, to be with me. I’m kind of a catch.

Sexy Rendevous & Really Weird Dream

28 Mar

D was called in for reserve, and even though we sometimes do not see each other for a full week, this time, since he was physically far away, it felt like forever. When he was unexpectedly released for a night in his own bed, we mutually decided on a night in my own bed, even though it was against our new rule of no sleepovers when my Boy is home. I needed to see him, so I made weak rationalizations in my head. He hadn’t had bad dreams in over a week now. And he’d had a long day, he would be too tired to get up in the middle of the night and come into my room.

A knock on the door and then a bone crushing embrace that lasted a full minute, and then his lips on my neck, and in my hair and on my mouth, soft, slippery and comforting. It was the best I had felt in a while. I missed you, he said, I had missed him too. Missed his mouth, and his neck, and his shoulders, and his biceps. Missed pulling his shirt off and feeling his warm skin against mine. Within minutes, we were making out on my sofa like a coupe of teenagers, fingers caressing and groping, tongues tasting, hips dancing. And then we moved into my bedroom, where we allowed ourselves more freedom, to explore each other’s bodies with our own, to turn off lights and thoughts and just be, easing in from a jumble of arms and legs and breasts, and hips, into rythmic movement, growing steadily deeper and faster, until that magnificent moment of complete oblivion, in which nothing has place, except the intense sensation of his final thrust and my legs wrapped around him, and my head tilted back as I muffle a groan.

But that night, back in our clothes, sleeping deeply, facing different directions, our legs still tangled like the roots of an ancient tree, I awoke abruptly to see his little face in the dark, “I can’t sleep”. Thank god for his little body, his head barely peering over the edge of the mattress. The darkness. D tucked away under the comforter. I got up immediately and took my Boy back to bed, patting his back for a full twenty minutes, which felt like forever, until he was breathing heavily again.

“Do you want me to leave?”

“No. It’s OK.”

D held me as a made an honest effort to go back to sleep. Finally, there he was, my son. It was morning, the sun beamed through the open shades and he was asking me, “who’s this, mom?” With surprise and sleepiness I woke D up. I said, “This is D. He’s a friend.” And I put my boy with a bowl of cereal in front of the TV. My sister was suddenly there. And she was playing with him, as the doorbell rang. Shit. Must be BD and his new girlfriend here to pick up my boy. Quick, D, out the back door.

They came in, smug, and went straight to the Boy’s room to pack an overnight bag for him. A couple of minutes later, it was too quiet in his room, as it often is with young children, and I felt worried, that something was wrong. I opened the door and found them: D, BD and new girlfriend, and they were getting dressed. When I confronted them, they admitted to having had a threesome, right there in my child’s bedroom. What the fuck?? I was out of my mind with rage, but all they did was shrug it off. D even said I was making a big deal out of nothing. I remember thinking miserably, how gullible I was, how I allowed someone, once again, to become close to me, and hurt me so terribly.

At 5 am the alarm rang, a few minutes after I had woken up. D’s arms were around me again, consoling me after I’d nudged him and whispered “bad dream”. When I told him about it he laughed and quoted the Lonely Island singing It’s not gay if it’s in a threeway. Then he did an Eddie Murphy impression and said, “You know what? Yeah. I fucked her. OK? I fucked her. But I made love to you.” We laughed it off, and he went back to his reserve, and I woke my son up with oatmeal and smiles, awaiting the weekend, when we’d have the house to ourselves, making new promises to avoid sleepovers on weeknights, at least until D’s called in for reserve again.