Attacking Life with Comedic Jaws of Sarcasm. Recovering Dating & Relationship Blogger - Made it to Step 12 When I Got Married.

Category: V and X Falling in Love

Part 20: Finale; I Won’t Go, I Won’t Sleep, I Can’t Breathe, Until You’re Resting Here With Me

It’s the end but it’s not the end. This is the last piece of the story, but the story keeps going, and yes, the blog keeps going. Shutting down hasn’t occurred to me, at least not yet.   And I don’t have a big engagement ring picture to show you. While that would be a happy end to the “story,” it’s not my end. (Caution. Big Femmie speak coming.) These last four years of blogging were about empowering ourselves as women to weed through crappy men and not settle for less than the best. Somehow, making the story end with a big rock and a wedding seems like selling out to me, to you, to everyone. I’m more introspective than that. That’s a major reason I hate Sex and the City and all that those dumb bitches stand for. They pretend to stand for empowerment of women, but really, they spent six seasons chasing unworthy men and shopping. Not exactly role models for any of us or our daughters or nieces.

Thank you for taking the journey with me, and with us. X is the great love of my life, and I feel so fortunate to have found him, to have been found, to have found each other.

I could keep going because life keeps going. I could regale you with stories about an old girlfriend who showed up in X’s life and temporarily made ours miserable. I could go through the details on when the ex Mrs. X found out about me and how she turned all her children (you know, the ones he raised and supported but didn’t contribute his sperm to) against him in a flash. I could tell you that he genuinely didn’t care, and that was the ultimate in satisfaction for me and closure for him. But all of that is just life. The details aren’t always important.

The lyrics from one of my favorite songs comes to mind here:

There are places I’ll remember all my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments with lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living in my life I’ve loved them all

But of all these friends and lovers there is no one who compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning when I think of love as something new
Though I know I’ll never lose affection for people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them.
In my life I love you more.

I can’t lie and say that there aren’t conversations about marriage and babies, well, one baby, but we’re still trying to figure out where all of that stands. You know…we’re older. I’m 36. And sometimes I’m not sure if I have it in me to have a life with a baby in it now that I’m more set in my ways. And X is older than I am, and he’s been through the kid thing already. In five years, his kids could be off at college and we could have a nice simple life together. But in five years, when his kids are going off to college, we could be scouting around for a kindergarten class worthy of our prodigal child. I just don’t know which life we’ll have.

I was never that person who desperately wanted to be a mother. I know there are women out there who are maternally hard-wired. I’m not sure I’m one of them. Though, I can say out of dead honesty: I do think if I don’t at least try, then I will always wonder what having a child would have been like. My main reason for wanting to would be what X said to me one night over dinner: “If there are any two people in the world who should have a child together, it’s us.” I believe the impact of that statement would be lost if you hadn’t just spent the last four weeks reading about our history, because everyone thinks that. But with X and I, it’s been such a long journey and such a deep love resulting from the journey, that I believe not trying to have a child with him would be an epic fail.

As far as marriage goes, I’m not sure if every prescription to happiness includes marriage and kids. I’m a pretty staunch feminist, so I have spent the better part of the last month asking why people get married and why it’s necessary. In times when women couldn’t earn the same as their male counterparts, marriage was the only way to create and build a family. But now, no one can give me a valid reason to get married besides the usual crap:

Because it will make your parents happy.

Because it’s right for the kids if you want to live together.

Because you own property together.

Because you are going to have a baby together.

Because the ex wife could sue you for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. (That one was courtesy of my father.)

Because if he dies you have no claims to anything.

Because if he dies, his half of the house and car go to his kids, and because they are under 18, the ex wife will be the one you’ll deal with.

Yikes on that last one…

I remain on the fence. X said before we get married he will tell me exactly why we should. I’m still waiting. It’s a big joke with us now. Not to say we won’t get there, but, I’ve never been that girl. Bride’s magazines and visions of a perfect wedding dress? Yeah. Not so much. That’s never been me. Don’t bother looking for that Glamourshots photo of X and I in the New York Times or WaPo or anything like that. Anything commercial surrounding the wedding really pisses me off. A Vegas drive through or somewhere in the Keys on the beach would be just fine with me.

The love lessons here are inherent. You have to fall in love with your best friend. It’s truly the only way. Sometimes the person you are supposed to be with is right in front of your face. They don’t always come in the obvious form either. Sometimes you end up realizing that the situation surrounding the person you are fated to be with is not what you thought it would be. People have baggage. We all do. No one should feel that they are above it. Relationships take work. It’s important to know when to let go. But more important to know when not to.

Cliche, but, when two people are meant to be together, everything just aligns for them to do so. X had a wife for the first three years that I knew him. For those years I never considered for a moment that we would end up where we are today despite an obvious attraction on both sides. You can’t engineer fate, so while we may decide to “take control” of our lives, most of the work is done for us I believe by putting us in the right place at the right time. The little details are what lies in our hands.

X – I love you. Thank you for making my life an Epic Win, every day.

Part 19: Oh I Am What I Am, I’ll Do What I Want, But I Can’t Hide

September 2008 – February 2009

September would be the witching hour for this divorce. The conversations between X and the hopefully soon to be ex Mrs. X were in full force. She was on the emotional roller coaster from hell and dragging everyone down with her. Seriously. Sometimes I wished she knew about me so I could call her up and tell her to have some fucking respect for herself and to stop acting like a child. Oh. And while we were on the phone I’d also tell her to stop using her uterus as a paycheck. By then she would have hung up on me.

She was wavering between bouts of being sick of the kids and wanting him to pick them up immediately to threats to take the kids and leave the country. It was exhausting. The problem for her was that X was burned out on her anger and emotional bullshit, so he was unresponsive to almost everything. Almost. Threats to take children are the trump card. And she knew that.

After a particularly grueling Labor Day weekend afternoon of texting wars between X and the soon to be ex Mrs. X, he put his arms around me and said, “I am so in love with you.” Sometimes all you have to do is be the non-crazy woman in a sea of crazy women and you come out smelling like a rose.

Later that night, we ended up with another of our firsts. These moments happen so infrequently in long term relationships that you just have to pay attention and know when they are happening so you can record every moment in your head and burn it forever into your happy place. We ended up taking a shower together. When the shower finished and we moved to the bed and shared the sweet words across the pillow that couples share, we were again at a new place. Before he left the next morning he said, “Something changed.” I agreed. It did change. I can’t explain it, it just did. I think at that point we just knew it was forever. And that we were forever.

It of course didn’t stop more on and off drama with the impending divorce. It just wasn’t moving fast enough for me. Up. Down. Up. Down. For what started out so well, September was a rough month until the fated, long awaited for day where he sent me a text that said, “I have the signed divorce agreement.” His attorney filed and they got a court date for shortly into the new year.

The fall was spent running back and forth to the beach house, doing walk throughs, making sure everything was as it was supposed to be. It was an incredible growing experience for our relationship to have something that we thought of and then built together – not necessarily literally as much, but figuratively.

There’s a huge gap of time in my precious Microsoft Word documentation of our relationship. October, November, December. Blank. Blank. Blank. Nothing. I wish I could remember what I’m missing here, but no news was good news. We were finally on track to divorce court with no further encumbrances ahead.

The holidays rolled through town and we spent New Year’s Eve this time in bed with dueling bottles of champagne. We settled on the house in January and promptly started nesting. Shortly after the settlement at the beach, X officially became divorced. Oh. My. God.

X moved from one place to another on pretty short notice and I was the helper-bee. Going from the fourth floor walk up to a townhouse, my ass and legs saw their fair share of stairs that weekend. At the end of the 24 hours of hell, he opened a bottle of Captain Morgan, took a swing and said, “You know, if this keeps going like it’s going, one of us is going to want to get married.”

Oh? Which one?

Part 18: I Don’t Want to Move a Thing, It Might Change My Memory

2008: June – September

It might seem like telling about the fighting is personal, almost too personal. But I want to tell the whole story. It’s not always roses and lollipops, even when the love is the deepest and most lasting of any love of your life. And it’s important, for me anyway, to convey that there are sometimes it’s worth it to stay and fight and sometimes it’s not worth it and you should walk away. Differentiating between the two is only something you can answer by looking in your heart. Honestly looking in your heart.

We recovered from the argument where he mailed my keys back when I drove back to his house and gave them back to him. It wouldn’t be the last of the bickering about the divorce. I tried to remind myself over and over: What if this was your last day with him? Is this how you would want to spend it?

At this point I believe I realized that I (we) were just so in love, that any of this time wasted arguing was exactly that – time wasted arguing. The subject of taking a break had come up during the arguing, but when we were calm and discussing everything we determined that it was impossible for us to really take a break because it was just so difficult to be away from each other. He said, “I’m not going to lose you over this shit.” I said, “I’m not going anywhere.” He said, “I’m not either.” During all this drama would be when he finally said out loud that he was in love with me. Fucking finally. Jesus Christ.

Spring moved into summer and one Saturday we went shopping and bought a game that was a box of questions for couples. Inevitably these games bring about conversations that people may or may not be ready to have. While we sat on the roof of my building drinking a bottle of wine and eating cupcakes from Cake Love (um, eau, not good) X and I had to answer a few questions on issues we had never discussed – like marriage and (more) kids. I believe we turned another corner and entered the “don’t want to be without each other” phase.

The summer was great. We had a lot of fun. We still talk today about the time we just woke up and bolted out to Annapolis to find a restaurant to eat crabs. We both sat facing the water, drinking a pitcher of beer and hammering away at crabs. We kept saying through the next few months how fun that was.

As X recently said to me, “Ideas just constantly swim in your head, don’t they?” It’s true. The little squirrel is always kicking things around up there. One day in August, I started looking at beach real estate again. I hated keeping the dogs cooped up all summer in the city. I wanted a place to go. I googled dog beaches and found some on the Eastern Shore that looked promising. X and I convened on the phone with dueling laptops to see what was out there. We made appointments at several new home communities and drove out that weekend. Shortly after arriving at one closest to the beach we were interested in, we were signing a contract. The house would be started shortly and finished by mid-winter. Great. Not what I had hoped in searching for an already-built (spec) home, but it would do.

The following weekend X and I went to New York City for a few days. He met my parents. I’d cheer and say “Woo Hoo” and explain to you how monumental this was considering NO ONE meets my parents (because they are judgie mcjudgiepoohs) however, at lunch my mom put her personality on display by maligning someone my family knew who had “gotten divorced.” X and I just looked at each other. Insults included at no extra cost.

We had this minor altercation in New York centering around a bartender and X and my suspicion if there was something that went on and wondering if that was why X came to New York alone on New Years Eve. The whole thing spiraled out of control because I apparently saw something that wasn’t there, and X was confused why I was acting the way I was. When we were hashing it out, he told me that he didn’t see anyone past me. I told him I loved him. He said, “I love you too. Maybe one day you will believe me.”

If we weren’t in the fast lane to closure and happiness before, we were heading there fast. During the early days of September, there was movement in the way of the divorce paperwork being signed so as to avoid court. To quote something I wrote at this time, “I have been waiting for this day for so long, I’m afraid of how my emotions will strangle me when the day finally arrives. There is so much about this relationship that I want to broadcast to the world, and yet, as X is my best friend, he is the only one I truly care to share anything with anymore. I’ve isolated myself. But that’s fine with me.”

I’ve become “that girl.” Damn it.

Part 17: I Didn’t Hear You Leave, I Wonder How Am I Still Here

2008: May

As we approached summer our relationship was moving forward by its actions, but there were some ridiculous administrative details in a holding pattern. We had two elephants in the room:

1) Despite the months of banter on the subject, X couldn’t say he loved me. This on its own isn’t bothersome because as he said during this time period, “Do I treat you like I love you?” Well, yes, but, but, but, I have become everything* for you buddy and it would be nice if you could just admit it.

2) By summer, I started (really) asking why the divorce wasn’t moving forward, as opposed to my prior comment here and there on the matter.

*pause for ” * ” clarification: by everything, I mean, I had become X’s best friend and therapist, constantly performing my armchair psychology routine on the who’s what’s and why’s of the psychosis of his “wife.” I felt like if he still didn’t know whether he was or wasn’t, then he was an idiot. And I also felt that if he did know, which he probably did, then he should just tell me, because what the hell was he holding on to? What’s the victory in holding back your love?

We had a series of fights all related to this lack of progress toward a divorce. At the time, I was keeping a “blog” in good old Microsoft Word, and I wrote, “I’m tired of nurturing a relationship that’s a freakshow on wheels.” I was still a big secret from the “wife” because we couldn’t tell her otherwise she may never divorce him, and I was a secret from the kids because of, see above: “wife.” One of our fights – and I know he forgot all about this until now – was over the stupidest thing.

I went to his place and he basically ripped off my clothes and were totally done in under 10 minutes from me walking in the door. I said, “Damn, you must have needed that.” He said, “Well, I didn’t need it.” We went back and forth over the word “need.” He couldn’t even admit that maybe just once, I satisfy something for him that he needs satisfied – whatever it is. It was part of a bigger picture. I got up, got dressed, walked out, and shut off my phone.

The next day when I turned my phone back on, I saw that he had texted over the night that he didn’t know what happened and he didn’t get it. The mere fact that he was up at 3 a.m. thinking about this should have been clue enough to him, that duh, you’re in love and this shit bothers you so much you can’t sleep, but sometimes you have to spell it out for them. I texted back. (Yes, I know. You want to know why all these important conversations occur over text. I rather prefer it that way. I can get my thoughts out uninterrupted and get a mostly instant response.) Anyway, here’s what I said:

“It is really tiring trying to be with someone who so carefully plans their words so much that they can’t give any remote clue to what they are feeling. The whole need/want thing is symbolic of a bigger problem. The fact that you emotionally have nothing left inside of you coupled with the fact that it looks like this divorce will never happen – it looks like a losing battle from my end. Too many hurdles to overcome. And all you want is for me to just be patient. That’s just insulting. I actually think you enjoy this bullshit. It feeds your ego that she still wants to be married to you. I get to hear on a daily basis how mad she supposedly makes you but you don’t do anything about it. Why do you need me as the motivation to end the marriage with her? You should want to end it on your own, because it’s over, not because I’ve come into the picture. I hate the person I’ve become. Nagging you on a daily basis to stay focused. I shouldn’t have to do that but I’m afraid if I don’t, it will be 2009 with no divorce. This is a colossal mindfuck for me – I will have spent all this time in something that stands no chance because the divorce will never happen, and you will never stop calculating your words so intently that I get nothing back at all.”

There were reasons for all of this divorce delay of course. X had to extract from the marriage without getting hosed. And we didn’t want to end up in court – me included. The truth was we had done nothing wrong. But if it went to a long ugly trial, the simplistic cliche would be painted of “boss fucking secretary” and it would have been a total disaster. The fight that ensued with the above texting happened on the same weekend where X’s father died. Damn if I didn’t just pile on to his stress. And damn if his “wife” didn’t get to go to the funeral.

Here we were – at a point where this man was sharing his heart with me, and because of a stupid miserable technicality that should be on meds and in a straitjacket, I couldn’t be with him at his father’s funeral. I really grew to despise the situation I was in. We repaired it – but we didn’t go long without another fight. Two weeks to be exact.

The “wife” had decided she was taking the kids and moving away. He was freaking out and panicking and I, with my fantabulous bedside manner, said, “This is all your fault. If you had just divorced her when you left to begin with, there would be a custody agreement and she couldn’t do this. All I see is that you have the same conversation over and over where you ask her about a divorce and she blows you off and you back down. I’m fucking sick of it.”

We didn’t talk for three days. He mailed me a goodbye letter and included my house keys. Fucker.

Part 16: So Much Love to Make Up Everywhere You Turn

2008: January – April

During December, ex-boss and I got seemingly more involved with each other by way of some really deep conversations, but at the turn of the new year, I think I shook myself awake, literally. I just realized that maybe this wasn’t going to pan out the way I had thought and I should just refocus my life on me and going back to work and getting my life together.

I actually made a deal with myself, I was going to slowly slide out of his life. I was tired of realizing I would come last in a long line containing a wife that might never have the “ex” in front of it, her kids, and their kids, and his work. I stopped responding so quickly and so enthusiastically to his texts. I swear, men can fucking smell it when they are being blown off. I wasn’t playing a game, I was just prioritizing as per my goal of the cross country trip. My priorities were to get a job, be closer to my family, and be a good mommy to Sammy and Thora who suddenly started having annoying and costly health problems. I was also well aware that I was in love. It just didn’t feel like it would ever be requited.

I was laying in bed one night (alone) and leaned over and wrote on my trusty nightstand notepad:

“How is the love for my first love, K, different from what I’m feeling now, which is obviously love? K and I were like two kids whose parents left us home alone with money and keys to the car. It was always fun. It was always a party in our house. Our love grew not because we were so compatible, but because we had this mutual admiration and respect for each other. We really liked the other person – he really wanted to be more “responsible” like I was, and I wished I could be more of the free spirit he was. When we broke up, it shattered my world.   A lot. I had a six year drug run ended in April 2007 when he reappeared in my life, fresh from his stay in rehab. One week after our first conversation would be the last time I would ever touch a drug. My pain was over. He was alive and sober and we were friends and my life could officially go on again. My current growing love now? Totally different. With K, we spent most of our time dissecting other people around us with “issues,” ignoring our own issues, which ultimately destroyed everything. With the ex-boss, we spend 99% of our time discussing and dissecting ourselves.”

It was true. The ex-boss and I spent hours on the phone in Jan/Feb analyzing each other, our thoughts, actions. It was so different than what I had been used to. With the ex-boss and I, it was all about us and how neglected our emotional needs had been. We became each other’s therapist and best friend.

Through several ridiculous events, I believe I helped him realize the manipulation operation in full force by the wife – the tricks she was using to deflect his attention on the divorce, the cries for help, the illnesses, the E.R., the drama, the temper tantrums, the demands that he fix things in what was now (or going to be) her house. During one of these groundbreaking conversations I texted to him: “You are opening up with me more than I am used to. Not that this is a bad thing. I’m just surprised because everything is usually a joke with you.”

In January, he officially became jobless. He was laid off as well, or took the imminent layoff, and then he suddenly had much more time to play with me. We would sit on the phone for hours looking at websites, clothes, sex toys. You name it, we shopped it.

It is around this time that we started speaking daily. In early February, he sent me a text that he wanted to go to Key West. He booked it for early March and we went on our first vacation together. We had a great time.   We finally spent not only a full night with each other, but a whole weekend. When we returned back home, we had turned another corner and hit the speed lane. Now we would split up who went to whose house, but he more often than not left by 5 or 6 a.m.

I saved a text exchange that was a pretty defining moment for us.

Him: Are you in love?
Me: Yes
Him: Hmm
Me: Brave of you to ask. I figured you knew.
Him: No. I didn’t really think too much about it. But I’m learning about how you drop hints. Like putting your toe in the water.
Me: Did I drop hints? I honestly think we both are. And have been for a while. And the extent to which we feel and acknowledge is different. But it’s there.
Him: I could get there but I don’t want to let myself get there. I convince myself I can control it.
Me: I’m not sure if one has a choice in this. You know how you think about me during the day? You know how you say you are closer to me than any of your exes? Its like that. Its like where I think I could hold your hand and just be happy to touch you when my past experience with men never ever brought a desire for hand holding. Kissing. Talking on the phone for hours. Most people annoy me. So thats how I know.
Him: I’m glad I do that to you. You just made me laugh. You write well – even texting.
Me: Just try not to get scared. I have no desire to be with anyone else. Not going anywhere and not getting psycho if you do.
Him: You are very non-threatening. I enjoy you in many ways. You won’t scare me. I don’t scare away easily.

We continued through the spring making progress similar to the text exchange you read above. I admitted I was in love, and he found it difficult to admit. We would joke about it back and forth because he would walk into it all the time. You know when someone is in love with you. You can tell. They say things like, “I woke up thinking about you today,” or ” “You popped into my head today and I realized how happy you make me,” and you just know.

By this time, he had taken on his commenting name on this blog. In case you haven’t figured it out – he is indeed Mr. X.

Part 15: Look Around You Now, You Must Go For What You Wanted

2007: August – December

We were still laying in bed at 3 a.m. when I rolled over and said, “That’s funny, I’m usually gone by now.” He found that particularly amusing. It was just the truth. I’m not very good about staying around. I like to use the dogs as an excuse to go back to my own bed and sleep like a starfish. Seemed like I couldn’t really do that in this case because I had probably handed him my playbook over the past four years in my stories about other men.

When I walked out the door and got to my car, I texted one of my best friends who is also my real estate agent. I said, “I just fucked your next client. You can thank me later.” I’ll always be somewhat evil. I readily admit this.

I knew I would never make the move to contact him first. Thankfully, I didn’t have to. When I was ramming my car through the throngs of club kids at the intersection of hell and chaos, 18th Street/Connecticut Ave, he called to make sure I got home okay. We texted on and off throughout the rest of the weekend. On Sunday night, we actually, gasp, talked on the phone instead of texting. We were on the phone for 4 hours. We covered a lot of ground.

The second time I went to his house he actually looked at me in the middle of having sex and said, “You still see me as your boss, don’t you?” I was clearly very transparent. Guilty as charged. He said I would have to get past it. I asked if he still saw me as the employee. He said, “Not at all.”

We fell into a habit of seeing each other about once a week. Weekdays would be filled with texting foreplay, weekends would bring the adult activities.   We had really scaled it down to quite an efficient operation. Rarely would I stay over. Never would he come to my place. At one point in time, about a month in, I stayed pretty late – for me. I woke up with major dry eyes and went looking for my eyedrops in my bag. While I was digging around for them, my phone started vibrating. It was 4 a.m. K was calling. He had been driving through town on a trip up north and wanted to see if I was home so he could come by. I told him I wasn’t. The ex-boss walked out and saw me on the phone. It was a pretty uncomfortable moment – not because I couldn’t be honest with him, I could. But because I figured he would think I was just juggling him and others and I didn’t want him to think that. He responded by saying, “Let’s go out to get breakfast.”

I think that looking back at this time period makes me depressed. I don’t know why but knowing him now and how he is, and knowing what these five months were like from the startup until the holidays – it was weird. He was evasive at times, didn’t seem as into me as I was into him, was busy with work and trying to keep the company afloat – which would prove to be an effort in vain, and he was probably still seeing someone else. This time of his seeming apathy was when I would put my job search in New York into full force. I really really wanted to leave. Truth be told, I still do.

By October there were signs that this was moving to a new level. We would sleep intertwined with each other which was all very new for me.   I’m used to relationships where I get up in the middle of the night and sleep on the couch. In fact, I can’t recall one old boyfriend where I didn’t routinely do this. We talked about this place we were getting to one night and he said, “It just feels so good when you walk in the door.”

December is probably where we turned the corner. He hadn’t even see my condo until he came to a tree trimming party in December thrown by my real estate agent bff but even then, he didn’t stay over. All the years of the friendship and now, we were totally in relationship retrograde. It was out of sequence for the way relationships typically go. We had already done the getting-to-know-you and had become friends. Then we weren’t friends. Then we reconnected to rip each other’s clothes off.

Somehow though, all of this was very unsatisfying. I don’t think at the holidays of 2007 I could look back and say that the last five months had been anything other than sex. It was getting there, slowly. Not fast enough for me to be convinced that I wouldn’t have traded the sex back for the prior friendship we had. I’d waited over four years to get to this point, and suddenly, I wanted everything and was all about instant gratification.

Even though we had made some progress in the way of having some pretty deep conversations about each other and us as an “us,” it didn’t seem like it would go far. He was still mired in a separation that didn’t seem to be making any progress toward a divorce and my heart was, is, and probably always will be in New York City. And speaking of New York City, he wanted to go up there for New Years Eve. His now estranged wife and kids were in Europe, so he had no hangups in his way. I had somehow thought we would see more of each other in that timeframe. We didn’t.

He had half assed invited me to New York but then the next thing I knew, he was driving up there alone. Very very weird. Really weird. He told me I should come up, but I refused to drop the dogs last minute on someone for his half-assed invite, and I didn’t go. I don’t chase men. I went to a friend’s house for New Years Eve and at that party, I made a resolution to move to New York in 2008.

Part 14: So Much Water Moving Underneath the Bridge, Let the Water Come and Carry Us Away

August 4, 2007

It took the ex-Boss two and a half weeks to text again. I figured he was chickening out and I started to lose hope. I wasn’t going to text first, that just isn’t my style. I prefer to sit and wait instead of hunt and kill. Besides, truth be told, I had done enough over the years. Subtle or not.

The text I received was on a Friday afternoon. He said that his kids had found a sweater hanging behind my old office door and he would like to return it. I found it funny that he had to invent some lame excuse when we both knew what we were doing. We had waited almost four years for this moment, who were we kidding?

We made plans for that evening. I promptly went into panic mode, questioning what I was doing. Wondering if the whole time it was his soon to be ex setting a trap for me. I thought about not going, for about a half a second, then got in the shower, got in the car, and blasted Alice Cooper’s Poison 10 times in a row while I drove to his house.

When he opened the door he looked, just, great. Just like I remember from three months earlier. This was perhaps the longest we had gone without seeing each other since we had first met. And that night of texting was the longest, most drawn out foreplay we could have ever enacted.

We started with the Bombay and Tonics. We talked the stupidest small talk for hours. I mean, hours. I swear, I really thought when I walked in that he was just going to rip my clothes off and we would fuck like we were in the conjugal visit trailer, but we talked so much I started to wonder if anything was going to happen at all. We caught up on what we had missed in each other’s lives. He told me the separation had been so horrible that he doubted he would ever get married again. I said I couldn’t blame him. I told him one day I would job hunt again but for now I just didn’t feel like it. He said he couldn’t blame me. Oh my god. I think we’re back to the fucking friend zone. Eek! 911, 911! Help!!! I’m drowning!

When I was getting up to pee for the third time, at this point, sufficiently drunk, he asked why I kept going to pee.   Maybe not so obviously, I was totally nervous. But I didn’t want to admit it. Now that I was here, in front of him, it seemed like we wouldn’t be able to take the long platonic history we shared, shake it up, and let a ferocious sexual encounter take place.   As I closed the bathroom door on round #3, he said, “When you come out of the bathroom I want to know why you are peeing so much.”

I sat on the toilet and I just didn’t have a good answer. “I’m nervous” seemed so lame after the night of x-rated texting. It seemed even lamer considering we had waited so long for this moment. I finished, flushed, washed, walked back out there where he was sitting on the couch. Taking a page from a recent Jordan Baker seduction story she told one night, I bit the bullet, crawled into his lap, and straddled him in that way that conveys that my horse is going to win this race.

A line had officially, forever, been totally and completely crossed.

He grabbed my face and we started to kiss. A mad, passionate kiss of two people who had wanted to kiss each other for 3 years and 10 months. His hands were in my hair, knotting my hair up in his fists, and we had our tongues so deep inside each other that we could barely let up for air. I think my nose started running and I just didn’t care. The whole place could have burned down for all I cared. I was sick of waiting.

The mad makeout continued for a while but I just wanted more. Like all of you who have been commenting as such, I was there too. More. More. More.

I backed off his lap, stood up, took his hand, and we walked into the bedroom. It was time. I didn’t want to wait any longer. I was done waiting. Fuck waiting. Waiting is for Catholics.

Part 13: So Much Time to Make Up Everywhere You Turn, Time We Have Wasted on the Way

July 17th, 2007

He answered at 10:30 p.m. Obviously I don’t recall the exact back and forth but I’ll try to recreate it as closely as it played out.

Ex Boss: Where did you hear that?
V:
M from the Baltimore office said that’s what people have been saying.
Ex Boss:
I haven’t heard that.
V:
Well I doubted people would tell you to your face.
Ex Boss:
I never heard anything like that.
V:
Okay. I figured maybe you had and just wanted to spare my feelings.
Ex Boss:
I can’t understand why people say this about us. We never gave off any indication we were interested in each other. No flirting. No goo goo eyes. Nothing.
V:
I don’t know.
V: Wait. What people?
Ex Boss: The Baltimore office, my ex.
V: Oh. I don’t know. Everyone knows I only date lunatics.
Ex Boss: Yes, and that’s not me. Besides, I would never do something like that because I was married, and then separated, but you and I worked together.
V: Worked.
Ex Boss: That’s what I said. Worked.
V: Right. Worked.
Ex Boss: Are you just repeating me?
V: Just clarifying the tense.
Ex Boss: Okay. I’ll bite. Do you think something eventually would have happened with us?
V: Yes. I do.
Ex Boss: I wouldn’t have done anything when we worked together.
V: Again, worked. Past tense.
Ex Boss: Since we’re being honest, I did used to want to ask you about your waxing.
V: What do you mean?
Ex Boss: Well, you were so open about it. You would say you were going to get waxed and I would wonder what you looked like after.
V: I probably would have shown you had I known you were curious.
Ex Boss: That would have been great. I would have loved that.
V: You would have been too shy.
Ex Boss: I don’t think so. If you just pulled up your dress and showed me in your office? I used to think about that.
V: Again, you should have asked! I worked for you – it would have been the least I could have done.
Ex Boss: It wouldn’t have been enough for a quick peek. I would need to see it all.
V: We could have figured something out.
Ex Boss: I used to want to watch you pee. Is that odd?
V: Um, no.
Ex Boss: I just like seeing everything. Total exposure is good for me.
V: You tell me all this now when I can’t do anything about it!
Ex Boss: Why not?
V: I don’t work there anymore! I can’t act out the “at work” part of the fantasy.
Ex Boss: We can make believe. Or we can meet at the office one night.
V: That would be fun!
Ex Boss: What would you want to do?
V: An open ended question. Scary.
Ex Boss: Why? I just told you what my fantasy about you was.
V: Suck your dick while you sat in your chair.
Ex Boss: Now I really regret not knowing that I could have just asked you for this when you were working there and you would have done it!
V: I don’t like to say no.
Ex Boss: I will admit that I masturbated once or twice thinking about you.
V: Why didn’t you tell me?
Ex Boss: I couldn’t tell you that!
V: Why not? I had sex dreams about you and I used to tell you. Sometimes.
Ex Boss: It wouldn’t have been right.
V: Well you can stop with that now. We’re past all that.

The conversation continued for several hours over the night. There was the usual graphic talk of what we want to do to each other, followed by the requisite sending of pictures. He sent me the most amazingly beautiful picture which I have long since deleted but it is forever etched in my mind. It would be the after-product of all this long overdue texting talk. With one perfect dribble front and center. Uh, yum!

V: Wow. We’ve really crossed the line now!
Ex Boss:
You and I have talked about all the things we want to do to and with each other. What line? I think we crossed it a long time ago.
V:
Point taken. It’s still fun.
Ex Boss:
I’m trying to figure out how this will work.
V: What do you mean?
Ex Boss: Do we just become fuck buddies?
V: I don’t know. You’re the deal maker. Why don’t you make a deal?
Ex Boss: I just don’t see how this works.
V: I find it hard to believe you have come all this way for words.
Ex Boss: At the very least we should just get together for old times sake and have a few drinks and talk, right? And see.
V: That’s a good place to start.
Ex Boss: I’ve got to juggle kids but I’ll call you soon when I can and we can figure it out.
V: Sounds good. I love anticipation.

Texting ceased at 6:00 a.m. I was exhausted but I had a hard time wiping the smile off my face for the rest of the day. You may ask why neither of us picked up the phone. It’s a debate we had often over the next year or more. Mostly because the culmination of so many years of sexual tension and a probable emotional affair and it was so tense, and yet so exhilerating. Picking up the phone was like an implicit dare that neither of us wanted to risk. Finally having the conversation – by text, by snail mail, by morse code, it didn’t matter. It just mattered that the conversation was finally being had. I didn’t want to alter one thing about it.

Part 12: She Said “I Need You to Hold Me, I’m a Little Far From the Shore and I’m Afraid of Sinking”

May – July 2007

I chronicled my cross-country trip on another blog which has since been deleted. It was the summer of getting my head on straight and deciding to be a grown up. I’m not going to lie to you. I had a pretty bad emotional breakdown. I’m not going to lie to you again. It was long overdue.   I never grieved the end of my relationship with K, and because of that, I believe I was never able to really have another successful run at a relationship.

FreckledK had to come to Phoenix and pull me out of the depths of hell. We spent several days roasting by the Hilton’s pool, eating Mexican and partying in Mesa country bars and Scottsdale biker bars where we had the grand honor of meeting a Porn Producer. After spending several weeks with her and my other good friends out in Phoenix, one of them remarked that he hadn’t seen me eat or mention being hungry for three weeks. He was right. It was bad.

Being in the wrong relationship was painful. But deciding to end somehow had a backlash that was more painful. Why?

Because ending a mediocre relationship in your mid-thirties takes a lot of work when the ball is in your court. You wonder if this is your last chance. You wonder if you’ve been too picky. You wonder if this is your last chance. You wonder if you were too hard on him. You wonder if this is your last chance. You wonder if you’ve become inflexible. You wonder if this is your last chance. You wonder if you aren’t meant to be with anyone ever in life. You wonder, god damned it, if this, for the love of all holy hell, is your last fucking chance.

Ultimately, 95% of people probably settle. They probably tell themselves: I’m getting older, and I don’t know who or what else is going to come along, so I better pack it down with this person and make the best of it. And ultimately many of those people live to regret it, and either get divorced or tough it out in misery and loneliness. But, if you’re me, you cannot settle. Because only having 90% 80% 70% of the package just isn’t good enough.

The decisions I made on the trip broke down into the following:

1) No More Partying

2) No More Wrong Men

3) Prioritize and start making decisions based on those priorities. i.e. If it doesn’t get me closer to my goal, then I’m not doing it.

On the road trip, I had another very vivid sex dream about my now ex boss. I woke up with that feeling like we had actually had sex. I was at your house. Sorry. Hope your sheets survived. I texted him – I think it was my way to throw a bone out there. He didn’t respond right away, then sort of blew it off when he did respond by asking me how I was. Damn it ex boss, I want to discuss my dream! We went back and forth for a few volleys but it died out. Sad. We used to have a good friendship. I missed that. It was awkward now. And it was also over.

I came back to DC in mid-June. I was hell bent and determined to move to NYC once and for all and blow the DC falafal stand to hell. I interviewed but the jobs were starting to dwindle in my field.

In July, I got wind through a friend that my ex-company was closing the Baltimore division. One of my friends called and said that my ex-current-ex-Boss was trying to save her job. He was going to tell them to keep her on for a few more months because he knew she was a single mom and he (we) both knew her from the prior company. She told people at work and they said: “Please! The Boss was fucking Velvet for years and he couldn’t save her job, what makes you think   he can save yours?”

Huh?

I said to her: That isn’t true.
She said: Its none of my business.
I said: Believe me. BELIEVE ME. I have a tell-all blog. You read it every day. If I was doing something as scandalous as   nailing my boss I would have SURELY mentioned it prior to now.

She didn’t believe me. She really didn’t believe me.

Thinking he probably wouldn’t answer, I texted him anyway. It had been several weeks since we spoke. It felt awkward – like all these people thought this –   did he know this? Did he discourage these rumors? I started to question him, and wonder if he was just one of those guys egging the rumors on by not denying them.

I texted around late afternoon that day: “Did you hear the hot rumor that you and I have been fucking for years? I seem to be unable to recall this mindblowing sex we had.”

He took his time, about six hours to be exact, before he responded.

Part 11: She Said, “I Feel Stranded, and I Can’t Tell Anymore If I’m Coming or I’m Going”

Jan – April 2007

Over the holidays, Sherlock and I had broken up. In mid-January, I thought he finally had his head screwed on straight (never) and gave it another go. Ultimately, I did what women do – I choose the least of the evils. Sherlock was a decent guy when he tried to be, and I thought that if we could just get past the bullshit drama, we would be fine. I had no interest in “getting back out there.”

In March I decided to buy a beach house from my company’s extra inventory. I brought Sherlock along for that metaphorical ride, with him thinking it was “us” and me knowing it was “just me.” Near the end of the whole process The Boss said a bunch of times “Don’t buy the house, it’s not a good deal.” I thought it was.   I sort of knew something was off, but he had his chances and it never materialized into anything so what the fuck. Why was he trying to stop me from doing this? I finally admitted to myself that perhaps there was a twinge of protectiveness or jealousy with respect to Sherlock and so I limited the conversations about Sherlock to almost nothing. Then for the rest of March, I barely saw the Boss.   But I had a dream which I wrote about on a secret, now dead, blog.

Well, now, I had a sex dream about my boss. This isn’t the first one, but this was the most graphic. In the past, I’ve woken up and known that it occurred in my dream, but didn’t have details. In this dream, there are details. I remember us for some reason being on a trip, or in a hotel or something, not at one of our houses. For whatever reason, we had to lay next to each other because there was only one bed. When I looked over, I pulled the sheet and realized he was rock hard. Fuck. Me.

My jaw dropped to the floor and I reached over and and tried to put my hand around it. My fingers couldn’t even close around it, it was so thick. Then he rolled over on top of me and we started making out. At this point my clothes were off, though I don’t recall them being off when I was first in the bed, and I don’t remember actually taking them off. He gets on top of me, and we had sex with him on top of me, then he rolled over and I was on top. It was getting really hot, and then just as we were about to change positions, the inevitable happened.

I woke up. Fuck.

I’ve gone through varying stages of wanting to fuck my boss. I was really attracted to him when I first started working for him 4 years ago. Then I met his wife and my attraction waned. But then he filed for divorce and I was the one he would call to bitch about his wife. Nothing has ever happened with us. I never got the indication from him that he would even want something with me. We’ve had some late night texting. There have been some late nights of emailing. But, it all seemed pretty on the up and up and I never got any indications of any interest. Except maybe once.

When I got together with the crazy Asshole, my boss said, “I hope you know what you are doing.” I said, “What? What do you mean?” He said, “He’s a mess. And he’ll inevitably screw your life up.”

We don’t cross paths a lot anymore. But he was at work yesterday. And last night, the sex dream.

I suppose it was already in my head that Sherlock was not the man for me. And you know what happens when you have a sex dream about someone? Then you want to have sex with them.

April was the big month of change. I went to a friend’s wedding in L.A. and was witness to another friend unravel on a drug-induced spiral and suddenly, I was done. I never want to be the girl at the wedding giving the maid of honor speech blabbering on about nothing that makes any sense. I never want to be the girl who everyone is whispering about. I never want to be the girl who my soon-to-be mother in law catches snorting coke on the toilet at the rehearsal dinner.

I had also suddenly started having these very vivid dreams about K. Totally out of nowhere. I had a dream we were on our cross-country trip in 2001 and we were at a gas station out west somewhere. There were these beautiful mountains in the background, and K and I were just exchanging words about nothing in particular but it was so comforting. I woke up with two thoughts. First – Sherlock is not the one. Second – where is K? Is he alive? I knew I was going to end it with Sherlock once and for all. I knew with Sherlock’s track record, the end was not going to go well. (It didn’t. He threw a bunch of leaves at me and tried to keep Thora. Wtf. Then proceeded to contact two of my friends to beg them to talk some sense into me.)

That week, the Boss told me I was being laid off. I said, “You just made it easy on me. I need to get out of here and away from this guy, so this comes at a perfect time.” I also wanted to find K and see if he was still alive. The Gift of Fear says you need six weeks to break stalker behavior, so I planned a cross-country trip for May 5 through June 15. Exactly 6 weeks, to make sure I could get Sherlock out of my life for good.

K sent me an IM that week. We have always had this relationship where we just know it’s time to check in with the other one. We had a very long and very deep conversation about us, our past, our love, our drug habits, and his recent release from 90 days in rehab. K is stubborn enough to stick to his guns, and he wants sobriety so very badly. He tried to give me some words of encouragement to break my own cycle, but that was done. I left it in L.A. and have never gone back. I didn’t need rehab. I needed to wake up. K and I briefly discussed a relationship, but somewhere in that drug-induced haze, he had conceived a child with someone. Now he had a baby.

I think somewhere around week two, I found out Sherlock had a new girlfriend. But I persevered on my trip instead of running back home. See? He was never the one.

For the first time in many years, I was free to go wherever I wanted. But the further I got from home, the more I wanted to go back. That’s the funny thing about being born and raised on the east coast. Going west always seems fascinating, like it holds promise of new and better adventures, but in my heart, I’m an east coast girl and I can’t change that.

Part 10: Part of Me Says Let it Go, Everything Must Have a Season

2006

By the end of 2005 I had burned through my supply of men to date so I had to get resourceful in locating more. I was feeding blog fodder and it was quite hilarious – at the time…you know…before people got murdered for answering ads off Craigslist. For me, 2006 goes down as the year of hellacious relationships.

In January we finally got into our office and began setting up shop. There were a couple more people working there but everyone came and went at different times and we rarely saw each other. When my boss did arrive to work on the days I was there, we would play catch-up. It didn’t matter how much time had passed, there was always a lot to discuss. We were like Regis and Kelly, only without the audience.

On February 8th and 9th, we had a conference in Dallas. Everyone from all over the company flew to some hotel, where we were lectured for two days on how to buy land by Ned Flanders. I went to my room the first night around 6 to lay down for a minute before figuring out what to do for dinner. I had / have friends in Dallas and was considering going off to find them.

The phone rang. It was the Boss. He told me to meet him at the bar. I went down there and he and I started drinking. We drank. Drank. And Drank. I really thought that if anything was going to happen, it would happen now. Another Bombay Tonic please. Then some cockblocking President of another division literally sat in between us and stayed. Somewhere around 10:00, me, Boss and Cockblocker went out to find food, ate, drank more, and really got annihilated. Something of note happened at the restaurant, but for the life of me I can’t recall. I think the other Division President did or said something about me to the Boss when I went to the bathroom. I have to consult my source on that one.

We got home Thursday night late. The Boss chose the following Tuesday, Valentines Day, to end his marriage. There was a simple conversation, followed by a door slamming, a bottle of pills, a Britney Spears style hair shaving and subsequent threats of suicide. Kidding. Sort of. Well, not really. Years of verbal abuse by the Mrs. X and he had finally had enough. It took him about 14 years longer than it would have taken me. I would have left on the wedding night after the shit she pulled. Ladies, please. The men all know that women change after marriage. Try not to have your first meltdown during the wedding though, mmmkay?

My lovelife was moving along somewhat. I was seeing the ill-fated “New Jersey” at this point. Dick. I hope that after me, someone had the good sense to teach him that a grand gesture like pushing to spend Valentine’s Day together, then ending things by email is sending mixed messages.

Late one night in March there was a long email exchange with the boss. The content was mostly innocent, but once I mentioned going to bed, and he responded by saying, “great, you had to throw the bed in there,” it was another one of those lines that was just now blurred.

By the way, nothing happened in Dallas to prompt the mention of divorce a few days later. If there was anything that would have or could have happened in Dallas, it didn’t, and we came back to DC and back to our lives as usual. I should correct that to read that nothing physical happened in Dallas. Emotional? Jury still out. He said no. I think yes.

By June of that year, the Boss moved out and into his own place. I know, it was weird to me too that he told his wife he wanted a divorce on Feb 14th and then waited 4 months to move out. But, see aforementioned pills, suicide threats, lather, rinse, repeat and he didn’t want to leave until he felt things were stable. The night he moved out was a Friday. He called me to wish me a happy weekend. I was stunned by the sound of his voice. I said, “What are you doing?” He said, “I just got the boys and I have a bottle of wine and we’re going to sleep on the floor tonight.” He sounded unbelievably happy. Different. I told him this was like I was talking to someone I never spoke to before. He asked what I meant. I couldn’t describe it then. I can’t describe it now. He sounded like a totally different person.

About a month after that, some chick showed up at our office with this freaking ear to ear joker-style grin, mom jeans that were a little too high, and went into the Boss’s office. They went downstairs to the bar to have a drink. Wow. That didn’t take long.

In July, I met Sherlock. We had the ups. We had the downs. By the fall we were somewhat stable and it’s always a good idea when you’re barely somewhat stable to discuss co-habitation, right?   One Friday in the late Fall, the Boss asked me what I was doing that weekend.

V: My boyfriend and I are looking for a place to buy together.
The Boss: I hope you know what you are doing.
V: Do I ever?
The Boss: I wouldn’t want to have to write you up.
V: What are you talking about?
The Boss: You know. He’s nutty, and that stuff will trickle into work.

I guess this was the second time a line was crossed. Or the ninth. I wasn’t keeping track, I just knew then that his comment popped out of nowhere. Later that night, I made up an excuse to not see Sherlock so I could sulk. I cannot explain the pit in my stomach, and how much that conversation hurt me. I didn’t want to have job-drama, or boss-drama. We weren’t the same we once were. We had a schtick at the old company and that seemed to have disappeared.

Around 10:30 or 11:00 I texted the Boss and said, “Do you really think that I’ll start messing up at work if I move in with him?” He texted back and said, “No, you’re still thinking about that?”   The next night I went to Sherlock’s and when he and I were having sex, guess who pops into my head. (I know, I know.)

I tried to get back to normal at work as quickly as possible. I would go weeks without seeing anyone. It was boring, lonely, and hard to stay motivated to drive almost an hour when I could just work from home. When I saw the Boss it wasn’t for long. He was in my office once just chatting about the latest meltdown from the camp of the ex-Mrs.-Boss.

V: Does she think you’re having an affair?
Boss: Yes.
V: Does she think it’s me?
Boss: Yes.
V: Oh my God! Should I call her?
Boss: Uh, no, that’s not a good idea.
V: Wait, we’re friendly. I need to tell her.
Boss: Yeah, um, I wouldn’t do that. I told her I would never have sex with you.

Then we just looked at each other. Awwwwkward.

The ex-Mrs.-Boss surfaced at the office one day. I felt this insane desire to convince her that I was not fucking her husband, nor was I the reason her marriage ended. But when she came and sat down in my office, she looked so painfully thin. I told her she looked good. She said, “Yeah, well, when someone rips your heart out of your chest, what do you expect?”

Part 9: You’re the Only One Who Knows Me, and Who Doesn’t Ignore That My Soul is Weeping

2005

January marked the last month of my Boss as my Boss at the old company. He gave his notice and left. The day he left, the sadness was palpable throughout the office. A lot of people saw him as the savior, the one who was going to rescue everything and everyone, and let me tell you, when you see the person you pin your hopes on get up and walk out the door, it sent a message loud and clear.

The Boss was going to a place where he could create his own company from the ground, up. I asked him if he would consider taking various people with him and he said that he couldn’t. I’mplicit in all of these conversations had been the obvious – that I would be the only one going. He said, “I don’t need them. But I need you.”

I quit shortly thereafter to go with him and began the process of finding, constructing and decorating what was to become a high profile office. The Boss and I went from daily interaction to talking once or twice a week by phone. I got Satan’s Death Flu and ended up in the hospital. Then I was renovating my condo, and I couldn’t get the piece of shit contractor to finish. I lived among drywall for MONTHS. I dated a string of losers, all of whom were incredulous at the lack of construction. Losers would come and losers would go and that damn drywall sat leaning against my wall for months.

That time is also a blur because more of the snow and because now instead of dating just 2 guys like in 2004, I embarked on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. It wasn’t good. It started with some guy I met the night Satan’s Death Flu struck. He hung around for several weeks until I was ejected from the hospital and he stole my vicodin. The vicodin I needed to manage the pain it took just to   SWALLOW WATER so I wouldn’t end up in the hospital again. I did get down to my preferred weight at this time though, so that was good.

Starting with him, I perfected the fine art of throwing men out of my house. I think this was the order, and yes, they are real names because who the fuck cares anymore: Derek who stole my Vicodin, Bret who asked if I would consider having sex with him despite having a fight on our first (and last) date because he thought leaving work at 3:00 in Reston for a 6:30 date was normal and showing up very early was also normal, George who lopped 10 years off his age and thought I wouldn’t notice, Mike who could have had staying power but we just drifted apart, Josh who conducted an entire “relationship” over text and whose rampant non-stop use of the word “amazing” made me want to punch him in the balls, Jeff who was such an amateur liar that it resulted in my throwing a sandwich at him and the Bartender who did nothing but encourage my partying and bad behavior.

Somewhere between Mike and Josh? Velvet in Dupont was born. June, 2005.

That summer was a hot one. I had a routine of walking my dogs late at night and I loved it. I loved being in the city, I loved walking the puppies around with no leashes and teaching them how to stay and not cross the street without my command. I loved half-ass working from home. All of it was great.

One night on one of my dog walks with my neighbor/friend, A, my phone rang. It was the former-current Boss. It was about 9:45, a little late for one of his calls.

V: Hey!
Boss: Hey, I’m sorry to bother you.
V: If you were bothering me I wouldn’t have picked up.
Boss: Well, I just took my phone, got up, walked out of the house and now I’m walking around Home Depot with nothing particular to do.

I knew exactly what he was talking about but I was still stunned in silence.   I think it was the first time that we possibly crossed a line.

He said he was sorry for calling, that he didn’t have anyone else to tell, and he got off the phone pretty quickly. My friend A said, “Don’t do it.” I said, “What?” She said, “Just don’t do it.”

A few nights later, around the same time, the Boss called again and apologized for calling the first time.   This time he was on a “walk,” and said when he took his phone to leave, his wife accused him of going to call someone. They had an argument about it and he left anyway. He wasn’t really looking for my two cents or advice, he just wanted to vent. I remember him saying the words, “Just, listen. Just, listen. I don’t have anyone else I can tell so I need you to listen.”

My response after he spit it out?

“Your perfect trifecta has shifted. They say there are three aspects to your life: work, home and relationship. For the last few years at the other company, things have been such turmoil. Now you have a job that’s wonderful and our company placed you in a brand new perfect house, so you have no more work drama and no more house drama, and you can focus on the other area – the relationship.”

He said, “No, that’s not it.”

But he called me back the next morning and said, “Can you explain the three aspects again?”

Part 8: You Know I Can’t See Through the Haze Around Me, And I Do Anything To Just Feel Better

2004: May – December

Now that I had Thora, I was officially ready to move on with my life. I was still dating the Baltimore Rockstar but it was winding down. The Rockstar and I ended things in the end of May and I moved on to the Metro.

In other 2004 relationship news, my Boss and his wife seemed pretty good. After the day of that first interview, I mostly abandoned the crush I had on him. He and his wife seemed like good friends. Sometimes she would come to work and sit in his office and read a book. It would always surprise me to find her there, but everyone liked her. She started doing some light work for the company and this meant she had her own things to do and her own people to see when she came. Sometimes she would sit at my desk and we would talk for an hour. Other times when she was looking for The Boss and not able to find him, she would call me and we would talk.

In the beginning of the year, she had said that the Boss mentioned to her I just got out of a relationship. I told her about it and also I told her I was dating the Rockstar but that I didn’t know where it was going to go. She had been married young and had several children, then divorced and married my Boss, and they had two kids together. In all, she had six. She told me once during one of our conversations, “Don’t do what I did. I was an idiot. You have plenty of time. Don’t be in a rush. You’re only 31. Get married at 35 and have a kid at like, 36, and only have one. That’s all you need.”

I thought everything between them was so perfect, though occasionally I would get glimmers that not all was right. Sometimes the Boss would have to leave work because she was home having some sort of tantrum. He started telling me that there were some anger issues that would escalate and he would have to go home to deal with it and be the buffer between her and the kids. I sort of understood that like all marriages, nothing is as it seems.

The rest of the year workwise was a clusterfuck. There went my perfect balance of work, home and relationship. The company had gone awry in so many areas, there was a brewing sexual harassment suit, a bunch of unhappy people, a major Human Resource intervention and no houses were getting built. It was a colossal disaster. The details were so unbelievably ridiculous. The Boss and I tried to just be normal in this sea of crazy but it was impossible. We had this routine of doing a Monday catch-up of what we did with our weekends, then a Friday rundown where we would watch these two stupid videos online.

And this one:

The Boss was getting calls by the end of the summer to go work for other companies and I was so depressed. I kept thinking we could just fix it if he stayed, but he didn’t think it was fixable. He wavered on some of these offers.

On a Sunday night, we had the following email exchange.

The Boss: The growth they are projecting is incredible. With our talent, and compared with the “talent” around us, it would be stupid to bail. We need to figure out how to take it over, make great progress and great money.
Me: I agree. I can’t follow you to a no name builder anyway. We need to take over here. I’ve already made my mark. No one knows it yet.
The Boss: Great. I need help.

By the end of the year, he got a call from another company that he entertained seriously. Prior to my big trip to Italy in November, 2004, he called me to say, “I hope you’re coming back because I cut a deal for both of us to go to the new company.” I wasn’t excited. Change isn’t always good. I knew the grass isn’t always greener. I came back from Italy and he and I silently prepared to leave the company after the holidays.

I found an old email that for some reason I saved. It was an exchange between us when he was with his kids at a doctor’s appointment. We were having a conversation about the kids in the waiting room where he was and he said, “Everything you do points to kids in your future.”

I responded: If I was having unprotected sex and longingly looking in the windows at Baby’s R Us, then I could see how you would make that statement. But, I continue to poison my body with Bombay and Tonics and stay out until 6 a.m. But no matter how drunk I get, I never forget to take that little pill…

That was the kind of relationship we had.

I dated the Metro for 2004’s May-December romance, with our last time seeing each other being New Years Eve, going into 2005. I believe he probably got just totally sick of my shit. I had this backlash after the breakup with K. I knew drugs were to blame for our demise, and then I started doing them often instead of just here and there for fun. When the Metro and I were at a party New Year’s Eve, someone gave me something which I threw in there on top of a bunch of other things and I turned into a pile of mush. He practically had to carry me back to his place. I believe that’s when he decided, “I’m done.”

It was upsetting. I really liked him. It didn’t stop my whirlwind tour of self-destruction though.

Work got worse before it got better. I partied more than anyone should. I started getting totally ridiculously reckless with it. It began to consume me. What a mess. Then I lost the Metro dude after New Years Eve. I consoled myself by buying a condo in D.C.

Bye Bye Maryland!!!

Part 7: Will it Make it Easier on You Now You Got Someone to Blame

2004: Jan – April

I spent the entire year finding myself. I had been with K for so long that dating again was sort of ridiculous. I had no idea what I would want in someone. I met the Baltimore Rockstar, a Dave Grohl lookalike who I had a pretty nice rebound relationship with for several months. We were opposite in many respects, but he was a lot of fun. We’re now Facebook friends, and he’s one of those people you just wish nothing but good things for. I could not have asked for a better rebound than him.

Working for the New Boss was good. The company was screwy but I appreciated stupid things like, oh, having direct deposit and not having to chase someone across town for my paycheck. I was making decent money, and I had a schedule to my life finally. No more bouncing around from school to home to meeting friends to do projects to the house of a man who didn’t appreciate me, back home to get something, back to work, etc. Home was good. Work was good. Relationship on the fence. With the trifecta almost back into some sort of balance, it was just me and Sammy, but we were happy.

K’s former roommate called and said he was in Virginia for a meeting. My friend and I went and met him at his hotel, and took him out in D.C. At this point in time, he decided to confess. K was doing meth. Doing it. Selling it. Couldn’t live without it.

I was like, “Um. WHAT?”

The stories he told me about what K’s life had become sent me into a spiral. I do believe that I lost it. Hearing about strippers and theft and car break-ins and lies so convoluted, it made my stomach turn.

People. I had no idea. None. I seriously thought all the lies, all the flaky and all the crap was because he had another girl, and/or was still trying to punish me for cheating on him. I had been so close to his family for so many years, that I just felt like someone needed to help him. That someone wasn’t me though. I did the best thing I could think of. I called his brother and sister-in-law to unload this information on them and beg them to get him into rehab.

K responded by leaving me several voicemails that he was going to kill me and ruin my life for ruining his, and that I would live to regret what I had done.   Then there were threats of sending naked pictures of me to my parents. I temporarily panicked, but then my brother said, “He can’t even remember that the time lag between your phone calls is weeks, not hours, and you think he can function enough to print the pictures, address an envelope and mail them to mom and dad?” Point taken.

It died down. Thankfully. I saved those voicemails for a long time to remind me of who he had become.

K called on a Friday in April hysterically crying. Hysterical. He said he went to L.A. and left Thora with his dad’s friend and Thora had run away. I cried. I spent days on the phone calling the entire state of Georgia. A lot of people felt she was better off wherever she was, because K had been so neglectful. I was only now finding out Thora went days without food and water. Everyone was looking for her though. Then K’s mom called crying after 24 hours with no sign of the dog. I wanted to scream at all of them: CRYING WON’T MAKE THE DOG COME HOME!!! She said she was driving around all day looking for Thora and when she went to K’s house, he was on the couch sleeping. Welcome to my fucking world for the last six years lady. Welcome. Pull up a god damned chair, get your ass some sweet tea and get comfortable, because we’re gonna be here a while.

That addiction paralyzed him so much, he couldn’t go look for his fucking dog. Fuck him. I decided he didn’t deserve to get her back. I was going to find her first.

I placed an ad in the Macon Fucking Telegraph on Monday. The ad went in on Wednesday, same day my Uncle decides to die! My luck rocks! I drove up to Pennsylvania on Thursday for the Friday funeral. When all was said and done, my brother and his wife were coming back with me to Maryland for a few days to kick off their vacation. We stopped for food on the way out of town, and when we were sitting at the table the phone rang with a 478 area code and it was not a number I recognized. I knew it before I   picked up the phone.

“Did y’all lose a dog? I reckon my neighbor’s keepin’ her.” (That’s redneck-speak.)

I called the neighbor and she emailed a picture and it was indeed my Thora. We raced back to Maryland where I left Sammy with my brother and wife and grabbed my friend and drove all night to Georgia. The map indicated that she was 1.5 miles from K’s house, but I chose to drive the 700 miles to go get her. The map also indicated she crossed a highway to get where she did.

When I pulled up in front of the house, 14 hours later, Thora came bounding around from the back yard, jumped on me, then jumped past me and got into the backseat of the car, crossed her paws and looked at me like, “Bitch, what took you so long?”

I brought her back to Maryland, and she and Sammy were reunited and it feels so good!!!

When I got to work Monday my boss said, “How was the funeral?” I said, “You’re not going to believe the weekend I had.”

Part 6: I Can’t Be Holding On to What You Got, When All You Got is Hurt

2003: September – December

My interview was at 8 a.m. on a nice fall day in September. I’m not very good in the morning. I think I was late. The receptionist had me fill out an application and then wait in the conference room.

The man I spoke with on the phone walked in and I was a little taken aback. I just didn’t expect him to be so…um…sexy. (Think unsexy thoughts, think unsexy thoughts!) The interview was barely an interview because we regaled each other with stories about the man who was my former boss. I just told the truth. And I got the job.

The new Boss wasn’t ready for me just yet, so I had a few weeks to get some things in order. I planned to go back down to Atlanta to get to the bottom of what was going on with K. Now that I had a job in Maryland, I was going to stay there. And nothing was going to stop me from trying to get K to come back with me this time.

That evening when I was laying in bed, the image of the man who was my new Boss popped into my head. I thought that it would be hard to work for someone I was attracted to. I recalled a wedding ring and discussions of a wife and some kids, so I just decided to let that little attraction die off. But not before I had a round with the former version of the Magic Wand – the Rabbit.

I got to Atlanta in mid-September and K was working on a movie. I barely saw him, but I spent a lot of time shopping with my own friends who still lived there. K would check in with me and I would see him at night and on his days off. His roommate was a childhood friend of his and one night he and I were watching TV when I said, “There’s a message on the machine.” The roommate played it and it wasn’t a message. It was a conversation between K and a girl, discussing him waiting for another girl to come over. My heart sank. I asked the roommate what was going on. He didn’t have a lot to say that I didn’t already know – K was lazy and flaky and couldn’t be relied on, even though he was allegedly making good money, he could barely remember to pay the rent. But he didn’t know anything about the girls on the machine, and he assured me of that. He said he and K didn’t talk much anymore, and asked if I noticed they were really not friends anymore. Nope. Didn’t notice. Was too busy fielding my own freeze-out to notice anyone else’s.

I called K and ripped him a new one. I told him if he was going to continue to punish me for my cheating on him over a year ago then I was going to check out, I had been trying to make this work for a year and I’ve got nothing in return. K had very little to say. We somewhat resolved things to an amicable place, but I left shortly thereafter. I left without Thora, which broke my heart. And in hindsight, I should have grabbed her and taken off when he was at work. But I didn’t. Sammy and I returned to Maryland and I started the new job and moved to Rockville.

Life was MUCH better in Rockville than my former sleepy hometowns of Columbia and Baltimore. I liked the people at work better and I liked the people in my apartment complex better. But I kept holding out for K to just come back around. It was like I didn’t even know him anymore. He accused me one night of interrogating his roommate about what he was up to, and I told him that the conversation we had wasn’t like that at all – in fact, it was initiated by his roommate entirely. Big fight ensues, K disappears off the radar for about six weeks. I had this very vivid dream about him and that he needed me, but in the real world, I couldn’t get him to return a phone call or an email. I resolved that he was gone, and began to consider a weekend run to Atlanta to steal Thora back. I had all but given up on any contact when he resurfaced in late November.

In a rare moment of clarity, he had passed the exit on some highway in Florida where my parents lived, and he decided to call when I popped into his head. Odd that he could remember what exit they lived off of when he had never been to that house.

I tried to give K one last chance. We talked on the phone on and off through the rest of the fall. One night he said his roommate was treating him badly or some other lie I believed, and that he was sick of him. My sister-in-law had asked me to just bury my feminism for a second and try to repair it, even if it meant having him move in with me and footing the bills while he got his act together. So, I told him he could come up to Maryland and live with me while I paid the bills and he figured out what he wanted to do. He said, “I know that. Oh. My pizza’s here. I gotta go. I’ll call you later.”

When he hung up I knew what I had offered was a great deal and a big deal for me to just agree to support someone, and he blew it off. He also promised to call later, which, according to his past behavior, meant I would not hear from him for weeks. I was right.

When he called several weeks later, the week of Christmas, he was unaware that we hadn’t spoken in three weeks. He thought we “just spoke the other day.” He also said he had finally forgiven me for the cheating and wanted to get back together. The truth was he had been thrown out of his house by his roommate. Suddenly his party was over and he wanted to live with me in Maryland. It was just too late. I can’t explain it, but it was too late. Three weeks prior? Sure. I would have taken him in. But now? Nope. No way was I going to be someone’s “last resort.” Something clicked in my head when he ended our conversation to eat his pizza three weeks earlier, and I had officially moved on.

Part 5:You Ask Me To Enter, Then You Make Me Crawl

2003: May – September

I had one residual MBA class on Saturdays that would finish in the end of June. I had essentially dismantled my life, and Sammy suffered dearly for it. He went from having Thora and K, to being alone for most of 16 months while I was in school and working. So, I promised that little dog a big vacation.

I googled “dog vacation” and the first place that came up was a place in the Keys – one of my favorite places on earth. I planned to get in the car and drive both Sammy and I from Baltimore to Islamorada in the Keys. I booked it for the week of the 4th of July and the week after.

Prior to leaving, I found out that the Developer screwed me in such a silly way on a money issue.   Screwing me over pennies, after everything I did for him, did not make me happy. I cleaned off my desk and went home without saying goodbye. I left the next morning on my two week trip to the Keys. I didn’t plan to go back.

I had a great time just being alone with Sammy, teaching him to swim, reading, sleeping late, and laying out. One of my coworkers called me to give me a peptalk to go back to work. I was unconvinced. The Developer knew I was pissed at him and he was apparently scared I wasn’t coming back but he wouldn’t call and talk to me. He just kept needling the coworker to call me. Instead, the coworker convinced him to raise my salary and pay my vacation time.

On the way back to Maryland I detoured through Atlanta. No change with K. He wasn’t going to move to Maryland anytime soon and was still really flaky. We spent a few days being the “old us” but then I left. I was pretty bummed out driving back and really wanted to go back to Atlanta for good to try to fix it. I really believed we were meant to be together.

When I got back to Baltimore I listed my condo on the market and began the motions to get out of the area. The Developer did offer me a regular full time job at non-slave wages, but I continued putting my resume out between New York, the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida. I had spent a year and a half in grad school waiting to leave, so I was going to leave. The only caveat was how the hell was I going to interview? Finding something in town would be easy enough, but in another state? The Developer expected after my recent vacation that I wouldn’t be taking any vacations soon. How the hell I was going to get the time off I needed to solve my relationship and job woes was beyond me.

I have heard that there are three aspects to a persons life: Home, Work and Relationship. At any given time, one of those three has to be in constant turmoil because that’s how we are as humans. We get settled in our house and relationship and suddenly we want a job change. We love our job and we realize the house needs to be bigger so we move. Think about it – when have you been satisfied in all three areas? For me, it was relationship turmoil? Check. Job turmoil? Check. House on the market so turmoil there? Check. Not good.

The day of settlement arrived for my condo. I was going to make lots of money for doing basically nothing. The Developer forbade me to leave work to go settle on the condo. He insinuated to a coworker that he was going to fire me if I went. He didn’t like the idea of anyone making any money at all, especially since the money I would make was going to render his paychecks useless for a while. So, I called my dad. This is exactly how the conversation went, I shit you not.

V: Dad. He’s going to fire me if I go to the settlement.
Dad: How much will you make by going to work tomorrow?
V: I don’t know.
Dad: Is it safe to say $250?
V: Sure.
Dad: And how much would you make by going to your settlement tomorrow?
V: $50,000.
Dad: Um, lemme ask you. Did you just get an MBA?
V: Yes.
Dad: Are we done here?

Went to settlement, collected my cash, got fired. In. That. Order.

See, there was a method to the madness that was my former boss. He liked that we were all struggling. It enabled him to say things like, “Instead of going to the office tomorrow, meet my wife at the furniture store and load a five piece sectional sofa into the company truck and bring it to my house. Set them up where she wants them.” He used to send me to these properties in the ghettos of Prince George’s County to do the most insane shit. I had to go to some mail order bride’s house to try to convince her to sell her land now that her husband was in jail. In jail for killing people. I should have had my own bodyguard. The Developer used us like slaves. What a prick.

When I called my dad and said “He fired me.” My dad said, “GOOD!”

I had already begun the job hunt, weeks prior. I had answered a bunch of ads in the paper that weekend and got several calls.   Homebuilding was great back then. At this point I realized something: national homebuilders all had local offices. I didn’t know this before. I would look at the headquarters of a builder, see it was in Texas or California, and think I didn’t want to move there, so I didn’t pursue them. But then I found out they all had regional offices.

A man called me holding my resume in hand. Because my job with the developer read as “current,” and the company name was just an acronym, he asked me who the owner was.

V: The Developer
Man: Oh Jesus. Are you there right now?
V: No.
Man: I hate that guy. He learned all his tricks at this company we both worked for in the early 90’s. What’s he up to these days?
V: Um…same old stuff. Still fleecing people for pennies. He fired me last week.

“Why don’t you come in for an interview?”

Part 4: Love is a Temple, Love – a Higher Law

2003: January – May

School proved to be an ass kicker. I was really plugging along though, adding the A’s to my prized collection. Work was work. The Developer was a dipshit. But knowing that someone is a sneak and a thief is much better than not knowing. I can combat almost anything with humor. Someone at work said to me, “You have this way of insulting him and he thinks it’s funny.” It’s how I got by. I remember the Developer telling us some story about his kid’s baseball game and how there’s a snack shack which had the best fries, and how it was like “this little   slice of Americana.”

I was in the next room and I screamed out a giant, “HA! Americana? So you pulled up to this little slice of Americana in your $80,000 Mercedes with your $200 shirt and $400 shoes? Do you even HEAR yourself?” Idiot. I held a grudge because during my first few weeks working for him he had played dumb on something and basically set me up to take the fall for it. The story is too long to get into, but when I realized I had been had, I checked my loyalty at the door. Despite the fact that we had to grovel and chase him all over Maryland for our paychecks every payday, I needed the job because I wanted the career it represented.

K and I had been communicating. February was the big snow where we got 2 feet and he had driven up from Atlanta. When we saw each other, it was like old times. We were snowed in for 4 days. It was better than old times. When enough snow melted for me to go to work, I did so, leaving K at my condo. I didn’t know that he would begin a full blown all out search through my condo for evidence of what I was doing in our year apart.

The big fight blew up about my “overlap” of him with Jack, and then we repaired as best we could and he left. I was so ready to graduate school and get back down to Atlanta to just start over. “I don’t know” was all K was saying. I wasn’t really listening though. I just concentrated on finishing school. K was acting weird, and it registered somewhere in my subconscious, but it was not on my radar enough to really address it. In a nutshell, he became really unreliable and flaky. I thought it was because he was still mad at me for the whole Jack thing.

In May I graduated and since I had all A’s, and a 4.0, I was the Graduation Speaker. K came up to go with me to gra-jumm-u-ate. With my entire family in tow, I informed K that there would be none of his disappearing act on graduation day. No retreating to the bathroom for 4 hours. No going to walk dogs. No going to take a shit. He would disappear into the bathroom for hours. I was stumped. It was totally mystifying.

True to form, 10 minutes before we were going to leave for my graduation, K proclaims he needs to go to the store to buy cigarettes. I had the foresight to tell him no, and to get in the car.

My graduation speech was full of a lot of mental sweat. I spoke about how I took a chance and it paid off.   I spoke about quitting my job and taking my boyfriend and dogs and driving cross country, how mad my mom was, how dangerous and irresponsible she said it was, how we made it home alive and slightly poorer, how September 11th happened a week after we arrived back in Atlanta after six months on the road, how someone in the towers that day woke up wanting to quit their job and drive cross country and here I had just done that and yet they were the one who didn’t have their life anymore. I spoke about taking chances and taking leaps and throwing caution to the wind. I spoke about my friend Laura who also had an intense reaction to September 11th, who wanted to quit her high-travel job working as a shoe designer traveling to the depths of China every month,   how Laura wrote a resignation letter to Kenneth Cole on her last trip to China. And how they found that letter among her things when her body was shipped back to the states.

I talked about following the status quo and how that person would never be me. Ever.

Part 3: We’re One But We’re Not the Same

2002

Starting grad school and a brand new job on the same day was probably a very dumb idea in hindsight. Couple that with a budding inclination toward involuntary anxiety attacks and the demise of a relationship I thought would last forever, and well, 2002 goes down as probably the worst year of my life. I was determined to get A’s in school, I was determined to do well at my job and I was determined to keep Jack happy. He had a growing habit as the Bowie town drunk and it was difficult to manage. More difficult to manage when he started snorting. Less difficult when I joined him. That entire fucking year is one big blur.

Working for the Developer was fascinating. He put me onto all sorts of projects and let me cut my teeth on most things that would be “out of reach” for a woman. My office nickname became the Pit Bull. If there was some drama that needed managing, I got the 10 p.m. phone call with the instructions of what I would be doing the next day. Your mission should you choose to accept it would be to manage the building and leasing of an entire office complex in Stafford, unknowingly fleecing homeowners in Prince George’s County and finishing a bankrupt townhouse development in Dunn Loring.   I quickly proved myself and became the recipient of the song and dance that the Developer and his wife would eventually step out of the business and they wanted to groom someone to be in charge. That someone was me. This was all very fun. For about six months.

That’s when my love affair with working for the fine upstanding developer was replaced with reality. I was really working for a born-again Christian who behaved as though it was his God given right to screw anyone and everyone out of a nickel, myself included. I was crushed when I realized what was going on. But there wasn’t a lot I could do. I was in school full time and this was a rare job that would allow me a flexible work schedule to continue going to school at a marathon pace. The real estate boom was just beginning and I was happy to be settled into a company, albeit one run by a total cocksucker, to learn what I could.

By the end of 2002, I had been enrolled in the Spring and Fall semester, both summer sessions, and the quarters program which met on Saturdays. When we went on to Christmas break, I had finished 10 of my 16 required classes with straight A’s. I was also having serious doubts about Jack. I turned 29 that year and he was 43. While I was once the focus of his whole mid-life crisis, that was transferred to the drunks at the bar. He had days of binge partying which I could not keep up with, nor could I monitor any longer. Then he stopped going to work. I realized that the primary aspect of his attractiveness lie in his job as a Construction Manager. In those mornings we would lie in bed willing ourselves to get up, he would take about 20 phone calls and I would just sit there in awe, listening to him discuss the finer points of   punchlists and as-builts.

Friends at work took to calling Jack, “Puddy,” after David Puddy on Seinfeld.   We broke up and got back together more times than Puddy and Elaine. God. The night he went running down Route 301 calling me a bitch on a coke infused high when I had to go home and finish a Management project. Jesus. Sometimes you just look back and shake your head.

I really started to miss K and the stability, and we shared a few phone calls discussing the possibility of a reconciliation.

Part 2: Well It’s Too Late, Tonight, To Drag the Past Out Into the Light

2001

I met K when I was 24, in December, 1997. We instantly fell in love and even though he lived in Atlanta, I packed up my crap and left the city that never sleeps for Dixie.

K and I celebrated our four year anniversary by breaking up. Well, this was the first iteration of that plan, anyway. We had lived in Atlanta until April, 2001, at which point we hit the road in search of a different life. A different life meant one which included less southerners. Hitting the road meant we quit our jobs, put our things in storage, and drove cross country, with a puppy Sammy and a one year old Thora. Pause for the cuteness nestled in the back  of the Ford Explorer:

 

“I’ll roll up my own window mommy.”

When we left Aspen, I turned around to look at my puppies. Sammy was gone. I started shrieking like a lunatic. K said, “But he got in the truck.” I was screaming that he wasn’t in the car and to turn around. K looked in the rear view mirror and spotted the eyebrows. Sammy liked to sleep in the luggage compartment.

“Oh Sammy? What are you doing back there?”

We were somewhere in Wyoming in the middle of an August night, driving on a steamy stretch highway and K was sleeping in the backseat with the dogs, when I first suspected our relationship might be over. There were deer on both sides of the road and I was freaked out that one would jump in front of the car. I kept clicking the lights to bright, then back to regular if a car approached. K heard the clicking and got up to ask what I was doing. I explained to him about the deer.

K: That is going to make it worse, because deer are more likely to jump out in front of the car if they are startled by brights.
V: But I can barely see 10 feet ahead of the car without the brights!
K: That’s fine, that’s all you need.
V: Not when I’m going 70 miles an hour!
K: I can’t sleep. I’m exhausted. Please just stop doing that.

K went back to sleep and I said to no one in particular, “That’s the problem here. I’m trying to look far ahead to the future and he’s only looking at the present.”

That was probably the beginning of the end for me. September brought our trip to an end and it also brought September 11th one week later. We had decided while on the road to move to Maryland so I could go back to Grad School and once and for all, get my MBA. I was starting in January, 2002, so we wanted to settle in as soon as possible. Once the towers were hit though, I figured our economy was going to crash with it. For reasons not entirely related to going where the jobs were, I continued on (with my things, and the dogs) to Maryland while K stayed behind in Atlanta. We each had jobs; they were just jobs in different cities.

I ended up hating my job in Maryland and considered going back to the familiar. K’s mom said, “It’s not so bad if you say you had a change of heart and just decided your home was in Atlanta.” It would have been so easy. So unbelievably easy. But sometimes the easy road isn’t good.

The fall brought a change of leaves I hadn’t seen in years, due to being down in Dixie. It also cooled my feelings for my relationship. And it also brought me to make a very bad decision – I cheated on K with a man named Jack. It was less of the one-night-stand variety of cheating and more of the full-blown-relationship cheating. I’ve written about Jack here. The details are still hard because I know what pain I caused by that selfish action. I have a few regrets in life – and one is cheating on K. No one deserves that sort of pain. Somewhere in my teen years I was cheated on, and since then I adopted this attitude of making sure I cheat in almost every relationship. I felt like it was my ace in the hole. It’s a losing bet every time. And to do it to someone I loved? Horrible. Absolutely horrible.

By the end of 2001, I was headed back to Atlanta to take care of the breakup in person. K sensed this was coming. They always know, don’t they? That’s when they pull out all the stops. Four years in a relationship where the best present I got was an incredible hit of acid, and now he busts out the diamond necklace. I couldn’t accept it. I’m not a material girl. I returned the necklace, and we broke up.

In January, I would be starting graduate classes at school, in a new relationship, in a new city, and I would also be starting a new job. It was enough change to bring on a full depression.

The job would be with a Land Developer. I was probably more excited about the job than anything else. The aforementioned Jack was a Construction Manager and our brief time together taught me that I liked his job more than my own at the time. I marched into a placement office and announced: “I’m going back to grad school full time and I want to work 30 hours a week for a construction business. What do you have?”

“We have the perfect job for you, working for a great guy.”

 

Part 1: I’ve Been Sitting Here Trying to Find Myself, I Get Behind Myself, I Need to Rewind Myself

And so it begins.

I feel like the Velvet / Mr. X love story is somewhat hackneyed. Velvet was a tell-all blog for so many years, then, much like any normal person would, I became secretive and only put out bits and pieces because what was going on in my personal life was so, well, personal. It just didn’t seem that the internet was a place to rehash it all. It wasn’t up for discussion. It wasn’t up for scrutiny. It wasn’t up for criticism. It wasn’t up for envy. It wasn’t up for anything but mystery.

Truth be told: Velvet & Mr. X is perhaps the greatest love story never told. It is probably the only thing I could fashion into anything resembling a manuscript that could become a book because of how incredibly it unraveled.   Weaved throughout the story of how we met and how we fell in love are the recurring themes and lessons so simple and intuitive that I learned no amount of matchmaking or other romantic engineering (like the internet) could ever have been a success. I’m very much a believer in fate. I always have been. And the man and I are proof – When it’s meant to be, it will be.

I don’t know if I have the patience to   recreate all the encounters, all the history, all the details needed to accurately tell the story. I know that if I were to ever try to sit down and write it for real, the manuscript would probably be rejected by every publisher as cliche and predictable because they would see the ending as clearly as I saw that first day post-Lasik.   Anyone. Anyone that is, except Mr. X and I. So while everyone who knew us figured we were messing around the whole time, we were the only ones not privy to that rumor. We were both going through the motions of respective relationships with other people. And we were both failing miserably. Obviously. See: Velvet Archives for me, Divorce Court for Mr. X.

Things are moving ahead so fast right now that I feel like we’re making history faster than I can retrace it. And discussing the here and now doesn’t make as much sense because the meaning is lost on people who don’t know the history. So I have to bridge that gap.   It’s not going to be easy to recreate these years, but I do like a challenge so I’m going to try. I’ve wavered with closing down the blog once and for all and just moving into oblivion with my perfect little life. But that’s not fair. It’s not fair to me. It’s not fair to Mr. X to not tell the world (or the few readers left) just how wonderful he is. It’s not fair to the friends who have stuck with me through all these years.

And perhaps what hits home most of all, it’s not fair to the girl who came here to read about the escapades, the men – more bad than good, the bad dates, the boyfriends, the hopes, the drama, the depression. The girl who encounters Pick Up Artists in clubs and wonders when the world became so shallow. The girl who is still looking and still stumbling over all the wrongs wondering if she’ll ever find the one.

There was one overriding conclusion about me over the past years that people would convey either in comments or in emails to me. The readers were rooting for me. So I just want to tell any of those originals who may be left, and anyone I picked up along the way – I won. I won the full jackpot more times and for more than I could have ever thought.

Starting with my next post, I am hijacking my own blog and going back to the old days. I’m going to do what Mr. X and I discussed as taking two people and tracing their movements through life and showing how they bump into each other, and how timing and such can bring them to each other only when it’s right. I can drive myself nuts with this stuff though. I start thinking: I wouldn’t have met him if this hadn’t happened, and that wouldn’t have happened if this didn’t, and that wouldn’t have happened if that other thing didn’t work out.

But I have located my starting point – The time period where the foundations were made for Mr. X to enter my life and I will tell you THAT story. I’ll tell the story that was going on at the same time all the other crap I was writing was going on, except it was the story I didn’t realize was a story.   I’m not sure how long it will take, but it is overdue in my opinion. It’s a whole new venture for me – and for us. So I do hope you will join me.

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