I made calamari for Peyton last night and the oil popped and sizzled on my wrist as I held the pan. It hurt that hot-oil-hurt, long, low and seething, but I didn’t miss a beat. Shit had to be done.
I fed the kids (mine and the neighbor girl) and was in bed by 10. The week had been long and full. I also hadn’t heard from Rex.
After our misbegotten pot roast date things slowed to a whimper. We texted Sunday when he got back into town and a little bit each morning throughout the week, but by Friday that disappeared and I almost hadn’t noticed.
Today, Saturday, I woke up naturally to a soft blue light and a purring cat. Sometime in the late afternoon a blister popped. It was some hours after that I relalized I’d heard nothing from Rex since Thursday morning.
Such a shame I had to get burned at all, but so be it.
Patience isn’t something I’m very good at. I have so little control over much of what happens to me that I compensate with the hunt for instant gratification. At least then I feel activated, in charge.
Immediately checking my phone when I hear it ding.
Uncorking the bottle.
Unbuckling his pants.
His hot, hard flesh in my hand.
My body wrapped around his.
I can saunter and seduce and feel powerful when in reality I have absolutely none. I’m just a passenger on this rock like everyone else, circling a bright little star.
I often wonder how others see me. I present myself so clearly here. I’m naked, raw, vulnerable, available. But what does everyone else see? How would people who know me describe me? What do they see?
I see a slightly plump middle aged woman who’s horrible at picking men, stellar at her job, passionate about her child, and invested in her art. She’s deeply private and can’t rely on most of her friends and so has turned to the internet for a richer, more supportive community.
She drinks too much on occasion, occasionally forgets birthdays, and frequently yells at her spastic dog.
She also catches and releases everything not deadly or a cockroach and will move mountains to be there for you in your time of need even if you can’t move a speed bump for her.
I have days where I think I’m hot and wonderful and days where I’d like to slice the fat off my body — though thankfully with age those days number in the less than 5.
I wish I read more. Can you tell I don’t?
I hope I seem honest here; I really aim to be. But sometimes I just can’t believe my eyes. Is this even really me??
I’m at once proud and ashamed of my life; I’ve done so much. It’s overwhelming and humbling and frustrating.
I’m still trying to figure out the balance between what you and I see of me. Are we the same coin, but different sides? Or two completely different currencies? Which is more valid?
I texted Rex late yesterday afternoon. He had just finished the last ride of the weekend and was on a high. He’d had an incredible weekend on his bike in the middle of no where and it had exhausted him, he said.
He texted today to say good morning and I sent him a couple of pictures of Peyton making us breakfast (literally the closest thing to breakfast in bed I’ve had in my entire life).
Then the day dragged on.
My back aches from my pelvis to my chest, my body feels contorted, my heart feels dark and heavy. I am physically miserable, psychically stalled.
Thank God I have Peyton tomorrow, Valentine’s Day. The single most excruciating day of the year when you are forced to remember your relationship status by every person wearing red to work for their Happy Hour V-Day dates later in the day.
I told The Russian I was Hy, we met, he got distant, I struggled to understand the new energy, he called to say he couldn’t handle it and, frankly, didn’t want to sign up for any of it.
Ultimately, I wrestle with a much larger demon than just trusting someone in general: I can’t understand why anyone would want to sign up for me. The Russian and everyone else has “proven” this fear over and over.
Before you all jump to tell me that isn’t true — that there exists a man who will in fact want all of me — I already know that. Of course I do. But tell that to the darkest, most terror-stricken part of me; I dare you to get her to listen.
So you know what I’m going to do about all this crushing self-doubt and crippling fear?? Nothing.
Instead, I’m going to make him a motherfucking pot roast and chill.
We ate at a hip diner amongst hip diners and I marveled at the sleeves of tattoos across from me. I fought tears upon hearing his touching story of self-exploration and loss and sat next to him near our cars under the night sky wishing I could just lean in for a kiss already. Instead, I offered to make him dinner. It’s his birthday week.
I asked him what he’d like me to make. “Pot roast!” he said grinning.
Sadly, I have no idea how to make a pot roast. So we settled on Brussels sprouts for sure and I’ll come up with the rest.
In the mean time, I’m realizing there’s more than one way to leave an impression.
“I am overwhelmingly scared,” I said and stared at the houseplant glistening darkly in front of the window. “After the third date I am cast out into complete No Man’s Land for me; I don’t know what to do.” Tears spilled down my cheeks.
My therapist crinkled her crinkly eyes. “I know you are, Hy, but there’s nothing about you that tells me you’re not capable of this. Nothing. You got this.”
I’m going on my third date with Rex tonight. It’s not a big deal except that it is. I can count on no hands the number of 3rd dates I’ve had in the past 6 years that didn’t include sex. That’s right: zero.
Typically by the second date I’ve already fucked him and realized I never wanted to touch him again or he had disappeared. Third dates like tonight mean we’re getting to know one another and as much lip service as I gave to such a pursuit over the years my heart wasn’t really in it. But it is now.
Now I want to get to know someone and I want him to get to know me, but the fear is palpable. It cloys to my ribs and stifles my breath. Can I let my guard down and open up? Do I even know how??
I don’t think I’ve ever done it in all my life; I’ve used this blog for years now as the outlet for me to connect and be vulnerable, but I’ve hidden it away and only those who randomly stumbled upon me gained access. Strangers are safe; real people are not. Not my best friends, not my family, not my lovers, not even my boyfriend.
I consider connecting with strangers good theoretical practice, but I’ve never done it with someone with whom I could reach out and touch, look into his eyes and say the things I needed to say and know he heard every whispered, nuanced word.
Look, I know it’s just a third date, but it’s representative of this new adventure upon which I’ve launched myself. If I want someone to introduce to my child, well, I better get to fucking know him. I’m curious at which point the hands around my throat will loosen; I’m fighting complete panic.
I fantasize about a savage fuck, one that will take me away from all of this mess of emotion. A soul-pounding, bone-crushing, spirit-erasing fuck. I want my feet on the ground, but my head in the clouds. Sex is my salve, after all, my fickle and rewarding friend, and when administered in just the right way can make the world right again.
Though I sometimes wish I were just some celestial being above it all. Actualized and serene. Instead of struggling with the daily pursuits of life here on earth which are scary and difficult and very, very messy.
I guess that’s what long, steamy showers are for. To wash it all away before we layer ourselves in life’s trappings all over again.
Jesus Christ February has me all existential ‘n shit.