that look

I was once at a black tie event. As I stood nursing a Scotch a coworker gave me a gentle nudge and she pointed to a man that I did not know.
“See?”, she said. “Look at how he looks at her? It’s like she’s the only one in the room.”
Once she pointed it out it was hard not to notice. In a sea of people, laughing and joking, Tracy’s husband was fixated on her. Every hair toss, every sip of champagne, every polite laugh and smile…he hung on it. Without saying a word, he told the entire room that she was his entire world.

I know the look. As a dedicated and professional people watcher I look for such things. It’s strictly voyeuristic you see. Noone had ever captured my fancy to such a degree. I have always craved someone that would stand out in a crowded room. Not because they are the most interesting and beautiful person in the room, just because they are to me. I never thought that guy would ever be me. Until now.

“I love the way you look at me,” she said. She didn’t elaborate. She didn’t have to, I knew exactly what she meant. I looked at her like she was the best thing to happen to me. I looked at her as if she was the only thing that mattered. I looked at her as if she was the only one in the room when in fact we were in a crowded room. It was strange and wonderfully refreshing to be the one doing it for a change, as I had resigned myself to forever be the one watching another do it. Finally, it was my turn.
I pulled her close, reveling in the surreal moment. Is it luck? Or do I dare say that I deserve her? I don’t know. Just as our relationship lacks labels, it also defies explanation. Just as I can’t explain all of the natural phenomena that go into creating a brilliant sunset on a summer evening, I don’t have to in order to enjoy it.
I can’t explain you. I can’t explain us. I’m just grateful that I have finally experienced looking across a crowded room in pure adulation, wishing I was with you but secure in the knowledge that you will be leaving with me.
They can stare all they want. You’re with me baby.

the Heart comes first

We’ve all heard it. “The heart wants what the heart wants”. Never has a truer and more powerful statement been made.

If you read me you know that I met a girl. It might not sound like a big deal to the average person but I don’t meet a lot of women. Mostly due to the fact that I had very low esteem after my tumultuous marriage and subsequent divorce from which I emerged beat down and with little confidence and less desire.

It’s hard to explain the powerful feelings that overcame me when I first saw Lisa. It felt urgent, I just had to meet her. It was surreal how powerfully I was drawn to her. Her smile melted my toes and her voice became etched in my brain. I suppose the word smitten comes to mind.
So I made a move.
In order to not get her in trouble at work I slipped her a note, the plan being that I would make sure I was in her lane (she is a pharmacy tech) and slip it to her when noone was looking. And that is where it gets tricky. As I handed the card to her I noticed the wedding ring for the first time. I tried to pull it back but she wanted it. She opened it. She texted me later. We talked. We laughed.
I proceeded against my better judgment and moral code, as did she. Knowing that it may not end well we began a relationship that may possibly have been doomed from the beginning but we both want to see where it goes. As luck, good or bad depending on your vantage point, we now have very powerful feelings for each other and there is no turning back.
The heart wants what it wants.

I am very conflicted. My morals kept me from cheating throughout the entire course of my marriage despite being very unhappy. I never touched a woman, especially one in a relationship because it isn’t fair to the man. Yet here I am. There’s no fault to attribute to anyone. I should have checked to see if she was married before I made a move and she had admitted that she didn’t help the situation by accepting the note when she knew that it would only open a can of worms. Despite them being extremely unhappy, her husband is a misogynistic brute who treats her terribly, I know that it doesn’t make it right. But I’m addicted. And she is to me. The chemistry we share is beyond words.

We try to behave when together, to keep this realistic but we can’t keep our hands off of each other. Despite the tractor beam that is our attraction, we also have so much in common. Long, deep conversations have revealed so many things in common from movies to music to pet peeves and hopes for the future. As for the true test, yes we can also sit in absolute silence and not need to say anything at all.

Now we face the ultimate challenge. She has made concrete steps towards leaving her husband. She has told him how she feels and is trying to plan where to go and what to do should she move out. In this area I’m not the best fit for her. I don’t have my own place and I can’t support her financially. Is love going to be enough? But I would do anything to be with her. She is what I have been looking for the longest time and I really can’t imagine my life without her already.

I wish hope and desire equaled good results. I want her. I need her. I hope that I deserve her. I really think that I do.

This is crazy and ill-advised but it feels so right.

The heart wants what the heart wants, after all.

The Ring

“I like your jewelry. You have a very unique style.”
She put her hand to her ear as if to say speak up.
Fuckin’ masks.
I’m trying to make small talk through my mask, a plexiglass screen and her mask. I had to try, though. I was too intrigued not to. Lisa the pharmacy tech had been all I could think about since I first saw her.

Tan, blonde, a pretty smile, outgoing personality and awesome personal flair with the jewelry; an abundance of bracelets and rings and neckwear ranging from Native American themes to what I would find was her Grandmother’s ring on a chain about her supple neck. She reeked of individuality and she seemed to be about my age. I was smitten.

Over the course of several medication pickups (not a big deal I’m there all the time lately) I attempted to get to know her a bit. Last time I was there I sensed a twinkle in her eye when she saw me in line. I’m pretty bad at physical cues and I haven’t been laid since Obama’s first term but I do vaguely remember the dance of flirtation. I had to make a move.
Today, before I fired up the Fatboy to head to the pharmacy I decided that I would make a move. I feared public humiliation and I didn’t want to get her in trouble at work so I made a little note and tucked it into an envelope.
Hi. I think you’re amazing. If you’re not married, engaged, or dating, I’d like to take you out.
Name and phone #

When I approached the pharmacy I was excited to see that she was working today. She looked up and there was the twinkle again. Then another cashier summoned me from Lisa’s line. I obliged, only for Lisa to finish with her customer and jump over and offer to take care of me. I lowered my mask and said hello. As I did I pushed the envelope across the counter.
“You’re so sweet”, she said. As she grabbed it with her left hand I saw it. The friggin’ ring.
“I need that back. After seeing your ring finger I think I made a mistake”, I said.
“Nope”, she said. “I’m opening this.” I went home feeling somewhat defeated. I changed clothes and began doing some yard work. My phone chirped 2 hours later.
Hey! I feel the same way about you. Yes, sorry but I am married. I hope that’s ok I would like to get to know you as a person, even if it’s as friends. Is that ok? I could tell you my situation but you don’t want to hear about it.

We’ve been texting all day. Her last text was a pic of her in a bathing suit. What have I gotten myself into? I would never touch a married woman. But I like her sooooooo much.

Friggin’ ring.
Friggin’ luck.
Nothing is ever friggin’ easy.

I may have to end this before it starts

Serendipity moment

“You will always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
I love this quote. It transcends sports and applies to all walks of life. Life is a numbers game and the more attempts you make the better your odds of success. As it applies to my dating life, I am batting 0.0%. Admittedly, I haven’t taken many shots or swings but I have whiffed like Charlie Freakin’ Brown so far.
2 crazy chicks and one quiet one with a boyfriend.
I give up.
Single is fine. Single is good. Single is easy. It’s the lifestyle that best suits me. Funny, now matter how many ways I say it, it’s a lie. I hate being single.

I thought about renewing my Match profile but that was a miserable experience the first time around and I was glad to cancel it when it expired. If I liked them they didn’t like me and vice versa. The few that did like me…well I hate to be superficial but the pictures really didn’t do it for me. I’ll leave it at that. The rest, the ones that swiped and kept going, I know why they did that. The words “financially secure” were missing.

I get it, money is important. Being “secure” is important. Having your own place is a must and living with your mother is a serious turn off. Even if I got past that, my brutally honest Match profile doesn’t include the terms “dialysis patient”, which I’m sure would be a real “deal-sealer” over a first date cocktail.
“Why be so honest?” one friend asked me. It’s easier. I like to get it out of the way.

Goddamn, Bella. Why did you have to fuck me up so? You made me feel things that I had forgotten how to feel. Yearning, heartache, desire, intimacy, a fire in my loins and a fire in my belly. All of those things that my loveless marriage stomped out like the remnants of a campfire. I had done so well without feeling those things for so long, I had convinced myself that I didn’t need them. Only to be awakened and painfully unrequited. As Meatloaf once lamented, I was all revved up and no place to go.
Now I want those things again. Alas, I fear it is not to be.

I need to focus on my health. I need to just get a hobby. I need to spend my money on my motorcycle. I need to spend time with friends. They’re safe, I don’t feel the pain of rejection when a friend doesn’t call me for a few days, weeks or months. I need to get the idea of a relationship out of my head, it’s just not going to happen.
If I keep telling myself this, eventually I’ll believe it.

Now, Universe are you listening? I am putting it out there that I don’t need or want a woman in my life. Now would you please see to it that I find it in the last place that I look at a moment when I least expect it? I think it’s called Serendipity. Yeah, I need that.

That, I think, is the only way it’s going to happen.

Back in the game

My buddy and fellow blogger Steve of MSich Chronicles paid me the ultimate compliment yesterday when he linked his post to my blog. Just an aside, please check out his blog, he is a great writer and has a very cool story to tell.
I found it amusing because he mentioned my blog with particular reference to a series of posts I have written about yet another failed attempt at finding a meaningful relationship. As it tends to happen, it got me to thinking.

I have been divorced for almost 3 years. For the first two I don’t even think I tried to meet anyone. I was content in being alone as I tried to deal with the most pressing matters of my life: multiple hospitalizations, starting dialysis, battling the Social Security Administration over my disability claim and adapting to life 100 miles from all of my friends and family left me worn down and very cynical. I also think it is safe to say that I didn’t like the way I looked or felt and really believed that nobody would want to be with me. With the additional variable of living in an area where most of the age appropriate single women weigh a metric ton and have a better mustache than I could ever grow, it all adds up to single.

Last year I decided to dip my toe in the dating pool so I created a MATCH profile. As in real life, it was honest and to the point. Sure, I mentioned my sense of humor and my love of movies and blah blah fuckin’ blah but I also touched upon my health issues and my financial situation. By that I mean that I live with my mother. It took me zero time to realize that most, to be fair not all, women were looking for the words “financially secure”. My profile bordered on having actual crickets. Nothing. Zippo. Jack shit. It was abysmal but very telling. I had no regrets however, my attitude was and is that I would rather be honest up front than have a awkward conversation later.
Then I “met” Bella.
A fellow blogger and I developed an amazingly strong bond despite many miles between us. The prospect of her pending divorce and ability to possibly relocate gave me hope and consequently I allowed myself to feel actual feelings for her.
It ended badly. BUT, I don’t regret it for a second. She did me a favor, she awakened feelings in me I hadn’t had in ages. It felt good.

It took me a while to bounce back from that. I let my MATCH profile expire and decided to do some work on myself. I got back to the gym. I started a little part time business detailing cars to boost my bank account. I joined some local organizations to keep busy and be available in the event someone has a sister or cousin they could fix me up with. Then one day while playing poker at a friends house I met her.
She was the best friend of my buddy’s new wife. I was enthralled by her as she walked by and it wasn’t long before we became FB friends and then in real life. We became fast friends and soon we were talking daily. I will admit it now, I read into our blooming friendship. I wanted more. We started to hang out but soon it became evident that I liked her more than she liked me. We talked about the prospect of dating. She wasn’t ready. I don’t think I listen very well because I pursued her anyway. She asked if we could just hang out as friends and see what happens. I tried, I really did. But it didn’t work. She wasn’t ready and I couldn’t operate that way. The sound in my ears of me liking her more than she liked me was deafening. We parted ways. It’s too bad. I miss her. But I have no doubt that it wasn’t going to happen no matter how long I hung on.

So here we are. My romantic woes, as it were, are so notorious that Steve felt compelled to mention it in his blog. And that’s ok. It’s a good thing. And I’m in a better place. My own assessment of my romantic viability has changed for the better. I wasn’t rejected, I simply met women that weren’t right for me. It’s not an indictment on me. One didn’t care that I was broke and both thought I was a nice guy and attractive.
And as usual, I have a trick up my sleeve.
I met someone a few months ago. I did some work for a very nice woman, the first attractive, age appropriate woman I have met since moving up here. She has been quietly reaching out to me through FB and text all along but I did little more than politely respond. I was kind of seeing someone and I don’t like to confuse things. Now that thing is dead, I called her.

We’re going out Thursday.

I’m back baby.

I’m getting better at this

The text came through last night.
“We REALLY have to talk.”
My first reaction was a silly one. I thought to myself noone really NEEDS to talk. My second reaction was to marvel at how silly and funny I am. But my third reaction was a little more profound. I realized that I was faced with what will certainly be another in a long string of rejections as I walk the path towards finding a soulmate and, amazingly, I don’t care.
I’m getting better at this.

It’s been a long time coming. Everyone knew she wasn’t going to come around. Especially her. To her credit, she wasn’t the aggressor. I was. I thought that I could make her feel things she said she wasn’t ready for. I couldn’t. And by the contents of her cryptic text she is probably going to tell me tonight.
I’m ready.
So ready she doesn’t even need to say it. But she will.
“Let’s be friends.”
I almost want to text her not to bother. There is very little chance that I am wrong about the impending conversation and that she is going to profess her undying love for me. Not the way things have been lately. I know the signs. But I suppose I should let her get it out. It may make her feel better to tell me everything that I did wrong over the last few months. Why deny her the process? Let her dump me.
I’m getting really good at being on the other end of that conversation.
In fact, I’m a fucking PRO.

I think it’s time to rip the old heart out of my chest and hang it on a hook. Save the next one the trouble. That may be the only way to keep it from further damage. I’ll hang my dick next to it, after all I’m not using that either. I think I’m done.
If I never hear the words “let’s be friends” again it will be too soon. I have enough fucking friends.

What do I need a woman for anyway?
I have internet porn to poorly stand in for actual intimacy.
I have television to remind me what a relationship looks like.
I have friends to be jealous of for their health, wealth and success.
I have my motorcycle to take to bars to eat and drink alone, comfortable that I will not be approached by strange women.
I now have no reason to shave my beard or dress up.
I can refine my greatest skill…being alone.

Perfect

The “Friend Zone”

I’ve been away. For way too long.

You know it’s been awhile when other bloggers reach out to you in the comments section to see if you’re ok. It’s quite the testament to the blogosphere when that happens. It occurred to me that, given my readers’ familiarity with my health issues, people assumed the worst. So I am here to tell you that I am doing physically well and still the best specimen in the clinic, although that isn’t saying a hell of a lot. Emotionally…not so much.

Like most great stories, this one starts with “About a girl…”

I met her through a friend. The bestie of my buddies new wife. When I met her she had a boyfriend. With this news I kept a careful, yet smitten eye on her. As luck, fate or divine providence would have it, she broke up with her guy the night that I met her. I was cautiously excited. A few days later the friend request came in. Soon, we were talking on the phone every night. She wanted us to get to know each other. So we did.

In what I now think of as a dumb move, I asked her to have dinner. That’s where it went south. Why?, you may ask. The answer is simple, I thought it was a date and she didn’t.

We had a great time. We had a wonderful conversation over dinner. She told me a lot about herself. In particular she spoke of how she wasn’t ready for a relationship. She said it so many times that I should have listened.
I didn’t.
I must have thought that I could “turn” her with my unrelenting charm. As the evening went on, I thought I had changed her mind. What had really happened is that she drank enough wine to temporarily knock down her walls. Experiencing emotions I hadn’t experienced in years, I failed to recognize that it was the booze talking.

The next day was awkward. The one after that even more so. I quickly learned that there were two of her. The drunk one had a far more favorable opinion of me. Sober girl was pushing back. Hard.

She wasn’t ready. That’s the takeaway. We’ve seen each other several times. In this Virus crazy world, going out is difficult. I mostly went to her house and stayed in the guest room. Mostly, we texted and talked on the phone. I have to say, I lit up whenever I saw a text from her. I was smitten. Until I noticed that I was always the one initiating conversation.

I began to scrutinize her responses and her language. I noticed that any attempts at intimacy, ranging from “I miss you”, and “you’re special to me” were met with a generic “thank you”. I asked her about it finally. She wasn’t able to address such comments because she’s not ready. She knew that I was in a different place than her and asked me if we could just “hang out” and let her figure out if she wants a relationship. It wasn’t ideal but I wanted to spend time with her. So I agreed.

We hung out a bit in recent weeks. Occasionally I slipped up and treated her like a girlfriend. The pushback was incredible. And frustrating. I was firmly stuck in the “friend zone” and that’s where I think I’m going to stay.

The girl she is when she drinks loves me. She’s affectionate and lovable. Sober girl apparently feels different.

Thursday night I told her it wasn’t working for me. I don’t know where we are headed now. We haven’t talked since. I really don’t know how I feel about it. But the confusion and mixed messages have consumed my life for months.

I should have listened.

I’m crazy about her but I have to prepare for life without her.

She’s not ready.

walls closing in

Friends and family. Sometimes, in the bustle of our everyday lives we lose touch with those that sustain us the most. Now, as the world has come to a screeching halt they have become the most important asset. My kids have been amazing. Before the collapse of modern society they, most of them at least, were great at keeping touch. My oldest daughter was always the leader in keeping in touch with me.
My oldest boy was good but like his old man, time gets away from him. And that’s ok. He’s an adult and he has his own life.
My youngest boy is probably the worst, he has the least ability to keep track of time of all and I had to call him to see how he is. Again, it’s alright. He has a job and a girl and he is living his life.
My youngest daughter is just now starting to get busy. But she almost rivaled her sister in checking up on the old man.
I was always grateful for the communication.

Now, the kids are all in constant touch. They all have accrued a solid education on what my immunocompromised ass is or isn’t supposed to do during a pandemic and they have been amazingly supportive and critical at the same time. They applaud my attitude but chastise for going anywhere. They want me to stay in and never go out, but I have to. We need things. So they yell at me. Constantly. And I love them for it.

My friends have been amazing also. I always knew I had an great circle but I never knew how much so. Friends that I spoke to frequently now call or text me constantly. Friends that I have maintained contact with sporadically are reaching out. They all know my situation and they are all concerned. It has really touched my heart and to their credit, I have made sure that they are all safe and healthy. Physically and mentally. Despite this unprecedented event, they all seem to be handling it.

Then there’s my special lady friend. She isn’t doing so well.

In the short time I’ve known her I have recognized and reveled in her free spirit.
Before the pandemic she went into the city for work. She occasionally worked from home but not more than two days a week. Going into the city was her break, her routine. It made her appreciate home. Now, she appreciates getting out of the home more than ever. Some birds are not meant to be caged.
I’m worried about her. What she is experiencing is beyond stir crazy. She’s depressed and on top of it all, she feels like the walls are actually closing in.

The confinement. This is where the pandemic really hits home. Well, you know, besides dying that is.
I’m a fixer.
I want to help.
I want to jump in my car and visit her.
I want to hug her and tell her it’s going to be ok.
I want to take her for a ride.
I just want to keep her company.

But I can’t.

Some things I just can’t fix.

the words left unsaid

I love my dialysis nurses. I think they do God’s work and I appreciate them. They do more than stick needles in my arm, they monitor my welfare and genuinely care about me and make a very difficult transition for their patients easier. Of course, I can only speak for myself but the nurses have a special place in my heart.

One nurse I am particularly fond of is Jesse. Jesse is one of the youngest nurses at the clinic and I have felt a special chemistry with her since the day I met her. We share a devilish sense of humor which is tampered by her strict codes of conduct in the clinic regarding patient interaction. Still, we manage to have flirty and somewhat sexy conversations in sneaky ways, even the exchange of glances or funny faces. I love it when she’s there, it makes the time pass a little better. It’s safe to say that if there wasn’t a clinic policy against dating patients, we would be a couple. Just one more example of how my life is.

C’est La vie.

I have gotten to know her over the last year and she tells me a bit about her personal life. I know she doesn’t share with many patients, we have a special connection. I know that she has 2 very cute daughters, aged 5 and 3. I know that their father used to live with them and watch the girls while Jesse was at work. I know that he recently moved out and she is single (not that I can do anything with that knowledge). I also know that Jesse hasn’t spoken to her father in years. She has revealed enough for me to know that her relationship with her dad was less than stellar. Let’s call it what it is, she hated him.

Last Tuesday Jesse was in a terrible mood. She was quiet and frequently teared up. She wasn’t speaking to anyone with the exception of the communication necessary to get someone set up on the dialysis machine. It bothered me a bit to not have our usual back and forth but it had nothing to do with me and I figured whatever it is will work out and she will be in a better mood next time. Unfortunately, the next time I saw her she was no better.

I decided to engage her. I remarked to her that she was in a bad mood again. She then came over and said “I’ll tell you, but you’re one of two people I’m telling. I haven’t told anyone else. She paused and said, “My father was killed in an accident last week.”

I was stunned. Of course I had no words to offer. I offered her a hug and half-joked that maybe I can give her some of my strength. She teared up. She wasn’t working that day so she soon left. I had several hours left and most of them were spent thinking of her.

She had a difficult road ahead. She has lost her father. In addition she had the burden of knowing that they had a terrible relationship. On top of it all, I know that she had to be torn by those words. You know those words…the ones unsaid. I’m sure there are regrets. I’m sure there are unresolved issues. I’m sure that she was right in how she felt about him but never had the one thing we all crave in the end. Closure. She has a long road ahead of her and there is nothing that I can do that will help her reach closure. I wish I could in the worst way.

See, she’s not the only one with unresolved issues and things unsaid. I wanted to tell her how I feel about her. That I have been pining for her for a very long time. Hopeful that there is a way around the clinic’s policy against patients fraternizing/dating staff. I wish she knew that I would ask her out in a New York minute if I could. I want to be with her so very badly. And I can’t until I am no longer a patient of the clinic or if she leaves the company. Neither seems viable right now, I need a transplant, it’s the only answer. Until that unlikely event, it’s just not going to happen.

I went to a local fair today and it wasn’t 5 minutes before I ran into her. She met my daughter and my friend Eric. It felt naughty to be talking to her because it was forbidden on so many levels. But we talked for a few minutes and it was really nice. Not to mention that she looked beautiful in the early afternoon sunshine. As we parted ways, I hugged Jesse and bluntly said “We need to find a way around that company policy because I want to be with you.” I amazed myself at how bold that statement was. But I felt better for saying it. They were no longer words unsaid. I said them. It was the truth after all and now it was out there. I think she knows that I’m into her, now it’s confirmed.

When we parted ways and walked away my daughter, who already knew my feelings for Jesse said, with her usual candor, “ You need to marry her. She’s beautiful, she’s awesome and she’s into you.”
“You think so?”
“Oh yeah.”
“Well, a lot has to happen before that happens.” I said. “But I think she is worth waiting for.”

Forgiveness

I sat there, asking myself if I really drove 2 hours to listen to this.

“Ugh, this picture is terrible. “
“Do I really look like this?”
“I can’t post this!”

My ex had just finished taking some pictures outside with my daughter and now she was engaging in two of the many obnoxious habits that remind me why we’re not married anymore…bitching incessantly and playing with her fucking phone.

“Just delete them and do them again. How hard can it be, it was ten minutes ago?”
“Did I ask for your fucking opinion?” she snapped at me and left the room.
Face palm
Happy fucking Easter.

My daughter came to the rescue.
“Dad, it’s a holiday. She’s always nuts on Holidays, remember? I’m still happy to see you.”
She wasn’t lying. She was. She’s the best. And soon my youngest boy will be back from his girlfriend’s house and soon after that we will meet my oldest daughter and her boyfriend at the restaurant. Despite my oldest boy not being able to make it, which I was bummed about, I will have plenty of people to distract me from her.

I really hoped that the fireworks were over with her but that would not be the case. The dinner conversation was mostly fine, I enjoyed seeing the kids and the meal was great. But she dropped a couple of cracks during dinner about me that stuck with me for the last week. The first one was when she claimed I didn’t love her and wasn’t attracted to her when she was heavy, early in our marriage. I was floored. First, I have no idea how that subject even came up, and I was further incensed that it wasn’t true.

The second comment came when my youngest daughter said that I was a nice guy. The ex made a face. When pressed by my oldest daughter as to the reason, she said “he is now, not so much when we were married.”

I was annoyed at the first one, I was downright pissed off at the second one. My appetite was gone and I wanted to go home. I didn’t, of course, and the rest of the day was ok. I had a cigar with the boys, the daughter’s joined us outside and enjoyed the weather with us, and I largely avoided the ex until it was time to leave.

I do my best thinking while driving, but that particular two hours was spent fuming.

With regards to the weight comment, I never had a problem with her weight. I always found her attractive. It’s she who was never happy with herself and always struggled with her self-image (the selfie thing is case in point). It got to the point where she was so critical of herself she shut off the sex spicket for good.

The nice guy (or not, as it were) thing? I will admit that I had my moments but it was never unprompted and in my recollection pretty warranted. We began fighting in the second year of our marriage and by the fourth child we were struggling maritally and financially. Money destroys marriages and ours was no exception. Add to the equation her complete hypocrisy as she bought whatever she wanted yet bitched about my career struggles and dropping income…yea I’m not going to be so nice.

But I was quick to apologize. I tried to learn from it and genuinely worked towards doing better. I accepted fault as graciously as I could.

Until I realized I was the only one.

Towards the end, I can honestly say that I gave up on us and my only focus was to salvage my relationship with my children. As for her and I, we tolerated each other. When we finally divorced, we were passive and civil. We went our own ways and it really seemed as if everything was cool. I set out to reconcile my anger and one day I decided to just forgive it. I forgave everything. It would be trite to say that I forgave her in particular, instead I did it for me. To unload the terrible baggage weighing on my shoulders. To sleep at night. To move towards a place of healing and to become the man I’ve always wanted to be, with the benefit of a fresh start.

Forgiveness is not as easy as it seems. Ole’ Superman thought that by snapping his fingers and taking a super breath, he could wash years of anger and frustration and be done with it. But it just isn’t that easy. Her bullshit comments of that day made me want to scream at her,

“Do you have any idea how much of your bullshit I let go!?”

But it wouldn’t have mattered. I was a fool to think that it was going to be that simple. Such a volatile, tumultuous relationship cannot just die out like an ocean storm, there has to be the inevitable ripple effects on the shoreline. I may have convinced myself that it is all good and forgiven, but it is not forgotten, despite my wanting more than anything for that to be true. 

I can’t just forget being screamed at and told to “go and die of kidney disease.”
I can’t just forget sleeping on the sofa for 15 years.
I can’t just forget being nagged constantly about money when I was doing everything that my skill set, physical limitations and increasing illness allowed.
I can’t just forget being replaced by her best friend as a support network.
I can’t just forget being in a loveless, sexless marriage and how I managed to stick it out for ten year after the fire was completely out and still remain faithful when no man ever would do so.

It’s not bad enough that I’m broken to the point where I will never find love again. I also have to shoulder the burden of so many painful memories and constantly asking myself a endless series of “why’s” and “what-ifs.” I have to remind myself that I chose to forgive everything for me, as my way of handling and coping. I can’t speak for her. It’s beyond my control and it is naïve to presume how she is to handle it on her end. I need to be, and I am, at peace with my efforts in this approach.

The big question then becomes… why do I even care?