Just friends

“Let’s just be friends…”. Undoubtedly the most unwelcome words for a guy to ever hear. Nice guys, and I’d like to think I am one, are cursed to hear those ugly words many times in life. I’ve certainly been kissed off more than my share by them. It ultimately feels like rejection, only covered in confectioner’s sugar to sweeten the taste.
Today, I think I would welcome those words.

Why did you have to take my note, after I caught the wedding ring and tried to pull it back? It would have been so much easier if you let me down easy that day. I was ready for it. Going into any situation you must be prepared for any outcome. I was poised for rejection, it’s my usual pose. I wasn’t prepared for you to want to get to know me “as friends”. I wasn’t prepared for you to pry your way through the very small wall of scar tissue that I call my heart and make me want you more. I wasn’t prepared to invest myself emotionally in you, to want to make up for the poor manner in which your husband treats you. You deserve better and it is my nature to want to give better to you. I want to take you away.

But I can’t.

I’m not financially secure. I’m in poor health. I have no place of my own. I am in no way an upgrade for you. You need security in the comforts of life that I cannot provide. If only good intentions were currency.

This will not end well, I just know it. I can let myself enjoy the waltz of the initial flirtation, getting to know you on a deeper level, to lie in bed thinking of those hungry, stolen kisses. But to what end? It’s just not fair to you. You deserve better.

5% of me is shouting down the other 95% of me to do the right thing. The blare of reason is the only thing loud enough to drown the raucous roar of my beating heart.
I want you.
I need you.
But you are not mine to take.

Until something changes on your end…please tell me you want to be “just friends”. I will hate it. I will fight it. But I know that I will learn to live with it. After all, It’s the only way this can end well.

Wait, don’t. I want to savor the moment for a while…

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.

Walls

He knew about her
He knew he would meet her someday
Time…he had

Someday came at last
in a room full of people
he was only watching her

She breezed through the room
a glass of wine in her hand
she glanced in his direction
not at him
but it didn’t matter

Something caught her amusement
her laugh was infectious
her smile went on for light years
who’s the lucky guy that gets to daily see
that smile that renders light unnecessary
to illuminate the room?

He would learn soon enough
when she leaned in to the man next to him
and wrapped her arms around his neck
“he’s a lucky man” he mused
and chased the disappointment out of his head

Days later the friend request came in
his heart fluttered a bit
“Don’t read into it” he said to deaf ears
but he was cautiously encouraged

When the message came in
he allowed himself to be encouraged
he had more questions than answers
but he patiently played along
was she just being friendly
or was it something more?

They became a nightly ritual
exchanging playful messages
through the banter and playful chat
it was going somewhere
she wanted to get to know him
he wanted the same
but needed to take it slow
this one was special

They were talking one night
in a rare moment of bravado
he went for it
“would you like to have dinner tomorrow?”
the silence was deafening
had he gone too far too soon?

He tried to pull it back
she went back and forth
he had pushed it
she declared herself an overthinker
one with walls
he again tried to pull it back
then she said yes
he hoped she wouldn’t change her mind

It had been so long
since he had been out with a woman
fortunately he needed to only wait one day

The night arrived
he was early
he was nervous
she chose the place

He opened doors for her
he listened to her
tried not talk too much about himself
she wanted to get to know him better
but it was he hanging on every word
one word in particular came up
a lot

walls

she said it often

walls
high ones
thick ones
someone had hurt her badly
she wasn’t afraid
fear is easy
she was just determined to see
that it never happened again

“Take it slow” he reminded himself
this one is worth it
he focused on her words
her body language
her amazing smile

She started to relax
maybe it was the wine
still, he stayed with the game plan
don’t push
don’t fish
listen to her

They talked like old friends
about what they wanted
and what they didn’t
she had a story to tell
but she wasn’t ready
walls

The walls were still up

They went for a drink
he was learning more about her
he asked a question he shouldn’t have
the dynamic changed
she pulled back
her face changed
he had pushed too hard
he mistakenly reached for her hand
she resisted

“I’m so sorry” he said
he didn’t know
that he was the first to ever ask her that
he vowed to not push her again
Walls

Soon, they were laughing again

The club was jumping
the music was loud
they got a table in the back
she wanted to dance
he was terrified at the prospect
but he would dance with this one

She got up
motioned for him to follow
he was hesitant
she went without him
he sat with fixed gaze


Even from that distance
she was the most beautiful one in the room
dancing alone
he went to her
He struggled with self-consciousness
but it mattered more to him
that he think of her happiness

The song changed and they sat down
on the same side of the booth
he pulled her close
surprisingly…she let him

Maybe it was the wine
he truly hoped it wasn’t
she put her head on his chest
her hands gently explored his body
She looked at him with sleepy eyes
“I want to go on vacation with you…”

It may have been the wine
but the idea of going away
of seeing this rare beauty
glistening under the sun on a exotic beach
took his breath away
still, he was cautious

He enjoyed the intimacy of the moment
as he stroked her hair
this feeling had eluded him for so long
he had forgotten its haunting effects
her head still on his chest
they talked about so many things
things that were beyond the evening
steps yet to be taken
getting ahead of themselves
but it felt right

walls had come down

at least for now

it has been a day since they said goodnight

he keeps reaching for his phone

to text her, to call her

to see if she is thinking of him

as much as he has of her

they had talked earlier

it didn’t satisfy him

he hopes to chat with her later

to obtain the answer

without simply asking…

Are the walls still up?

Even when he knows the answer

they need to come down on their own

but he can wait

she is definitely worth it

My last shot?

Look no further for the fool. It is me. Shame on this fool. I should have known better.

We met online. At first we followed each others blogs, then we started emailing. I was enamored by her. She was exciting and fun, and lord knows I lacked both. What I didn’t know is that I caught her on a high.

I would soon meet the low.

One day she posted about ending it all. I emailed her right away with my phone number. Not on my watch will a friend do this if I am able to help. She called me. That voice, oh my that voice. She sounded broken, despondent. And so sexy. Her loneliness reached through the phone lines over the many miles and nearly choked me out. Her marriage was in shambles. She felt marginalized, abused and feared that she will be homeless and alone due to a cruel, heartless dick of a husband. I implored her to find the good, to not end it all. After an hour of rambling conversation she said she felt better. She called me a lifesaver.

I was just being kind. That’s what I do. Normally it works out for me.

Daily conversations soon followed by text, email and phone. She was feeling better, she was exciting again and I got caught up in it. It had been so many years since a woman paid any amount of attention to me. It blurred my judgment as much as it stirred my loins. Every fiber of my being told me I was on a steam train plummeting towards destruction but I strapped myself in and hoped to survive the impact.

She said we should be a couple. I saw my exit from the train. I told her long-distance doesn’t work. That I can’t let myself get caught up in that boondoggle.

“What if I was to move there? My marriage is over. I have no ties. A change would be nice.” At that moment I allowed myself to feel for her. It would prove to be a crucial lack in judgment with tremendous implications.

6 months of at least 8 hours of talking a day. I was smitten. She even got me to say the “L”word. It had been so very long since I had said that phrase to anyone other than my children. I allowed myself to get immersed in it. I wrote sappy blogs about what our first meeting would be like, what our lives together would be. It made her happy. And that made me happy.

I fell. Hard. The voices in my head screamed at me to slam the brakes. That it can’t work out. That I would get hurt. But I was feeling things that I hadn’t felt in so long, often feeling them stronger than I can ever remember. It was new, it was exciting, it was a high that I couldn’t explain. One thing I did know is that I was in need of what I was experiencing. I was starved for affection, excitement, romance. She offered all of it.

She stole my heart and I let her keep it.

Then one day she tossed me aside like a cigarette butt out the window of a speeding car. How could I be treated like that? Don’t I deserve better?

I should be over it, but I’m not. To be discarded like a stale pastry is not something I can just “get over”. I don’t miss her…I miss the feelings she gave me.

In a futile attempt at recovering, I signed up for a dating site. The results have been less than spectacular. My honest profile, in the interest of saving the trouble and embarrassment of having the conversation abruptly end when the phrases “I live with my mother” and “I have a chronic illness” are spoken has left me with little to no activit. By trying to avoid it I have apparently scared them all off. No “likes” or conversations started. My page is a ghost town.

I miss how she made me feel. I want to love again. I want to be loved maybe for the first time.

Have I had my last shot at love already?

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.”

This thing of ours

“Is it love? she asked.
It was so soon
but wonderful
and new
to define
he couldn’t label
wasn’t quite able
to say what “it” is

“Is it enough?”, he asked
that you’re my first thought
when I wake
my last before I retire
that my heart feels
as if it’s on fire
your text, your call
my smile says it all

“But is it love?” she implored
she wouldn’t be ignored
then she was sorry
she began to worry
about pushing him too far
she began to cry
he asked her to stop

What she didn’t understand
his feelings were fine
they were all about her
and her fragile state

“Will you love me someday?”
he had to concede
he was sure in his heart
that this was the start
of the life he desired

“Yes, I will love you someday.”
then asked to pump the brakes
he had weighed the stakes
and wanted to take it slow
to get to know her
to savor the newness
only fools rush in
and only a fool would blow this

First on his mind
he had to decide
if he just wanted to fix her
be a magic elixir
for all of the hurt of her past
or was it really love
on its own merit
what he wouldn’t do
to clean her slate
to undo the damage
her tormentors had given
instead of love

She reluctantly agreed
he knew it incensed her
she was too intense for him
she knew they were destined
she felt the connection
across the many miles

“I love you”, she said
“that’s how I feel”
he wanted to say it
but it had to be real
there would be no return
should he misread
this exciting reprieve
from loneliness for love

“I’m falling for you,” he said
she cried tears of joy
but it wasn’t enough
he was just being tough
she deserved better
he had the power to let her
find happiness at last
he knew what he had to do
and picked his moment

“Do you like me more each day?”
he nodded his head no
“I love you more each day”
“Did you just say…?”
“Yes, my sweet. It is love.”
She was joyous, relieved
filled with delight
He soaked it all in
it finally felt right








Destiny

He stood patiently at baggage claim as an endless stream of bags that weren’t his slowly passed by. He wasn’t in a hurry, he had waited so long already.

This is crazy, he muttered to himself. Maybe so, he thought, yet here I am.

It started as a harmless online dalliance. Over a surprisingly short period of time, it evolved into a drug he was dangerously addicted. Deep conversations by phone, erotic exchanges by text, it was a different relationship each and every day. He had tried to back it down, to rein it in but he couldn’t. They were into each other. She claimed an empathic connection, the pragmatist in him couldn’t deny it. He felt it also.

As of today, they had never actually met.

She was profane and classy, beautiful but didn’t know it, vulnerable and strong all at the same time. She had been hurt all of her life by the ones who should have loved her. He complimented her and she rejected it, she didn’t feel worthy. Then she realized that he wasn’t trying to build her up for a fall, he just wanted her to feel good enough. He saw beauty in every one of her quirks. For the first time in years, he was excited about someone.

She believed in destiny. He politely dismissed it, he didn’t believe like she.
She had repeatedly told him that she was crazy, but didn’t explicitly tell him to stay away. She would be delighted to learn that he loved crazy.
She told him she was all over the map, that she is an emotional roller coaster. He should have been cautious or hesitant to engage. But he wasn’t.
She told him that they would get together one day, despite the thousands of miles between them. He repeatedly told himself that this began as a dalliance to have fun with, but it wouldn’t end well.

There were too many obstacles.

Yet, here he was now, just hours away from meeting her face to face.

He took a ride sharing service to the hotel. As the car got closer he could hear and feel the thunderous roar of the great waterfall. He remembered going to Niagara Falls with his parents, he remembered it as a cheesy tourist spot with cheap souvenirs and too many people. When she told him that part of her post-divorce plans was to travel, she mentioned Niagara Falls. His heart skipped a beat, that was a manageable trip for him. Niagara Falls would take on a whole new form in his memory if this weekend turned out as it did in his head.

As he stepped out of the car he grabbed his phone and quickly texted where are you?
He collected his bags and paid the driver. As he put his wallet away his phone chirped.
At the rail, come find me
She was being playful, as expected. He dashed into the hotel, checked in as quickly as the Desk Clerk could move and paid a bellboy to put his bags in his room, the second key in his breast pocket.

It was a short walk to the main viewing area. He scanned the crowd, the mist stung his face as he tried to find her. He had seen hundreds of pictures of her but she rarely looked the same. To mix it up she had refused to tell him what color her hair was or what she would be wearing.
Then he saw her.
He didn’t know how he knew, he just did. He worked his way through the bustling crowd, gently squeezed in next to her at the rail and politely apologized to the person whose space he had just invaded. Looking straight ahead, he said her name aloud.
“You found me! Very impressive”, she said. Her Southern accent was a hundred times sexier than the phone ever allowed it to be.
“I knew it was you.” he said. “I could sense your aura.”
“You don’t believe in Auras and such bullshit”, she scoffed.
“I didn’t believe in a lot of things until I met you…” He turned to look her in the face. No amount of selfies he had viewed could do her justice, she was beautiful. He didn’t tell her, she didn’t like compliments and he didn’t want to cheapen the moment.
“So how do you want to begin?”, he asked playfully.
“How do you want to finish?”, she teased.
“Simultaneous I hope”, he looked deep into her eyes with a huge grin.
“Oh my”, she said. “I guess the question is whose room is closer.”
He held out his hand and began to lead her away from the rail. She joined her hand in his. They took a few steps and he turned and embraced her. It was at that moment, as he savored the smell of her hair that he realized that the moment had finally come. They were really together.
“It’s really you”, he said.
“It’s really me”, she said. “We’re wasting time, let’s go.”

They entered the hotel lobby and compared room keys. Hers was closer. The anticipation was getting the best of the both of them. Waiting for the elevator, riding the elevator, walking to the room they tried to keep a casual demeanor but their hands kept dancing around each other as they walked the seemingly endless hallway. At last they reached the room. She pushed the card into the slot.

As the door closed behind them, she slammed into him, pinning him against the door. Her hungry mouth consumed his. He feverishly ran his hands over her body, the curves that she was self conscious about were now his obsession. He grabbed her firmly and picked her up, hungrily kissing her as he made the way to the bed. He laid her down, began to take his shirt off when she rose up from the bed, grabbed him by the neck and pulled him on top of her.

He tore her blouse open and began to kiss her from her neck all the way down. He wanted the moment to last, he patiently and playfully worked his way to her panties. Pulling them aside, he began to pleasure her. At first he teased, then he settled into giving her the most intense pleasure she had ever experienced. The woman who had told him that no man had ever pleasured her in this way was clutching the sheets, crushing his ears with her strong legs and breathlessly panting his name. He persisted until she cried out in pleasure. After, her legs slowly relaxed their grip, she let go of the handful of crumpled bedding and wagged her index finger at him and provocatively motioned for him to come to her.

He stood, his pants falling to the floor and went to her.
“Are you pleased?” he asked.
“Oh my god, I’ve been missing out on THAT for my entire life? Can you do that again?”
“I can, but first I want to do this…” With that he rolled on top of her and entered her. It had been ten years since he had even kissed a woman, it had been forever since a man had made her the center of his affections and they made love for hours. She, after each round, said she wanted to pleasure him. He insisted that it be about her for once. He was savoring the moment, for him her pleasure gave him his. He reveled in giving this beautiful woman the loving that he knew she had been lacking from the moment they first talked.

They woke the next morning in a heap of wrinkled bedding and discarded clothing. They ordered room service, they were ravenous and dehydrated. When the food arrived, they weren’t able to answer the door. She was going down on him and he wasn’t about to let anything interrupt her. They made love again and after, he limped to the door and opened it to find a tray of cold breakfast and stale coffee. They devoured it as if it didn’t matter.

Niagara Falls is a beautiful place, especially if you actually leave the room and enjoy it. They wanted to leave the room, they tried but their passion was insatiable. When they weren’t exploring each other’s bodies, they were talking. Elbows on pillows, staring into each other’s eyes they reminisced on the events that led them here. They laughed, they teased, they talked about things that used to be. They marveled at the fact that they had finally come together. She had once told him that it was a WHEN, not an IF. He hadn’t believed her. He hated false hope. They pinched each other to see if the past two days had actually happened.

He was happy for the first time in as long as he could remember

What they didn’t talk about was what would come next. The 2400 miles that would once again separate them was a sinister figure lurking on their horizon. He knew that he would take it easier than she would, he was accustomed to not being happy. This was just a reprieve from the dull and predictable life that has been void of happiness for so long. But her, he felt bad for her. She deserved to smile, laugh and experience pleasure like she had this weekend every day. And he knew that he could be the one to make her happy. But for those miles and the buoys of life that tied them to where they were.

As they checked out the next morning, they took one last look at the mighty falls, soaking in the cold mist as it splashed their faces. They stared speechlessly, not wanting to ruin the moment by speaking.

Finally, he turned to her.
“What’s next?”, he asked her.
“For now, I have to go back to my life.”
“So then that’s it?”
“We’ll figure it out. Destiny, remember?”
“I can’t go back to my boring life. My routine of dialysis, sleepless nights, being so far from everyone.” He stared deeply at her and grabbed her by her arms. “And I don’t believe in destiny.”
“What do you believe in, then?” she asked.
“Tragic endings.” He leaned in and kissed her deep and hard. He then straddled the railing and came to a sitting position.
“What are you doing?” she cried out and grabbed for him.
“Ending this the only way it can, on a high for a change.”

He pulled his hand from hers and fell backwards, disappearing into the roar of the falls.