Softened

I’m dating a new guy and I’ve been feeling uncertain about our longevity.  He’s not my typical ‘type’.

A tire blew on my car on the freeway at 9 o’clock last night.  It was harrowing waiting for the tow truck, alone, in the dark, with cars whizzing by at over 60 mph.  I took care of business (single girl self-sufficiency) with Highway Patrol, AAA, tow truck driver and taxi, but found myself spent and exhausted this morning for ‘Part 2’ – getting to the tire store and ordering a new tire, waiting for the repair and, finally, driving to work.

New guy offered to help – and, contrary to my typical stanch self-reliance, I agreed. He left work and drove 30 miles to my house, picked me up and shuttled me to the tire store.  He waited with me and, when we discovered it would be over an hour before the car was ready, drove me another 20 minutes to work – in the opposite direction of his.  It felt comforting to be taken care of, for a change.

This is the kind of guy I should want in my life.

About two years ago, after lunch with my then-current boyfriend (my Ex), we left the restaurant to find my car with a flat.  My Ex added air to the tire and then had me drop him back at work.  From there, I was on my own.  I ended up driving to a few tire stores (on a leaking tire), finally spending a few dead hours at Costco waiting for my repair.  It probably took four hours start to finish.  The whole ordeal left me feeling deserted by him.  And just a few months later, he did desert me.

Today, my heart softened.

I’m not your bitch, bastard.

“You never heard the ‘I’m not your hot water bitch’ story?!”

Ah, what a great way to spend a Monday night.  Appetizers on the table, glass of Tobin James in my hand, listening and laughing to the ‘hot water bitch’ story when my heart jumps into my throat and my lungs shrink to the size of teacups.  Thud, thud, thud, pant, pant, pant.  I can barely breathe as I watch my Ex walk by the restaurant windows heading for the door.  Mercifully, he must have seen me, too, for after a phone call to whomever he was meeting, he turned around and walked away, most likely making other plans.

I force myself to practice deep breathing to calm down.  I don’t want to react, but it’s visceral.  My self-possession left me as soon as I saw him.  Why, why, why this response?  I treated him so well (probably too well) when we were together.  I should have no shame or embarrassment now.  I should feel empowered – he’s the one who’s fear should well up upon seeing me.  He’s the bastard.

It’s been over 18 month and this is the first time I’ve seen my Ex since we broke up.   That’s longer than we were together.  I thought, by now, I could run into him and treat him as an indifferent acquaintance.  I am obviously wrong.  I had plans to attend a mutual friend’s birthday party next week.  I have changed my mind afraid of another debilitating reaction and the likelihood that he would be there.