B-locks and I (finally) had our lunch date. When I heard my phone ping with a text an hour later, I just assumed it was him. It wasn’t. It was you-know-who. “Whatcha Doing?” I didn’t know how to respond or if I even should. No matter how much I want it otherwise, if he is conflicted about taking next steps with me, then we are back to friends – nothing more or less. I decided for honesty – “I just got home from a lunch date.” That was over an hour ago. He hasn’t responded.
I wrote this last weekend, but never managed to post it. After my words hit the page, I had a change of heart. My female friendships aren’t any more constant. We float in and out of our lives as time and situations allow. We know that sometimes work and life and new boyfriends pull us away. We are always assured, however, that we are friends forever. I should give him no less trust and allow him no less leeway.
A friendship with a married man is a tricky situation. I put myself in his wife’s place, knowing that I would be wary, at the least, and I try to act accordingly. I willingly take a secondary (or tertiary) standing in his life. “If you need to step away from this friendship, I won’t be mad, I’ll understand,” I recite to him repeatedly like a mantra.
…And then he does.
…And I wonder what I have allowed.
I don’t like this. He says it’s temporary; he’ll return. He doesn’t tell me when or why.
I feel put away and forgotten on a shelf. What makes him sure I’ll be here when he comes back? Doesn’t he realize he’s irreparably changed everything? Conversely, is it fair for me to adjust the rules now when he merely employed an option I’ve been offering consistently and readily all these years?
He must realize that this stepping back that allows him a new perspective allows me one as well. I muse on thoughts such as, “is this healthy, is this right, is this what I want?”
When it comes to Facebook®, I’ve found that there are two types of male friend requests:
The First – the innocuous Facebook® Friendship:
Him: “Hey Phoren, haven’t seen you in ages. How are you doin’ these days.”
Me: “Dave, great to hear from you. I’m fantastic – went to culinary school recently, still living in XX and working at XX. How about you? What’s up in your world?”
Him: No reply or a pat one-line response about living, working, marriage and children.
This is the end of our conversation. We are now “Facebook® Friends.”
The Second – the “I want to get in your panties again” Facebook® Friendship:
The conversation begins the same, but instead of fizzling out after one or two exchanges, he keeps the momentum going. In fact, if I don’t respond, he’ll email again. He doesn’t post on my wall; he sends private messages. He’ll remind me of the fun we had in the past, finding out the details of my life, discovering if I’m single or in a relationship until the point when he can “casually” ask me out.
I’ve had a few of these. I’m experiencing one of these right now.
I’ve been told that I need to close the chapter of my life that included him. It may not have a sufficient ending, like an unfinished Franz Kafka story, but I must move on regardless.
So, I turn the page and I stare at a blank piece of paper. What can I say about the protagonist? She’s emotionally beaten and bruised, weary from her struggles (wary as well). Cynical? Yes, but there is a little glimmer of hope that sparks within her still.
What does she do next? The online dating appears to be going nowhere. She receives emails almost every day but, the men that seem to have fallen for her live on another coast – or even in another country. The men that seem mutually compatible fizzle out before the first date. The ones she sees and say, “maybe perhaps,” don’t respond to her emails.
She needs a diversion. But what? Her work, right now, is as disheartening as her love life. And her hobbies bore her. And her friendships are close to nil. What is her next step? How does she move on?
My best friend (and my only friend living here) is having LASIX surgery on my birthday next month, which, she informed me, means that she will not be available to celebrate with me. She was my lifeline – the solution to my first birthday without him.
I’m turning 45. That’s considered a “milestone” birthday, isn’t it? It’s on a Friday, a great night to celebrate – if I had something to celebrate, and someone to celebrate it with.
I know this pain will come and go. I’ve actually been doing pretty well these last few days (I deleted all of his photos off my Facebook page today in my continued effort to “move on”), but the realization that I will be celebrating my 45th birthday alone is hitting me hard.
My family doesn’t acknowledge birthdays anymore and my friends have other things to do. I’ll receive a perfunctory card from my office. I wonder if he will even realize it’s my birthday when the day comes? Probably not.
Maybe a new year that begins so pathetically foretells a magnificent ending – in like a worm and out like a viper?