After the performance 1.0 gave me when I was sitting at the hospital with Metalhead, I started to change my mind. Not that I’d ever really made it up to begin with. Oh, sure, I understood what he thought he wanted when he suddenly (and inexplicably) started talking about getting married and having kids and how many he wanted to have. I’d heard all of this before, many times, from many different people. I hadn’t decided whether I was going to allow it… after all, I was still waiting for Botboy, and I felt funny about breaking that promise… but on the other hand, Botboy hadn’t said much for awhile, and here was 1.0, paying for plane tickets, and flying down almost immediately.
I had, for a little while at least, started to open my mind. But that had changed. I knew, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that I did not want to be with someone so selfish. If he could not understand why I was doing what I needed to do for my friend as things were now, how could he be expected to understand it later?
And then there was his living situation. 1.0 was three years older than I am. He lived in New York… I got that… but he had roommates. He’d had roommates, in fact, ever since he’d started college in 1997. And while part of me realized that that was a way of life when you lived in New York, I did not want to live that way. His living space consisted of a single room… the rest of the house in Brooklyn was shared with others. And I could not imagine doing that for any extended period of time. Granted, I am an introvert. I need a certain amount of “me” time in order to be functional. And maybe the “me” time is a lot more than he needs, but still, I could not imagine coming home from work every day, having to socialize when I don’t feel like it… because that’s what he was doing. It worked for him.
But for me? It was a reminder of 3.0… it was a reminder of why 3.0 and I did not work. Not so much that 3.0 was or was not social… but more because I was not allowed to be an introvert when I needed to be an introvert. And I could see it going there. Not now, not immediately, maybe not even for the first year. But eventually… And of course, also, I had no desire to move to New York, and he had no desire to move to Florida. I’m fine with long distance. I’ve done it a lot. But not perpetually.
It was a lot to give up, all at once, and it was a lot to ponder. All of those things had been in the back of my mind for awhile, but with his revelation of who he really was, well, things became clearer. It’s funny how that happens, right? If you wait long enough, people begin to show you their true colors.
It was decided, at least by me, then, that I did not want him to visit. I wasn’t really comfortable with him being in my house. I certainly was not comfortable, any longer, of going to Orlando to meet his friend (and spend time with him – extended time with him, possibly overnight with him) when I had never met him before. I felt funny about kicking him out, though. Call me old fashioned… call me southern (I’m a little bit of both), but I have manners. They don’t dictate everything I do (the Internet Dating Escapades are living proof of that) but when I’m having company, or when I may have company, one of the first rules is that you don’t tell them that you just want them to go home. Even if that’s how you feel.
So I began to hint… I began to drop clues… I tried everything. Even to the point of asking if he’d mind to rent a car and drive himself to Orlando because the painting I was working on for my sister’s wedding was not done yet (this was true) and I needed to work on it and get it in the mail as soon as possible (also true). He agreed to visit his friend alone, and I breathed a sigh of relief, but still, I wasn’t relieved enough. Because he was still going to be here, with me, for a night… possibly two.
I asked myself whether I could do it… if I could host him for a night, if I could entertain him well enough for a night so that I would feel okay about it and he could go, and nothing would be disturbed, but if I were truthful with myself? No matter how much I spun it, no matter how many ways I tried to make it doable, I just couldn’t. I did not want him in my house. I did not TRUST him to be in my house… especially not now that he was being quite pushy about how this was MY idea all along, and how it was MY fault that I was backing away…
You see, neither were true. I hadn’t asked him to come, he’d invited himself. And I’d told him, again and again, that I wasn’t really comfortable staying with his friend. I’d told him about Botboy, I’d made it clear that I was waiting. His answer? “People ‘try’ things all the time.”
But not me.
I wasn’t in a relationship with Botboy. I hadn’t been since May of 2013. But still, I was waiting. I don’t cheat. I don’t lie. And I don’t break my promises. And 1.0 was, essentially, asking me to violate that.
Before I made my decision I thought long and hard about what I was doing. If I told him no now, I knew that that would be the end of things. I’d lose him forever… that link to the past, to 1997, to the mafia… it would be gone. And it would be irretrievable. I asked myself if I could do that… more importantly, was it worth losing? The more I thought about it, the longer I pondered it, the more I looked back at the past, I realized that I could. Because whoever that girl was in 1997, I wasn’t her anymore. There were still pieces of her, sure. We never quite lose everything we ever were as we grow. But who she was, and what was important to her… it didn’t exist. I had a different life now. And, whether or not it pained me to say it, 1.0 wasn’t a part of it. And I didn’t see how I could make him a part of it.
So I told him no. He spent the weekend, the full weekend, in Orlando. I spent the weekend painting on my patio, finishing the monogramed canvas for my sister’s wedding, getting it ready to mail to her the following week. I didn’t hear from him at all. I haven’t heard from him since.
I finally, seventeen years after it started, managed to put a piece of my past to bed. And you know what? It felt great.