Tag Archives: Friendship

The Ramifications of “No.”

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.

How to Shoot Yourself in the Foot

About two weeks out from 1.0’s visit, Metalhead had decided to try to get by on his own.  He’d been staying at my place for the last month or two, both because he had nowhere else to go and due to the fact that he was, it seemed, seriously sick.  Panic attacks, accompanied by chest pains that were unrelenting most of the time were the story of his life and I had told him that it was better for him to stay with me, so that if he needed to be taken to the hospital, I could take him without having to figure out where he was in order to get there in time.  It took some convincing… Metalhead is incredibly independent and doesn’t like to be in the way… or feel that he is imposing… but I won him over by convincing him that he’d be doing me a favor since, ultimately, I was on my own… at least until Botboy came back and as I’d promised that I wouldn’t date until then, it wasn’t like he was going to be cramping my style any.

He’d gone to the hospital several times since then, sometimes I’d gone with him, other times he’d had attacks at work and someone from work had driven him.  At any rate, they’d finally put him on some medication for his heart palpitations and his anxiety and so we’d hoped that would work.  He decided to start trying to stay on his own again, promising me that if things got bad, he’d let me know.  After almost two months of constant company, honestly, I was pretty happy about the solitude.  Not that I didn’t like being there for him – that’s just kind of what I do – but because it had been AGES since I’d had a chance to really do anything FOR ME… watch what I wanted on TV, play a video game, write, paint, you know… the things one really needs alone time for.

I spent much of that time chatting with 1.0.  I was trying to figure him out, trying to get to know him better.  We were talking excitedly about the trip he was taking to Tampa and I was trying to figure out what I could show him in such a short period of time.  The Orlando trip he wanted me to take with him was becoming something I was getting to be curiously half-enthusiastic for.  I was preparing the house for another visitor, getting the futon ready, changing the sheets, organizing and getting the clutter put away.

On a Tuesday night, a text came in.  Metalhead had gone out with friends that night, to a bar.  It was the first drink he’d had in months… and for Metalhead, NOT drinking was unusual.  This was one of the ways I’d known he was really sick, because Metalhead is one of those guys who, despite the fact that he says he is NOT an alcoholic, seems to NEED to have something to drink every night.  And I’m not just talking one beer, I’m talking two or three.  Sometimes four.  Since the health problems had started, he hadn’t touched the stuff.  He’d been drinking Gatorade, mostly, and even then, only out of a need to “be drinking something” – sort of like people who are quitting smoking need to have something in their mouths even though it isn’t a cigarette.  But he’d never admit to alcoholism.  No, not Metalhead.  But, really, what 24 year old would?

Anyway, when the text came in, I was getting ready to go to bed.  It must have been 10:30, and I was tired.  He asked if he could sleep over.  I agreed at once, and he arrived thirty minutes later.  He sat on the couch, pale, breathing heavy, said his chest hurt.  I asked if he wanted to be taken to the hospital or if he wanted some water, he shook his head and laid over, putting his head on one of my couch pillows. He said he didn’t, that he thought he just needed to rest, and so, after sitting with him for several minutes, I told him I was going to go take a shower, but if he needed me, that he could come get me – I wasn’t going to lock the door under these circumstances.

So, leaving him on the couch, I began to shower, trying my hardest to relax with my friend near collapse on my sofa.  He interrupted me, though, and told me to take him to the hospital.  I agreed at once, and told him to wait on the couch while I got dressed again.  I don’t think I’ve ever gotten dressed so fast in my life.  In five minutes, I’d found my underwear, jeans, and a sweatshirt, thrown my hair up in a ponytail, and was guiding him down the stairs into the car.  I took him to the little hospital down the road from me, expecting to wait awhile at the ER.

Thankfully it wasn’t that busy and they took him back at once.  I went with him, not wanting to sit in the waiting room near the people who were coughing, and we sat, in one of their curtained off rooms, waiting while the nurses came in, talked to him, and told him to wait for the doctor.  The waiting is the worst part… even when they take you back at the ER, you still have to wait for the doctor on call.  And that took… well… literally hours.

1.0 sent a message through Facebook about then.  I told him I’d have to talk to him tomorrow, that I was at the hospital with Metalhead.  He wasn’t pleased.  It was funny.  He knew what I’d been doing for Metalhead, knew I’d been making sure he was okay, and he’d said literally nothing about him.  Now?  Now he was livid.

“You know, you really shouldn’t be doing that,” he told me.

“Doing what?”

“Parenting him that way,” he said.  “He’s a grown man.”

I was shocked.  Parenting him?  No.  Parenting him would have been me texting him to tell him not to have any drinks at all, or telling him not to go see his friends.  Taking someone to the hospital when they were sick?  That’s not parenting, that’s being a decent human being and it’s something he’d have done for me if the tables were turned… at least, I hoped.  At any rate, it was something that I could do, easily, and I did it.  And I wasn’t leaving him in here alone.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I answered.

“Well, you’ve been keeping him at your house, he’s sick, now you’re at the hospital… I mean, isn’t there somewhere you could put him?”

That made me livid.  I mean… first to tell me I shouldn’t be sitting here, at the hospital, with one of my best friends… that was bad enough.  But to suggest that I just take one of my friends, who happened to be homeless, and “PUT HIM SOMEWHERE”?  What the hell?

“Look, I’m here with him because I don’t want to leave him by himself.  These problems are pretty serious.  They are scary.  And I give him a place to sleep, because doing that is preferable to having him sleep in a car and no friend of mine is going to end up in a homeless shelter if I have anything to say about it.  I’m busy with this right now.  I’ll talk to you more tomorrow.”

I tried to see 1.0’s side of it.  I did.  But I couldn’t.  I couldn’t understand how someone could be so heartless.  Granted, had this been a complete stranger, I wouldn’t have let him stay in my house.  But even still, as heartless and as sociopathic as I can seem sometimes, I will give the shirt off my back to one of my friends if they needed it, and they know it.  And what’s worse (for 1.0, not me) was that with the words he’d sent that night, that little nagging voice in the back of my head that made me fear that, perhaps his visiting was not such a good idea, became a bit louder.  Because, regardless of why he said it, regardless of whether or not he was right, he had no right to say it in the first place.  I’m an adult.  For 1.0 to tell ME what to do, or what I should do when I did not ask for it?  That was him parenting me.  And while I may have allowed that when I was younger, the fact of the matter is, as I’ve said before, that I am NOT a child anymore.  Things have changed.  I have taken control over my life, and I can make the decision as to how much is too much, how far is too far, to go for one of my friends.  Metalhead was here, near collapse, and he needed me.  That was simple.

1.0?  Well, at least for that night, 1.0 could go to hell.  He’d certainly shot himself in the foot… not enough to cause a bleedout, but enough to jade me a little, and it seems to be easier and easier to do that these days.  Because the older I get, the less I tolerate that sort of shit, the parenting, the hypocritical crap that people throw at me for absolutely no reason at all.  And this whole lack of compassion thing was a dealbreaker.

And if he tried to go there with me again?  I’d tell him that.  But hopefully that wouldn’t be necessary.

Visitation

Around the middle of April I was sitting at work, firing up the computer screen to do another webinar that, I expected, would not be very crowded.  They hadn’t been lately (and still aren’t), but that didn’t make me any less responsible for them – though it did mean that I had more time for texting and chatting.

I’d been doing that a lot… I’d installed, finally, the Facebook messenger on my phone.  More or less because I was beginning to see the necessity for it.  I don’t have any Facebook friends that I don’t know personally and, certainly, none that I would feel uncomfortable giving my phone out to, but there’s something about being able to type your chats from a computer keyboard rather than that ridiculous phone touchscreen if you possibly can – and I recognized this, preferring to do it myself.  At any rate, I installed the messenger.

1.0 and I had been chatting a lot lately.  Getting to know each other again.  I was glad to have my friend back, and, further, glad to have someone to talk to when the days at work were particularly long (and they were particularly long very often).  We’d run the gambit on conversations – work, why I moved, his current college goals, and had finally stumbled into the familiar territory of relationships.  We talked about the ones we were currently pursuing.  He told me about a woman he was getting ready to break things off with because she’d stopped talking to him.  I told him a little about Botboy, how I was waiting, why I was waiting, and had mentioned that he hadn’t really talked to me in months, but how I was, more or less, continuing due to the principle of the thing.

Finally, one afternoon, just around the time his finals were ending he asked what I had planned for May.  I told him nothing, really, except for the last weekend in May, since I needed to be in Kentucky that weekend for my sister’s wedding that I really didn’t want to go to.  He mentioned wanting to come down, to get away from the city for awhile, to take a break from finals.  I was fine with that – and of course after I said that was okay with me, he pretty much invited himself to stay at my apartment.  Again, I was fine with this this time.  It wasn’t like the last time… my divorce was a long time ago now, and I have a futon in my living room.  He bought his tickets, sent me the itinerary, and I now had something to look forward to during mid-May (which was great, since I was really dreading this wedding).

He wouldn’t have been here long, but nearly immediately, I started getting my house ready for his arrival… making sure the sheets on the futon were clean, moving my paintings from the patio into another area so we could use the patio for sitting, just general straightening… oh, and making sure that Metalhead had a place to go for that weekend since he was still staying with me then due to some heart issues.  1.0 and I continued to talk nearly daily… I started to suspect that he wanted more than just to come down here to visit, and I didn’t know how I felt about that, yet I continued to entertain the idea of him visiting.  After all, it was only going to be for a couple of days… true, Botboy hadn’t said anything to me in ages, but how much damage could someone do in two days?

So I began to make plans with him.  I was going to show him the abbreviated version of Tampa… downtown, maybe a beach, Ybor city… the high points.  I had enough planned to show him for two days until he asked, one afternoon, if I minded going to Orlando to see his friend.  I didn’t mind visiting.  It’s always nice to meet new people that live in Florida, as I know so few.  But when he told me that we’d be staying there with him, possibly, since he had room in his apartment, I started to get a little edgy about it.  I’m not much for spending the night in places I’m not familiar with – at least without proper accommodations.  Having plenty of money to stay on my own, in hotels, I don’t find shacking up with strangers to be something that is particularly necessary anymore.  But I didn’t argue… it was one night, at the worst.  And at best, perhaps I could simply say, later, once he got here, that I would rather sleep in my own bed.

The thing is… a week later… this came up again.  But this time it didn’t have to do with Orlando.  A week later, he asked me if I’d ever been to California and what did I think of it…

“I went once,” I answered, “for a day.  I didn’t stay long enough to form an opinion honestly, why?”

And that’s when he dropped a bomb and invited me to go on a two week vacation with him, touring the West Coast.  I was tempted for a minute.  I really was.  I love to travel and I get to do so little of it these days, since I don’t like traveling alone.  But then when I started to ask for details he told me about how we’d be seeing all of his friends and relatives and how we’d be staying with him.  Immediately I started having 3.0 flashbacks.  I started remembering how 3.0 had taken me to Tennessee for a wedding, how we’d tried to stay with his friends, how the accommodations had been severely lacking (like, I’d had to stay up until 2 a.m. just to make the bathroom liveable) and how I’d been blamed for “freaking out” when I’d asked him, nicely and before we went, to get a hotel for us to stay at instead of with his friends or twin brother.

I’ll be the first to preach against not letting past experiences affect the present or the future, but you know what… I know how I am… if I do not feel comfortable in a place, be it due to hygiene, the company, whatever, I am not good company.  And on top of that, I like my space.  I understand, coming from New York that his life is full of constant roommates (something I could not do at thirty) and parties and company.  I understand that shacking up with people he knows, family, friends, is a no brainer to him.  But I do not have a roommate.  I have not had a roommate in years and, given my way, at the end of the day, I need my space to come home to.  To decompress in.  Someplace where I am not required to “put on a happy face” and be sociable when all I want to do is relax.

Besides that, though, he was moving really, REALLY fast.  Like, I hadn’t even been in the same room with the man for ten years.  I didn’t know that we’d even get along the way that we used to.  I was apprehensive about it.  When Metalhead told me I needed to chill and take it as it came, because, of course, here was 1.0, putting in effort, where Botboy was not (and had not since he left), I agreed, and I tried to put it out of my head… but I couldn’t.

Finally, in an attempt to be political and tactful about it, I simply put off making a decision by saying, “Why don’t we see how your visit goes here and then I’ll make a decision re: California?”  Thankfully he agreed and didn’t say any more about it.  I meant it, too.  I wanted to see how we interacted for a couple of days, first, before I made a commitment to spend two whole weeks with a man.. not just 1.0, but ANY man.

So I continued to make preparations.  I continued to make sure that Metalhead had someplace to go, other than his car, for those two days and I told him, no matter what, that if it came down to a situation where he had nowhere to go, that I wanted him here.  I’d put them both somewhere, though I had no idea where.  And I simply hoped that, when he came, he wouldn’t put me in an awkward position that I felt uncomfortable with… after all, I wasn’t the same girl I was when I’d known him in 2002.

1.0 – Another Flashback, 2002-2014

By the time 2003 had rolled around, I’d met someone who was now living with me in the small condo my parents had bought me in 2002 so that I would not have to leave Louisville to go home during the summer breaks between college semesters.  It was an accident, really, the way all of that had come about – my boyfriend had had nowhere else to go, he moved in temporarily, and then we’d decided he’d stay.  It was my first experience with “housing the homeless” and at that point in my life, I wasn’t great at telling people to leave when they’d overstayed their welcome.  At any rate, 1.0 and I had been friends throughout this time… civil, friendly even, sometimes talking on the phone, but not like it had been when we were dating.  I was seeing someone else.  Over him, really, but I’d still wanted to keep my friend.  After all, I hadn’t put in four years of work for absolutely nothing – to lose him now would be, at least to me, right then, a failure.

In 2003, 1.0 decided to visit Louisville again.  It would be easier this time… I had a condo.  There would be no need to put him in a hotel.  Mr. Ex, as I have said, was living with me then (this was before we were married).  I had stopped going to school by this time and while I worked during the days at the vet clinic, I had the evenings free – many of which 1.0 and I would still be able to spend alone so that we could talk.  I had no money.  He had no money.  We could not really afford to do a whole lot.  But we could sit around and watch stuff on television.

Mr. Ex and I were sharing an air mattress on my living room floor.  I had a bed.  He never wanted to sleep in it… come to think of it, looking back on it, I find that to be ridiculous now, but it was what it was then.  1.0 would have the bed, in the bedroom.  We picked him up from the airport, we went back to the house, he set up shop in there, and the three of us shared this absurdly small 500 square foot living space for four days.

Mr. Ex did not like 1.0.  I did not understand why this was… at least not at first.  1.0 did not let on that he wanted anything, at least at first, and the men were civil to each other.  Mr. Ex went to work, 1.0 and I walked up and down Bardstown Road.  I showed him the clinic where I worked, he saw the Hemingway kittens that were up for adoption in the clinic.  I wasn’t old enough to drink, so we didn’t do that, but he did seem to enjoy the atmosphere there at least.

On that Saturday, though, things changed.  I had the television on as usual.  I did not get cable, but there was something mindless on television anyway, and I had it on for background noise.  I was lying on the air mattress, watching it, as I normally did.  1.0 came into the room, asked what I was watching, sat on the mattress to watch it with me and eventually reclined.  I paid him no attention… if he wanted to be there that was fine… but when he started stroking my leg lightly, I was horrified.  Remember… I don’t cheat.  I don’t break that rule even for someone that I consider to be one of my best friends.  I jumped up, said I had to go to the bathroom, and when I’d come out, I’d decided that he and I were going to go to the casino to see Mr. Ex.  I was no longer comfortable being in the house alone with him anymore.  At least there we’d be in public… and my boyfriend would be there.

When we arrived at the casino, we found the Legends restaurant and got a table there.  1.0 decided to check out the boat (the casinos in Indiana are on Riverboats).  I was not old enough to board (you don’t have to be 21 to be in the food areas, but you do have to be 21 to be in the gaming areas) and so I agreed when he left me behind.  Hours passed.  Literally hours.  Legends closed (and on a Saturday, they closed at 1 a.m.).  By this point, I had been in the casino, alone, waiting for 1.0’s ass for a solid four hours.  He hadn’t bothered to check on me, he did not have a cell phone (even if he had, I did not get a signal there).  Mr. Ex got off work, and I sent him onto the boat to find him… 1.0 assured him that he’d be out in a few minutes… but minutes turned to more hours and when he finally came out, it was 3 a.m.  I was beyond pissed.  I said little to him as I drove him back to my condo and was glad to see the back of him on the Sunday when he left.

We did not speak again until after my divorce was final in 2006.  By this point, I was “seeing” Buttface, but I was glad that 1.0 and I had gotten back in contact again.  I hadn’t forgotten what he had done, but catching up after all of that time was nice.  I had no desire to see him face to face again… I was busy, driving up and down the road to Columbus, trying to put my life back in order, going to school, working an internship on top of the promotions and the modeling I was doing.  And yet, one night, he called and said he felt like going on vacation.  I didn’t know what he meant by that, so I encouraged it… I mean seriously… who doesn’t want to take a vacation now and then?  It was only after he kept pressing and told me he wanted to come see Louisville again that I hesitated.

I had nowhere to put him, and I told him that.  I did not want him in my bed… I was sleeping with someone else.  I also voiced the concern about his newfound marijuana habit… I did not want that stuff in my house.  I was living on the top floor of someone’s house… they were renting it to me, cheaply, and I did not want this under their roof (and I wouldn’t have wanted it under mine, either).  We fought over it.  He blocked me.  I was fine with that… I carried on about my business, went through the Buttface saga, moved to Florida, found a good job, got fairly comfortable.

In 2014, though, in March, we got back in contact again.  Granted, I’m more open minded now than I was then (though I still don’t use pot), and our conversations were very touch-and-go from the beginning.  We never chatted for very long, and never about anything important.  That was fine with me.  I was, again, involved with someone else.  Waiting for Botboy to return from this deployment, having promised him that I’d do so, took precedence.  And anyway, even if I hadn’t been, I don’t know that I would have been interested in 1.0… after everything that had passed between us, knowing what I knew, knowing how pushy he was, I knew it wasn’t what I was looking for.  I may have been okay with it… passive about it, even… back in 2001.  But I’m not nineteen anymore.  I know what I want, and that is NOT what I want.

That said, people change.  And against my better judgment, I decided to give him the chance to prove that he had.

Which is where we pick up in this crazy-ass shit show of mine.

1.0 – Another Flashback, 1997-2002

In 1997, the internet was still in its infancy.  So was I… at least sort of… at the age of fourteen.  I’d grown up in a small town, had never contemplated leaving it for more than a minute, had been exposed only to what was there and what I’d seen so far.  I was, to put it bluntly, naïve.  In the summer of 1997, my father got a subscription to the dial-up internet service that was relatively new to the county.  We were one of the first families that I knew of that had access to it.  To this day, the sound of the dial-up connection still makes me smile (though I am still much happier with my high-speed cable connection than I was with dial-up… if I had to go back I don’t think I’d survive).  At any rate, because of all of this, that summer, I was introduced to HTML chat rooms that, very quickly (and in some cases cruelly) broadened my experience and rewarded my quick and painful education with the realization that not everyone in the world was kind, trustworthy, and without ulterior motives.  But despite that education, despite all the “baddies” that lurked behind their own internet connections and who, a few times, made themselves more real than I care to recall here, I did manage to meet some people who were decent.  It’s true, they were human also, and by human I mean they had their faults, the same as I did, but they weren’t trying to engage in sex talk every minute of every hour of the endless nights I’d spend chatting with them (and others). We talked about other things, day to day things, stuff you’d talk to your “real person” friends about.  And due to that, I was able to strike up as genuine a friendship as possible with them.

When the summer was over, after the drama that provided the education on just how cruel the world could really be, the internet was disconnected.  Because I could not fathom a world without my friends in it, I set up a system.  It wasn’t easy – it took a lot of hiding, a lot of lying, a lot of sneaking around.  It kept me very busy and it was questionable, during those days, whether I thought of much else beyond my next phone card, my next stamp, beyond the next letter that would find its way through the channels.  But, despite the difficulties, despite the amount of red tape I had to circumvent just to keep the system alive, to keep the communication flowing, it was worth it.  It kept me busy, and it gave me something to live for when I didn’t feel that there was much else.

Of the two I managed to keep in contact with during that time, the one I now call 1.0 was probably the most constant.  He was, for all practical purposes, in those days, my moral compass.  I went to him for everything – told him everything.  He was like an older brother to me.  Only three years older than myself, he had just started college and was, at least it seemed, trying to navigate his world as much as I was now trying to navigate mine.  We were close… We had emailed all summer long, once or twice a day, every day, and when we could, we’d chat.  We finally moved the conversations to phone, first exploiting the 800 number his mother had set up for business and, when that situation changed, he took advantage of 5 cent Sundays and called me as often as he could.  Once the internet had gotten disconnected, he was the first that tried to reach out, and once the system was instituted so that we could send mail back and forth, I truly lived for the days when I’d get his 4-6 page, handwritten letters.

But things changed, as all things do.  A couple of years passed, and I got involved in my own things – I started working at a camp, I made more friends, and the school year became less about managing mail and phone cards and more about just getting through the days so that I could get to camp in the summer, and the blessed freedom that promised.  We never had a falling out, exactly, but I got busy and he got busy and we just sort of lost contact.  It had gotten to be too difficult for me, I think, ultimately, to try balance everything.  And I became involved in my own love affairs that left little room for anything that involved long distance connections.

The goal, though, ultimately, had always been to get to college.  College promised a freedom that I didn’t have, even at camp – the freedom to come and go as I pleased, to talk to whomever I liked without having to worry about my phone conversations being monitored, without having to give the internet friends a cover to assume when they called (and having to worry about them forgetting to use it – as one did once, and the damage control was unbelievable).  Once I was at college, I could reassume responsibility for all of the communications.  I could have access to the internet, and to email again.  And once I got there, I immediately started trying to track them down – the two I’d kept in contact with.

One was easy to find.  He found me.  1.0, on the other hand, that was a gamble, as I knew he’d graduated from college at the same time that I’d graduated from high school, and as all I had was his college email address, I wasn’t sure that it would still work.  I took a chance.  And it worked.  And we started talking again – it was as if nothing had changed, as if we’d never missed a beat.  In October of 2001, he decided to come visit me for the first time.

I was excited up until the day he was due to arrive.  Then I was just nervous.  I didn’t for a minute think it would end up in the same way that it had in 1997 when one of the “baddies” from the internet ventured down.  But all the same, I was nervous.  And when I picked him up from the airport with a friend of mine, I’ll be honest, I had no idea what to do with him after that.  I think we checked him into the cheapest hotel we could find, since he had no money (seriously this place was gross), we took him back to campus, and he and I walked around awhile until I dropped him off back at the hotel.

The weekend was good, in its way.  Awkward for awhile.  We did not have sex… I think I was more experienced than he was, and that’s not saying much, though we did make out in that filthy hotel again.  Regardless, when he was due to leave the following Sunday, I did not want him to go, and we had an “understanding” at that point.  We were together.  No words needed.

We saw each other, when we could, for the next few months.  He sent me a HUGE box for my birthday, packed with all kinds of things I’d mentioned wanting over the years (and a lot of things I hadn’t, but which were equally awesome).  He came down again for finals and while I stayed in his hotel room with him this time (and while we fooled around), we didn’t have sex then either.  He’d brought condoms.  I guess, looking back on it, that was his intention.  But despite the fact that I was not a virgin, and had not been since I was sixteen, I didn’t know what to do about it.  He WAS still a virgin, and he knew even less than I did.  So the evenings were more about making out, fooling around, and talking – that was fine with me… I hadn’t learned the meaning of the word “orgasm” yet, and sex was, at that point, just a memory of something very awkward that seemed to end well for the man but was just “eh” for the woman (yes, I told you, I didn’t know what I was talking about).

I made plans to visit him in NYC that following January.  When I went home for Christmas, knowing that I wouldn’t have access to the internet from my parents’ house  – at least, not unmonitored access, I did what I could do to mitigate that circumstance.  We managed to get through the holidays, but at the beginning of my second semester, he broke up with me.

I was devastated.  Not just because I’d bought those tickets to go to NYC (which were nonrefundable), but because I’d truly loved him… at least to the best of my ability at that time.  I could not imagine going through a semester without his support, I could not imagine what my life would be like without him in it, and further, I could not imagine how awkward that trip to New York was going to be now that he and I were not “together.”  I did not want to cancel it, and I did not cancel it.  But when I left for the trip, there were many questions in my mind, none of which got solved, most of which were made more confusing by the fact that we were still fooling around, he was still holding my hand, and his uncle groped my ass when he was helping me get into a larger overcoat.

The trip was fantastic, in that I got to see the city (though I was too poor at that time to see it properly).  It did not help me get over 1.0.  It only served, once I got back into Louisville, to make me miss him even more… but I kept my distance, as much as I could.  I knew I needed to get over him, and while we still talked, the frequency of those conversations, and the content, were nothing like the way they had been the previous fall.  Still, I’d made the resolution to get over him.  Somehow getting over boyfriends back in those days was easier than it is now… I found someone else.  Someone who taught me the meaning of the word “orgasm” and I was satisfied.  1.0 was, if not a fading memory, at least, right then, not a dominating entity.

At least not until 2003.

How To Turn A Woman Off

Insult her friends, family, upbringing, or all of the above.  Especially when you’ve never met them or been anywhere near where she has grown up.  I know, I know, she talks about them all the time.  But that’s the point… they’re HERS to talk about.  If you aren’t even dating yet, your input (if it’s negative) is not required, desired, or appreciated.

Insult her other candidates.  Or tell her that she doesn’t know what she’s doing by considering her other candidates.  This just makes you look petty.  And if you were the top dog before, you will immediately become her least-favorite choice.  If you are lucky enough to remain a candidate at all.

Turn everything into a debate.  Or try to edge perfectly normal conversations into hot-button issues.  You’ll find out eventually whether you agree on things or not.  There’s no reason to start arguments right off the bat for whatever motives you have.  If debates are how you normally interact with your friends, then don’t treat her the same way that you treat your friends – she doesn’t want to spend every second of her day on eggshells, hoping she doesn’t have to argue with you about politics, religion, or what kind of chicken is the best.  Women don’t want men who are argumentative.

Be a know-it-all.  You don’t know everything about everything.  It isn’t possible.  Pretending otherwise, especially when she proves you wrong, or when she knows you’re wrong but doesn’t feel like debating it (see above) makes you look arrogant.  And ridiculous.  And unattractive.

Move too quickly.  So you think she likes you.  Awesome.  She probably does.  But that doesn’t mean you jump in with both feet, start inviting her to meet your family, all your friends, and start talking about what you want to name your kids.  Slow it down, buddy.  We get it.  You’re excited.  But if you move too quickly, you’ll look pushy, you’ll scare the shit out of her, and she’ll stop.  Or, at best, she’ll slow it down for you and you’ll wonder wtf happened.

Don’t listen.  Or, listen and then don’t remember what she said.  Or, listen, don’t remember what she said, and then blame your failure to remember what she said on the fact that you’re a man.  Your gender is not an excuse.  You’ve essentially just told her you are not interested enough to give a shit about what she says.  That’s about the stupidest thing you could do.

Tell her you aren’t sold.  She won’t know what you’re talking about.  And it’ll make her feel like a car salesman on top of being stupidly confused.

Bring your kid to the first date (or second date).  I don’t care how well behaved your kid is.  I don’t care how old your kid is.  She doesn’t need to meet your kid right away.

Openly compare her to all of the other women you are currently seeing.  It’s nice to be open and transparent.  It’s nice to be honest.  We like that.  But comparing her to the others is not making her feel any better and it’s making you look like an inconsiderate man-whore.

Make us wear the pants all the time.  In the day-to-day world, most of us are forced to take care of ourselves.  We have good jobs, we have our own housing, we make our own money.  Not all of us, though, want to wear the pants in our relationships – at least not all the time.  We like input, but if we’re more of a badass than you are, if we are constantly the ones pulling out the weapons when the security alarm goes off, if we’re constantly saving your ass, or if you’re the one crying at chick flicks while we sit there and laugh at you, you’re not doing a very good job of selling yourself.

 

**Bonus:

If we’re in shape, if we exercise regularly, if we go to a lot of trouble to make ourselves presentable, you should do the same.  You don’t have to be built like Superman (though it helps), but don’t be a fat-ass.  Take care of yourself.  Go to the gym.  Exercise.  Make an effort.

The opposite end of the spectrum applies, too.  If you’re so scrawny that we could kick your ass in a fight easily, that’s not attractive either.  It just reminds us that you’re probably too effeminate to ever be taken seriously.

Time Flies

It’s the beginning of May…  it’s hard to believe that summer is almost here.  It’s even harder to believe that I have so many things going on this month.  Had someone told me back in January how busy May would be, I wouldn’t have believed it.

I started off the month a little roughly.  I fell outside when I was doing my mileage – narrowly missed breaking my ankle by shifting my balance and electing to fall forward.  I tried to catch myself (which was stupid, I’ll admit it) and ended up scraping up my palms, my shoulder, the side of my right leg, and I hit my head fairly hard on the concrete – hard enough to cause a minor concussion, though I didn’t realize it for what it was until later.  I thought maybe it was something like that when, once I’d gotten back inside and gotten myself cleaned up, I wanted to immediately go to sleep.  I did not go to sleep for several hours after (thinking that would be a bad idea though, apparently, now doctors think it’s okay to do that after a head injury, provided that there is someone to wake you every few hours to ensure you’re still okay – and Metalhead was here, so that would have been feasible, but I didn’t know that, so whatever).  Before going to sleep, Metalhead and I were sitting up, chatting, in the dark and I don’t know what happened – but I suddenly, uncontrollably, vomited.  On him.  It was mortifying, though he took it well.  In fact, he was laughing about it as he got out of bed and went to the shower, tossing his clothes in the laundry basket so that I could wash them later.  He got me laughing about it, too, though I was still a little mortified.  At any rate, I guess it’s true:  you don’t know who your real friends are until you throw up on them and they still talk to you afterward.

And I’m lucky.  Nothing is broken.  Almost a week post-fall, the scabs are going away, and I’m not dizzy or vomiting anymore.  No lasting effects.

The rehabilitation project I was doing with (and for) Metalhead seems to be over.  I think he’s doing sufficiently better now – he’s found some anti-anxiety medication that works and while it makes him feel like shit, he is not having panic attacks every day.  He’s been staying here for the last two or three weeks – and why not… When he came home three years ago, I was there for him with all of that fallout.  Since this round of anxiety was very similar (and also, likely, somewhat related) to three years ago, it made sense.  I knew how to handle him.  Granted, three years ago it was different.  He had a place to live, which was more than what he has now.  And I think the homelessness is a BIG, BIG part of what’s put him back here.  That and the fact that he really can’t see his way out of it.  At any rate, what got him here doesn’t matter – I won’t repeat some of the things we’ve talked about since he’s been staying here.  The point is, I had the room.  He trusts me.  Despite what happened over the summer, he needed a place to go, I could do that for him, and I did it.

I want to make it, once again, abundantly clear: there was nothing, NOTHING sexual about this time around.  He slept in my bed because my bed is more comfortable than the futon.  And because we agreed that if he started having nightmares or a panic attack, it was easier if he slept there so that I could keep an eye on him and he wouldn’t have to risk falling if he needed me and had to walk from the living room to the bed room in the middle of one of the attacks.

There were many nightmares.  I think he got more sleep than I did, since he tossed and turned a lot – for awhile there I was averaging about four hours a night.  But it was worth it.  By the time he walked out of here, he seemed more settled and he had a plan – not an immediate solution to his problem, but a plan.  My job is done, though my door is still open for the time being if he finds himself in need again.

In two weeks, 1.0 will be here for the weekend.  I wasn’t expecting any company during the month of May, but I’m excited to see my friend after all these years.  I’ve been getting my apartment cleaned up (Metalhead is not the cleanest person in the world – and while the house is mostly clean, towels need to be washed and, since it’s time for the yearly carpet cleaning anyway, I’ve been dry-cleaning the carpets).  He won’t be here long – just for a weekend.  But it will be long enough to get reacquainted and to show him the city.  And I think I’ve mentioned we’ll be taking a road trip up to Orlando to see one of his friends one of those days.

Somewhere in the middle of all of this, I’ve been working on the paintings on my patio.  My sister is getting married at the end of the month, and I was at a loss of what to get her.  I’m already spending a fortune on this trip – moreso than I normally would since I am staying in a hotel two hours from the wedding to keep the conflict away from her day – but I wanted to get her something.  So, I decided to paint something for her.  The painting is about two thirds of the way done and somewhere in the middle of all of this cleaning and things I need to finish it.  Then I’ll put it in the mail and send it to her – hopefully before her wedding.  At least this way I know that no one else has gotten her anything just like it.

And on that note, the end of the month will see her wedding.  And I’ll be going up to Kentucky for that.  The wedding, really, will be a side-show compared to all of the other things I’ve got planned for the weekend.  I’m particularly excited about getting to spend at least one evening/night with my best friend that I don’t get to see very often.  She is, I think, my oldest friend (by no means does this mean she is old), and we always have fun when we are together.  We’re looking forward to having Famous Dave’s (bbq we both like) and then figuring out what other kinds of trouble we can get into.  And of course I’ll be seeing other friends and family while I’m there too – and zip lining in a cavern, visiting an amusement park, and who knows what else.

I’m exhausted just writing about it.  But there are many things on tap to make it a good month.  And, of course, this means it’s that much closer to when Botboy returns to Tampa.  I’m still waiting (in my way, more about that in the next post), but at least the busy-ness of this month will make the time fly.

Anniversary

In a couple of weeks it will have been exactly a year since Botboy returned from Afghanistan, took all his toys out of my closet, and left.  It sounds funny when I say it that way, and I mean for it to sound funny – because if you can’t find some humor in a situation, no matter how badly it made you feel at the time, then you never do quite manage to heal from it.

I’d be lying if I said I was ready to face that anniversary on my own.  I can’t think of anything worse than sitting in my house, alone, on that day with nothing to do but remember how I felt after I’d came home a year ago and found my closet empty, his note on my end table, and his energy bouncing off the walls of my apartment.  Or how confused and completely bereft I felt for a couple of months after that.  It’s quite something when you realize that someone who had made the first half of a year spectacular has the same power to make the first couple of months of the second half of a year absolutely horrible.  I have no other way to describe it except to say that it truly felt as if someone had died.  Because here was this man who had been a constant (virtual) companion for the first five months out of the year and then who, within the course of a few hours, was suddenly, and inexplicably, gone.

But, what was done was done.  Time moved on, as it tends to do. And when it does, we have the choice to linger behind while the world moves on without us, or to pick ourselves up as best we can and move along with it.

And, regardless of how I did it, I chose to move along with it.  I healed.  It doesn’t mean I didn’t carry with me some very real scars from the earlier damage, but I became stronger for it.  I’d spent the first half of 2013 getting ready for his arrival – moving things around, rearranging the house, revamping the bedroom and the bathroom.  I’d made space in my closet for his things, given him the two lower drawers, and lived in constant anticipation of his arrival.

I’ve since spread back out into the rest of my house (I needed the room).  Although he is away again (and not due to return home until later in the summer), I am not living in constant anticipation of his arrival – I can only hope that when he returns, I will see him.  But otherwise, it is out of my control.  I do not want to be alone on the anniversary day, but, then, likely I won’t be.  Metalhead is a fairly constant fixture here during the week due to those anxiety attacks and I’m sure we’ll be sitting around, as always, watching television.

True to my word, though, in an attempt to make something potentially irksome into something more tolerable, I’ve been building May into something better. I’m attempting to give myself something to look forward to despite all of the mental garbage that I could potentially fall victim to.

There is that wedding of course.  I’m not looking forward to the wedding.  But I am looking forward to my Louisville trip.  I’ll find myself zip lining through some underground caverns under the city of Louisville on the very day I get there.  I’ll get to spend time with my friends.  I may find myself at Kentucky Kingdom (the amusement park in Louisville) one of the days that weekend – this is the first year it’s been open since a ride cut a teenager’s feet off several years ago.  I’ll be so busy there that there won’t be time to feel sorry for myself.

But, as they say on the TV infomercials, “Wait, there’s more!!”

I’ve had a surprise!!

I reconnected, recently, with a very old friend (like a friend I’ve had since I was fourteen) that I call 1.0.  Or, as he described it, when he heard his own nickname for the first time, “DOS before Windows” (that’s about the measure of it).

1.0 has decided to make plans to visit Tampa, citing a need to get out of the city.  He asked which weekend in May would be good for him to do that.  My social calendar is not brimming of late, so I told him any (even that weekend for the wedding – since he could come to Kentucky instead if he was really that desperate).

A little back story on him.  After August 1997 – as in after I got raped, escaped the rapist, and found my internet connection disconnected, I needed to set up a system that would allow me to keep in touch with the people I needed to keep in touch with.  Very long story short, with the help of my friends in high school (who still have my undying gratitude), I managed to keep in touch with two:  Buttface and 1.0.  1.0 and I talked through most of my high school years (he was in college) and finally met in person during my Freshman year of college.  We dated for a few months (we never had sex) and then broke up.  I saw him two other times after that – once when I made my own pilgrimage up to New York for the first time, and the second time after I had met and was living with Mr. Ex (who was very jealous of him).  I haven’t seen 1.0 since.  And twelve years have passed.

And so, once he found out that I was okay with it, he bought the tickets.  Sent me the itinerary (I didn’t ask him to, but I appreciated it – after last year, the proof of all of this was awesome).  It was a very welcome surprise – I was so excited I almost couldn’t get through the webinars that day.  We’ll have fun.  Because we’ve always had fun when we’ve been around each other.  There are so many things I want to show him – my Alice bathroom, photos of my mother which most people never get to see, downtown Tampa and some of my favorite places, the beach at night (we’re going to smuggle some wine).

It’ll be good to catch up now that the divorce is well behind me and now that I am truly settled (or as settled as I care to be for the moment) for the first time, really, since we started talking in 1997.  We’re taking a short road trip up to Orlando to visit one of his friends as well.  And it should, really, be quite a good weekend.  It won’t be exactly the anniversary of the Botboy fiasco last year… but it’s close enough so that it gives me something to look forward to during that week instead of letting the demons get the best of me.

And so, despite the fact that May is the first anniversary of that very horrible experience, intentionally or otherwise, it’s wrapping up to be very different this year.  I’m busy taking care of my friend who needs me at the moment.  I’m hosting another one of my friends that I haven’t seen in a very long time.  And then I’ll wrap it up by going to Kentucky for this wedding – and seeing even more friends there.

The past is resonating… it always does… and it’s doing so especially right now in ways I won’t disclose, because I’m still sort of watching to see where all of this eventually goes without any interference from me.  But just because it resonates doesn’t mean that it’s all bad.

The Closing Speakeasy

I’ve fallen off the wagon.  I realize that my posting schedule has gotten to be way off.  I could sit here and write that it’s all because of the holidays and the travel I had to do over the holidays, and that would be partially true, though I did manage to post twice while I was traveling.  Which means, I guess, that that argument doesn’t hold water.  I could also blame it on my astigmatism, which has gotten much worse of late, but now I have contacts that correct that – so that doesn’t really hold water either.

I can’t blame it on anything but myself.  I’ve been out, visiting people, living my live, and in doing so, running into things that I can’t write about, either to preserve the privacy of my family, the safety of some of my friends, or because some of it I don’t even quite understand well enough to write about yet.  You could say, “Well, Victoria, you could go back to writing about STDs.”  I intend to.  Very shortly.  Because I made a promise and because it amuses the hell out of me to make up those ridiculous titles (and then, later, to see how many SPAM comments I get from Porn sites that find me on Google due to the tags).

But for now…

Things should pick up some.  I’m throwing some parties.  I’m not the sociable type, but I sort of have to.  Not the wild, Military Ball parties that I wrote about several months ago.  Those days are behind me.  I’ve made a commitment to back off the dating scene (and, consequentially, the sex scene) for several months, and I’m sticking to it.  Thank god for vibrators.  But this time because I have a LOT of alcohol to dispose of.  And I don’t drink alone.

There are, in total, eight bottles of Cider, one bottle of wine, and four bottles of vodka sitting on my counter and/or in my freezer of the following varieties: cake, chocolate, whipped chocolate, and cotton candy.  The Cotton Candy was left here by Metalhead.  I can’t even smell that stuff without wanting to vomit.  I may just give that back to him.  The rest I have to figure out what to do with… and since I don’t drink alone, I need help.  My friends have, generously, offered to help me dispose (drink?) of it all.  Albeit not at once.  It’s going to take awhile to get rid of all of this.  Why am I throwing parties reminiscent of the closing of a 1920s Speakeasy?

Because Botboy is back, to one degree or another.  And he doesn’t drink.  Things are different now, they are not moving very fast at all – creeping, more like, and I do not expect him to move in here when he gets back… however, if I’m going to be spending any time with him at all, or if he’s going to be spending any time here with me, I want this place devoid of alcohol.  I don’t need it… I barely drink it.  But, I hate to see it go to waste.  As in, I hate dumping it all in the sink the way that I did last May after I got disgusted at myself for getting sloppy shitfaced on cheap vodka out of a loss for coping mechanisms when he ran out of here.  It was cheap.  It was the same stuff I’d been sending him, and I could not for the life of me figure out how one could drink that stuff like water after I tried it.  But since I’d gotten rid of all the good stuff, leaving only this bottle behind because I’d totally forgotten it that morning when I gave the rest to Jaye at work, it was all I had.  And sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

That said, I’m not just doing this for Botboy.  I really don’t drink all that much anymore.  I do when I’m out with people who are drinking… oh, it’s very easy to get me in the drinking mood.  And I do a lot of ridiculous things when I drink – I sing a lot.  I dance a lot.  I go swimming in very cold pools in my clothes (or my underwear if I think it through a little).  I get carried through parking lots by men in uniform because I don’t want to walk anymore.  I get kicked out of beach-front parking lots by Homeland Security because I wasn’t thinking and decided to go for a walk right in front of the building after dark.  I’m a rebel when sober… it becomes problematic when I drink.  But I’m realizing that while all of this is fun, for a minute, until the hangover the next morning, it’s time for a change.  Time to grow up.  I have goals.  I will reach them, one way or another, and those goals will require me to lay off of the alcohol.  I need a clear head to finish them.  And a fuller wallet.

So… the second purpose for these parties is to try a new Tarot strategy.  I finished my CHTR class a month ago.  Passed with flying colors.  I learned a new layout, one I really like to use, but I’m realizing, the more often I read that layout, that the cards seem to be choosing to speak to me in a different way than what was prescribed during the class.  I discovered this when I was reading for myself.  But that’s the thing about reading for yourself.  You can do it, but it’s really, really hard to do – when you read for yourself, you’re either your own best friend or your own worst enemy.  Some things are clear as a bell.  Other things have double meanings.  And the two cards that fall in those two positions didn’t mean quite what I thought they meant.  But before I utilize what I think they’re doing on others, I need to test it.

So, I did my first experiment about a week ago on a guinea pig.  It seemed to work out.  As in, it seemed to help tell the overall story of the layout – and by the way, after being certified, I can honestly say that it is MUCH easier to read for someone else than it is to read for myself… even without knowing what I’m reading, exactly; that’s about letting the cards speak to me rather than trying to decipher what they may or may not be saying.  Anyway.  Once those trials were completed, I realized I needed to do it for more people.  Sadly, a lot of people I know think that the cards are the devil (they aren’t).  So my sample will be limited.  But… doable.  Doable enough to make me confident in that I’ll be able to tell what they are or are not saying.

So there it is… my plans for this new… hiatus… as it were.  And the question you ask, if you’ve been here since the beginning, may be the same question as the ones my friends have had since I told them what I was doing:  What happens if he does it again?

The answer to that is simple.  I’m doing this, mostly, for me.  I need a break.  I need the time off.  I want him, yes.  I don’t want anyone else, and I may never want anyone else (and I have a backup plan in place for that, too – because that’s how I roll). If what happens in a few months is the same as what happened before, it’ll be disappointing, yes.  But not devastating.  I have a feeling that I’ll know which way the wind is blowing long before the storm approaches and I’ll be able to do what I need to do to prepare for it – if in fact that is necessary.  But I also know what I know… I go with my gut.  My gut tells me to do this, the voices tell me do this, and I listen because they’ve never been wrong (like ever – and I have the written channel writings to prove it).

And anyway, if they are, I can always buy more alcohol.

Silver Linings

It’s a funny thing about cycles.  It doesn’t matter whether they’re monthly ones, weekly ones, or yearly ones, no matter what you do, they always seem to cycle – and there’s nothing that you can do to put an end to it.  If it’s a good one, you’re perfectly okay with it.  If it’s not a good one, you’re not necessarily okay with it, but you’re at its mercy.  And you know it.

I seem to be trapped in one.  And I seem to have been trapped in one, at least since college.  I’ve written about the venom before.  I’ve talked about it in the past.  It does its job and yet it still manages to leave me bereft of that which I really want.  Perhaps that’s my fault – my fault for looking in all the wrong places.  I don’t know.  But let me explain.

Six months ago, my world got turned upside down.  My boyfriend came home from Afghanistan, took all of his things out of my closet, and left me wanting – without any explanation, without any sort of cause, without, really, anything.  My job got turned upside down when the Groper decided he was going to come in and first tempt me to cheat on said boyfriend (before boyfriend disappeared) and, when I didn’t, decided to start slandering me to those around the office for not acquiescing to his request.  The boyfriend thing was worse than the groper thing – to begin with.  I found Metalhead, healed, got back out there.

But when I talk about cycles, I mean that it’s funny how things cycle back in their own time.  Because where I thought I’d settled the issue with the Groper, it turns out I haven’t.  It’s nasty, really.  The guy doesn’t want to drop it.  Like Botboy, I have no idea what he wants.  He doesn’t want me.  I can’t imagine that he wants my job.  I don’t know what his motives are behind all of this.  I don’t see that it really matters.  Truthfully.  I was willing to let the past go.  I largely have.  Yes, I stay in my office most of the time.  No, I really don’t talk to anyone.  Yes, work has become, really, in most cases, bereft of any sort of socialization the way that it was months ago.  But, Botboy or not, I think that would have happened anyway because it couldn’t have continued the way that it was before.  It just is what it is.  And I was perfectly happy to let it remain so.  Let him crucify me for whatever fucked up reasons he has for doing so.  Let him tell the new people that I’m a whore.  Let him tell them not to associate with me.  He hurts only himself.  And the people that matter at work, and there are a couple that I’m friends with there… they know it’s not true.

The thing is, apparently he is not satisfied with leaving it the way that it is.  Apparently he is not satisfied with letting things go.  He wants to blow it out of proportion.  He wants to file paperwork that will keep this in the system for months without a resolution. I don’t like it, but I don’t see that I can stop it.  I’ll stand my ground inasmuch that I won’t admit to doing something I have not done.  But, if I can convince my boss to convince him to just let it go, that he can win without the filing, I will.

It is inutterable chaos.  Botboy causes chaos, yes.  He readily admits to that.  But his chaos I can handle.  I have handled it in the past, I can handle it now.  This sort of chaos – the kind of chaos that affects my livelihood, the kind of chaos that threatens my wellbeing – that I cannot handle.

I suppose the gold thread in all of this is Metalhead – as odd as it sounds.  Months after he stormed out of my door, after I did what he once told me he wished people would do, and I left him alone, we have started talking again.  Like we did before all of that craziness happened last summer.  We’re friends again.  It was what I wanted, most deeply, out of everything that I lost over the summer.  I’ve missed Botboy.  I still do.  I’ve miss the social whirlwind that work used to be.  But I’ve missed Metalhead the most.  He’s the oldest friend I have in Florida and it has seemed strange without him.  Despite what happened over the summer, he’s still like my brother.  And whatever that cultlike organization did to him several months ago, he seems to have stopped following them now and is more like himself.  I guess there’s always the silver lining somewhere.

Tonight we went out for drinks after work.  I had dinner – he did not eat.  We talked a lot – mostly about the crap that’s been going on at work.  Also, a little, about what caused him to storm out of the door – even he doesn’t remember – though he says that’s just what happens to him sometimes and assured me I did absolutely nothing wrong.  He read the parts of this blog that I’ve been dying for him to see (especially the part about where I said I don’t sleep with homeless people – to my utter glee, he filled in the sentences before he read what I wrote: “Well, technically, you kind of did.”)  We went to the beach, and walked around for awhile (until the security guard chased us away).  That was kind of fun because I haven’t been chased out of closed areas since I was a teenager.  Ha!

I got home, and I thanked him for coming out with me.  And I told him I was still worried.  His words:  “I told you to keep your chin up.  Probably not as bad as you think.”

That’s the thing about silver linings.  No matter how shitty things get, no matter how hard they are to find in the midst of the chaos, they’re always there.  Sometimes more evident than others.  But this time, I know I not only have right on my side, I know I not only have the couple of friends at work that stand with me, but I also know that if I can make something that got so broken stand upright again, I can do this with something else.

I just don’t know what It’s going to look like once I’m finished.