32 Miles and 32 Years; A Surreal Month and Closure on the Man from the Past

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There is absolutely no doubt that the last month has been absolutely fucking surreal. If my body and mind fed into manic moments, I would definitely be twirling off the stage right about now.

First was the unexpected communication with the man from the past – unexpected in his responding to me. He was so very right in saying we should wait until after the cruise before we met up. He didn’t want anything to deter me from having a good time with my head space being so weirded out. It worked. He was for that week nothing more than a compartmentalized thought; from the pub-crawl the night before the cruise until I arrived home a little more than a week later. I am not certain if the cruise would have still had that joie de vivre had he been in my headspace.

Then there was the cruise itself, which I’ve already explained was so much fun I felt like a kid being forced to leave a birthday party early when it ended. There were some lessons learned, and I think I may touch on that later. But for a newbie who had never done anything like this before I’d say I came out of it pretty unscathed. Maybe a tad bumped and bruised, but most definitely a happy camper.

Then life says, “Lets make things even weirder for her” and TYO gets a hold of me, throwing me an almost angry curveball of life. I did end up contacting him further late last week, but I made it clear that what he was looking for simply wasn’t going to happen. I have a void in the spot he once almost- sort of held, and the ego doesn’t even need to be fed by him, so walking from that was as easy as a warm knife thru cold butter. Just slid out of there. But I hate for any situation to have even slightly angry moments hanging there, so I did some last minute damage control by letting him know no hard feelings. He took that as more as a possible open door, until I firmly said, “Take care!”.

The timing on everything was so very surreal. Individually all of these things except the soon to be mentioned former one, was simply life. A nice, albeit sometimes strange blip in the radar. Throw in Vegas during this time span and toss it all up and you’ve got yourself the Ultimate Weird Surreal Sundae of Life.

Then came the big day. The reunion of sorts between me and the man from the past this past Saturday. That was probably the most surreal of all. I couldn’t exactly pinpoint my feelings about it. My daughter figured out who it was that was coming over, because apparently my silence speaks volumes. I think her acknowledging that she knew made it easier for me. I wasn’t lying to her, but I was omitting from her, which just isn’t how our relationship works. She is more than my kid, she really is a confidant too.

So Saturday; Was I nervous? Did I anticipate anything? Did I have my reasons for this meeting in check? Yes, not certain, and again not certain. I knew the reason we said we were meeting. We set this meeting up a month ago. The first night we communicated. For him it was to apologize to me in person. To make amends. For me to — close any emotionally open doors? I guess. We joked about how it was also a football bet he lost to me very early on, and how repayment would be Taco Bell. As the month went on, the reasons seemed to blur and I volleyed back and forth on whether I should meet him or not. Involvement with him was just not emotionally possible, but I knew we were both aiming for it slightly. I wasn’t diverting it, but was I encouraging it? Yeah probably. It didn’t matter.

I wanted to look good, without looking like I was trying to. My daughter helped me out there. Casual that still said, “Admit it, I look good and I haven’t aged that badly…” Ha! Her only piece of advice was “Mom, don’t do the 80’s hair thing”, which is when I let my hair dry and go semi curly and then let it go crazy wild with hair product. I hadn’t planned on that, but I appreciate her trying to keep me looking good.

32 Miles

The drive took him about three hours, and at one point as he was nearing my place he texted me “Sort of a poignant moment; 32 miles and 32 years”. That statement I think will stay with me for a lifetime. That’s when it sort of hit me. I mean it really hit, like punch to the gut. This was more than just someone I went to high school with. This was more than someone who I briefly dated. Holy fuck, this was real. This was never anything I ever anticipated and could I handle it?

He arrived about 90 minutes late. That could have drove me crazy that he was that late, because it’s a HUGE pet peeve of mine, but I kept reminding myself to let it go, and honestly outside of the extended anticipation I was okay. I knew he was uptight over the drive. He told me for anyone else he would have probably turned back around at the half-way point – but this was important. When he finally arrived, I stood outside for him to find my place, and as he emerged from the darkness of the early night,  I couldn’t help but smile. Jesus Christ it really was him, just 32 years older. He had the same exact fucking smile on his face that I remembered. His hair was shorter and grayer (obviously) but there was no doubt it was him. My heart – my 17 year old heart, did a little flippity-flop for a minor moment. We hugged and sort of held each other for a moment, both of us grinning like crazy. He was a lot trimmer than I expected, and I am certain I was lot thicker than he expected.

My nerves were on full throttle, which usually just makes me very very quiet, (he made mention of that later) but I was calm enough that there was no nervous babble. He came in, and I poured him a Ginarita. Warned him of the potency (which no one ever believes or realizes until they find themselves flat on their asses hours later) and we sat next to each other on the couch. The couch he had made so many jokes about sleeping on. We sat there and sort of looked at one another. Damn he really had aged well. Most men do. We made small talk. I realized I hadn’t shown him around the place, and made the joke of doing so (My place is pretty small). He complimented it, and noticed a lot of small things. He was definitely more at ease with me, than I was with him. Or so it seemed.

We had another drink and some homemade guacamole. Lots of music, at his request. (We had talked music so much during the month before, and he was trans-fixed at the amount I had, and wanted me to play all sorts for him) He wasn’t coming onto me (or if he was you know I wouldn’t have ever known it anyway. Brick-to-the-head Girl here), but he did make a comment that he forgot how expressive my eyes were, and how you could just fall into them. Well played compliment. Very well played.

Finally dinner reso’s needed to be met, so we walked across the street for Mexican food and more margaritas. That’s when things got a little more real. Maybe being outside of the house, or sitting directly across from one another. He told me about the dissolving of his marriage. I played both crying shoulder and Devil’s Advocate, because I sort of felt both ways. From there a little more about who he was came into play, and little by little I realized Í don’t know this person. At all. While he was attractive and all, on any day of the week after getting to know him, would I be attracted to who he is for him today? We had a lot of dissimilarities. From politics, to religion. (My daughter reminded me later that my last relationship worked out fine with our polar opposite political views) Don’t get me wrong, It never got heated, but I took note. I laughed at a couple of things he said, but knew in the real world (because this was SO not the real world, trust me) that it probably wouldn’t work out between us.

The tequila at this point was starting to soak into my brain and while I was very capable of holding it together, I knew one wrong turn would dissolve me into tears faster than salt on a rainy day. The situation was brought up and again he apologized. So profusely and so sincerely, and it reminded me of that first email return from him, and how upon receiving that my broken heart sort of melded back into one piece again. I jokingly warned him not to make me cry, but the seriousness was there too. Then the pain sort of bubbled up in me, and I let him have it. Not in a vicious way. In a painful way. I told him how hard it was for me to understand his actions, and how it had never made sense to me for so many years. Decades even. I swear the tears were sitting there, dancing behind my eyes, asking if they could come out. I held it together. Probably made some joke, which is what I do when these situations feel on the verge of becoming a little too real. He again was so apologetic. So real.

We headed home and there seemed to be a lightness in the night by now. The elephant in the kitchen had been discussed, and we could move forward. He became silly (tequila I suspect) and for a nano second of time, we were 17 again. Me wanting to do things by the rules, and him daring me to break them (in a very minor way). The moment left, but for that briefest second, I did remember. When we got back home, more talking, more drinking, more music until the night was nearly day. He needed to leave super early and we drunkenly contemplated just waiting for the sun to come up, until common sense came into play and I suggested a few hours’ sleep beat no sleep at all. So alarms were set and we each fell into our version of drunken slumber. Mine was restless at best. Waking every 30 minutes or so. When the alarm finally went off, and he was headed out the door we held each other for a moment. I was still too tired to really make much of it.

I doubt we will ever see one another again. I don’t think it’s necessary. I don’t think it’s healthy. But for a brief 8 hours we did reconnect. In some ways the same way we used to when we were underage kids drinking beers off a keg. My mind takes a while to wrap itself around situations. I have to examine and re-examine things from all points. I have to pick the situation up and look at upside down and sideways, and poke it to see if it still moves.

He emailed me hours after he got home. Basically stated the tequila kicked his ass. I thanked him for making the long drive out, and agreed about the properties of drinking tequila, and how I warned him about Ginaritas. We did our banter the way we do.

Closure Hand

Sometimes life affords us opportunities to go back in the past and correct things. As the perpetrator, or as the — perpetratee — I know I probably made that word up, but I hate the word victim used in any form towards me — Anyway, I think this very unexpected chapter, both in happening and resolving can be closed now. There may be residual emotions that come up. That’s how life works for me. A week from now I may cry over this. Or not. But it’s done.

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