I wrote this two months ago about the one we’re calling Anastasia. I didn’t post it because she reads my blog. Or did. Not sure if she still does.
I’m going on a date. It’s more of a vetting process, an innocuous coffee date, our first time alone to see if there’s anything behind the eyes we’ve made at each-other in crowds, but it’s still a date.
My emotional state through this separation reminds me of my recovery from an automobile accident I had two-and-a-half years ago. The recovery process was not a gradual upward slope but a series of jagged edges. Two feet pulled forward, then jerked four feet back. Leaping five feet, then sprawling for twelve. I knew I’d make a full recovery, so even though I knew a fall was waiting, I managed to push myself on those days I felt better.
I’m okay most days, but my emotional state is not improving gradually. It’s brimming with excitement over what’s to come, followed by crying jags in the shower over what I’ve lost. It’s living each moment and letting the stupid frustrations of modern life slide, followed by meltdowns over a rude remark from a stranger or a botched purchase order. It’s enthusiasm for change and fear of same.
I will not plunge into drinking and drugs, wandering the streets at night, muttering to myself, railing at the world (at least, I don’t think so) but will I ever again be so happy for so long? The odds against it are mind-boggling. In this case, I don’t even know what a full recovery would look like.
So how about focusing on the positives?
The Treehouse is morphing from a dank, grimy writer’s retreat to a home entirely of my choosing. My friendships and family ties have become richer. I’ve met more people in the last month than I’ve met in the previous two years. I no longer have nightmares about driving a car with no brakes. I don’t have to worry about anyone else’s nutrition when I eat Ben & Jerry’s for dinner. My life is in perspective (again; let’s see how long it lasts this time). If I want to see a movie with a friend or read a book or have a drink with a friend or sit and listen to music, I see a movie or have a drink, I sit and read or listen to music.
This innocuous-coffee-date-but-still-a-date is with someone I’ve been attracted to for some time. It’s never felt like the right moment (“I’m not sure when I’ll be over the breakup of my marriage, but why don’t you dive in while the water’s warm?” “My wife and I dissolved our joint account; let’s say you and I break in my bank card.” “Hey, I’m moving into my new place this week. How about I take a pause from packing and we get some sushi?”), but I eventually realized if I saw her on the arm of some skinny jeans wearing, bass guitar playing, weirdly facial haired hipster doofus without at least giving it a shot, a little bit of me would whimper and die.
The wanting to vs. the probably shouldn’t, the heart vs. the head, has been going on for weeks. Yet once we decided to have an innocuous coffee date, it took two days for the excitement to fade. I’m still excited, don’t get me wrong, but it’s tinged with melancholy. “I’m going on a DATE!” has become “I’m going on a … date?”
I’ve wanted this for so long, and now it’s depressing me.
Dates feel arbitrary and forced, like mating pandas in captivity, or talking in a basement with the other kids while your parents all party upstairs. What are the odds of dropping my defenses long enough to be myself? If by some miracle we do relax and enjoy ourselves, what are odds we’ll enjoy each-other’s company?
The promise of good things in my future has gotten me through the lowest points. If this innocuous-coffee-date-which-is-still-a-date is a disaster, what will see me through the bad moments then?
I planned on posting this after Anastasia and I met for coffee, thinking things would go swimmingly and we’d have a laugh over my insecurities. Well, let’s all laugh at my insecurities, because the date never materialized. I won’t bore you with the back and forth of it all. Let’s just say she’s tough to read and clearly not as into me as I would have liked. And frankly, as I need during this vulnerable junction in my life.
So what did this experience teach me? Not to censor Sweet with Fall and Fish based on who reads it. I’m not out to hurt people or share things which aren’t mine to share, but this is therapy for me on some level. I’ve written volumes I don’t intend anyone other than me to read, so when I write something with the express purpose of posting it, I can’t hold it back.
Things I write here are true. There are also parts exaggerated or skewed by my perception, and things which were true when I wrote them but I can’t fathom now (“single and happy,” September 24th version of Aaron? Really?). There’s little point in a blog full of lies, but anyone’s personal truth needs to be taken with a measure of skepticism. People have a million thoughts a day, they’re born in the strange meat of our minds and they dance for a while and usually die. Writers take those thoughts and dip them in amber. We can’t help it. Non-writers are lucky enough to have your darkest moments and regrettable words hidden behind your skulls.
So take my amber, hold it up to the light, and see what’s inside. Examine it from any angle you’d like, just remember to consider the source.