Apparently, Old Friend is thinking too much lately. After the inter-FEAR-ence of Friday, he called yesterday afternoon asking if I’d like company again last night. Easy answer, “Yes!”
From there, the day took a short detour through hell. But, I kept my eyes on the prize (his visit later on) to get me through. Incentivizing myself like this helps me keep a lid on the eruptions that would normally occur when the frustration meter hits the red zone.
Long story short, Second Son (14, but looks and sounds 25) was invited to join his girlfriend at the movies and he begged me to drive him ALL THE WAY ACROSS TOWN (12 m. one way) knowing I’d have to turn right back around 30 minutes after I got back home to go pick him up again. But, because I’m not such an OLD mom that I don’t remember how it feels at 13 to not see the object of your affections (and more truthfully, it feels the same at 43), I relented and took him. We were to call her cell phone to let her know when he got there, but for some reason, my cell phone had no signal in that part of town – NONE whatsoever. So I gave him stern instructions to be out front at 10pm sharp for pickup, because without a signal, I would not be able to call her cell phone to alert him I was there. Don’t keep mama waiting, boy!
Ok…cool. Back home I go.
I no sooner walked in the door than the house phone started ringing – it was his girlfriend saying the movie was over, her mom was on her way to pick her up, and how soon could I be back to pick up Second Son? UGH!!!!!!! And for whatever reason I cannot fathom, she did not tell SS she had called me, so he was not out front, it was still 95 degrees out and Prima-Donna-Daughter (8 going on GROWN) was pitching a hissy, as usual. No cell signal, so I drove around to find a payphone. (Have you noticed how rare they are becoming?)
Thirty minutes later, hot, sticky, pissed and completely fed up with kids, I got back home. I put PDD to bed with a quickness, told SS to hit the shower and his room pronto, and turned the stupid cell phone off. Remembering Old Friend would be calling before coming over, I turned it back on and was blasted with several missed call messages…all from Old Friend…all while I was in no-signal-land.
Called him back. “Is it still cool for me to come over later?” he asks, “I tried calling your cell, tried your house, tried your cell again and you didn’t answer. I thought maybe you changed your mind.”
“No, I didn’t change my mind,” I said, and then relayed the sordid story of the previous two hours.
Then he admitted he had not only called several times, but had driven by my house to verify if I was home and ignoring him, or truly gone somewhere. “I don’t usually do stuff like that, you know, and I don’t know what I would have done had I seen your car in the driveway.” A desperation mixed with frustration and embarrassment was his tone. Like he’d been caught doing something he should have been more mature than to do.
I reminded him of our agreement to bring up things on our minds and assured him all was well with the plans we had made for later. He hung up sounding reassured and said he’d call when he was on his way.
Off to the shower I went, and then settled in for some blog post consumption of the non-business variety.
About an hour later, he calls again. This time, he’s really agitated. “I’m starting to have some serious feelings for you, and I don’t know what to do with or about them. I find myself wanting to spend more time with you. You make me feel comfortable, welcome and there’s no drama with you. You know me and I like that. You make me feel good about me just by being with you. We can lay in bed and just talk – it’s not all about ‘doing it’…I like just being next to you.” Like he’s wanting to not come over for fear he’d be irretrievably lost in love against his will and better judgment with one more exposure to the wonderfulness that is me. “Help me,” he says.
Trying to discern whether this was a ‘goodbye before this goes too far’ or a ‘hello, I’m ready for the next step’, I asked, “So…are you asking me a question or trying to tell me something? Are you wanting to stop seeing each other?”
“NO! No! No!” he says, “I just…I’m starting to have these feelings for you and I don’t know…”
“So, you’re talking about the big, scary “L” word, right?” I asked.
“Well, if you’re asking me if I’m feeling the same way, then yes, my feelings for you are growing, too. And yes, it kinda scares me a little, but I ask myself if I want to stop this now, and the answer is a vehement NO for me, too. Do you want to skip coming over tonight and take some time to sort things out?”
“No! I still want to see you, if you still want to see me, that is…” he says, “I just don’t know what to do with all this, that’s all.”
“Then come on over. It’ll be ok.”
“Ok, I’ll be there in a few minutes.”
A few minutes turned into a half hour. A half hour turned into me waking up the next morning alone.
Everything in me wanted to call him, but I didn’t. It’s more inter-FEAR-ence he’s dealing with, and my calling him and calling him on it will not help, this I know for sure.
If I’ve learned anything about loving a man in the 43 years I’ve been here, it is this: Be direct, don’t play games and let him come to you, because if he wants to, he will in the end. If he’s too scared, or too broken, or too…anything, there is nothing you can do about it – that’s his deal. Probing for answers he doesn’t have will feel like pressure to him and will send him running for the hills.
I’ve never had the required self-esteem to behave this way before. To stand strong in the knowledge that you have much to offer and he’d be a fool not to see that takes more self-awareness, self-confidence and personal worth than I had before now. But I have it now, and it feels good.
Yes, I have my own inter-FEAR-ences to deal with, but I am doing just that – dealing with them as they come. Talking them out when appropriate, and other times just observing them to see if they are real or just old tapes playing in the background.
Now I understand why everyone, all my life, has told me I think too much. What I’m seeing out of Old Friend now is what they were seeing out of me: thinking (a.k.a. obsessing) muddled by too much inter-FEAR-ence.
As I remind myself (sometimes moment by moment), I am only in charge of me. Nothing and no one else. I no longer take hostages. I am a woman to love, and he will, or he won’t. Meanwhile, I have a life to live.
Really powerful post, Suzanne. Thanks for sharing.