Mr. Serendipity

I asked the universe for a man, Prince Charming. I was quite specific. A little demanding in some regards and a little open ended in others. I didn’t think much of it when Vic called and asked if I wanted to join her and her son at the High School football game. She would come over and we’d walk up with my daughter and her friend.

 A couple of glasses of wine later, we were off. On the way up there I mentioned to her that I was done with my fooling around with married men, waiting on GI Joe, and was ‘putting myself out there.’ I declared I was ready to meet someone. I had gone so far as to re-write my dating profile, even.  We toasted my new commitment to finding a normal, healthy relationship.

As we found our places in the stands, we reminisced about how we had run on that track over 20 years ago. We talked about our first loves, our friends and found comfort in seeing how somethings had changed for the better. The band had gotten better, and she noticed that since she played, they had better uniforms, though they still looked miserably uncomfortable to me.

On a positive note, the football team had improved. The stands were packed with families and the community. A far cry from when we were going to school when only a few people would show up for the game.  Sitting in the stands, I had such a wonderful, peaceful feeling. Since leaving Illinois, I had gradually began to feel like I belonged back here and that I fit in. The stress and anxiety of getting divorced was in my past. My job was fairly stable. I really didn’t long for a thing. Well, except for a normal relationship.

We cheered for the team and she being the social media maven she is, snapped a photo and put it on Facebook. Vic was always the popular girl. Voted “Sexiest Senior” even. She was still drop dead gorgeous, caring, and an amazing friend to me. More often than not I stood next to her and felt like the Designated Ugly Fat Friend but she didn’t need a DUFF to shine. Regardless, she is kind, funny and people gravitate to her. She has hundreds of Facebook friends that are all probably really good friends to her in ‘real life.’ She was a collector of people. Friends from high school, college, graduate school, sports clubs, and colleagues. They were all friends to her. It didn’t take long after meeting her to feel like a true friend. So it was no surprise that shortly after announcing our presence at the game that people took notice. Before I knew what was happening one guy was coming to find us in the stands.

Little did I know that Mr. Serendipity was on his way and that I would meet him for the first time. When he appeared and I tried to place his face from over 20 years ago. Having gone to 8 schools in 12 years, the names and faces blurred. Back then there wasn’t Facebook to keep in touch so when I said goodbye, it was for real. I was not a collector of people. I was a drifter. I drift in an out of social situations and locations. I don’t stay long enough emotionally or physically to get too attached to too many people. The people in my life are few but dear. Vic was one of them. Mr. Serendipity was nice enough. Friendly enough. I found him very attractive. His daughter was part of the home coming celebrations, so he was quite proud of her and beaming when he spoke of her. There was nothing about him that I found remarkably annoying or off putting but at the same time, I didn’t really spend enough time with him to determine if I liked him or not. But he seemed nice enough. Like it is though anytime I am with Vic, she’s the center. The lifeblood. She has such radiating positive energy that I enjoy being around but don’t need or want to compete with. Mr. Serendipity was her friend. He obvious was quite enthralled with her. I didn’t want to compete for airtime.

 At the time, I didn’t know he could be the one I asked for and it is up for debate as to whether he is Prince Charming! But when he found his way through the crowds to find us, I didn’t think twice about my plea to meet someone. And as the game wrapped up and we said our goodbyes, he leaned in to give me a friendly hug. How thoughtful, I thought. He wants to hug Vic so he extends one to me too. I was taken by surprise but it was nice, really nice.

 Walking home, I thought how pleasant the whole evening was. It was so nice to be in my hometown with my kids and having them have similar experiences to the ones I had growing up. I asked Vic about Mr. Serendipity. She told me funny stories about him and some double dates they had gone on. She fully endorsed him as one of the good ones. Nice to know, I thought.

Shortly after she left, I looked at the Facebook photo that she snapped of the three of us. I felt drawn to him and connected with him on Facebook. Within minutes, we discovered we were a year apart in school. We knew a lot of the same people but never socialized. We both went to the same college in Ithaca, NY. We lived on the same part of campus. We took, quite possibly at the same time, the same Art History classes. We had been divorced about the same amount of time. His daughter was a couple years older than my son.  For about 2 weeks, he became my fast new friend. Texting all day and into the evening. I had developed somewhat of a crush on him.

 I told Vic about my new friendship and she remarked, “What if the reason you moved back here was for him and not GIJoe. Maybe he is the one?”

That stuck with me and became a topic I needed to explore. For the first time I could see my self not longing for GIJoe who I had not heard from in since the Shamrock Incident.

The Shamrock Incident

He left in January. Every day since he’s been gone I think of him. I dream of him. But not in the way that I expected. I thought it would be longing and loving; I wanted to be hopeful for being reunited. When he said goodbye, I felt that it was for good. I sensed he would not be back with me. He kissed me and said, ‘you don’t want to be in a relationship with me.’ At the time, I argued and told him that we were in a relationship, albeit not a traditional one. Because for a couple years we popped into each others lives.

He left my home that cold night and for the next few days we texted quite a bit. He told me he would be back in September. I wanted to see him one last time. But he refused. He granted me a few hours of his time while he was back in the States and that was it. I felt lucky. Privileged. I was in his ‘club’ where only the elite few were granted access. I wanted more of him physically and emotionally but I had given up expecting a thing. When he showed up I was grateful; When he disappeared previously I was sad but I knew he’d return.

This time was different. he seemed far. I felt his pain. I wanted him to be safe and free. As he said good bye in his text messages, I felt as if he was captive and honoring a commitment that he no longer believed in. He wanted a ‘normal’ life. We are both so damaged, but I thought I could be normal for him.  I made promises I was willing to keep regardless of time or distance, I love him without condition.

Still though, I  am detached and my hope for him is peace. I want him to be happy, free of obligation and free of the military.  His presence in my life has been profound. He gave me hope, made me feel confident. He inspired me and when I was high and held the razor to my wrist; he was the thought I had that kept me from slicing. I heard his voice remind me that I was a good mom and that my children did need me and that the cult of Southern Illinois would be behind me someday. Even in my most intoxicated moments where I was certain I would not be missed and that my children had what they needed, I saw him. I heard him. I felt him. I never had the courage to tell him that I understood his son. I didn’t want him to think less of me. I did not want him to know of my scars. The ways I had hurt myself my emotional cutting and physical cutting would make me seem weak. He valued strength. I would be strong for him. I would show him that I was not broken, not damaged. I would overcome and no longer be a victim. I was a mom. I had children who I did not want to disappoint.  I could hear his words, see his angry face. Quitting my life because it was uncomfortable for me was not an option. He would never forgive me for quitting my kids, even though I didn’t think they needed me, he made me see they did.

Being a mom, I thought of his mom. What had she felt? What was it like to not know where your child was, what kind of harm he was in. The choices he made had alienated everyone from him. He is in control of who is in his life and in what capacity. His mom he kept at a distance. If that were my son, I would be devastated.  I wondered to myself what kind of sacrifices had she made? How many times had she felt like quitting? Her marital life was not a walk in the park. I was sure she was, at times, afraid and alone.

It was St. Patrick’s day. GI Joe left 3 months ago and I thought of him and thought of his mom. When the weather started to clear and with GI Joe overseas and no reliable family around I thought of her. She lived a few miles away. I wanted to connect to her, to let he know she was not alone. The winter had been hard and many of us were snowed in for days.

On the surface it seemed like a genuine and natural gesture. I would bring a plant to her home, sit and visit. I was lonely after all. I was feeling lost and disconnected. While I was exactly where I wanted to be and doing exactly what I had set out to do, I was still strangely lonely. I felt drawn to GI Joe’s mom and thought that having a conversation and connecting with her would fill a void in my life.

At lunch time, I stopped over at the grocery store and bought a shamrock plant. I drove it to her home I felt for the first time that GI Joe would no the happy with this. But I was on my way and I reconsidered my visit.  I would write a note and leave the plant on her door step. As I stood there at the door, writing my note, she answered the door an invited me in. I had been there several months earlier with GI Joe and some of our mutual friends. Plus I had gone to High School with GI Joe, so she had known me 20 years ago and as recently as a few months ago. Nonetheless, she is older and struggled with her memory. She invited me in and we talked for 20 minutes or so.

I felt happy, connected. I related to her as a person. GI Joe had nothing to do with this visit aside from the fact that he was her son. So, Okay – he had everything to do with it. Subconsciously perhaps I was doing this to get closer to him. But logically, I knew it would drive him away. He values his privacy and and I knew that if he knew I went to see his mom he would have a fit. Perhaps I was driving to that end? maybe I wanted to expedite the end of our friendship. Everyone leaves me. I drive them away or they tire of me. He would leave, so this, perhaps was my way of ensuring he disappeared from my life. At least it was in my control. I love him and I like his mom. Like an anorexic controls food intake, GI Joe is a control freak. He controls who is in and who is out of his life.

This was not a physical razor but this action expertly cut me out of his life and fulfilled my need to inflict pain. I cut GI Joe out. I preemptively struck and ensured he was gone; he would have left me anyway I just made sure that it was me in control of how and when.

As I left her home I knew that would be the last time I saw her. I also knew that when I told GI Joe what I had done he would disappear forever.

My confessional email to him, unlike the several before, was immediately answered.  He was not happy. Regardless of how busy he was in the desert, he found time to tell me he was uncomfortable with my visiting his mom. My blood pressure rose and heart skipped beats. I realized the truth was there all along. He never loved me; He never really knew me. I was his go-to-girl when he was home. He, in his own protective, narcissistic way thought my visiting his mom was about him.

And with one Shamrock plant. One misguided good intention to reach out to another mom, my friendship with GI Joe was over. I violated his trust and I realized he never knew me at all.

Getting my heart broken for all the right reasons

As much as I want to be with GI Joe and as much as I want him to want to be with me, the reality is that I can’t force him to feel something for me. I can’t ask him to be there for me, and while he’s safe and at the other end of my computer, I am going crazy wanting him.

For weeks, there’s been cute, funny flirty banter. A few photos exchanged, and all it does is make me want him more. He gives me what I crave. I feel wanted. I feel special. But really, if I am honest with myself. It is really dangerous for me to assume anything and I don’t want to punish him for the sins of GH.

So, he wants more than me. Or different than me. Or just not me. Or quite possibly, he doesn’t want anyone and is just bored and sexually deprived, just as he said. I shouldn’t make this about me, because it isn’t. I know that, but I am obviously quite damaged and crave an intimate connection that is personal and special. I crave that from him and don’t want it to end.

GI Joe told me he was bored and sexually deprived. He joined the site to see what the fuss was about. He has been honest. Now the question I have to answer is, “am I okay with that?”

I trust him to be honest and he has not told me or done anything that has been less than forthright. We don’t have a relationship where we’ve chosen each other. We don’t have any expectation of commitment. The one thing I can count on is that he breaks my heart it won’t be because of lies and deceit. I am okay with that.

Impractical Desires

I wouldn’t say I obsess about GI Joe, but I think of him often and fondly. With the passing of Memorial Day, I have been thinking of all the families whose lives were forever altered as their loved one gave the ultimate sacrifice. I am so fortunate to know GI Joe and am so inspired by him. I also know he is alive and well and not just because I saw that video. It is because he finally was able to send me an email!

When I saw his name in my inbox my heart skipped a couple of beats. It was short and simple. Just enough to let me know he’s at a place where he has access to internet.

The months of wondering if he would ever reach out to me finally came to an end. His job is secret and my life is dramatic so once those short conversations to catch up came to a conclusion, the subject of our conversation narrowed to the one topic we can talk about with full disclosure albeit with no immediate resolution. We are both extremely attracted to each other and are compatible and given the opportunity would be banging on a regular basis.

It is utterly impractical for us to even plan a reunion and silly to think we have a future together because of the sheer number of variables we have to work with. Yet, amidst all the chaos and impracticality of a relationship, I am content with things the way they are: long distance silences followed by occasional cyber flirting and then punctuated by anticipation of rocking hot, porn star sex.

GI Joe

Physically the most perfect man I have encountered. Ever. He was my now dead boyfriend’s friend and one of my only memories of him was when I was in high school. We ran on the track team and my dead boyfriend was a star. A genius. he was smart, handsome, voted the “sexiest senior” and for some reason into me. GI Joe was his fuck up friend. Adorable. A wise ass. A delinquent. and someone who intrigued me. He was not on the traditional path of High school to college to suburban life. He was caught doing something and somehow found his way to the military. I think it was a ‘military or jail’ situation. In retrospect, perhaps jail would have fucked him up less.

We all graduated and pre-facebook lost touch. Fast forward and Facebook reunites us with the tragic death of the Sexiest Senior.

A memorial is planned. My dead boyfriend has bumps along the way. Mystery surrounds his death. GI Joe is coordinating the memorial AKA the Big Chill reunion.

Through various emails we reconnect;  He calls from far away and I hear his voice for the first time and tells me the news of how my dead boyfriend died. mystery. circumstance. suspicion. Foreign land, greedy women, no answers. We talk. His voice fills my soul. I am comforted by his words.

Days pass, logistics need to be worked through for the memorial. We Skype. I see him for the first time in over 20 years. He is beautiful. I see his eyes. I am a crazy teenage girl again wanting him to want me. I know my life will never bee the same again.