(Subtitle: And Then the Sky Opened up… or Something Else that Means I Finally got It!)
My sister left to go back to Seattle for a year today because she graduates a semester before me. I being the (non)genius I am with goodbyes… well, I’m not the greatest. Not in a depressed-I’m-gonna-die sort of way but more so in a reflective, remembering-the-memories kinda way. We have hardly been separated for the last four years, yet alone for this long. And that makes me sad. It sucks to lose someone who is a daily part of your life. Who will I steal clothes from? Call about the funny stuff that happens on campus? Make 3am runs to the Diner to eat greasy omelettes and talk about boys? *sigh*
However I said all that to say that today was the last day I will see her in awhile. We walked around campus for awhile, taking random pictures and sharing memories (“ohmigod remember that time…” *insert hysterically loud laughter here*). We stood, heads together, and fought back tears we knew were coming anyway, gave each other tight hugs and I swiftly turned and walked away before she could see the tears sliding down my cheeks and start crying too.
I walked into the building and I wanted to call someone, someone who knows me, understands my issues with separation, could maybe make me smile so that maybe I could stop crying long enough to finish my (bullshit) final. I tried Gay Husband. He didn’t answer. (I think he’s been screening me all day.) I tried Childhood Bestie. She didn’t answer. (I think she’s screening me.) I tried S and apparently all circuits were busy. (I think she’s screening me.) And that left me with… Almost Fiance. Who, despite our current status, knows me quite well.
Before I even go through the whole ordeal of finding his number in my 500+ contacts in my phone, (yes, I finally took him off speed dial and changed his ringtone, but I just can’t delete it yet. Be patient), I even contemplate calling my mother. But considering I had to spend most of the last weekend she was here drunk just to cope, I don’t think a highly emotional convo with her is best. So I call him and we get disconnected. I think maybe this was a sign. But I, never really recognizing signs until after they have passed, pick up the phone anyway when he calls back, frantic that something has happened to me. I will spare you the details but it was an excruciatingly (is that a word?) awkward 20 minute conversation. When I got off the phone, well, I just wanted to feel something, ANYTHING. But nothing. Just numb.
And then it hit me. I finally got it.
I. AM. SINGLE.
I don’t think I really got it before. The last couple months since we broke up have kinda passed in a blur… I don’t think I really understood until that very point that we weren’t together anymore.
And strangely, I felt better.
So I did something I had been putting off and trying to convince myself I didn’t wanna do for a couple weeks. I looked in my purse, got a card out of my wallet and I made a phone call. And I…
Made. a. Date.
With a boy.
A straight one. (Isn’t it sad I have to put that?)
After I hung up, the strangest thing happened…
I got butterflies.
Right down there in my tummy like you do when you’re nervously anticipating something with a little excitement thrown in? Yeah all that. And then…
After finding out I did most of my (bullshit) final wrong, I went home and started getting ready. I put on some music, picked out some cute-I’m-not-trying-too-hard-but-I-still-want-you-to-be-impressed-clothes, did my makeup and my hair (which surprisingly I’m starting to re-like; we’ll see if it lasts once I get my roots touched up next week). He called and told me he was downstairs, I grabbed my (new) coat because its freezing cold and I actually RACED down the stairs. Two at a time no less. Lest I look like a loser, I regained my composure at the door and walked out into the cold night air. Before my (beautifully) heeled feet could hit the concrete he jumps out of the truck, comes over to me, hugs me, and walks me to the car. He OPENS MY DOOR (who says chivalry is dead?) and goes around and gets in. He looks at me for a moment before he puts the car in drive.
He says, “You have the most beautiful skin of any woman I have ever seen.”
It catches me off guard because it comes so quickly and without shame. And because it isn’t your typical guy “you look real nice” compliment. I blush at least 382 shades of pink and tell him thank you in a jumbled stammer. During the car ride to the Thai place (who told him I liked Thai? 5 points) we have easy, effortless conversation. And MY GOD this man is hilarious. For someone who is supposed to be all straitlaced and serious by nature he is making accountants look really good right now.
We get there, we order, talk a lot more and our food comes. And… it sucks. So what does he do? Instead of getting all bent outta shape about this date not going exactly as planned he says, “I’ve got a better idea,” and we end up in Adams Morgan eating huge, greasy pizza slices. (1,000 points for fun and rolling with the punches)
We walk around for awhile, as much as the cold will allow, now the conversation even more loose, lingering on the side of flirty a touch longer than before. Somewhere the convo turns serious. I tell him a little about me, my family, Almost Fiance, school, enough about me that it can be uncharacteristically open of me and not so much that I feel exposed. He does the same. And I feel good, somehow less burdened about the issues I know I have and trying to pretend they aren’t there. He is easy with them, handles them with care. When I finish my little speech he says, “Okay. I won’t push you.”
Yeeeeeeeeeeeesssssssssssssssssss for that answer.
He drives me home, loud uproarious laughter spilling out of the sunroof I insisted he open so I could see the stars. We get back to my building and I go to open my door. He gently pulls my hand away, jumps out, comes around and opens it for me and helps me down from my lofty perch in the passenger seat. (SUVs are damn near impossible for tiny people to get in and out of in heels. 5,000 points for the little things.) He walks me to my door, hands me the remains of my uneaten pizza and looks me square in my eye (which few men can seem to do. Another 1,000 points for confidence). I am nervous because I know that even though I have enjoyed the night I do not want him to kiss me, I am not ready for that kind of intimacy. His gently places his large hands in my hair. He tenderly pulls me closer and I draw in my breath softly because I know I am going to pull away and that rejection is going to hurt him. And he… kisses my forehead.
Damn all the forehead kisses there ever were.
I somehow make it back to my room without tripping over something, butterflies still firmly in place. 30 minutes later after I’ve changed and washed the city from my skin, the phone rings and he is on the other line. He says, “I know I’m obligated by dating law not to call til the next day but I wanted you to know I had a great time and I’d like to see you again Saturday when you’re off.”
Are there even enough points for that?
When I got off the phone I started thinking, thinking about readiness. My mother said this weekend, in a rare moment of profound clarity, “There is power in surrender.” And I think that she is right. Surrendering myself to the knowledge that I am, in fact single, that it is, in fact over, gave me exactly what I have been looking for… peace about it. I finally got it. I am single/it is over.
And that’s okay.
Granted, I am never gonna call Mr. Wonderful. I’m not quite sure why but I know myself. Part of me feels selfish keeping him to myself when I know that I have no intentions of allowing things to get serious so he can be the wonderful boyfriend I know he would be. So maybe some other wounded woman can have him, get a little hope. Because that’s what he gave me. I know I’m beginning to thaw on the inside.
He gave me back my butterflies.