Thursday, January 20, 2011

It's a quarter till seven a.m., and we're both pretty sure this is the last time I'll wake up in Dark Haired Girl's bed; one final, beautiful night as lovers.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

There's a lesson to be learned from all of this. Fuck if I know quite what it is, but I can feel it's there. Waiting.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The day I left Cleveland, late October 2008, I spent the night with Dark Haired Girl.  As we laid together, she said to me that this couldn't last... that I needed to move on and find someone I could start a family with.  I said just to enjoy the moment, and we'd worry about that later.

We've had our ups and downs, and gone through just about every out-of-sequence phase that a relationship should, short of marriage.  We've been lovers, steady boyfriend/girlfriend, just friends, even completely separated.  So as our second attempt at a committed relationship ground to an agonizing standstill, it came as no surprise when she took the initiative to pull us back to just friends.  It was a breakup, I guess.  Just not in the traditional sense.  More of a gentle agreement, and we went right back on to being ourselves, only freer, and frankly, with the spark between us having returned and caught fire.

She said that because of my new job taking me out of town more often than I'd be around, and that I'd be making money and re-starting my adult life, that she couldn't bear the thought of me having to turn down in her name, any of life's experiences that she'd spent her young adulthood reveling in, but to which I am still largely unfamiliar.  I was getting a little too comfortable sitting on the couch in her back room, sipping my whiskey, and letting life pass me by.  She challenged me... kicked me out into the uncomfortable scary world to finally start having the adventures of youth that she'd long since tired of living, and also tired of hearing me talk about never experiencing.

I am eight years younger than Dark Haired Girl.  32 vs. 40.  It's not a big deal.  Nowhere even close to what one would call "may-december."  I honestly really don't even think of us as being anything other than grown-ups of roughly the same age group.

But there is one caveat: While I was in grade school learning basic arithmetic, she was a wild-child high schooler partying her country girl ass off harder than an 80's teen movie.  There were others long before me.  There's a social "Old Guard" predating me, to which in adulthood I can only serve as spectator... maybe even invited accessory, but never member.  It's a bubble that I'll forever be outside of, looking into.  New Guy is party to those deep regions of her history, and an integral and inseparable thread throughout the fabric of her adolescence, when such a profound portion of one's adult, and indeed lifelong, identity is woven.

New Guy.

Funny, the relativity.  Technically, I'm the new guy.  I'm the stiff, colorful new patch sewn onto the otherwise vintage jacket amongst all the other faded, broken in, and familiar emblems.  But from my juvenile point of view, to me he's the New Guy.  Once last year, when he came back to the area to visit family, he and Dark Haired Girl spent the day catching up.  I came over that evening and there were spots of bright green paint on the kitchen wall and on clothing on the laundry room floor.  I gave a quizzical grin, and she said they'd been tromping around the creek painting trees.

Everybody has slightly different faces for different people.  Everybody we know is associated with different aspects of our life experience, and of course I understand this.  Who I am around Shaggy isn't the same person as I am around Dark Haired Girl, or my folks, or my boss.  It sparked a flash of hellacious jealousy, though!  He inspired that side of her personality, that adolescent free-spirited teenage Dark Haired Girl that did crazy shit like that, and I didn't.

Two weeks ago when Dark Haired Girl told me he's divorcing his wife, and she and he were going to get together, it came as no surprise.  I'd even been anticipating it, given during his visit how sweetly he tried to hide his fondness for her, and the gorgeous woodwork gifts he handmade her this past Christmas.  He's a good man with a good job and a good heart.  When he visited, he was really cool and we got along beautifully.  I would want nobody else for her.

But when she said he's moving in the last weekend of this month, you could have knocked me over with a feather.

Her house has never been my house.  I've always felt perfectly at-home there, but it's never been my turf upon which to lay any claim.  Her couch is everybody's couch.  Her back party room is everybody's back party room.  Her kitchen is everybody's kitchen.  Her bedroom is everybody's bedroom.

But that's MY side of the bed, damn it.



Now, this isn't a complete tale of woe for I, your friend and humble narrator.  I only briefly touched upon Akron Girl in this post from late October, 2008.  The broader story is that she and I met on Plenty Of Fish, and made a date for a Saturday night.  That Friday evening as I closed up shop up in Cleveland, my boss basically told me I was going to be laid off Monday morning.  Saturday night comes, and Akron Girl and I have the sweetest, cutest, most perfect storybook first date.  Instant connection, like something out of a movie.  And we made such beautiful passionate love that night... not the awkward fumbling knees-and-elbows tussle between strange unfamiliar lovers, but rather the poetry of two bodies moving in unison.

Monday morning came, I turned in my shop key, and that night I was sleeping back in Troy, my first carload of belongings already moved back.  I figured I'd never see Akron Girl again.

Last November we found each other on Facebook.  I mean, damn near simultaneously.  I don't even remember accepting her friend request.  It just kind of happened... I sent her a request, and with the next mouse click her status updates were on my news feed.  She confided that although she was in a relationship, it wasn't going well, and that two years later, she still thought of me more than she should.  I confessed that I also thought back to that night all too often.

It seemed a sweet but brief re-connection, until just a few weeks ago, when my company sent me on an assignment that had me staying in North Canton.  My hotel was 15 minutes from her home.  We went on a date, and the second I laid eyes on her for the first time in two years, it was magical.  And we've been talking and texting (and exchanging poetry [OMG!]) ever since.

When I came home and nervously confessed this to Dark Haired Girl, her cryptic non-reaction except to explain that of course we're going to date others only served to freak me out worse.  (Yes, we'd been broken up for a while, but I think it's abundantly clear I don't know jack shit about relationships.  Bear with me.)  Then happens our conversation a week later when she drops the bomb on me about New Guy.  Turns out her odd reaction was actually an internal sigh of complete and utter relief, as she was freaking out in equal or greater measure about her news.


So this is kind of working itself out in a weird way... I guess? I mean, Akron Girl is going out on dates with other guys, of course. I'm (however unsuccessfully) trying to find a date myself. Neither of us are jumping into anything, don't worry.  We both want to be single for a while, and the three and a half hour gap between us doesn't help.  She just feels so right, you know?  It's hard not to fall just a little.

Dark Haired Girl still wants me to come over for more than just a casual visit.  Tonight.  And while the fact that a now finite limit to our sexual relationship has rocketed it into the stratosphere, and while New Guy isn't arriving for another week and a half, something just doesn't feel right.

I'm on his side of the bed.

Monday, January 03, 2011

So I'm at a hotel with an indoor pool and hot tub.  Cool, right?  Well....

I decide that a dip would be nice, so after a short stint in the swimming pool, which (come to find out) requires  swimming, I arrive that my still-sore neck muscles from moshing and headbanging on New Year's Eve would benefit from a dunk in the adjacent hot tub.

Well (come to find out), they weren't kidding when they gave it that name.  It's neither tepid tub, nor even super-warm tub.  It's a holy-shit-this-could-cook-lasagna-noodles HOT tub.  After ten minutes, I have made it down the steps and am wading waist deep in boiling water so searing that could render a live lobster edible.  My feet are throbbing, my hands are pulsating, and my jewels are screaming for mercy.  So I hop out and call the front desk to investigate.

See, the last time we were here, some dorky old guy was here every night when we got back from work in the evenings, in contrast to the sassy chubby milf (hotness!) who takes care of first shift here.

So, I call the dorky old guy.  Instead, a sexy young female voice answers.  I explain my predicament.  She says the hot tub should be 104 degrees, so she'll check it out.  Mind you, I'm a 280-pound hunk (of lard), so as a ridiculously hot young woman appears to check the temps, I'm struck pretty much motionless, mostly naked, man-tits dripping with sweat, waist-deep in a vat of water hot enough to make me wonder if maybe, given the cameras trained upon me, that I could quite possibly be the unwitting test subject (victim?) in some cannibalistic experiment in the slow braising of juicy fat guys.

She says the temp is a steady 104 degrees, so I assure her I'm just being sensitive, and it's ok.  She counters that she'll add some fresh water to cool the tub.  She disappears into the control closet and soothingly cool currents begin to swirl about my legs.  A few minutes later she apologizes that 102 degrees is the lowest she can go, and I assure her that  two degrees were enough to take the edge off my discomfort and sensitivity.

As proof, I dunk myself from waist-deep to chin-deep in one swoop.  Were I alone, I'd most likely have screamed like a little girl, but playing macho man, I maintained the height of composure.  Or at least I'd like to think so, but the inevitable agonized scowl (like that of when I bought and subsequently downed shots of Canadian whiskey for myself and a strange woman at The Brewery) most likely told  a different story.

I manage to stay submerged for a surprisingly long time, maybe an entire six or seven minutes, before my vision begins to blur and my stomach starts wanting to violently reject everything I'd earlier eaten for dinner.  Jumping out in only my trunks, I desperately search, hoping for a smoker's exit to the God-blessed outdoors.  Instead, upon reaching the double glass doors leading out of the pool room, I am busted by said young hotness while 90% nude and dripping wet.

Any normal 32 year old man would posture and maybe even try to chat up said strumpet, but not me.  I decide instead that the preferred choice of action would be to turn tail and jog over to my bath towel, which I wrap over my tits like a shawl while en route to my shirt.  Desperately scrambling to don my polyester shirt over my damp and tacky skin, she walks in to replenish the towels.  I keep my back turned.  I couldn't bear to see her reaction to my flailing attempt to dress myself.

She having disappeared into the maintenance closet, I make my escape through the glass doors and sprint, skipping every other step, up the stairwell to the first floor where I burst through the front entrance gasping for fresh air, throw the towel on the sidewalk, and stand wearing only shirt and trunks in the 31 degree night, steam pouring off my skin.

What feels like forever later, the stiff breeze has abated the steam and my respiration returns to normal, even to the point of a minor shiver in my chest.  I grab the towel off the ground and then go back into the lobby, where she has been standing for as long as I've been outside.  Bare-footed with wet trunks and dripping hair long since having frozen solid, I walk past her and proclaim "Turns out I wasn't built for hot tubs!"

"Awwww!" she coos with an equal blend of nurturing, sarcasm, and pity.

I have the pimp skills of your average 12 year old boy.