Saturday, 18 May 2013
He coaxed me back, promising a trip south. He booked a room in a luxury inn, insisted on paying it all, urged me to board the dog and cat until Monday so we could come home at a leisurely pace. We took the bikes so that we could travel the island by pedal power. The trip down was wonderful, relaxing. It had been over 20 years since I'd visited the area, and so much had changed that I didn't recognize it. The inn was beautiful, surrounded by lush gardens. Our suite was amazing, and I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming. We went out to dinner - I picked up the tab, and as we walked back, my right flank began to burn with pain.
I played it off, saying nothing. I needed to start slamming water, but D wanted to window shop. For an hour or so, we wandered from store to store - looking at touristy crap and overpriced sex toys. Finally, he noticed that I was holding my side, "Are you okay? What's wrong with your back?" I told him that I needed some water, and instead of heading to the bar he was jonesin' to drink at (surely they'd have water - I'd just drink 2 or 3 glasses of water to every alcoholic drink - and I'd flush that stone out). Nope. We went back to the hotel, on foot. His mood was slipping.
His trip was ruined then. He wanted to give me beer, but I can't drink regular beer because I have Celiac Disease. He growled that I should drink it anyway.
I drank water. The pain became worse, excruciating to the point that I began vomiting. He wanted to call an ambulance. I was afraid to go to the hospital. The bills would be horrible even with the insurance. They'd not do anything more than medicate me; I was certain that they didn't have a weekend operating room team. I moaned in pain. At 2:00 am I crawled into a tub of hot water and soaked for 4 hours until the stone dropped into the bladder. I got no rest. He scooted out of bed as I slipped between the sheets, dressed and left. He returned 45 minutes later, "I moved the truck closer and put the bikes in the back. We need to go. I can't believe no one called the cops. You sounded like you were dying."
As if it weren't bad enough, he told me that he would have left me at the hospital if I had chosen to go, "I wouldn't have stayed for you. I decided that you could find your own way home." We were 5 hours away, the closest car rental was 3 hours away. The gravity of his words made the room spin before my eyes. He would have left me completely stranded and with no other option to get back other than hitch-hiking, because I had a kidney stone.
I burst into tears.
I begged to stay, even pleading for another chance (while Devil me looked on in amazement and horror). I was an emotional wreck, overtired. He agreed to stay, and I knew it would be a choice that I'd regret. He had seen a breakfast cart in the garden. There was yogurt, coffee, juice, fruit and baked goods. I took a banana and a small cup of yogurt, the only offerings that I could eat. He ate well, polishing off a few yogurt cups, an apple, a bagel and a croissant, "Well, I'm good till lunch." He didn't ask me if I was okay. He just got up and walked away, leaving me with the paper cups and napkins. I dumped them in the trash, and followed him. He closed the door in my face. I sighed, looking miserable, and tapped on the door. He opened it, "You don't have your key? I got you one when I settled the bill." I didn't ask why, just murmured thanks and slipped it in my pocket.
He smiled little, spoke less, and generally made me feel shitty for the rest of the day. We stumbled onto a street bazaar, and he urged me to buy some trinkets for myself. I found a sandal shop, tried on shoes while he sat on the bench. I wondered if he'd leave me, but he surprised me by trying on a pair of sandals and purchasing them. I wondered that all day. I picked up the tab for lunch, drank a gluten-free beer and a couple glasses of water. He picked up the receipt and scrutinized it before handing it to me. When we got back to the inn with the purchases (I carried them clumsily in a tote while trying to navigate the streets on my bike), he stood in front of the window looking at the pool. I shrugged, changed into my bathing suit and grabbed a towel. He decided to join me. I wasn't sure if he would since he's sensitive about his weight (he admitted that he'd gained close to 30 lbs since he started seeing me - intoning that somehow it was my fault). He ignored me, swam away to the opposite end of the pool. We stared at each other, palm blossoms raining down to speckle the water and our heads. I sighed, and a tear slid down my cheek. No one saw it. He swam back, got out and toweled off, "The key is here, when you're done..." In front of all the others, a snub. I sighed and wished everyone a good afternoon, then I got out and headed back to the room.
I wished we had gone back in the morning. How the hell was I supposed to predict a kidney stone? Hell would be more pleasant than this. Devil me turned the faucet on the shower, "I thought he'd soften a bit with sex, but it's not really helping. You should have left this morning." I peeled off my suit, nodding while tears ran down like rain. "Don't do this to yourself again. It's abusive." I nodded again.
I picked up the tab for dinner, and he finally smiled and spoke, thanking me, going on about how it wasn't expected. I looked away, murmuring that it was no trouble at all, trying to make up for the sleepless night. I looked down at my plate and felt a wave of sadness that was so overwhelming that I jumped up and fairly ran to the bathroom. I cried a little, digging at my eyes. One more night. He wanted to go back to the inn. There would be no music or bar-hopping.
Odd, but I chalked it up to fatigue. It wasn't, of course. Weeks later he would accuse me of controlling his behavior. Besides, he was afraid I'd get arrested, or get in a bar fight. What the f***?
We went back to the room. The next morning we packed and went out to breakfast at a bar. There are no alcohol ordinances like we have so it was really strange to sit at the bar with drunken people giggling into their drinks while we ate omelets. He picked up the tab, mentioned that the Bloody Marys we sipped made it expensive. I immediately offered to pay (although I was getting pretty disgusted at that point), "No, no. I've got it."
We left. He slid into a nasty mood on the road. Five hours of his brand of punishing me with a verbal barrage of digs at my lack of intelligence and how his weekend was ruined. I finally said that I'd pay for the second night at the inn - $240. No, that wasn't necessary. I didn't point out that him screaming at me wasn't necessary either.
I sent the check later that week, and pledged to stay away.
I sleep better now, but the dreams I have are strange and sad.
Tuesday, 16 April 2013
He shoots me a text when he's sitting at the traffic light. He can't wait to see me. I stare at the screen, then glance up at the clock. It's 1:45pm. I look at Angel me and dryly say, "Gee, L must have cleared out early." She glares at me then stomps out of the room, "He'll have time to shower before you stop by."
I'm tired from spending a day cleaning and doing laundry. H has been particularly nasty, telephoning to check on me, suddenly afraid that I might be out with someone.
We divorced almost 2 years ago.
I'm worn out. D texts again, urging me to come over, "I miss you." I frown at the phone, look up at Angel me, "It's someone to have dinner with..." She looks pissed. I shower and dress. I apply expensive perfume. I never wear his favorite if I know that I'll see him. That was L's favorite. He doesn't know that I still wear it on occasion, and that's fine. I made it clear when I walked away before - it was his favorite, not mine.
My favorite is Chanel Mademoiselle. I bought it for myself for Christmas, when it began to look like I had better get something for myself because no one else was going to....
D ended up getting me an iPod. We had broken up, and I told him that I expected nothing. He mailed it to me because I had said that I didn't want to see him. In fact, I encouraged him to give the iPod to someone else. In my mind's eye I could see L being delighted with it. I just wanted to fade away and be gone from his memory.
He kept in touch. I was polite but not warm, uncomfortable with such an expensive gift. I'm still not comfortable with it.
For three months he tried to warm me up, I retreated to the shadows, staying out of arm's reach, annoyed that he couldn't leave me alone. I wasn't "the one". He was happier with his friends. He loved L. I patiently spelled it all out, painfully, and sadly retreated. I told him that I knew he didn't love me, and that I needed to find someone who would. I didn't want to be alone anymore, and I always felt alone with him, because everything and everyone else came first.
Something unusual happened. D coaxed me back.
....Now it's all strange and bizarre....
Friday, 12 April 2013
I text D. He replies, buoyant and happy. He's thrilled to have me back in his life. He acts as if I never really left. Bustling about, he tries to make up for the months I've been absent. He doesn't see that I'm more reserved than ever. I don't talk much, allowing him to fill the room with anecdotes and stories, and responding with a nod. I feel like a stranger. I tell myself that I can't love this time, that it's only a physical thing now.
I'm lonely. D is better than nothing.
It shows in my face, because I can't hide pain well. When he asks me about it I wave it away, "Just preoccupied with stuff at work...or at home." I leave the room often because I'm truly at a loss. There is no peace when I'm with D. He feels like a burden now, and I'm not comfortable visiting him. I sit in the driveway for long minutes debating with myself, "Should I go in, or leave?"
He has no idea that I feel this way. As I back off, he rallies, taking a few weeks off work - devoted to spending time with me. He wants to take a trip. I have no call or work on the weekends. I toss out weak excuses. He tells me that this weekend he can't see me. Ahhhhh. That old familiar refrain...is it the fair weathers, or a weekend trip with L? I shake my head, send out feelers. He hasn't been obvious so I vote for weekend with L. I feel pretty shitty about the whole thing, but he offers to take me out for sushi on Sunday night. I lie to him, "I won't know until Sunday if I can come over. I tentatively push for an earlier time, but he's firm.
Because his plans are always more important than time with me.
I need to get the electronics straightened out. I'll stick around long enough for that to happen. Once that's done, I believe I'll slip away for good.
Because I don't love him, and I know he doesn't love me.
I track our times together. I plan on doing that for the next month or two. It's ammunition, of course. Damning.
I can't figure out why I need tangible proof that he sees me infrequently.
Sunday, 31 March 2013
"You're an idiot," she reminds me, "I can't believe you fell for his lies again...AGAN!" Angle me paces and snarls. I sit on the couch, forlorn and sore from sex.
D lured me back. I tell myself that it's just for sex, that it's for nothing more than a booty call.
He tells me that he's got a confession to make, that he's told his coworkers about his girlfriend....I nod knowingly and interrupt, "You're back with L...I know..." He looks horrified, "NO! I told them I was dating YOU, a surgery nurse from _____hospital!" Oops. Good thing I didn't mention the 8 pounds of L's hair in the bathroom sink.
I blow him off, waving his confession away like so much bullshit. Why the hell would he tell people he was dating me when I was barely speaking to him for the last three months? He's an odd bird, but I don't believe a word he says. He'll get busy with the fair weathers, with his real girlfriend. I slip away, an empty kiss serves as goodbye. I drive away, pretending not to see him wave from his front door.
Angel me seethes from the passenger seat, "Is it worth it? You'll get hurt again! You know he doesn't care a bit about you!" My jaw clenches, but I can't reply. I feel empty and sad. Even if it's only for sex alone, this will do nothing but leave me feeling bad about myself. I lamely state, "It's not my finest moment..." She snorts in disgust and turns away.
Devil me takes me to task for my sins and shortcomings, "I can't wait to see what he tries next to get you to stay." I assure her that he doesn't really give a shit if I stick around or not, but she's not buying it either.
I'm beginning to wonder if I'm wrong, and I get my answer soon enough. D pesters me to come over and stay overnight. He wants to wake up next to me, "Bring the dog so you don't have to leave early." I chide him one too gently for lying about his Saturday. He insists that he's spending it with his sister and brother in law, but I know he's RSVP'd to a party with the fair weathers. He tells me that his brother in law's father has passed away. It's too much. I call him out, and tell him not to tell fables about a death in the family just to go out with friends. He's indignant, calls off our plans.
I toss a viper in his lap, "Suit yourself. I was going to f*** you senseless for your birthday. Looks like you'll be senseless without the f***ing. No need to get pissy because I call you out for telling a whopper to hang out with your friends. I could give the tiniest shit who you pass the time of day with, just don't feed me some line about me being your 'girlfriend' and then never spend any time with me. I can easily make other plans. Good night."
Devil me giggles, but it's my turn to be disgusted, "They have 'events' 9 days a week and he can't possibly miss one to spend some time with me. I told you he didn't give a shit." I log off the computer with a sigh.
The next afternoon when I log on again I see that he's replied. I respond to other emails first because I can't handle his crap yet. His tone is different, "I don't know what to do here," he explains that his sister and brother in law have fallen ill and decided not to visit. The convenience of it is too much for me to handle so I laugh until I'm mopping tears. He continues to panic, and that makes me laugh harder. He sounds like Chicken Little running around declaring that the sky is falling. He proclaims that he wants me to come over, but he fears that I don't believe him.
I look at the time he sent the email. It's been nearly 24 hours. I tell him that I'll meet him.
I end up taking him out to dinner for his birthday. He tells me about working outside up the coast, that's why he's sunburned. I dryly point out his sunburned legs, and say that I know he was with the fair weathers at their party. Then I make it a point to turn away and shake my head when he tries to bullshit further. I raise a hand to wave it away, "You don't wear shorts to work. How stupid do you think I am?"
I stay overnight, and that proves to be the wrong decision. He proclaims his love for me, burns more music, calls me his girlfriend, proposes that we go on trips together....He delays my leaving by hours. He wants me to bring my laptop and iPod to the house next weekend. I let my guard down, tell him Saturday is busy...plans with the kids all day. Sunday will work.
I send a tentative text today. Happy Monday. Thank you for a lovely weekend. What time can I come over on Sunday? Oh, not before afternoon. Definitely after lunch. Angel me pokes me in the ribs, mouthing the same question that occurs to me: Is L staying overnight this weekend? I tell myself that he could have other plans, but it all sounds hollow - because I don't believe him....I'll never believe him, even though his sister posts an apology on his social network page, "So sorry that we weren't able to come down this time but we were so sick that the only choice was to head home". I don't feel a need to acknowledge that he wasn't lying about that, and when Devil me cocks an eyebrow I shrug and say, "He was lying about the rest of it. Let him stew."
I don't realize how unhappy I look until a colleague stops me in the hallway, "Are you okay? You look so sad!" I nod, "I'm okay, just tired."
I think I'll let him help me with the computer and the iPod, so that I won't have to ask for help. Then I think I need to slip away for good this time. It's never easy but it's never going to be good, so I can't stay.
It already hurts. The real thing wouldn't hurt like this.
Wednesday, 27 March 2013
We pushed the heavy bed through the hallways to the big elevator. W bagged the patient through his fresh tracheostomy while I tugged at the foot of the bed, "Is his oxygen saturation any better?" W nods, "It's 97%. I'm not sure why it was low in the room." Visitors pause to gawk so I pull the bed a little faster. Soon we're inside the big elevator, quiet except for the sound of the patient breathing against W's efforts. He's probably just about ready to come off the ventilator upstairs. His eyes open on occasion, but they focus on nothing, the pupils pinpoint from the narcotics he received during surgery.
When we arrive in ICU we noisily proceed to his room, all monitors, IV pumps, ventilator and glass walled. There is a tiny bathroom but the patients never use them. We give report, help connect the patient to monitors and the ventilator, and gather our things to leave.
The visitor in the next room looks at me sadly. I recognize him and his wife. She's been in hospitals for the last 3 years. My students took care of her. Both of them were demanding, but she's become so frail and he's come to the realization that she'll not be coming home. She's on contact precautions for a bacterial infections. I stand at the doorway, "I saw you in the cafeteria a few weeks back, so I knew that she didn't go home." He looked at me, resigned, "It's not for us to know when." She was close to death; he knew it. Somehow, she was hanging on. "I've been praying for you....for comfort," I told him sincerely. Words fail me then, because the deepest sorrow isn't soothed by words. Despair is something that simply has to settle in the middle of the room, huge and terrible. When it decides to move along it meanders out, stopping to inspect the corners of the room, waiting to see if it will be invited back.
I left with an empty heart. Prayers do little to fill the void when someone is not long on this Earth. Comfort is empty. It's a chapter that's winding down to it's end.
I ride the elevator alone. It's not for us to know when.