Wednesday, September 2, 2009

From the Shadows

I was disenchanted with the whole dating thing. As I got older it seemed more and more pointless. I got to a certain age when the men I was meeting were pretty much falling into two groups: guys who had never been in a long term relationship, and had no idea what to do with one, and guys that had never been out of one for very long, and were trying like mad to just fill a placeholder, more scared of being alone than anything. I just wanted someone who would consider me a gift – not a puppet, not a doctor, not a mother, not a savior, not a bank, not a doll. I had great men friends, and yet I was going to social things by myself.

By pure chance, I met a man I had no business being interested in, and he had no business being interested in me. At first, I was just goofing around, being myself, just concerned my own problems and life. We became friends, as unlikely as it seemed on the surface. We discovered that underneath the veneer of different backgrounds and different life experiences, we were pretty similar people, and we came to trust each other. One day, we became lovers. I knew our relationship was doomed from the start, and we broke it off several times, but he’d let months go by and then I’d hear from him again. The friends of mine that knew about him didn’t understand why I cared.

The lure was that he understood me so well. He didn’t think I was too smart for him, or too independent. He wasn’t threatened by me. He didn’t want me to be softer, or weaker, or dumber. He didn’t have anything to prove to me, and didn’t need me to do anything but let him be himself. Aside from everything else, that was what kept us drawn to each other like magnets for a long time, and through a lot of stuff in both our lives. We had some arguments, even some memorable ones. But that was part of the attraction, too; he would argue with me, rather than just clam up, slink away, agree just to shut me up, or lie to me.

When I knew him, I still desperately wanted a child of my own, and I couldn’t have one with him. That, in the end, put the nail in it. There’s been a lot of water under the bridge since then.

But I still miss his company. Not the heartache, certainly. Not the rock in the pit of my stomach, knowing he would never fit into my life and I’d never fit into his. But the time I spent talking to him, feeling his acceptance, his encouragement, and his approval of me, was something I have not felt since.

On nights like this, I doubt I’ll ever know that again. I don’t think so. My peak experiences seem to be once in a lifetime kind of things. Something to think about on dark, lonely nights, remembering.

I’m not yet old enough to be satisfied with only memories. I haven’t had the time or the inclination to probe into the shadows of my mind for quite a while. Tonight I heard his voice in the dialogue of a movie actor, by chance using a few phrases that had been his, in his accent. And then the movie was over, and I sat in the dark and felt it wash over me.


  1. Wow, Mtnmama. Fabulous post. Sometimes ghosts from our pasts make such alluring, and sad, company.

  2. You are an incredible writer.

    Please don't doubt that you will someday experience someone who totally "gets" you and with whom you feel comfortable. You are far too young and lovely to be solo forever.


  3. I totally understand where you are coming from! As a matter of fact, it's kinda where I am right now, with that guy, and it makes me sad cause I know how it's going to end. It's the only way it can end. *sigh* I've been married and divorced three times and I am beginning to think I've used up all my happily ever after chances. I'm glad you had the balls to post this, cause I don't think I ever will.