As I approached this past weekend the tentative plans I had with a few friends began to unravel. No one was available anymore. I fretted about that for a while.
These weekends when I don’t have my kids can be kind of tough. In my prior life, before being dumped (7 weeks ago), B absorbed all of my time. I rarely had more than an hour or two to myself (not including sleeping), which truthfully sometimes annoyed me. (On reflection, I note for the record when I would make plans periodically with a girlfriend, B was mildly annoyed that I would cut into “his time,” which was just a smidge reminiscent of the Asshole). But he kept me busy, usually doing something physical and outside and I liked that, which kind of tempered my periodic frustration over no time alone.
Now, however, I have lots of time alone when my kids are with their father and while I like certain aspects of it, it can still be tough. I’m usually good for 24 hours but if I have more than 24 hours, at least since I was dumped, I get that ridiculous sadness that on a good day (like today) I can see clearly as ridiculous, but on THOSE days I only see as great loss.
Now, let it be said that since I turned that proverbial corner a little over a week ago I have not had intense sadness. As a matter of fact, when I hear myself talking about B (which is becoming less and less) I hear a woman who is thankful for the opportunity to love and be loved by B, but who is also excited and thankful for what is to come. Whatever that is.
On Friday I had a date with the Mail Carrier. He didn’t work on Friday so I suggested we go to a great Tequila Bar, in one of my favorite Portland neighborhoods, for their extraordinary Happy Hour which ran from 4 to 6. He liked the idea and picked me up at 4.
Honestly, even though our first meeting had been pleasant I was concerned that I would be bored with him quickly and I figured if we started early, I could either get home at a decent hour after a long week at work, or make some other plans after I got rid of him. Interestingly, it didn’t work out like that.
We sat at Matador for 3 hours, talking, laughing, drinking margaritas, and sharing the best happy hour nachos this side of the Mississippi. It was interesting how easy it was. We talked about everything and nothing. It was fascinating, insightful and at times flat-out funny. He has a priceless sense of humor that I truly enjoyed. We walked around Northwest for a couple of hours after (I think trying to clear out the tequila) and then we went over to Hawthorne (another favorite neighborhood) to eat Ben & Jerry’s ice cream together and talk some more. By the time I got home we had spent about 7 hours together. A quick 7 hours.
Saturday was the day I had fretted over. All alone. All day. No plans. I slept in until 7:30 (I really know how to do it, don’t I?) I let my puppy out and then puttered around my house. Straightening up, not really wanting to “clean” because Saturdays are not meant for cleaning in my world. There were tons of things I should have done, but none of them I wanted to do (like paint a couple of walls in my bedroom).
I got out of the house by 10 a.m. and ran a couple of errands then I decided to go to the Street of Dreams home show. It was less than 15 minutes from my house and I really wanted to go. I, of course, had not imagined I would go alone, but I decided I was fine with that because I could view the homes as slowly as I wanted to without being rushed or feeling like I was holding someone else up. I toured 5 houses in 3 hours and it was awesome. I took a ton of pictures. Here are a few of my favorites:
a cool bonus room table area I imagined would be great for socializing:
a bitchin bathroom. . . I love bitchin bathrooms
the most awesome outdoor room imaginable . . .
and this kind of cool Beetles loveseat, couch thingy. . . they had it in a garage which seemed very wrong . . .
After enjoying the Street of Dreams I took myself to lunch, on to the movies and then home for a nap. I was really pretty pleased with the way the day had unfolded and after sleeping for an hour or so I was woken up by a girlfriend asking if she could take me out to celebrate my birthday – her timing was pretty perfect.
We went to a number of places but found our way back to the Matador. We ordered margaritas and a shot of one of their 150 different kinds of tequila. Turns out the kind we ordered was not a popular tequila. Also turns out when tequila sits for a while fruit flies find their way into the bottle. Those fruit flies found their way into our shot glasses. Five in hers, four in mine. It was kind of disgusting. The positive was, of course, a new bottle was opened, our shots were replaced and while the menu said it was $17 a shot, we got them for free. Happy Birthday to me! It turned out to be exceedingly STRONG tequila (and I am a serious light weight who rarely drinks). We ended up pouring our shots into our already pretty strong margaritas and I literally felt as if I was drinking myself under a table. But I enjoyed it! All in all the evening was fun and filled with girl chatter and some periodic necessary flirting with the cute weekend biker dudes sitting at the next table.
I got home and into bed by 2:30 and slept straight through until 5:30 when I woke up thinking, “I should get up and go running, as planned.” When I stood up, however, I was instantly dizzy and queasy and was forced to scratch that idea off the books. I went back to sleep for a couple of hours to be woken up by a text from a girlfriend asking if I wanted to go for a walk. I didn’t want to go for a walk, but I thought it might be good to get some fresh air and a little exercise so I said yes.
We walked for 90 minutes. It was touch and go in the beginning, as I fought the urge to throw up too many times to count. By the end, however, I was feeling a little more like myself. A highlight of the walk included a couple of texts from the Mail Carrier wondering if he could see me to wish me a happy birthday in person. I gave him a narrow window of time, reminiscent of our first get together and, just as before, he fit himself into my limited schedule. And this time, he brought flowers. Ten points.
We sat in the sun along the river and got to know each other more. He is a really nice guy with a very sweet, little boy charm that I like a lot. I’m pleased to know him, regardless of where this dating/flirting thing goes. He’s just a really nice guy.
After a lot of texting and chatting on the phone over the last week or so, during this, our third actual meet up, he held my hand, hugged me and, after he asked if he could, kissed me a few times. Unfortunately, I compared all three actions to B almost instantly. What surprised me, and what clearly demonstrates my lack of experience with men, is the way he held my hand, hugged me and kissed me was not what I expected.
I expected it to feel and be the same, because really, how many different ways can someone hold your hand or hug you? I thought the whole experience would cause me to internally freak-out over it just being someone that was not B. I knew enough to realize kissing was about individual technique. In that vein I figured while it would be different, I probably wouldn’t enjoy it because it wouldn’t ever be the kisses I was use to from B.
Boy, if he only knew what he was up against in my head.
All three actions were very different. He held my hand differently, he hugged me differently and he most certainly kissed me differently and while I did compare them, I was forced to admit that I liked the difference immensely. It upset me that I felt a twinge of guilt because I liked it. As if I was being unfaithful to a man who was no longer my suitor. . . . kind of sort of pathetic. Me.
The rest of my afternoon was full of laughter with my kids. They baked me a cake, took me to lunch (and asked me to pay) and surprised me with a gift. A $100 gift card to a running store so I could get a new pair of shoes. It is significant to note that my children have no money, ever. So that I received a gift was clearly due to the fact that the Asshole had found a soft spot somewhere within himself and forked out the cash on my behalf. I was pretty speechless. I even sent him a text that simply said “thank you.” Of course the woman who left that man 3 years ago wondered what his angle was, but in that moment I just let my kids know I was very grateful and extremely happy.
It was a great weekend. I have successfully turned 45. I have sworn off tequila for at least a year and I’m still putting one foot in front of the other, in an effort to walk away from B.
A rather significant step took place this morning. I listened to the voice mail messages from B I had saved on my phone, found no urge to cry and then I matter-of-factly deleted them. It was like instant fresh air all around me.
I think I see another corner in my not too distant future.
Life is good, I am grateful and I am happy.