Here I Go Again On My Own…
“And here I go again on my own
Goin’ down the only road I’ve ever known
Like a drifter I was born to walk alone
An’ I’ve made up my mind, I ain’t wasting no more time
But here I go again, here I go again”
First off, I apologize to anyone I got Whitesnake stuck in your head. It’s been in my own head for the entire afternoon so, misery loves company.
You might have thought, Ah! if you read my last entry, a poem called: I Love. That maybe I found a relationship, or at the very least am that I’m currently happy, especially for those who read the dating saga months of September and October of 2020. After that, it was like I disappeared from writing all together after my November 1st entry. Not necessarily the internet, oh no I was definitely still online and even dating online, I just was struggling internally to write about it. The thing was, I definitely did want to write about it, I wanted to write about all of it. I even got a very nice comment from one Stuart Danker that he was looking forward to future dating posts on a very well intentioned “Coming Back Soon” entry that I posted literally on my birthday. It’s just every time I found myself trying to come back to the keyboard, I found myself not being able to.
I spent the first week of November working through my insecurities with Ross 2.0 and the issues I was internally having. By the end of the week I felt ready to put myself back on the dating market and end up meeting up with a guy I’ll be calling, The General.
(I’d just like to state there is nothing military about him aside he was named after a Southern General. I found it cute and it’s been his contact name in my phone ever since.)
We had had two wonderful dates and had a third planned for the end of that same week when he got sick and had to cancel at the last minute. My insecure mind went everywhere but him actually telling the truth. In my mind, it wasn’t good enough that we had had two dates in one week and almost a third, it simply must mean he didn’t like me anymore/was done with me.“Of course he canceled,” my self doubt said. “It was too good to be true. No one could ever really love you. You’re too much. If he were ‘really’ sick he would have rescheduled with you and he didn’t.” And on and on it went till I was basically in a ball in bed with my knees to my chest in tears. I remember talking on the phone the next day with him to ask how he was feeling, hinting around if there was a rescheduled date in the making but instead he very gently and kindly said he wasn’t as ready to date like he thought he was. He had been very understanding about my living situation with my ex as he was still going through the process of a divorce and I was the first person he’s dated since being back on the dating scene.
Surprisingly enough, I wasn’t angry at him about it. Disappointed? Yes. Sad? Yes. Angry? Not in the slightest. I was grateful that he had the courage to be honest with me and have that tough conversation even though it would hurt. He even apologized that in his mind, leading me on. Truth be told to this day, I never thought that he ever led me on. If anything, I came on too strong. And some more truth is, I had been too needy. I needed too much validation and attention from my own insecurities. Conversation and communication is one of my favorite forms of bonding which is strange as I am also an introvert. But on the other hand, I am also an INFP which is considered the most social of all the introverts so, there is that. I needed that conversation from the moment he woke up to several times throughout the day because it validated that he wanted me. And being wanted was the one thing I was truly craving.
I didn’t want to acknowledge it but, I was still stinging pretty badly from the rejection from Ross 2.0 a week prior. I wanted to not only be chosen but to let myself get caught up in a whirl wind romance. I might as well have been a I Want You To Want Me walking poster board. But did I learn from it? Not at the time, no. Within a couple of days I had reput on what I felt like my big girl boots and went fishing again. I enjoyed the hunt, I enjoyed the dating process. I enjoyed getting caught up in butterflies, first conversations and possibilities. “Well this is interesting,” I would think as I sorted through the buffet. Because online dating for women is just that, a buffet of men while for men on the other hand have a very different dating experience. I would feel that validation, like a prize to be won, a princess with many suitors trying to win my hand. It was when I slowed down, chose a prince to give my full attention to is where I kept going wrong. Over and over again.
That’s not to say that I didn’t have a handful of dates that have now made for fun conversations that month. I had my first and only virtual date where I bought the game Dead By Daylight for the guy because, he was going to “teach me how to play it.” This had made me think of a conversation The General and I had had on our first date, about how he played Among Us with a group of online friends one night of the week and how he and I could possibly play it together. Except the Dead By Daylight guy and I never did play Dead By Daylight. Instead a girl Twitch streamer, a friend of his, came online and he ditched me to play with her. He apologized and asked if I wanted to be apart of the stream to watch. I was hurt but said sure because I thought as weird as it was, he would introduce me to some friends. He was late to the stream by over an hour, didn’t bother to explain the game at all. I had no idea what was going on and I was too shy by this group of strangers to feel comfortable interacting with. Then when he got there, he ignored me the entire night. I made a few minor attempts at asking questions between rounds after he had died and was waiting for the next play through because I was struggling to follow. Everything about the game was very chaotic and instead of taking this time to talk, he just told me to look up a certain YouTuber who made Lets Plays on it and I would “get it” by that. After a couple of hours, I left and I messaged him saying that I was sorry but, I wasn’t interested in dating further. He asked for an honest opinion on why and I explained that quite frankly, I thought he was very inconsiderate of other people’s needs. It didn’t go over well but it makes for a story.
Then there was the time that same month I fooled around with a married man in an open relationship. What made it a note worthy story was that him and another man I had casually texted in October, knew each other. It was such a minor detail but I had never run into a situation where two men worked for the same company. They both worked for Netflix and out of curiosity since it was small world, I said to the married man, do you know Ryan? It was his boss. Ofph! *Insert face palm here* I of course, made the situation even worse by texting Ryan because I was trying to not make the situation awkward for them at work, made the situation like a hundred times more awkward. Ryan was my backup booty call if he and I could ever nail down a time if one of us wouldn’t flake. But in the end, the married man held my attention more than Ryan did as a conversation is half the part of what stimulates me in bed. Married man and I hooked up once, it wasn’t that good for either one of us and I stopped talking to both of them with zero disappointment before Thanksgiving.
I did learn a lesson from that situation, I was never going to date someone who even remotely worked in the same field to someone I had talked to prior and this new rule came in handy twice. The first was there are a lot of firemen on Tinder. There are also a lot of fire stations near me so, it figures. But my neighbor who I had a major crush on and had hooked up with/matched on Tinder is a fireman. So that was out. I wasn’t going to risk the possibility of anyone I went out with being linked back to him, it’s kind of a small community. I did end up making a joke with my neighbor about it at one point and I think he was secretly relieved that I wasn’t going to pursue anyone in that community too. The second experience was, I started talking to a guy who worked as a pedi cab driver in downtown Charleston and also actively did historical walking tours. Even though The General wouldn’t have been his immediate boss like with the Netflix guys, it was still too close to comfort for myself.
I only met up with one other person in November, the day after my birthday who I call Shy Guy. Shy Guy worked for a tech company in North Charleston and I am if anything, very attracted to brains verses brawn. I could never get Shy Guy to meet up for a second date although we texted till mid January. I gave up ever going out with him again and just content to be texting buddies, till he tried to booty call me after being tested positive for Covid. Twice. Yeah. That really happened. He wanted “risky snuggles” as he put it. I wrote off the first attempt as a non serious joke, that he was just whining from being bored and sick. A couple days later he tried again. I just didn’t even bother. I deleted his number and never replied to a single text of his again.
On December 10th I matched with a guy on Tinder I’ll call… Fishsticks. I’ll explain why, he worked in the fish department at a grocery store as a specialist and had a degree in Marine Biology. I thought it was cute and funny but he was never fond of the nickname. Whenever I asked him how he felt about the nickname, he was always like “meh.” But back to the first night of the 10th. We casually messaged each other that afternoon around 4pm, this is relevant, and we kept going till 4 in the morning, virtually non stop. The messages were occasionally flirty but not aggressively so. It was just fun. I honestly can’t even remember what we talked about, I just remember what I felt which was: wow. It was such a back and forth zing conversation that I had to be like, I have to meet you. I have to meet the man I couldn’t stop talking to for twelve hours. So even though I had had a date that Friday night with someone else, I met up with Fishsticks. We met up at a local bar/mini game room. We had dinner, played a few games and afterwards got in his car and drove through one of those Christmas light shows. We were both beyond exhausted. I was going on over being awake for close to 36 hours and only expecting to get 5 hours of sleep that Friday night. But I couldn’t get enough.
We lived on opposite sides of town, roughly around 45 minutes away from each other give or take on how good traffic was. Since he had came to my side of town, I had wanted to reciprocate and meet him on his side where he said the best ice cream in all of Charleston lay. That is a bold statement to anyone whose eaten at Ye Old Fashioned so of course I was intrigued. The second date went as well as the first and I was over the moon but at the same time I was exhausted, I was ready to stop dating multiple people. So the following week I told Fishsticks that I was deleting all my dating apps but I didn’t expect him to be exclusive, he was okay with it. It was to the point where I needed a serious break from dating that if it didn’t work out with Fishsticks, I didn’t want to date other people for awhile. And true to my word, I have not reinstalled any dating app since deleting them in December.
Fishsticks and I ended up having a really bad third date the following week on the 22nd. He had waited till a few days before Christmas to get his shopping done. Not only that, he was one of seven children, only him and one other sibling weren’t married or had children and his mother was one of seven children as well. So yeah, he had a lot of shopping to do and he was feeling very overwhelmed and I just thought it was a *sarcastic* great idea to offer to help. It wasn’t. It was so stressful and he was so disorganized about everything and the crowds were wild to say the least. It was three days before Christmas after all. It was almost enough to write him off entirely till he said later that evening how grateful he was to have me there with him. He said I kept him calm and was able to help him focus, even though he got next to little of his shopping done. He ended up going back out the next couple of nights being able to refocused and get everything on his list. It was touching to say the least.
Reenter The General on December 24th. I don’t know what compelled me to message him on Facebook. I had deleted his phone number because at the time, I wasn’t interested in being just friends and I didn’t really think I’d ever speak to him again. I had tried to be just friends with Ross 2.0 right afterwards and it didn’t go well. I didn’t want the same thing to happen to The General so I just deleted his number. But there was something about in the middle of the night, the night before Christmas, where I really wanted to message The General. I wasn’t interested in dating him at all, I was still perfectly happy figuring things out with Fishsticks were going despite how stressful our third date had gone. I still wanted to stick to my guns of if it didn’t work out with Fishsticks, that I wouldn’t just “move on” to the next guy and I would stay single. I didn’t exactly know if I could be friends with The General, but I wanted to try.
I had bought The General this Star Wars a coffee mug with Darth Vader on it that said “Whose Your Daddy” back in November the week we were going out. I had been ordering some other stuff off Amazon, saw it and thought he would like it. I had had the gift still sitting in it’s package as I am not that big of a Star Wars fan (it’s cool but it’s just not my thing) and I didn’t know anyone else who would want it. We talked about me coming over to drop it off at his place or even getting coffee at one point with specific intentions of just friends and not a date, but one thing lead to another and we didn’t end up meeting up till towards the end of January, the 23rd to be exact.
In between this time of making plans to meet up, canceling and rescheduling with The General, I was actively dating Fishsticks. It was and it wasn’t going very well. When we hung out, I was in heaven and perfectly content where we were relationship wise. I didn’t want to be boyfriend/girlfriend but I wanted exclusivity. He didn’t even though he wasn’t seeing anyone else. I wanted to meet up at least twice a week and he was content/fine with just meeting once for a few hours in the evening. I mostly just wanted to spend time with him so we could keep getting to know each other.
When we did spend time together, I really enjoyed it, it was fun. He stimulated my mind and always had me guessing. He also always made me feel like a lady. He would open doors in restaurants and car doors. He always insisted on paying for dinner and driving me home even though I offered to go dutch and take Uber’s home. I tried food like macaroni and cheese on pizza which was as gross as it sounds.
Once he picked me up after work and we went to watch the sunset on Folly Beach where he showed me a million little details with his degree in marine biology that I would have missed. Instead of walking on the beach we looked at every little shell and he told me what it was and how I could tell the difference. The way he spoke and watching him process trying to figure out if something was a muscle or crab for example, was fascinating. He would pick up what looked to be trash and twirl it in his hands at the tiny details I wouldn’t have any clue to look for and bring me along the process with him as he figured it out. It was these little moments that I could feel myself starting to catch feelings for him.
The problem was, it wasn’t reciprocated. He wasn’t feeling romantic feelings for me at all. Part of it had to do with his religion. He was Mormon and was waiting till marriage to have sex. I knew this going in and told him I had never dated either a Mormon or not have sex thing but I was willing to try. I thought we could be intimate in other ways such as, holding hands, making out and even possibly some foreplay down the line. I was interested to see where it went. We had tried making out in the backseat of his car once which was fun but I could tell it was a lot for him. So I never tried to push to go to that level again. Even making sexual innuendo jokes would make him uncomfortable. Towards the last couple of times we met up, I would try to just hold his hand. The final time we met, I asked him about it and in his words, it felt too “relationship-y.”
I was crushed. That last meet up was on the 26th and I’m getting ahead of myself because The General I had met up on the 23rd. Even though I had been frustrated with Fishsticks, my only intentions of going to see the General were friendship ones. I was nervous to see him again after two months. How awkward was it going to be? Well, more on my end than his. I couldn’t help but ask myself a lot, could we be friends?
I knocked on the door and his dog Roux barked and I smiled. I remember meeting his dog the one time before and she was an absolute cutest of all angels. She was one of those dogs you instantly couldn’t help but fall in love with and remember for years later. I think it would be okay to share a photo of her that The General sent me, I dare any animal lover to not fall in love with that face.
Then he opened the door and in the warmest of welcome’s in his bright cheery voice said, “Hey! It’s nice to see you, come on in!”
He smiled and I shyly smiled back as I crossed the threshold. We made small talk for the next couple hours. I gave him his gift and he reminded me of how generous I was to do so. We moved to his couch and kept talking. It felt so easily and effortless even when he was retelling me the same stories from two months prior on our second date. I honestly felt more relieved the more time I spent with him and the knot in my stomach slowly started to go away. I didn’t have to worry about anything. The conversation was easy but I wasn’t currently intellectually stimulated the way Fishsticks did. He is very charming though, I couldn’t help but think and compare as I sat listening to a story The General was telling me about his job. It’s so subtle the way he does it too, I continued to think. He’s so calm and gentle.
I don’t remember how the topic came up but there had been two movies Fishsticks had kept quoting to me over and over again and I could tell he wanted me to watch. Movies were a big deal to Fishsticks and we were constantly quoting movie quotes to the other to the point where it had become both a game and a thing between us. The first movie was Airplane and the other was Les Miserables (for a guy he was really into musicals and as a musical geek myself it was something I loved). Once again, I don’t remember how the conversation of Airplane came up with The General but the next thing I knew my head was on his shoulder and my legs stretched on the other end of his couch as he put the movie on. I knew I was flirting with danger but I felt warm, cozy and safe.
Nothing happened at first. We talked through the movie a bit and laughed a lot. At some point, his hand touched mine. I don’t even know who touched whose first. I think it was me but I’m not sure. It was a light stroke and our finger tips brushed the others. Tingles began to shiver all over my body and down to my lady groin. Alarm bells were screaming through my head. Danger, Sarah, danger! It was very intimate. And I was craving intimacy like this in the worst way that I wasn’t getting from Fishsticks.
Be strong Sarah, I groaned.
We’re not exclusive, I told myself.
Yes but you know if this goes further this changes everything for you with Fishsticks.
The movie ended and The General stretched and moaned after sitting for two hours but he did not get up. I yawned and looked at him. He looked at me back and I could just feel myself be pulled towards his lips like a magnet although I kept trying to resist the force.
“I’m… seeing someone,” I said. “it’s still new and I have feelings for him but it’s not exclusive… and this would… complicate things.”
“It’s okay,” The General replied. “We don’t have to do anything you don’t want to.”
The problem was that I wanted to. Oh so very much. I remembered the first time I kissed him on our second date back in November, in very nearly this exact spot and position. I remembered how good of a kisser he was, how turned on I was then and how turned on I was now. I leaned in and very much felt like Ed Sheeran’s Shape Of You as his lips parted with mine. Come now follow my lead as I dragged him to his bedroom and into his enormous king sized bed. Afterwards I was both very happy and very sad at the same time. Everything was going to change from this point on and I didn’t know what it was going to mean. Having sex meant something to me. Not necessarily for The General, I was fine and casual how I felt with him but I felt like I had done something terribly wrong even though Fishstick’s and I boundaries had been clearly laid out. We weren’t exclusive. Then why did what I do feel so wrong and yet right at the same time?
I needed answers. Unfortunately, Fishsticks was out of town to visit family and wasn’t going to be back till Monday at the very earliest and hadn’t been very responsive with his text messages. But I told him we had to meet as soon as possible, insisted in fact that we had to talk. So he said okay, very much obliging. We met after he got off work on Tuesday. He had been a half hour late and I remember pacing back and forth outside his work building waiting for him to be done. I was half paranoid that he stood me up or had found a way to sneak out of the building to avoid me but I made myself wait. At one point I had to use the bathroom so I went inside to take the fastest pee of my life in case I missed him and he left and ended up pocket dialing and leaving the entire experience on his voice mail. Eventually he came out and we got in his car. His grocery store was running the last day of their weekly sale on an ice cream and he came out with a pint for us to share, except he bought peanut butter flavor to which I was just like, yuck. I hate peanut butter, well, all nuts really but still. I think he felt guilty over it because without asking he ended up taking me to Yee Old Fashioned and we sat in his car on the other side of the parking lot as he hate an entire pint of peanut butter ice cream.
“Ugh I feel sick,” he groaned.
“Yeah… I should say so,” I said with a slight amused tone but still pretty nervous about what I had to talk about. “You ate an entire thing of ice cream.”
“Well I did think I was going to share it so… what did you want to talk about?”
I took a deep breath and I slowly, painfully tried to tell him what had happened. How I had slept with someone and how it signified something to me. Sex with The General had been casual but there was nothing casual about how it affected my feelings for Fishsticks.
“And so…?” he said nonchalantly, like is this the big news you had to insist on seeing me about?
“I need to know how you feel and stand about it, I guess,” I replied back.
“Well… we’re not exclusive,” he started mulling it over in his head. “And I still don’t know exactly what it is that I want.”
“I want to be exclusive,” I said firmly. I had said this to him before and just as before he said, “Well I don’t.” What drove me crazy is that he wasn’t even dating anyone else. I mean maybe he had a few one off conversations from time to time on Tinder, but I was almost positive that he hadn’t even been on so much as a date with anyone else. So what did it matter? To have the option? It was then what I suspected clicked for me. That I was just there to be someone for him to talk to until someone better came along. Just like the other guys before.
“I think… I like you more than you like me,” I said in a barely audible voice.
“I think so too,” he agreed.
“So what now?” I asked. He shrugged. “I dunno.” “Just friends?” He shrugged again. “Sure?”
“You know this means I do things like, pay for my own food, get Uber’s home, open up my own doors right,” I said firmly, trying to lay down boundaries for me between friendship and dating. He scrunched up his face in distaste. It honestly didn’t hit me till just writing these words down now, that he was only doing those things because he felt like he had to, not because he thought it was wanted to do.
We ended up going inside to Ye Old Fashioned Shop because I was hungry and we went over to the side to take our time and look at the menu. Not something I mentioned but from the very first date with Fishsticks, he had a fascination with menus and I was fascinated with his fascination with menus. Not so much the design but how he would sit there and read each and every menu item and seriously contemplate every choice with the same weight as Congress voting on to pass a bill or not. It very heavily reminded me of that scene in You’ve Got Mail over the choices of coffee.
“The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc. So people who don’t know what the hell they’re doing, or who on earth they are can – for only $2.95 – get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self: Tall. Decaf. Cappuccino.”
Not the greatest of analogies since he’s Mormon and can’t drink coffee but it was always how I felt how ordering food with him was like. What this did do, was make me read menus more thoroughly too. So we stood there off to the right staring at the very large menu in the tiniest of blocked lettering you’d read on garage sale signs the entire menu. Twenty minutes later I was ready to order and I guess so was he even though I thought he was full. He went up to what I thought was just getting the sales associate attention that we were finally ready to order but the next thing I knew, he was paying for everything. I did a mental sigh but wasn’t going to fight it.
We sat down and I told him how I had watched Airplane and half of Les Mes. He seemed touched that I had went out of my way to watch his two favorite movies and wanted to know every little detail of what I thought about every part of both movies. It was hard because when it came to Airplane I had slightly other things going on to occupy my interests but there was enough that I could talk about I enjoyed. I had also only seen the movie once and it felt like I had taken away the specialness with Fishsticks by making it something with The General. I had really enjoyed watching it with The General and it felt like “our” thing now. Our jokes that we laughed at and he showed me bits and told me fun facts. As for Les Mes, the music was beautiful but I struggled to follow the story plot and even more so with the character names. I knew who Hugh Jackman was and cried when Anne Hathaway sang but honestly I got bored and confused half way in. It was just a lot. And I could tell by my struggle to recap both movies was disappointing to Fishsticks. It was like I was almost interesting to him for just a second and then I let him down and instead disappointed him.
I took my sundae to go and Fishsticks took me home. As I got out of the car, I sort of knew this would be the last time I saw him. He ghosted me after that or at the very least he never went out of his way to ever message me again. He replied once or twice if I reached out to him first but they always ended as quickly as they started. It was like as quickly as the relationship started on such strong footing, dissolved just as fast. From my end, I stopped wanting to talk with him as well when he teased me about getting my learner’s permit. He wrote “I know not to come to your side of town for awhile,” he replied back to my excited news of finally working on over coming my fear of driving and passing my learners permit test. His words felt like a needle to a balloon. One big giant. POP. I told him how much that hurt me and he in a self deprecating way was like, “I know, I’m a jerk.” I replied back. You are. He said, “I know.” And that was that with Fishsticks.
But what about The General you ask?
It was never my intention to fall in love with him. Nothing really happened at first. I’d see a couple of memes and jokes that I thought he’d find funny. He was just so damn easy to talk to and the sex had been amazing. He knew how to press all the right buttons but it was more than that. He made me feel safe. He made me feel whole and loved. The bedroom while yes, very much a place to vulgarly say, fuck, it was a safe space. I felt safe and free for the first time in my life where we did experiment with a couple of things neither of us had tried before. It was both love making and fucking. I always kept wanting more. It was never enough.
The General and I set some pretty clear boundaries early on that I appreciated but ultimately at the same time weren’t clear enough. Or who knows. I don’t know. We both agreed on pretty early that neither of us wanted a relationship yet or were ready for one. I was/am still living for my ex and he is still in the process of getting divorced. We never talked about exclusivity but at the same time, I didn’t worry about it with him. I trusted him. Maybe it was also because I was still the first person he had gone out with with since we dated in November and maybe it was partly due to his agreement on how the only reason why you look on Tinder to begin with is because your bored. I just got this overall feeling that I could get my exclusivity with him without having to ask for it. I just felt like I could trust him. I just felt like I could be myself around him without judgement.
It was also refreshing because this was exactly what I had been trying to explain to Fishsticks. I didn’t care what the world thought. I only cared what we thought. I didn’t care about labels or what society thinks of us. Fuck society. It’s not anyone’s business but ours what is going on between us and we can make up the rules as we go along. I loved that The General got this and was totally on board. It probably helps that we share in common both being only children and come from hippie parents and families and we share a lot of the same mindset when it comes to alternative lifestyles.
I was careful to do my best not to fall into repeating habits from November with The General. I didn’t want to over text but I did want to communicate. Like I wrote towards this beginning of this very long entry, conversation is one of my favorite ways of bonding. Except, I didn’t want to be too much or too needy. Too much or too needy… those words echo in my head hauntingly. I don’t know how to be anything else. So I tried to be cautious and pull myself back in some ways by texting less in the day when he was at work and try to find times when I thought he would be less busy. I really enjoyed sending him little silly jokes during the day and once dirty texting him during a Zoom meeting he had. Talking with him did feel different than in November, maybe because we had setup these expectations and boundaries before hand but, I still didn’t want to be too much or too overwhelming so I pulled back. I didn’t want him to feel as if I was expecting him to immediately reply like in November. He had a life and one of the first things I really learned quickly was that The General had a very busy life and it was hard to find time to squeeze me in it.
On the one hand, I didn’t want him to change up his life style for me, I still don’t, not entirely. I sent him this quote I had found on Pinterest and I firmly still believe it. I want him to put himself first the way I wanted to put myself first. In fact he was inspiring me to put myself first more and to finally be independent. It was indirectly because of him that I pushed myself so hard to over come my fear of driving and go for my learners permit. I wasn’t pushing myself for him, I was doing things for me but, if it meant a serious relationship could benefit between us down the line then, that was just a cherry on top.
The problem was though, we rarely saw each other and we texted less and less. Texting during the day migrated to at night. A handful of times we were able to talk for about an hour on the phone. I was pulling back back so I wouldn’t be too much but it felt like he was making less and less time for me. My ideal scenario was one similar to Fishsticks. I wanted to spend two to three times a week with someone to get to know them. This did happen once with The General and while he made sure to hide it really well, I get the feeling that that was a lot for him. It had also been the last time we met up. As of writing this blog post, it’s been three weeks.
I guess a lot of the time I just wonder, what the hell is wrong with me? What is it exactly that I do that pushes guys away? I look at certain single people in my life and go, oh yeah, I definitely know why you’re single. But myself? No clue. I know it has to be something… if I could only you know, not be me for a moment that would be *bill lumbergh coffee sip* greeeaaat. Also, could you come in on Saturday?
So, you might be asking, does that mean The General and I broke up? Not exactly. What’s happened is exactly nothing. Nadda. Radio silence. Not a peep.
Let me explain.
The first week The General and I didn’t see each other, I didn’t think much of it. Every time I left his apartment, we always scheduled when we were going to see each other again, this time we didn’t. I left it open ended because I wanted to see if he would try and make plans with me. I was feeling frustrated that we not only met up when I made the suggestion but that he rarely if ever texted me first. I had become nervous of over texting during the day so I only started messaging him when I thought he would be free at night. It turned out his nights were just as busy as his days. By the start of the second week, I was barely texting at all. I missed him terribly and still wanted to talk to him. I was also freaking out over a pregnancy scare and nervous how to tell him. I had been feeling a lot of pregnancy symptoms since a little bit before the 12th of February like a very, very, heightened sense of smell, lots of all day non stop nausea, mildly aching and tender breasts, headaches and an increased appetite. The week of the February 12th I had been studying for my driver’s permit and chalked up all these symptoms to nerves. When the symptoms didn’t die down, grew stronger in fact and increased number, I began to get nervous and even more stressed. I kept worrying and over thinking thoughts like: Omg, what if I am pregnant! What do I do?! I don’t want to marry The General simply because I could be pregnant but, would he be someone I would want to marry down the line, possible baby not with standing? Would he want to be in the child’s life? And I had so many more questions. I was trying to keep myself grounded, that a woman’s body can actually fake pregnancy symptoms and stressing myself out was making it worse. I knew these things and was trying to keep myself calm but at the same time, I was still stressed over it. I was due for my period by March 4th and thankfully not only received a negative pregnancy test but, got my period three days later.
What this did do was solidify my feelings for him because of all the questions I had to force myself to ask. The pregnancy scare changed everything for me the same way I knew the first time The General and I had sex, changed everything with Fishsticks. I knew I had been falling for The General before, but now I knew that I loved him. It feels like I throw that word around a lot when in reality, I usually just develop a lot of crushes. I’m a romantic and I get caught up in a person’s personality and their soul. I get caught up in how they think, what and why they think and all of their flaws. To me that makes them absolutely beautiful. With Fishsticks it was his intellect and with The General it is his compassion. The General might not open car doors or insist on taking me home but what he does comes from love and not a self obligatory compulsion. Not to say that The General isn’t smart or intellectual, it’s just very much a different experience. I always felt like I had to be “on” with Fishsticks. I had to be on my best game at all times, sharp and witty while with The General, he comes down to my level and doesn’t make me feel stupid for doing so.
During this time, between March 4th and the 7th, I was waiting to hear from him and to reach out. Anything. A carrier pigeon, Morse Code, a smoke signal, you name it. I got nothing. I remember talking to a close friend online about this and I told myself I was going to stay firm and wait for him to reach out to me. There was so much I wanted to talk about, like the pregnancy scare. Eventually, I caved at work that Sunday the 7th. He was really kind and understanding about it all. We even talked where we stood in relation, redefining some boundaries. Like taking our current only hanging out in his apartment to the possibility of going out and doing things together. I didn’t bring up my feelings over how he rarely reaches out to make contact with me first though. Even though this probably isn’t true for him, I felt like I had already stretched my limits of what I could ask for. I didn’t want to push. He told me that I wasn’t being too needy and that I worry too much. I was sort of feeling better and okay about it. So I didn’t press.
We made a date to come over on Thursday the 11th to watch the new South Park episode. My period was still very much happening but I felt okay with sex not having to be on the agenda every time I came over to his place and I felt comfortable that he wouldn’t feel pressured to have it. Except that Tuesday night,everything changed.
I think it’s okay to sort of talk about what happened but I don’t want to go in great detail as I don’t want to cross any boundaries or lines.
The General’s ninety-two year old grandmother had fallen and hurt her head, suffering internal bleeding. He said the doctor’s didn’t expect her to make it through the night but that there were some unusual things. For one, her grandma was not only conscious but alert. She kept cursing the doctors and nurses out, swearing up and down like a sailor when The General personally said he’s never heard his grandmother use a stronger word than damn in his entire life. We decided to play Thursday by ear till he knew more about his grandmother, totally understandable and reasonable.
I stayed up that entire night on after we got off the phone. Most of the night I prayed. Not to God or anyone in particular, just a general message out to the universe. Please let her survive the night, I thought over and over again for hours. Please let her live, was the last thought I remember before falling asleep and the first one I woke up to. And she did not only survive the night but the next day The General said that aside from a couple of things I don’t feel comfortable writing here, she was going to move to hospice that she was doing so much better all things considering. I had the feeling that he was exhausted and wanted some alone time so we postponed meeting up till that Saturday. I was over the moon happy to say the least and as I was trying to fall asleep that night, I couldn’t help but get the inspiration to finish the poem I Love.
That’s all very well and good, you might be saying. But how does this signal to radio silence?
Saturday I texted him mid morning to see how he was doing and what time would be good to meet up. To which I get a reply that his grandmother had taken a turn for the worse and had died. Omg! I remember replying. I am so sorry! What happened?! I stood in shock just staring at my phone reading the message. I couldn’t believe it. It had sounded like she was doing so much better, a miracle in fact. What had happened?! I didn’t hear much from him that day and I understood. He always goes over to his parents on Saturday to do his laundry and help with yard work till mid afternoon. I waited a couple hours after I was home from work to call. My fingers nervously pressed the button to make the call. I almost always text, asking first before calling to be respectful if he was busy or not to be able to talk. Which I know is silly because he always tell me I worry too much, but I always worry that I’m bothering him.
The call went to voice mail but he called me back within fifteen-twenty minutes-ish, he had been driving on the way back from his parents. He said his grandmother had passed away on Friday night and that they weren’t exactly sure how except that there had been complications I don’t want to write about on here on the transport to hospice. He said he was still in shock and none of it really hit him yet, I could relate. I felt the same way when my own grandma died when I was fourteen, it took awhile to really sink in. As selfish as I wanted to be and still see him, be there for him, I asked if he wanted the night to himself. And believe me, I really didn’t want to do that. But… I wanted to let him be able to grieve, privately. I had never seen him cry yet and I didn’t know if he would want me to see him cry or if he could in front of me if I were there. What I wanted was to be there and hold him in my arms. I wanted to sit there in silence or talk hear more stories about his grandmother, who from what he had told me sounded like an incredible woman. I wanted to hear more about his family. I wanted to meet them event though I knew that would be asking for too much. But the thing I kept telling myself again and again, this isn’t want you want Sarah. This is what he needs.
And what does he need? I don’t know. I kept trusting him that he would tell me. I texted him mid morning on Sunday to see how he was feeling. He said he was doing better but that he was still sad. I asked him what time was good to meet up and he asked if he could have another day to himself.
I was crushed. My heart fell into the pit of my stomach as I read the message. Didn’t he want me… at all? To be there in any sort of way for him? I choked back a sob that I could feel forming in the back of my throat. This isn’t about you, I reminded myself and took a deep breath in. This isn’t about you. ok. I wrote, it was all I could muster and it’s been the last exchange of words between us since the 14th.
Honestly, I don’t know what to do. It’s been three days and while that isn’t a long time in the grand scale of things, it feels like an eternity for me. I don’t want to pester him everyday, asking how he’s feeling. I feel that would get annoying after awhile especially as I have a feeling he’s feeling that question asked of him from so many ends, so many different people right now. So on one hand, I want to give him time and space to grieve. But on the other, I am unbelievably hurt that he won’t let me be there for him in any sort of capacity, in any sort of way. I feel like I’m being pushed even further away.
For as open as he was with me about so many aspects in his life, at the same time it always felt like he kept me at an arms length distance. When I say this I mean the, not texting first or making only a very little amount of time to hang out to now being shut out of the grieving process. I think these are all little ways he subconsciously, or who knows maybe even consciously sets up little boundaries in place. I suspect he does these things because of not wanting to hurt again after his ex wife. In that regard I think I might be one of the closest people he’s let into his life since. But I mean, I don’t technically know, this is only just speculation that’s run through my head. All of this is just my brain over thinking and over analyzing every detail I can remember. I just try to make sense of everything, to be able to understand it, to be able to understand him.
I can’t find the quote but I read this Pinterest quote (yes roll your eyes at me for unabashedly liking Pinterest quotes) that talked about how when you really loved someone, you wanted what was good for them, and not yourself. And I guess my whole point with all of this is that I want what is good for The General above my own wants and feelings about the situation he’s going through. Like Lorelei Gilmore once said just before she ended up being broke up with her boyfriend Luke Danes, “I’m scared of this needing more time bit.”
And I am scared of the time. I’m scared of each day passing not hearing from him, not knowing. Being on this side which feels shut out. The thing is, I’m fairly certain that if I messaged him, he wouldn’t shut me out. But I’m afraid he’d resent me for it. So I sit here, day after day, trying to not wallow and live my life, yesterday/Tuesday the 16th I went on a seven mile walk and vlogged it, but inside I’m miserable. Your silence is slowly killing me.