Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Tall One and the Violet, Part Three

Read Part One; Part Two...the editor is beginning to feel like the Pioneer Woman.

When the Tall One mentioned that he had lunch with “a friend,” alarms rang in Violet’s head. He told Violet that the woman – let’s call her Jezebel – was someone he met at an NA meeting the previous fall. She was a heroin addict who had been “away” (code for seeking recovery at a treatment center) for some time and had just returned to town. She was unemployed and had very little money and had rented an apartment in a bad neighborhood. She was, he said, afraid to stay there by herself. So he, gallant man, offered to sleep on Jezebel’s couch that night. He assured Violet that nothing untoward happened between him and Jezebel. Violet didn’t believe him for a second…and her world tilted off its axis.

The Tall One fell under Jezebel’s spell and she had him twisted around her twisted little finger in record time. By Thursday of that same week, he told Violet that their church/birthday plans were off because “I’m with her now.” Anytime he spoke with Violet, Jezebel was sitting right next to him, listening in on the conversations. Violet was devastated. She couldn’t believe that this compassionate, kind, loving man could change so drastically and quickly into the unfeeling, cavalier person on the other end of the phone. She didn’t argue with him so much as try to understand what was happening. How could he go from loving her to discarding her from his life like a used Kleenex? Violet told the Tall One that, while he may not have started drinking again, she felt like she was seeing him in active addiction. She began to think of the Tall One as two people: the Tall One, the sweet, fun, if troubled, man she had known for a year; and the Addict, the mean, selfish maniac he became the instant he met Jezebel.

Violet was devastated but she was also royally PISSED OFF. She had supported the Tall One during all those months of his recovery – taking his late night calls when he needed to talk, encouraging him to go to meetings and to talk with other recovering addicts, attending Al-Anon meetings (which was for herself, really), sending him cards to celebrate each month of sobriety, whatever she could do to cheer him on. She knew that she was his only reliable supporter and she knew that the Tall One truly appreciated that support. The Addict acted like he didn’t care about anything and that made Violet very, very angry.

She realized that her birthday celebration was not going to happen, but she felt she had a right to hear his testimony at church that Sunday. She told the Tall One that she was going to be there whether he (or, more importantly, Jezebel) liked it or not. He sputtered, he argued, he ranted…and then he conceded. He told Violet that since there were two church services, and since he was to speak at both, Jezebel would go to the early service and Violet could attend at 10:00. Fine, Violet agreed.

Sunday morning, just as Violet was leaving home, the Tall One sent her a text: “Jezebel will be there at 10.” After the insane conversations with the Tall One/Addict over the previous days, Violet knew that this was an attempt at manipulation by Jezebel and that the Tall One was clueless to that manipulation.

Violet’s head exploded off of her shoulders but she managed to reply: “Fine.” Her hands shook and her heart pounded as she drove to the church, but Violet was determined to be there to support the Tall One on this important day.

When she arrived, the vestibule was full of churchgoers but she easily found the Tall One because he was...tall. He was, thankfully, by himself, and they attempted to make incredibly awkward conversation, during which he told her that her presence was making everyone uncomfortable. Violet’s head exploded again but she knew it would be useless to point out that she was not the one who changed the plan. Soon Jezebel appeared at his side. Violet tried to be cordial but she knew that the sour look she gave Jezebel was full of loathing. Violet’s actual thought at the moment was, “THAT? He chose THAT over ME?” (Not exactly a spiritual or charitable moment, hmmm?) Jezebel was even lower-rent than Violet had expected.

They endured a moment of introductory, even more awkward, conversation. The Tall One escorted Violet and Jezebel into the sanctuary. He sat between them. During the service, he put his arm around Jezebel and she cuddled close. They held hands. They leaned into each other. They whispered to each other and batted their lashes. Violet could hardly imagine behavior more rude or unkind, not to mention inappropriate in church. Somehow Violet managed to keep from crying, probably because she was filled with rage and was too busy restraining herself from punching them both in the mouth.

The Tall One gave his testimony. Violet felt like he was lying to himself and to the congregation with every word out of his mouth, but even so, she was proud of him and hoped his own words would bring him back to sanity. When he returned to the pew, it seemed to her that he looked to her for approval but then he sat down next to Jezebel, who immediately twined herself around him again.

After church, Jezebel mumbled a goodbye to Violet and slunk off to some dark corner. The Tall One retrieved Violet’s coat and helped her into it. She hugged him, told him she loved him, and walked quickly out of the church. This was her poetic ending. She fully intended to push him from her heart and mind and to never speak to him again.

And yet, there is one chapter left…

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Tall One and the Violet, Part Two

Read Part One here.

Just as quickly as they started, the phone calls from the Tall One stopped. Violet called him a few times and left messages, but he didn’t return her calls. Violet was not new to the online dating game and didn’t need the advice of Mr. Kenny Rogers to “know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em.” So she determined to add the Tall One to her List of Disappointments and move on.

Violet was surprised and bemused to find that the Tall One did not slip easily out of her mind. Every few weeks, she would feel a renewed sense of…concern…connection…something…and she would call him. He never answered and sometimes he returned her calls, sometimes he didn’t. When he did, their conversations were still fun and flirty, but there was an undercurrent of...something. Violet was worried about him, but the Tall One insisted he was fine, just busy and working a lot of overtime.

This went on for three months.

One Saturday, around noon, Violet was cleaning her kitchen when the phone rang. It was the Tall One, calling to say he was in the area and could he come over? Violet was surprised and pleased and, despite her unshowered, middle-of-housecleaning, sweaty state, she said yes. (She managed a quick shower before he arrived.) They greeted each other a bit awkwardly but warmly, and sat down on the couch.

The Tall One apologized for the gaps in their communication and for the long time since they had last seen each other. He explained that he is an addict – that he had been deep in a drinking phase during those three months and that he had very recently stopped drinking and started attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings. Violet was naturally taken aback, and remembered those beers from their dates and how odd it seemed. It made sense now. (The Tall One had been involved with NA on and off for years. He was mostly a drinker but had also abused OTC drugs from time to time.)

They talked for several hours. Violet had no experience with alcoholism or addiction and had no idea what she was dealing with, but being Violet, she decided that if he stayed sober they could see each other. It was so nice to see the Tall One again, so nice to spend time with him, and he seemed to feel the same way about her. Violet made it very clear that their relationship, whatever it was, would end abruptly if he relapsed.

And so, they started dating. The Tall One was attentive, polite, and open…mostly. Violet understood that it was early days in his recovery and gave him more leeway than she would give another man. That summer was a roller coaster ride – one day they were dating, the next just friends, dating, friends, dating, friends… (Perhaps there is a pattern here. Maybe Violet isn’t as smart as she thinks she is.)

Violet had major surgery that summer. The Tall One was very sweet during this time and even came over to meet her parents, who were staying with her during her recovery. One afternoon, Violet and the Tall One were having a conversation via text while he was at work. The end of it went something like this:

V - *some sarcastic, smartypants comment typical of Violet*
TO – smart aleck
V – yeah, you love that about me
TO – how about just loving you?

Violet suddenly couldn’t breathe, let alone push tiny little buttons on a tiny little phone. After a moment, when she was once again in control of her faculties, she called the Tall One. He must have gotten busy at work because the call went to voicemail. She left a message: “You send a text like that and then don’t answer your phone?? Call me when you can.”

An eternity (or, say, 30 minutes) later, he called. He told her he loved her and she was mildly surprised to hear herself say, “I love you, too.” He replied, “I know.” They laughed.

They continued to date and he continued to vacillate, but things seemed to be smoothing out. He had 60 days of sobriety, then 90, then 150. All in all, things were good. They enjoyed each other’s company throughout the fall and into the winter.

Violet’s birthday is in February. February also marked a year since the Tall One first IM’d Violet. The Tall One had plans to give testimony about his addiction and recovery at church the day after Violet’s birthday and they made plans to celebrate both occasions. She would go to church with him to hear his testimony and then they would go out for lunch.

Tuesday afternoon, five days before their church/birthday date, Violet called to chat with the Tall One. He casually mentioned that he had lunch with “a friend” that afternoon. For some reason, those two words set alarms clanging in Violet’s head. When she asked who he had lunch with, the Tall One hesitated, then said again, “a friend.” She pushed. And the Tall One admitted that it was a woman.

Sounds like another ending, doesn’t it? Perhaps it should have been, but it wasn’t…

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Tall One and the Violet, Part One

Sounds like a romance novel from 25 years ago, doesn’t it? I’m picturing a ridiculously beautiful woman with ridiculously long, ridiculously flowing curly red hair (let a girl dream, mmm-k?) against a lavender gown with a ridiculously low-cut, lace-trimmed bodice swooning in the arms of a ridiculously tall Fabio-esque gentleman (only in this novel, Fabio sports a high-and-tight rather than his usual long golden locks). But let's get to the story, shall we?

Editor's note: this story may make Violet appear naive and, dare we say, stupid. This is not the case. Violet has an accepting heart and a non-judgmental mind and sometimes she trusts too easily *see below*. She generally sees the best in everyone and she recognizes that sometimes this leads to actions and outcomes that hurt her and/or that others don't understand. She doesn't care; she wouldn't change anything about her self (her body is a different story, but that's not relevant here).

Once upon a time, a girl who calls herself Violet was a member of the online dating community. At the recommendation of a friend, she joined a new (to her) dating site and was whiling away a cold winter evening by exploring the site’s nooks and crannies. Suddenly, someone said 'hi' via the site’s instant messaging. She almost didn’t respond when she noticed where he was from but since she was new there, and since she’s not afraid of trying new things (and since he lived closer to her than any of the other guys she had thus far “met” online), she said hi back. They chatted online for a while and then the fellow, a tall and good-looking guy we’ll call the Tall One, asked if he could call her. She said yes.

He called. They talked. They laughed. They batted much flirtatious banter back and forth. He asked her out on a date. In real life. In person. In 6 days! She said yes.

During the next 4 days, the Tall One called her at least once a day and really poured on the charm. Violet had never in her life experienced such attention and she reveled in it.

On Day 5, the Tall One called Violet during the day (on her cell phone. She may trust too easily *see below* but she is not a complete idiot). He apologized for calling her at work but explained that there was a family emergency and he didn't know if he would be in town the next day to keep their date. He said he didn't want to wait to meet her and asked if he could take her out that very night instead. Violet breathlessly said yes, hung up the phone, and announced to her office mates that "the date is TONIGHT!!!" They kindly (and wisely, as they knew her head would not be in her work) sent her home early to primp.

That evening, Violet allowed the Tall One to pick her up at her apartment. (*below* Violet is a savvy, quite intelligent girl but perhaps occasionally trusts too easily.) Boy, was he tall! And easy to be with – they went out for a casual dinner and talked and teased like longtime friends. She found the Tall One ever so attractive and there was definitely sexual tension in the air. He had a beer with dinner and another as they sat at the table enjoying each other's company. He asked her if the second beer was all right with her, which she thought was an odd question but figured maybe he was just being ultra-polite.

When they left the restaurant, he took her hand and didn’t let go. He drove her home and she let him come inside. There was kissing. He asked her out for a second date. She said yes.

The second date was similar to the first: he picked her up, took her out for dinner, they laughed, they joked, they flirted, they went back to her place and made out like a couple of high school kids in the band closet. The major difference between the two dates was that this time the Tall One brought a six-pack of beer with him. Violet thought that was odd, but since she’s not much of a drinker and doesn’t really spend any time around people who are, she thought perhaps this is how normal social drinkers do things.

During the next few days, the phone calls continued like before. Violet allowed herself to dream…to believe in the possibilities…to hope. And then the phone calls stopped.

But that’s not even close to the end of this story…

Friday Fill-In #139 (a few hours early)

Graphic courtesy of Tonya

1. He was a complete surprise.

2. Illinois football is what I look forward to most this time of year.

3. My best friend has no idea how wonderful she is.

4. I have to be honest with you.

5. Appearances can be incredibly appetizing.

6. The last person I gave a hug to was my youngest sister.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to anything but a quiet evening at home, tomorrow my plans include mowing the lawn and Sunday, I want to enjoy every minute of my day!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

ABCs for a Sunday afternoon

It's Sunday, it's overcast, and it's incredibly humid. Mom is shopping (she needs a 12-step program, seriously) and Dad is watching golf from behind his eyelids. So I've been amusing myself with this:

A. Attached or single? Single…yet emotionally attached. My love life is a Gordian knot.

B. Best friend? Mary Alice. The BFFest BFF ever.

C. Cake or pie? Cake…is there really another option??

D. Dog or cat? Dogs, although I am currently sans chien.

E. Essential item? Contacts. I am too vain to wear my glasses out of the house.

F. Favorite color? Green. The rich, verdant green of June.

G. Gummy bears or worms? Ick.

H. Hometown? I am not one who is particularly tied to a place. Where I live is home, but wherever those I love live is home, too. If you must put a pin on the map, Champaign, Illinois, is where I grew up.

I. Favorite indulgence? Beautiful perfume. I don’t care how poor I am, I will not be without it.

J. January or July? July, hands down. There is no wind chill in July.

K. Kids? My two favorite boys (aged 3 and 7) flirted with me at church today. I wonder if one of them will marry me if I wait long enough?

L. Life isn’t complete without? Love, in all its forms.

M. Marriage date? There was a wedding in September 1992…but not much of a marriage followed, and then there was a divorce 6 years ago this month. There is a marriage in my future…I just don’t know who or when yet.

N. Number of brothers and sisters? 2 sisters, no brothers.

O. Oranges or apples? Hmmm, I’d say oranges but a good, crisp apple certainly has its place.

P. Phobias? June bugs. I get hinky even when I hear one beating its nasty little exoskeleton against the window. And those sticky feet? *shudder*

Q. Quote? “Fortune favors the bold.” Virgil

R. Reasons to smile? 4 nieces and one nephew.

S. Season of choice? Summer.

T. Travel dreams? I have dreamed of visiting Barbados since I read “The Witch of Blackbird Pond” when I was 9 or 10.

U. Unknown fact about me? The second toe on my right foot is shorter than the rest. Not freakishly short, but people do notice it often.

V. Vegetable? Zucchini.

W. Worst habit? I am a world-class over-analyzer.

X. X-ray or ultrasound? Ummm…not if I can help it?

Y. Your favorite restaurants? Dos Reales (local Mexican), Bombay Grill (local Indian), Red Lobster (I live in Illinois, shuddup), Culver’s (yummy burgers), 5 Guys (yummier burgers but only available on the East Coast)

Z. Zodiac sign? Aquarius

Friday, August 14, 2009

So I'm no good at mysterious

I was going to let my last post stand on its own, but it turns out I can't. I can't let people worry about me and wonder what's going on when the fact is I was simply having one of THOSE days and feeling disgruntled with...well, just about the whole world.

(If a pig loses its voice, is it disgruntled? heh.)

Let's see if I can condense this:

Harumph #1 - Here's a paraphrased passage from a novel I read last week: "From a psychological perspective, intermittent reinforcement is powerful. You get a taste of what you want, enough that you think you can get it, so you keep trying." Intermittent reinforcement? Exactly what I'm getting from Himself these days. Makes me pissed at myself but there's still something that won't let me let go.

Harumph #2 - The Tall One was going to take me out for dinner this week. He wanted to take me to a very nice, relatively expensive, restaurant to thank me for all of the things I have done for him lately. (I don't think I've ever told that saga, have I? Coming soon to a blog near you - the story of the Tall One and the Violet.) He's an unemployed addict. He knew he was going to receive some money on Monday and planned to take me to dinner and pay bills with the rest. Sunday, we determined that Monday, Tuesday, or Thursday would work. I didn't hear from him Monday. I called Tuesday morning to see what was happening but he didn't answer and didn't return my call. By Wednesday night, I was worried and justifiably concerned that he had relapsed again. He finally called yesterday afternoon - he's fine, didn't relapse but he had less money than he expected and couldn't afford to take me to dinner...and was ashamed to tell me because he didn't want to break his promise. So I worried for nothing. Eejit.

Harumph #3 - A coworker keeps turning down the thermostat that controls the area my office is in. It does NOT control the area she works in. When I asked her very nicely to not turn it down, she told me, not so very nicely, that she won't stop turning it down.

Harumph #4 - Apparently I projected an angry, irritated attitude to the big boss yesterday morning when I truly wasn't feeling any sort of negative attitude at all. He asked me about it later in the day so it's all cleared up (I apologized profusely...after picking up my jaw and my eyeballs from the floor) but it made me feel about this big.

Harumph #5 - I'm having one of those weeks when being single is very hard, every day is a bad hair day, and even my eyebrow hairs won't behave. (PMS? Well, hmmm...could be.)

The whipped cream on top of this crap sundae is that my parents will be here in T-minus 8 hours. For a 10-day visit. I love them and I'm looking forward to seeing them, know. I've spent the week flipping between trying to clean to my mother's standard (her house looks like no one lives there but a maid) and trying to convince myself that I am a grown up and shouldn't be affected by their attitudes. The Ex was right about one thing - I get a little crazy when my parents are coming to stay.

All of these things stewing in my head made me wish I could give up. Just stop caring. Because if I don't care, nothing will hurt.

Shyeah, that's gonna happen!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Yeah, right

Someday I won’t…

worry anymore
hurt anymore
get angry anymore
cry anymore
wonder anymore
care anymore
try anymore

Friday, August 7, 2009

My First Friday Fill-IN

Cute graphic courtesy of Tonya.

1. Swimming is my favorite summertime activity.

2. My favorite John Hughes movies is The Breakfast Club.

3. My hair is something I love to touch.

4. The full moon is so bright this month!

5. I am not hungry right now. Give me an hour.

6. When daylight fades I feel melancholy.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to watching a DVD (the Breakfast Club, perhaps?), tomorrow my plans include mopping the kitchen floor and Sunday, I want to chillax!

Monday, August 3, 2009

My day at the beach

I love being near, or even better in, water.

I live in Illinois.

These two things do not fit together. In my online dating days I often joked that there is no water in Illinois. I liked to tell people that we have to truck it in and every once in a while, someone would believe me. That was really fun…
but I digress…

Two weeks ago, I traveled to California to meet in person a woman I met on a dating website. (Yes, I’m straight. No, it wasn’t a date.) We've been email/IM/phone friends for a couple of years and I’ve mentioned her here a time or two – the fabulous West Coast Angel. I had a great time with her and her two daughters but for some reason I didn’t take a single picture of them.

I did, however, take some pictures of the Pacific Ocean. It’s been 22 years since I saw the Pacific so I drove down to Seal Beach on Saturday morning while Angel was working. I only had my cell phone with me so I made do:

Ah, the ocean!

Oooooh, the waves!

Look, surfers!
I found out later that these were larger waves than usual, due to a storm out in the Pacific.

How nice of Mother Nature to whip up some righteous waves just for me!