Tuesday, July 15, 2008

This Is New

I've got two women.

Okay--I don't have two women, but it's damn close to that.

Even that may be a bit of an exaggeration. Okay, I know it's an exaggeration. But this is me we're talking about here.

Here's the rundown: 'A' is a woman I've known for about five years. She was married when we first met; but then again so was I. We work in the same office.

She started about a month before our house was foreclosed. We had to be out by January 1st, but we stayed an extra week so that we could at least be able to take down the Christmas decorations before abandoning the house. In addition, I had just gotten out of the hospital with peritonitis about a week before. There were two people from work who came to help us move: my buddy Al, whom I've known for years, and 'A.'

I had been on sick leave for roughly half of the time she had worked there, and she came and helped me move. That sort of thing sticks with you.

Skipping ahead: my marriage ends, her marriage ends. We talk. We occasionally hug. She tells me I give the best non-threatening hugs. I take her to the roof (where I would go sometimes to let off steam). She uses the roof for the same reason.

One time she couldn't make it to the roof. She came into my edit bay and closed the door. "Can I just cry in here?" she asked.

"Of course," I said. "Do you want me to do anything, or should I ignore you?" She wanted to be ignored, so I sat and edited while she cried behind the door. After a while she said 'thank you' and left. A while later she came back and kissed me on the cheek.

A shift began. She said things like 'if we didn't work together...' She told me things about her life that she normally wouldn't share. We emailed. A conversation thread revealed that she was alone one night. I invited her over to watch a movie. She said yes. I cancelled because I had forgotten I had a gig that night. We rescheduled. More dates were added. Eventually, we settled on three events. The first was Sunday afternoon. The second was Monday night. Monday, as in yesterday.

'B' contacted me through the internet--from a dating site. It was a wary contact. It took a while to get information out of her. I charmed her. I have that ability. Especially over the intertubes. I've said before that the farther away from me a woman is, the more attractive I appear to her. 'B' was from here in Smugtown. So I had to work harder. Compounding the problem was the fact that she was a smartass. Emphasis on the first syllable. She had been hurt and now she was taking a few wary steps into the world. We met for coffee. As befits the pattern, it took a bit of scheduling and rescheduling and last-minute rearrangements to actually meet.

Turns out she's not from Smugtown--just near Smugtown. No, she's from Hicksville. The office building where she works shares the property with cows. I am not making that up. She's bright, funny, and attractive. And she seems to enjoy my company. Or as she put it: "You seem relatively safe."

In a perfect world, 'A' and I would have come together months ago, and I would have never gone out with 'B.' Or 'A' and I would just stay close friends, and 'B' and I would split time between walking to one of several fine international restaurants in my neighborhood, and tipping cows in hers.

But it's not a perfect world, is it? The world's so imperfect, that I ended up
scheduling my second date with 'B' just a few hours before my first date with 'A.'

The 'B' date was fine. She had a good time, I had a good time.

The 'A' date was... well...

We had planned on going to a blues-n-barbecue event in a local park. But the afternoon was rainy. So instead we went to a local barbecue joint, ate some good food and talked. She talked about how her first husband died; I told her about how my Dad died. She talked about her son I talked about my kids. I made her laugh. She has a good laugh.

The rain had stopped, so we walked around. We went for ice cream. As we walked, I got up enough nerve to say 'Can I hold your hand?'

She said no.

But it led us to a discussion about what the hell was going on. It wasn't a 'no, I don't like you' no. It was an 'I'm not ready for this' no. So I didn't hold her hand. I did, however, buy her ice cream.

It was a fair trade--she paid for parking.

We walked. We talked. We ate our ice cream. I said that I didn't know what was going on, but I knew what I wanted to go on. I wanted a deeper, more intimate relationship with her, but not at the expense of our friendship.

She told me that at the beginning of the year, she had decided not to have sex for 2008. I told her that that was OK with me--I want the next person I make love to to be the last person I make love to.

She told me about a disastrous relationship with someone else who had worked at the office. It had ended badly, and a friendship was lost. She decided she wouldn't date anyone from work again.

We sat in a garden in a church yard and talked. She put her head on my shoulder. I liked that.

She said 'If it makes you feel any better, I really want to kiss you right now.' It did make me feel better.

Last night she came over for dinner. I grilled steak and chicken. She talked about her homework assignment for her creative writing class. She needed to come up with four ideas for stories about conflict:

  • Her vs. someone
  • Her vs. nature
  • Her vs. society
  • Her vs. herself
She could only come up with an idea for the first one. I thought (but didn't say) I should probably take a creative writing class just for the ego boost. So during dinner I lead her to discover that, in the past week, she had perfect examples of each of them.

The last one was my favorite. "Did you want to kiss me?" I asked her. She admitted she did. "So why didn't you?"

She said "Oh."

We played Wii. She kicked my ass in Guitar Hero III. I kicked hers in Mariokart.

We watched part of a movie. She curled up on the couch next to me. I put my hand on her shoulder. She put her hand into mine.

This might seem like nothing to some. It was most assuredly not.

It was time to leave. We hugged. I kissed her on her cheek. She kissed me the same. And it was good.

What a perfect evening.

Oh, yeah...'B.'

So how do I deal with this? She's a great person at the wrong time. How do I tell her that? I don't necessarily mean the words, since I'm a word guy (although any suggestions would be welcome). I mean more nuts and bolt stuff.

I think that in person is the best way, but I sure as hell don't want to have her drive a half hour to tell her goodbye, and I don't want to drive there to do it either. I think I'll have to do it on the phone.

I thought I was done with this shit in Junior High.

Problem is: I never did this shit in Junior High.



Blogger terry said...

here's the thing, pirate...honesty is always the best way to go in these situations. and the good news is that you and B don't have a whole lot of history. no serious attachments yet, unlike you and A (okay, maybe "serious" is the wrong word, but you guys have a real attachment).

and i think a phone conversation is fine. you've only had one date, after all. just tell her the truth.

she might not take it well, if she's truly still licking her wounds, but you're not responsible for those.

1:28 AM  
Blogger terry said...

p.s. smiling for you...

1:28 AM  
Blogger Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

First off, intertubes is a great bloody phrase.

Secondly, can you not have them both in a sex sandwich?

4:56 AM  
Blogger Balloon Pirate said...

Terry: Thank you.

DHG: Please forward to me Eva-Jane's email address so that I may contact her. I wish to request she buy a step stool so that she can climb up behind you and give you a big ol' dope slap.


8:38 AM  
Blogger Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Point taken.



8:39 AM  
Blogger ell said...

timing is everything.

how nice that you have a choice. i'm sure you'll find the right words to let "b" down easily. maybe her "a" is around the corner, who knows?

i'm happy for you, enjoy your blossoming new relationship.

10:25 AM  
Blogger GC said...

do you have to choose?
maybe they will choose for you

well I guess letting one down easy would be the right thing to do
pity there aren't more men around who actually know that

12:11 PM  
Blogger GC said...

wait, that was gender-biased of me
more PEOPLE should do the right thing

12:12 PM  

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