Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Patience was a stranger

First let me apologize for the lapse in posts. If you were rabidly awaiting Alton updates, I'm sorry. I thought it'd be dreadfully boring to report hand holding and smooching.
Things with Alton were going along quite swimmingly. He's a wonderful man. He's the most consistent and considerate man I've dated. Ever. I swear it. Naturally that made me giddy. I had to force myself to contain my excitement. I didn't to scare the poor man away. After all, it had been a month! That's longer than anyone else ever made it since 2001. Whoa! This was monumental and newsworthy, but you know me. When it comes to dating, I'm a skeert little kitten in a den of voracious Dobermans.
Even though he'd shared that my randomness and expressive joy was charming to him, I still had misgivings about really letting it all hang out. I admit that to those who do not know me (and even to those who do) I can be a bit overwhelming. My sister's Kris tells me I remind her of Barbara Jean from the show Reba. Just say what's on your mind and let the chips fall where they may! I do tend to have weird insight and have no qualms about letting those quips escape from my brain and ooze from my mouth. I is who I is. Dig it?
Last Saturday, September 13, we were watching the movie Streets of Fire. We actually watched it! I told him how I once had the vinyl copy of the soundtrack. With a chuckle he said, "I know you're dying to break out into song." I did, but I didn't. We had a good time laughing about Willem Defoe's armpit high-patent leather britches.
For whatever reason, our post movie make out session took on a serious tone. What I mean by that is we stopped kissing and started talking. Not that superficial kind of chatter that one might use in order to cool off or slow the natural progression of hot smooching. Our talk involved looking deeply into one another to realize where our relationship was heading.
I want a mature relationship that goes well beyond that which physical and sexual attraction offers. I won't go into detail as to what our conversation involved, but I will say I was delighted by his initial reaction. I felt secure that everything would remain status quo; I would continue to see this adorably compassionate man.
Then, this once consistent man became silent. Let it go for a day, I told myself. He just needs to let the conversation of the evening past sink in.
Day two came to nearly pass and my fears kicked in to high gear. After taking deep breaths and flipping my phone open and closed several times, I dialed his cell number (he'd finally gotten one on Friday before our date and I was his first call... surprise!) It rang four times before switching to his voicemail. I left a simple message saying, "I hope you're well and enjoyed your day off. Call me."
Three hours passed and no return call from Alton. Now panic stricken I tried his cell again and it went straight to voicemail. He'd shut off his phone. No message left. I called his home. Nothing. I called work thinking maybe he had to work. "Today is his day off."
Clearly I was persona non grata. At least in my frame of mind that had to be what he was thinking. I did what anyone in my situation would do: I cried. I cried more. I hadn't really eaten much and now I was expected to sleep? How?
I'm ashamed to admit that I took my cell phone to bed with me. It's usually left on the charger overnight, but I hoped he'd call. The phone sat silent next to my pillow. I'm surprised my tossing and turning didn't toss it to the floor or behind the headboard.
The following day I had little to say. I put on the best happy face I could muster for Man-cub's benefit, but said little else at work. I used the excuse that I was under the weather and suffering from a headache. I didn't really want to go home because that meant being alone with my thoughts. Although, being at work didn't deter my brain from concocting all sorts of scenarios.
Maureen and Kris were both aware of my dilemma. Both were texting me to see if I was ok. Both told me not to give up hope. Both prayed for me. I prayed plenty. I prayed for patience. I prayed for understanding. I prayed that this, too, would pass and I'd come out the victor in some capacity.
Regardless of the amount of prayer, I continued to look to the worst case possibilities. I have little to no success with relationships. That's no secret. It's not always my doing, mind you. I simply find it useless to force relationships. If, by date three, I'm not connecting with a man, I lose him. Simple. I don't need to be with a man to feel human or fulfilled. In most cases it works itself out and feelings are spared. Even if someone ends up with a bruised ego, it's a clean departure. Alton was far from being in such a category.
What makes him so different? For starters, I respect him. I trust him. He's kind. Thoughtful. The little voices in the back of my head never scream at me like the poltergeists in the Amityville Horror-- GET OUT! My mother always taught me to listen to the little voices. Sometimes I don't. In those instances I always look back and tell myself you shoulda listened!
What was shared between us that night was indeed mandating what John Gray refers to as "cave time." You know, that dude who wrote Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. Everybody told me to just chill out. Relax. He needs time. He'd call on his terms. Waiting was all I could do. Just go on with normal daily routines and have faith. Faith and patience.
Faith. I have an abundance of that. No problem. Patience? Patience? Do you know who you're talking to? I want to know nowwwwwwww! ::insert Veruca Salt whine here::
Back to the prayers I went. I consulted with my friend and former love interest Jay. He and I had been down a similar path. He was honest and forthright. I expected nothing less. We had a laugh over my lack of patience. He strongly suggested that I give Alton space and time. BLECH! I hate that combination, but he was right. Everybody was right. It's the very advice I would give my dearest and closest friend. The fire department weekly words of wisdom even told me the same thing: "Before you give advice, try taking it yourself." OK, that might not be exact, but if that's not a sign from God, I don't know what is. I listened.
Shortly after Jay and concluded our conversation I received an email. My heart flew into my throat. It was from Alton. Anxiously I clicked 'read.' He was apologizing for not being in touch or returning my calls. He expressed that he needed time to sort things out. He was sweet. I burst into tears. I did respond by thanking him for contacting me. I added that I missed him, our conversations and times spent together. However, I respect his need to think.
He was thinking. He wasn't dismissive.
Prayer time again. Quickly I dialed Maureen. I was sobbing, but they were tears of relief. He hadn't blown me off. He wasn't being cowardly. His good character was being revealed. I was given solace in knowing he was the man I thought him to be. Thank you, God.
This is where I admit that my patience wained mighty. I was grateful for rehearsals for STATE FAIR. Man-cub had a Social Studies project that kept my mind occupied. I attempted to go on as if nothing had happened. I didn't talk to everybody about it. I didn't want anyone to bad mouth Alton. I didn't need to hear negativity. I pushed myself to be positive. It was trying and difficult. It sucked. I cried a lot. I prayed even more.
Saturday rolled around. I was heading down a path of pity. It's not where I wanted to be, but I had convinced myself that surely he'd have called by now. I beat myself up for being such a loser of a person. I was starting to feel angry. Elizabeth Kubler Ross' stages of grief were in full force.
I knew Alton's actions were not something I could control. In the long past, my desperate attempts to make contact when a man needed space were really my need for control. I know I can't do that. Well, now I know. I can only control my actions and reactions.
Prayer again. I expressed my anger about the situation to God. I knew I couldn't fool HIM. I had to hear myself say it out loud. I declared that I deserve good things in my life. I deserve good people. I am good people. I know I don't have to convince God of that. I was telling myself. I asked that God take my hand and direct me. Show me the way.
I sent a heartfelt email to Alton on Saturday. I won't share specifics, but I let go of caution and control and let my heart speak for me. I didn't tell him what I thought he'd want to read. I told him what I needed him to know.
Early Sunday Alton replied. It was relatively middle of the road. No conclusions were drawn, but he was honest. Limbo. It's the best way to describe his words.
I tried numerous times to reply. The words were not coming. I showered, put on make up and did my hair. I had to work. With time to spare I grabbed my phone and called Alton. Assuming he was on his way to work, I thought he'd answer his cell. Straight to voice mail. I babbled incoherently, but got the message across that talking is preferable even though the emails are wonderful. "Can we talk sometime?"
By Sunday evening I was in full blown, full on funky, down in the dumps mode. I apologize to anyone who was dealt my wrath that night. I mishandled my state of mind. But by the same token, I can't always be little Miss Sunshine. I convinced myself I had been dumped. Again. I get down on myself and that's where friends come in handy. We all do it. I'm only human. Special thanks to a fantastical pleep on plurk. Your prayers helped mightily. Your kindness will never be forgotten.
Monday brought a greater sense of joy. I had no reason. I woke up joyful. The day wasn't filled with self hatred and anger. Prayer. Its power is mighty. Don't tell me otherwise because you are WRONG. Prayer helped heal my wounds. I knew that other people were praying for my peace of mind. It did the trick.
A co-worker questioned my surge of pep. I blamed the Diet Pepsi Max I had been sipping on, but I knew full well that had nothing to do with it. I am a caffeine addict. I'm unaffected by MAX. I hadn't had any coffee. If anything my caffeine intake was low. I was expressing the effects of positive thought and prayer. 'Nuff said.
Around 4:30 p.m. Monday it happened. I was running a pair or glasses through the cycle when my cell phone rang. His ringtone was nearly drowned out by the sound of the machines running and the radio blaring. But I did hear it. I did answer. We did talk as if no time had passed. With respect to me being at work, Alton said he'd call back later when I was off work. Joy.
As promised, he called back. First we had a laugh over my "Marissa randomisity" of a voice mail. I'm sure that's what spurred him to call. He does adore that about me. We talked about the situation at hand as well as laughed ourselves into hysterics. No definite plans were made, but feelings were honestly expressed. He said he still felt like he was an abyss of uncertainty. Then, with all my Barbara Jean gusto said something like, "You know I like you. A lot. You like me. A lot. It's not everyday you connect with someone like we do. Well, maybe you connect with everybody and I'm the weirdo, but the point is that we can be grown ups. We can take a mature approach or throw away something that is, in my humble opinion, a crystal clear diamond in the rough."
We talked further and joked around. I promised never to bring yucky candy to the theater and would spring for the popcorn the next time we go. I didn't hesitate to tell him that I know my opinions are only half of the equation, but I have hope. Lots of it. He smiled. I know he did. I could hear it in his voice.
I had to get to rehearsal. I hated to hang up the phone. It's not so much that I am afraid that he won't call again. I always feel that way when we talk. His laugh is the best. It's sublime. Hearing his laughter is ear-gasmic.
... until next time, patience.

7 comments:

  1. Sorry for all your pain. Selfishly, it was OUR gain. You got to think and pray and agonize until you were ready to write.

    WE get to read it.

    Lucky us.

    Things always work out, just not the way you thought they would, or, when.

    Thinkin' about ya MissRiss

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  2. You go girl, there is spirit and courage in your words, whether you realize it or not, that can not be quenched.

    Saw in your Plurk tonight that he has called again and I can't express how pleased I am for you. All the best wishes and vibes to you, cause you deserve them.

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  3. This guy must be something. Call me crazy, but when you describe him, you appear to be absolutely giddy.

    Denny D, another great voice to the liking of Freddie Mercury in terms of talent.

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  4. You sound so happy when you talk about Alton! I am very glad he called you again and hope with all my heart that you two can tiptoe your way into a very happy, permanent relationship!

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  5. Christ, woman, when did you turn into ME??

    Eerie, reading that. Really.
    I'm sorry... chilling out is The Hardest Thing To Do... but that's all I've got... from MONTHS of practicing.

    BTW... your song scared the shit out of me when it started to play. Did you know that DD (used to) live in Frankfort? I went to high school with his daughter.

    Oh lady... I am so with you... and you're the one who always says "I'd never have that much patience!"
    If he's worth it, and it sounds like he is... inhale... exhale... write write sleep. Inhale... exhale...

    XOXO

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  6. GREAT post!

    Patience is definitely not my forte either. I think I would have none if I didn't pray for it.

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  7. Thank you for sharing. I'm right with you in the lack of patience department and that tends to push the men further away.
    You do seem so happy when you talk about him, so the praying seems to be paying off.
    I hope he knows what a fabulous woman he's spending time with;)

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