Style vs. Substance

This week I have had, dear readers, what you might call a relationship epiphany.  An aha! moment.  The lightbulb going on.  It’s both awesome and sort of troubling.  Here goes.

Between conversations with my therapist, N.  and with my informal, pro bono relationship advisers T. and M., I have given a lot of thought this week to what I have liked or been attracted to in the last few guys that I’ve dated, basically since my ex-fiance.  As I tried to think about what drew me to these guys I recognized an undeniable pattern.  All of them were guys I felt physically attracted to or felt chemistry with — in some cases, totally overwhelming, crazy chemistry.  All of them were guys who were really smart/witty.  But there was not a one — not a ONE, people — who I could say with a straight face is a truly sweet, kindhearted person.  And in theory (according to my online dating profiles, according to what I always think of when I think of my ideal life partner, according to what I say I want to everyone), kindheartedness is at the top of my list.  And yet none of these guys have been that person.  None of these guys have been someone about whom I could say, “Even if you took away the sexual chemistry and intrigue, this is someone I’d want in my life as a friend.”  In fact, when I erase the lust factor, some of these guys aren’t people that I like very much as people, at all!  What is wrong with this picture?

M. tried to get me to think about this months ago, to which I responded something like “yeah, yeah, yeah.”  She pointed out that I might meet a guy who is smart and sweet and kind and caring, and I might overlook him because he’s not the height I want or various other superficial things.  At the time, I responded, “yeah, but if I go for someone I’m not totally hot for, then I’ll just be settling.”

But I really think I get it now.  It’s not that I will end up with someone I have no spark with, because there has to be a spark (IMHO).  But I also can’t overlook people 100% because of superficial characteristics, and then simultaneously “settle” in regards to certain personality characteristics, which I have been doing.  With each of the last several guys there has always been something (pessimism, drinking excessively, what have you) that has raised a red flag or made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, and I have just turned a blind eye because 1) I was attracted to these people in some way and 2) I wanted that badly to be in a relationship.

Well, dear readers, that ends here.  From now on, I am screening my guys for more than compatibility over cocktails or in bed.  I am going to look at the person and say, ok, I may be hot for you now, but are you the person I am going to want across the breakfast table from me in 10, 20, 50 years?  If the answer is no, then move along, please.

Which is a perfect segue to my update about EHB.  Unsurprisingly (sorry to those of you who have been rooting for him), I have not heard a peep from him since he promised we’d have our “conversation” “soon.”  My normal M.O. in the past when I feel like a guy is fading away is to 1) freak out and 2) reach out and text them, IM them, call them, etc to try to keep the thing going.  I would chase these boys till I was blue in the face, but never really think about why I was trying so hard to chase them and what i would do if I caught them.

So I thought about IMing EHB, and then I thought about what the outcome would be, and whether it would be what I want.  I thought about whether I even wanted what I thought I wanted — a relationship with EHB.  And I realized the answer was no.  I realized that despite some great early dates and some good chemistry, there were also some big red waving flags that I was stubbornly ignoring.  And why would I go chasing after that?  For the momentary intrigue, the excitement, the potential of some good sex (sigh).  But that’s it.  Not a compelling reason, dear readers, is it?

So I refrain, and I will let this one die the natural death that it should.  And in all honesty, I feel incredibly peaceful about it.

When I start freaking out about the next boy, make me come back and read this, will ya?

Can’t Read my Mind, I’m Undefined

Had I written this post last night when I planned to, after a strong-but-yummy Mandrin Cosmo at the Tropicana Bar at the Roosevelt (sheesh I’m a lightweight), it would have been much more unhappy and much less rational.  But clearer heads prevailed and I decided to sleep on the situation, and as it turns out, time, advice of everyone I know, and…well, sobriety, have lent some much needed perspective. 

Ok, I will  stop being cryptic and get to the story!  So as you may have gathered from my last few posts –or, let’s face it, this whole blog — dating pretty much turns me into a bona fide loon, and it’s been no different with EHB.  (My sincere apologies to everyone whose ears I have bent on the subject so far.)  Last Monday we went out for a drink (he had gotten a head start) and he told me that he would answer any yes-or-no question that I posed to him.  I was feeling a little gun shy, so while I asked him quite a few things, I definitely didn’t take full advantage of the situation.

Later in the week, we were chatting online and I joked that I had more questions to ask him the next time we hung out.  I didn’t really have many specific questions in mind, but I wanted to see his reaction.  He said to ask away and he’d decide whether to answer. 

Then last night he came to yet another summer event for my firm — this time dinner and the Feist concert at the Hollywood Bowl.  (The bummer was that he had to leave only a few songs into Feist because the opening acts took so long and he had so much work to do, but I appreciated him coming even though it meanthe had to stay up late working last night, and probably tonight.)  It was a really pretty night and we sort of snuggled up with his arm around me at the concert.  In between acts, when we were out of earshot from my co-workers, he started asking me what my questions were.  He commented that he could guess what my questions were going to be about.  I asked some random things, then he said he’d thought I was going to ask about our relationship and where it was going — which was definitely not my plan.  But somehow when he asked what my next question was and was looking at me so intently with his beautiful green eyes, saying “come on, what do you want to know?”  I blurted out, “Are you dating?”

He paused.  “Am I going on dates?  Yes.  Am I sleeping with other people?  No.”

I instantly regretted going there.  I can tell that my face fell – I couldn’t help it.  He continued, “I think it’s important that you also be keeping an open mind about meeting people.” 

“Ok, so you want things to be casual?” I asked.  “Well, not physically casual,” he replied.

He went on to say that he thought it was healthy to be open to meeting other people until both people have a talk and define what the relationship is.  “So let’s talk,” he said.

But we were at the Hollywood Bowl, surrounded by people, and despite my wishes, I could feel a lump forming in my throat and I bit my lip and forced a fake smile.  (He totally called me on that, by the way.  Damn.)  We decided this wasn’t the ideal time or place to have any kind of talk like that, so we tabled it.  Not too long afterward, he had to leave, and the half-finished conversation hung in the night air as I spent the rest of the concert trying to think happy thoughts and trying to keep myself warm.

I went through the whole gamut of emotions over this.  I analyzed and re-analyzed every word, trying to figure out what this meant.  Maybe he wants me to be his booty call until he meets someone he actually wants to date.  Except he hasn’t been booty calling me, and he has been dating me.  Maybe he wants to take things slow and not try to define it yet.  He did say that his last relationship moved too fast and that was a mistake, so it would be understandable to be gun-shy.  (And really, we probably haven’t known each other long enough for a DTR anyway, right?)  Maybe he does want to define things, but wants to find out where I’m at first.  Maybe he has a couple other girls he is interested in and hasn’t made up his mind yet.

But the bottom line that I realized (thanks to all my friends’ advice) is this: there is no way I will know where he’s coming from or what he’s thinking until I actually talk to him about it, so right now I am suffering a whole lot of useless angst.  And the good news is that he is incredibly open and honest, and I know he won’t beat around the bush when we talk.

Today he sent me some chats on Gmail, saying that he was really busy at work but that he wanted to say hi, and saying “We’ll have our conversation soon… 🙂 ” 

I don’t really know what I feel at this point.  Fundamentally I think he’s right that it’s good to keep an open mind, even though in practice I am virtually incapable of dating multiple people at once.  And even though it hurt my feelings a bit to hear it, I know what he’s doing is normal….I think.  So I think all I can do is keep my mind and heart open and know that whatever happens, it will be for the best.

I will keep you posted, dear readers…

The First Cut is the Deepest

I thought it would be totally blissful once things had calmed down enough at work so that I could actually take a breath.  I imagined that I would enjoy the summer as I should — going out to long lunches, leaving early, etc.  But instead of merely slowing to a manageable pace, my workload has suddenly ground to a halt.  I have work lurking out there, but I am waiting on other people’s work / revisions to be able to make next steps.  My plan had been to ride things out for 3 weeks until i leave for Europe (yay!) but it looks like that might not be possible.  After all, there is only so much blog-reading, Facebook checking and online shopping (or rather browsing) that a girl can do.

Two side notes before I get to the heart of the post.  First, speaking of online shopping, what do you think of this swimsuit?  I’m going to Vegas for a bachelorette party in a couple weeks, where there will be much pool time, and am sick of all my old suits.

Second, speaking of Facebook, thanks to its evilness I have been subjected to unwanted sets of shmoopy photos this week — one of C. and his new girlfriend (don’t get me started).

I’ve discovered that for me, down time = just more time to think about my neuroses.  Today I’ve been contemplating the frightening uncertainty of relationships.  I guess that’s part of what makes a new relationship exciting, the not knowing — but all it does is give me a big ulcer.  In a situation where it would serve me well go with the flow, I find myself insteaf thrashing helplessly against the current.  Last night, as I mentioned, EHB came over.  We went out for a drink, then we hung out at my apartment, then it turned into a sleepover during which we stayed up half the night doing various and sundry things that go beyond the scope of what I will write about on this blog (to spare the people who actually know me in real life from serious TMI).  But in any event, things were really really good.

But can I just sit still and smile and say “things are good”?  No, of course not.  I start worrying and obsessing and imagining what bad things could be lurking off in the distance.

I don’t know if I mentioned this, but EHB was married before.  It’s interesting because I always thought that would be a dealbreaker for me.  But I learned about it on our 1st date and it didn’t make me want to date him any less.  Who am I to judge, seeing as how I broke off my engagement?  I thought long and hard about why I had always been so wary of dating someone who was divorced, and the answer I came up with is this: divorce is a big reminder that things often don’t work out the way you expect or want them to.  Not only is there uncertainty in the first month of dating, before you get engaged, before you get married — really, things are never certain. 

 I always imagined that I’d marry someone and we’d be each others’ first loves.  But I’ve had loves in my life already, and I’d be hard pressed to find a guy who hasn’t (and really, why would I want a 30 year old guy who’s never been in love?)  But without that first love thing, how do you believe that this relationship will last when all the others have failed? In the face of such massive uncertainty, how do you move past the paralyzing fear?  How do you trust someone?  How do you take that giant leap of faith?  I hope I don’t feel this way forever, but I’m afraid I’ll never be in a relationship where I don’t feel the constant anxiety and uncertainty.  How does one begin to get over this?

And in the short term, how do I quiet my restless heart and mind enough so that I can just get some sleep?

Onward and Upward

Dear readers, I wrote the following post on the plane on my way back from Oregon last night.  I was debating whether or not to publish it because I just don’t feel the level of angst that this post conveys anymore, but I figure since I took all the time to pour out my thoughts (and since I, coming down with a cold and exhausted from a long day, can’t muster up the energy for a whole new post), I would publish this anyway.  Here goes!

************

I am writing this with complete and utter candor, despite knowing that I will be incurring some serious yelling from my tough-love girlfriends (love you girls!). But really, if I can’t bare all on the blog, what’s the point, right?

This weekend I went up to Eugene to see my family, which was fun but always leaves me feeling utterly, all consumingly exhausted. I don’t know if it’s just something in the water up there or what. The first day I was there, Friday, I felt plenty energetic, but on Saturday and today I just felt like curling into a little ball and going to sleep, despite sleeping in both days. Go figure. It’s when I go away for these little weekends that I know that I really consider L.A. to be my home, because I am writing this from the airplane and I cannot wait to be back in L.A., back in my apartment, cuddled up with Noodles and alone with my own thoughts. I think maybe part of the issue is that I’m so accustomed to living alone and having lots of “me” time — no matter what happens during a long and crazy day I always come home alone at the end of the day and have time to myself to laugh, cry, veg, call people on the phone, etc. At my parents’ house, there is nowhere to go to just be by myself. My parents are watching my every move, my every facial expression, my every reaction. I love my parents to death and they mean well, but I guess it’s no wonder that this inability to be alone and take a breath makes me feel tired.

And this is especially true when things happen that I just need to be able to step back and process. Friday night I hung out with C. for the first time since I went to visit him in Yachats. Now, dear readers, believe me when I say that until the past week or two he hadn’t been on my mind barely at all. We were still chatting occasionally on IM, and being friendly, but I knew he was sort of seeing someone and I was going on my own dates and I didn’t really care one way or another.

But then as my visit approached, there was a shift. Originally he was planning to throw a party on Fri night, and I was contemplating attending. Then he bagged the party idea and we decided to go to a couple of bars downtown. Then it turned out he had an early morning on Sat for bar review (let me just take a moment to thank God that I never have to take the bar again — all the more reason not to leave California!) so we decided to just have a mellow night and watch a movie. As the day approached, his comments got more and more…suggestive, so I was pretty sure I knew what he was thinking and I realized that I just needed to figure out how i felt about it and what I wanted to do.

Of course, instead of making any actual decisions about this, I just decided to see how I felt in the moment, which basically assured that things would transpire exactly as they did. I went over to C.’s apartment, where he was in the final stages of moving out (meaning that he still had his TV but not his couch.) C., true to form, had already opened a bottle of wine and poured me a hefty glass. We stood around in the kitchen chatting and laughing for a while until we decided to sit down and watch the movie I had brought (Across the Universe — still in love with Jim Sturgess). Since he had no couch we plopped down on the floor and leaned against the wall. (My butt, which could not be more bony, almost immediately went numb). We watched the movie, talking and joking intermittently. We were sitting close together, but not touching each other. I wavered between suspecting that he was going to pounce on me at any moment, and thinking that perhaps I was wrong and we were just going to hang out as friends and that would be that.

But sure enough, about an hour or so into the movie, he looked at me, I looked at him, he moved his face closer to mine, his nose touched mine, and then he was kissing me. And then I was kissing him back. Now, I don’t want to romanticize this situation because I know it’s far from romantic, but the one thing I will say is that he is a truly awesome kisser…when we were teenagers, and now. And again, as they say, the rest is history. And, physically anyway, it was pretty awesome…hey, a girl’s got needs.

Unlike last time, when we cuddled and spooned and fell asleep together and I was awoken by my mom’s worried call, this time there was none of that pretense. Soon after we finished, I was dressing and we were saying goodbye. We made some chit chat and kissed a little bit more, but he didn’t make the move to come downstairs…he stood up and looked at me from over the railing upstairs and asked if I was ok to drive home and told me to have a good rest of the weekend. The whole time, the mood was very lighthearted and we were giggling and smiling — there was none of the serious talks or tears on my part that there were in Yachats.

 As I was driving home, I thought to myself, Finally — I have learned to separate out the physical from the emotional. As the weekend progressed, though, I felt something heavy and unnamed settle over my heart. And I realized that it wasn’t what I had thought it was all along. It’s not that I’m in love with C. or that I truly want us to be together. For all the history and fun and good chemistry we have, as I have said a million times, he’s a disaster and we would be a disaster together. It’s more that C. represents what I feel like has been emblematic in every meaningful interaction I’ve had with guys since I broke up with my ex fiance — a guy who only wants me the way he wants me, but doesn’t really care about me the way I care about him.

Like A., who thought he wanted me to break off my engagement but then told me he just “didn’t care enough to try” anymore.  Like my recent dates who have wanted the physical stuff to come way before any strong connection or commitment. It’s bad enough with all those guys. But for the same thing to happen with C. — the 1st guy who ever told me he loved me, the first guy I ever loved, the guy I have kept such a soft spot for all these years — is just particularly hard to handle. Even though I know that deep down I don’t want to be with him, I do still have some feelings for him, and it’s hard for me to stomach the fact that he can be so intimate with me when he has no feelings for me whatsoever — and then be so cavalier about it.

All that being said, I did feel like this weekend was some sort of goodbye. Nothing was said and I have no idea what he thinks, but for me, this is a door that needs to be closed once and for all. I thought it was closed when he met and then married K. I thought it was closed after my last visit when we both started dating other people. But now I know that it needs to close, even if we continue to be friends, even if I stay single, even if my willpower is as bad as ever. I feel (and pardon me if this sounds way too “woo-woo”) that this openended physical thing, with my latent unresolved feelings, are preventing me somehow from meeting someone. Not in an active way, of course — I’m still getting out there and dating and keeping an open mind, and I genuinely feel like I want to meet someone — but just in the sense that the Universe (such as it is) won’t want to throw anyone my way just now because maybe I wouldn’t even know what to do with Mr. Right if he landed in my lap.

So, goodbye, C., once and for all — and hello, rest of my life….

 

 

I didn’t like you anyway …

In my last post I gave a little bit of a tease about New Guy, so I decided to shut the door on the subject once and for all by filling my dear readers in on what transpired.

I think I reported earlier that our last date (which was in mid March sometime…seems so long ago, and I was still in my trial fog) seemed a bit awkward, and things just felt a bit off. After that I didn’t hear from him for 3 weeks. Yes, 2 of those weeks he was in Europe, but still – after that prolonged silence I assumed that New Guy had died (you know, not literally, but in the sense of “he must have died, otherwise he would have called”).

Then, last Sunday, I got a surprising voice mail from him apologizing for being MIA, and I waffled back and forth between whether I wanted to say, “It’s too late and I don’t like you that much anyway” or whether I wanted to just go with the flow. As it turned out, I didn’t get a chance to do either because when I called him back, I got his voice mail, and then two days later I received an email (yes, not a phone call, but an email) saying “Got your message, I’m out of town all this week for work, I’ll call you this weekend.”

Um…okaaaay. Needless to say at this point I’m not exactly holding my breath. I was on my firm retreat having a jolly old time when I got his voice mail on Sat, and I called him back on Sunday afternoon. After a round of phone tag, we finally spoke on the phone for the 1st time in a month. After we got the annoying chit chat out of the way (“how was your trip?” “how was your trial?”) he said “So, the reason I wanted to make sure I talked to you is…..”

……

……I wanted to tell you I met someone else.”

These, dear readers, are words I have become particularly NOT fond of hearing.

He then proceeded to tell me that he wanted to “be fair” to me and not just disappear on me.

Okay, dear readers, let’s back up for a minute. First, let me say that I totally appreciate upfrontness and honesty. I really do. Enough guys have “died” on me, which always leaves the most frustrating sense of non-closure, that I have to give at least some props to anyone who can man up and be honest.

But, New Guy? I have to give you a tip. When you disappear for weeks, don’t bother reappearing to be “upfront”! It’s too late!

To add insult to injury, he then proceeded to say “Well, best of luck to you….are you still doing the Match thing?”

I know that the whole point of dating is to, you know — date multiple people…but I have a hard time doing that, especially when I’ve slept with someone. Don’t get me wrong, I have continued to look around online and email with various people, so though no real dates have emerged from that yet, I have been keeping my options open as best as possible. But when someone throws so blatantly back in my face that they have been dating around all along and that I should have been doing the same, it’s just — I don’t know — tacky?

Anyhoo, at the end of the day I’m not upset or even disappointed, because the warm fuzzies I had felt for him at first had given way on our last date. I think one of the biggest feelings I’m having is indignant that he beat me to the punch. If I were somewhat less mature, I would have just loved to, instead of saying, “Thanks for telling me, take care now!” say the following:

“New Guy, thanks for telling me, but don’t flatter yourself. Let’s face it — you have a high voice (such a mood killer), you work way too much to date anyone, and you’re totally selfish in bed. Best of luck to you and especially to the poor new Match girl you are dating now!!”

But of course, dear readers, SF is way more mature than that…. 😉

Out of curiosity, do you have enough time to date?

(Before I get to the meat of this post, side note: Why oh why do I suddenly get such pleasure from watching One Tree Hill, possibly in the top 5 worst non-reality prime time shows on TV? I haven’t seen the show in about 3 years and now they are doing flash forwards and flash backs and it’s just so addictive….)

Anyway, today my co-worker L. brought me a very blogworthy book. (In fact, she prefaced it this way: “Don’t be mad! It’s not because I think you NEED this, but I bought it for myself when I was single! And if nothing else it will be good for your blog!”) The book is called Why You’re Still Single: things your friends would tell you if you promised not to get mad.

Well, I haven’t gotten very far into the book yet — I’m on Part II, “You’re Just Not that Into Yourself” — but already I can tell it’s seriously a gem. I almost hate to admit how much I identify with the pitfalls the book describes: insecurity, desperation, and most of all, “Sure, ‘a good man is hard to find,’ but that statement ceases to mean anything when you add the corollary, ‘especially if you never leave your cats and your TiVo in your godforsaken apartment.'”

Wow. Guilty as charged. As I type, I am in yoga pants and my college sweatshirt, laptop on my lap, Project Runway on TV, and my cat Noodles at my side. (What, you mean to tell me that I’m unlikely to meet a man this way?? Pshaw.) The book goes on to say, “And you don’t have to be a hermit or couch potato to put up walls. Spend sixty hours a week at work? Hard to meet a guy there.” Ooh. So there’s the double whammy.

As I read this, I thought to myself, 1) “Wow, I really need to get out of the house more and DO things” and 2) “Why the hell do you think I’m internet dating, people??”

Then, only moments later, I received an email from a Match.com guy that contained the following (this was after he asked what kind of law I practice and I gave him a perhaps over-enthusiastic description): “Out of curiosity, do you have enough time to date? I imagine you’re working a minimum or 60hrs a week.”

Yikes. How is a girl supposed to answer that? The honest truth is, I don’t know. I mean, the last guy I dated was also a lawyer and he worked way more than me, so meeting up for late night dinner was not uncommon. But for non-lawyers, is my schedule unreasonable? Truth be told, up through my trial in March things ARE going to be rough. But I think if I want to make something work, it’d be doable.

I think.

Maybe.

I’ve been trying not to think about C., with moderate success, mostly because I am almost too damn busy at work to obsess. I’m in a pretty good spot as far as not feeling heartbroken, because I know that it’s for the best. The part that gets me is that it was so nice to just have that human connection–and I’m not just talking about the sex, but just the touch and the closeness, too–and now I’m back here and there’s just none of that on the horizon. Meanwhile, C. has at least one go-to booty call…but again, I shouldn’t think about that because it just makes me feel sort of ill.

Also, I had gotten used to us talking every day – online, on the phone, or texting. Now I can feel a definite shift. We still chat a bit, but it’s just different — like we both know that we won’t be seeing each other any time soon, and that nothing’s going to happen between us, so there’s no use.

Oh, and finally, to answer one of my readers’ questions: yes, as far as I can tell, C. and I are still going to Europe together. I figure by then things will have simmered down to nothing, since we probably won’t see each other before then, and then we’ll just be able to travel as friends. The only issue is that, because we’ll be doing the planning NOW, it will make it somewhat harder to put him out of my mind. But i don’t want to call off the trip–I don’t want to go on the trip solo (and I’m going regardless because my best friend M. is getting married), he has his heart set on it, and I know we’ll have fun together. Who knows – maybe I’ll even be dating someone by then, so the gray area of friends-with-benefits won’t even be there.

We can only hope ….

My tears dry on their own

Yes, dear readers, the long-awaited weekend up in Oregon has come and gone and it’s time for a recap.

I don’t really know the best way to sum up the weekend. I guess I could say, parts of the weekend would have been romantic if it were a romantic situation. As it was, the weekend was at times relaxing, at times super fun, and at times emotionally tumultuous (at least, internally).

I flew into Eugene at about 1 pm on Friday and C. picked me up at the airport. It was a good, smooth flight and I was in a very upbeat mood. We got in the car and began our drive to the coast. It was a cold but sunny and gorgeous day, and we chatted away as farmland and forest whizzed past us. I felt this overwhelming feeling of calm and felt very very far away from my life and my everyday stress.

We stopped to have lunch at this small coast town about an hour from Eugene called Florence. We were the only people at the restaurant when we arrived and got a table by the window with a view of the water. We shared a bottle of wine and had chowder and fish and chips, then browsed at my favorite candy/taffy/gift shop in Florence before we got back on the road.

Once we got to Yachats — pronounced Yaw-hots, or as C. likes to call it, “the ‘Chats” (pronounced “the Hots” — I can’t even type it without giggling), we made our rounds to pick up food & drink. We bought four bottles of wine, some salmon and sangria ingredients. When we got to the house, it was almost sunset so we quickly opened a bottle of wine, poured ourselves each a glass and rushed out just in time to watch the sun set over the water. During the sunset, C. put his arm around me and kissed me for the first time that day.

We headed back to the house, where instead of cooking the salmon as we had planned, we decided to start with the sangria. I don’t know if you’ve gathered this from my other posts, dear readers, but SF is a bit of a lightweight. I had two cups of sangria and wow, the sangria kicked my butt. Anyway, it was only about 8 pm when we ended up drunk and in the bedroom. I’ll spare you all the gory details, but let’s just say that the bedroom part of the trip certainly did not disappoint.

Of course, not content to leave things be, I somehow brought up yet another DTR and the convo went something like this:
SF: I have feelings for you, I can’t help it.
C.: I’m sorry, I can’t reciprocate your feelings.

Not my finest moment, and not the highlight of the weekend. But more about that later.

Anyway, despite what it sounds like, that convo didn’t kill the night. There was more wine, more fun, some movie watching.

But the next day, all the good and the bad of that night caught up with me. I woke up feeling hungover in only the way that red wine can accomplish, and also emotionally hungover and feeling embarrassed/upset about the previous night’s conversation. We spent a good part of the morning just laying in bed snuggling (and then some) and then relocated to the couch and watched movies pretty much all day. It was raining outside and it was actually quite refreshing to have nowhere to be, nothing to do. In the late afternoon his parents arrived, C. and I played Scrabble then went out to dinner and watched another movie then he fell asleep on the couch and I retired to my own room. But all day this icky feeling from the prior night just wouldn’t go away.

That night I snuck into C.’s room when I woke up in the middle of the night … very fun.

The next morning, C. got up and cooked us all bacon & eggs. Then he and I headed back to Eugene. It had been snowing and the drive was like a winter wonderland — all foresty and blanketed in white. It was absolutely beautiful and we were both in good spirits. We had lunch at the airport cafe, and then we said goodbye. He hugged me, gave me a kiss and a soulful look (like only he can do) and walked out to his car.

I then had several hours to stay in the airport where my flight was delayed. I wanted nothing more than to be home at this point. I was physically and emotionally exhausted, and I felt a bit like a string that was close to snapping. They were threatening to cancel the flight, and for an hour or two I sat there, anxious over my two choices – 1) making C. pick me up at the airport and bring me back to his apartment when all I wanted was to put some space between us and clear my head, or 2) calling my parents and confessing to them that I had been in & around town all weekend and hadn’t told them, much less seen them. Um…not ideal. Luckily my flight finally took off and I got my bleary-eyed self back to my apartment at about 12:30 a.m.

So, positive things: I got to relax some, I got some long anticipated nooky, I got to see a beautiful beach sunset and snowy forest, I had some great (but deadly) sangria, I got to enjoy C.’s company.

Not-so-positive things: for better or for worse, I am a quintessential girl about all things related to the opposite sex, and I shed tears more than once over the past 48 hours (once in the airport bathroom – in hindsight I blame extreme tiredness and, I realize now, PMS – a lethal combo). But as today has gone on, clearer heads have prevailed. I realize that I have been projecting all sorts of expectations and hopes and desires onto C. But here’s the thing: he’s not the love of my life. He’s not even the same guy that was my high school sweetheart. He’s — well, a guy. Sure, he’s a guy I have history with. He’s a guy I seem to have amazing chemistry with — 10 years ago and now. He’s a guy who knows me, who I am comfortable with, who gets me. But this doesn’t mean that he’s my future.

It’s weird how we’ve fallen into a little pattern over the past month. We text each other random thoughts, we chat online during the day. We had been endlessly discussing this trip. But now that this trip has come and gone, that both of us know where we stand, and that there is no plan to see each other in the near future, it seems to have lost its urgency. I can talk to him, and we’re friends, but I know we won’t be more than that.

It’s funny – for Christmas I bought C. the book Eat Pray Love and he has been reading it and loving it. He joked last week that he thought he’d write his own male version and asked me what I wanted my name to be in the memoir. When I asked him, “I’d be in your memoir?” he said that yes, since everything that fell apart in his marriage over the last 2 months, what happened between us would be a good starting point. I commented, “yes, it has the elements of a good story.” C. agreed, “And there are still plenty of chances to screw things up or make it better, just like any good story.”

But as it turns out, this great-story-in-the-making, in reality …

Maybe not so much.