For weeks now I have been looking for a new spin on old resolutions. I have been searching for a way to start 2018 fresh and different with motivation and inspiration, as 2017 left me feeling quite blue.
Life of Josie M.
I could hear the inner wheels of Henry’s mind grinding as he lay silently next to me, both of us facing opposite directions with only the smalls of our backs touching.
I sat up holding the comforter up to my chest as if to shield me from the vulnerability ahead. I turned and spoke to his back, “I knew this would happen the minute I saw the back of your head.”
He picked up his head and rested his chin on his shoulder. “What?”
“Well, actually… I knew this would happen when I first saw your back…in your fabulously sexy, dark-navy suit with the silver pinstripes…then I saw the back of your head. But, still, I knew.”
Still confused, Henry now swiveled his body counter-clockwise to lie facing me on his side. “You knew what?…From what…my head? All I heard was you think I’m fabulously sexy,” he let the last word trail off slowly like he used to do while teaching, using sarcasm to get his point across, only this time, it was seductive, luring me back down next to him.
I let go of my death grip on the comforter and slid back down on my side into his open arms and nestled up close to his chest. We were now looking into each other’s eyes.
“When I walked into Albert Hall, while I was focused on finding Room Six, you were hunched over at the water bubbler. I couldn’t help but say to myself, ‘Wow. Who is this with the phenomenal taste? He’s a student here?’ You then stood up straight and walked into the next room. I only saw the back of you head. But, I knew. The salt-and-pepper hair was a dead giveaway.”
As he kissed my forehead, he muttered, “I still have no idea what you are talking about. Are you calling me fabulously sexy again?”
Eventually, we had to pull ourselves away from each other and the seclusion of my bedroom as it was Monday morning and we both had classes to teach. As Henry showered, I got up and started the coffee.
“Ugh. Rain again,” I muttered to myself as I opened the window blinds. Opening the blinds was painful, not because of the light hitting my un-ready pupils, but because I felt each one of those horizontal lines of light shattering the cocoon the weekend in bed had just built around me and Henry.
Reality was rearing its’ ugly head with the possibility for sheer and utter disappointment when Henry leaves, as he had not responded to any of my feeble attempts to convey the true breadth and depth of my feelings. I had tried several times during the course of the past two days to gather the thoughts, feelings and emotions rushing through me for the past year into what needed to be the perfect combination of words to tell to this man, the most wonderful man I had ever met, I was in love with him.
I could still hear the shower running. I started to prepare myself for the worst. I started running scenarios of our departure through my head.
“Thanks for an amazing weekend. But…I’ve already told you…I’m happy in my current situation…”
“East or west coast?”
Henry startled me. While I was preparing myself for the dreaded “You’re a Great Friend” speech staring out the window, he had gotten out of the shower, gotten dressed and poured our coffee. He was standing at the edge of the kitchen holding in one hand my “I ‘heart’ LA” mug and in the other, my “I ‘heart’ New York” mug.
“LA or New York,” he clarified.
“Oh…New York, please. Thank you.”
I stood frozen in anticipation as I watched Henry gather his belongings from around the apartment. I was still in my bathrobe, still gripping my “I ‘heart’ NY” mug and still unable to breathe.
“Well…” Again, his words rolled off his tongue with great seduction.
We were now walking towards each other. When Henry reached me, he took the mug out of my hand, placed it down and began kissing my neck.
“Stunning, sexy, and irresistible,” he kept kissing me as he spoke.
“What?” My mind was preoccupied with his lips, not conversation.
“Turquoise, strappy high heels and your refute of Georg Hegel’s theory of the Absolute.”
“What?” I repeated, still preoccupied.
“That’s when I knew I had fallen in love with you.”
Hi. My name is Josie. And I am a douchebag addict.
I have teetered on the edge of serial single and serial dating for years now. Thus, my blog. However, this year both sides of the fence have culminated into a gigantic, festering vat of emotionally draining energy.
I mean, things were to a point were Kaz and SlinkyChic insisted I audition for VH1’s Tough Love, a reality TV dating boot camp. Look, Slink even started filling out my application:
Q: Why do your friends think you are single?
“I would say you are single because, well, you have not yet found THE ONE, but THE ONE has not yet found you either. The potential future Mr. Josie has to GET YOU, and let you BE YOU. You are Little*, but not LITTLE in your attitude. I would say that you have a certain type and when your friends show you a potential MAN, you may not consider him upon the first review after the 2 seconds you have reviewed him from head to toe….plus usually when we go out it is late at night and usually quite dark and libations may be involved.”
And then she also added this in her email:
“I think your criteria may be very selective and narrow, meaning that you HAVE to have a man that falls w/n a list of your requirements if he EVEN gets as far as to talk to you…
Oh, and they LINGER….. they have to be long gone before you can move on!!! You have hanger-oners… that are always there or come back. I have trouble typing on this little laptop, maybe we need to have a conversation all of us and make a conclusion as a group. We need to make this GOOD.”
Slink’s email was touching enough to make my eyes water and brutal enough to make my eyes water.
I am particular. Not particular like, “narrow, meaning a man must fall within a list of requirements,” but particular like a hot-house orchid; I have certain conditions I want THE ONE, as Slink put it, to meet.
These “hanger-oners” at one point did meet my “conditions,” but over time, fell out of favor for one reason or another – and stayed around. And, yes, some fell into the category of major douchebag – and stayed around.
I didn’t care. I didn’t care these “hanger-oners” weren’t THE ONE, they were someone to go to dinner with, on a long-weekend with – let’s be honest, I wasn’t in love with any of them. Hell, there were a few I didn’t even really like, never mind love. This leads me back to the culmination of a festering vat of emotionally draining energy… there were a few I did deeply care for (i.e., Ian) — and one I was insanely in love with (i.e., the secret crush). But, the deep feelings were never returned.
Ian didn’t want to get married again, or live together, or spend lots of exorbitant time together, but he didn’t want to break up either. I thought I would be okay with his terms, I even called him, “Mr. Right Now” to his face. I guess, deep down, I thought he would eventually change his mind. Ah! Wait! I know what you are thinking! Let me add, Ian would also say things to make me believe his mind was changing. After a long weekend in Boston, I finally realized he never meant anything he said in terms of change – and was harshly reminded, leopards don’t change their spots.
The secret crush I have been referring to in my junior-high-school manor since the creation of my blog, is no longer secret. I think. I think he knows about the depth of my feelings, but with men, ladies you know, they mostly lack the ability to connect the dots – no matter how many academic degrees. But, at this point, does it really matter if he knows? It’s been a cat and mouse game of flirtation, however, he decided to stick with his current situation. I am heart broken, and worse, I feel stupid. He made himself clear – even if he did dabble with the idea of me – and he did dabble – you do not not bring up your current situation for this long without dabbling! Plus, he talked a big game. He dangled the proverbial carrot of many super fantastic, incredible projects/jobs/etc. on a stick in front of me, yet, meant none of them. I don’t know which is worse – being the girl not chosen or realizing the guy of my dreams could actually fall into the category with all the rest — douchebag.
Thus, I put myself into douchebag rehab. (I must say, Kaz and Slink are extremely proud). No more accepting phone calls, emails or text messages. I have deleted all the “hanger-oners” out of my phone, email address book and social networks.
I have emptied and cleaned my festering vat – with bleach.
* * *
*VH1 Tough Love, Season 2 casting was closed when I went to submit my application.
*”Little” is a nickname.
And then, there was Ian.
Our introduction was kinetic. I still can feel the energy, the tingles, which ran from my hands down to my toes, of our first meeting years ago.
He was thirteen years my senior, an Amherst College scholar, a brilliant writer, and his salt-and-pepper hair made his presence insatiable.
Two years passed, enduring brief and intemittent meetings. And then, he emailed me.
Ian expressed he wanted to meet me out for coffee, he needed to speak to me. His email was short and to the point, making his message seem all the more urgent. The next day, we meet at a small, quintessential bookstore turned coffee house.
As I sipped my coffee, the impossible, the unbelievable, the never-happens-to-me happened to me. This man, whom I have been intoxicated with for the past two years by mere hair and wit, announced he was ending his unsuccessful marriage of ten years to feel alive again, feel companionship again, feel romance again – because he had met me.
This was the impossible, the unbelievable, the never-happens-to-me because up until this point, we had never dated, never had unscrupulous, secret encounters (not counting the many in my mind). We had been friends. That’s it.
Six years and one hell of a romance later, nothing makes you feel more like a toaster, than being told he was leaving for another woman.
As kinetic as our meeting was, I was in denial of the looming end.
Destiny is not always fate, but fate is often destiny.
Yes, the impossible, the unbelievable, the never-happens-to-me happened to me
with a man I was intoxicated with by mere hair and wit for years previous,
however, I denied the fact intoxication evitably leads to a long, slow death by poisoning of the soul.
His once insatiable presence is now mere memory.
Our brief and intermittent meetings turned long, romantic weekends reading in bed, are now gone.
My life caught up with me this week; indeed, the fire-starters may have been hormonally ignited, but that’s besides the point.
As the week begins to wrap up, I feel as if I could throw an old-school, temper tantrum as if back in the day of being four-years old. I feel the only way to shake the pit this week has left in my stomach is to pitch a fit of crying it out, while screaming and tugging on my hair, stomping on the floor with both feet at the same time, ending with a grand finale of kicking the wall.
Anytime I get a stomach pit, I know I need to re-focus, however, this yearning to kick-it old school, literally, was a red flag warning me I was in need of a spiritual overhaul. I needed to meet with the one man I consider one of New England’s top spiritual advisors – the pizza man down the street. Actually, The Pizza Guy down the street. I needed guidance immediately, so I picked up the phone to schedule an appointment. I ordered a veggie wrap.
**HISTORICAL FLASHBACK: I do not cook. If I do, I make sure the recipe does not require more than one pan, thus, I order out a ton. Through a variety of wraps and personal-size pizzas, I have come to know The Pizza Guy’s owner, Bobby. Over the course of the past two years, while waiting for my orders, we have discussed a multitude of topics, especially the spiritual and universal laws of the universe – and success. There have been occasions when Bobby suggests I read a certain book and after I telling him I finished it, he invites me to sit in the kitchen to eat and discuss what I have read.**
As I walked in the pizza shop, Bobby looked up and with one eyebrow raised said, “Ahh…I see you are fighting the universe again. Come back and eat. We will talk.” I followed him to the kitchen table hidden behind the enormous brick oven and sat down at the table. He placed my wrap down in front of me and proceeded to pull Deepak Chopra’s The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success down from what had to be three dozen or so recipe books high up on the shelf above the prep counter.
“Here,” he opened the book and handed it to me, “read this chapter and I will be back.”
The book, a hard cover showing signs of frequent use with dog-eared pages, bookmarks and torn jacket cover, was opened to the fourth chapter, “The Law of Least Effect”. “Ah, fighting the universe,” I said to myself while thumbing to the next page.
As I read the chapter, I came to a page with highlighting. “Any time your encounter resistance, recognize that if you force the situation, the resistance will only increase. You don’t want to stand rigid like a tall oak that cracks and collapses in the storm. Instead, you want to be flexible, like a reed that bends with the storm and survives…When you remain open to all points of view – not rigidly attached to only one – your dreams and desires will flow with nature’s desires. Then you can release your intentions, without attachment, and just wait for the appropriate season for your desires to blossom into reality.”
I released a heavy sigh and then bit into my now luke-warm wrap. My Italian yogi, in his trattoria Ashram, had once again, instantly calmed my soul.
Bobby was right, throwing the tantrum I was dreaming about would only make my frustration worse. I needed to stay within the present moment and welcome the new adventures which lay ahead of me.
As I was half way through my wrap, Bobby returned. He didn’t say anything as he stopped and looked at me. “Ahhh, Bella, I am glad to see you stepped out of the ring. Boxing is hard work,” he said as he smiled and tapped me on the head. “Now, let me get you some gelato to sooth the wounds of your soul.”
“In my travels through the blogosphere, I stumbled across a blog presenting questions from the book, Pirates of Pensacola (Chapters 27-31), by Keith Thomson. The questions intrigued, so here are my answers…
1) I was a complete chicken as a child, but Polly found that warnings of a sea monster,
intended to keep the kids close to home, just made her want to explore even more.
Were you ever given a warning that backfired, making you have a stonger desire to do that which was warned against?
2) What was the sea monster’s name?
3) Polly lives for the pursuit of adventure; Morgan, in pursuit of stability; Isaac, in pursuit of gold. What do you live in pursuit of?
I live in the pursuit of the mere thought of serving my secret crush breakfast in bed in Paris – or Tokyo.
4) What’s the strangest way or place that you’ve begun a relationship?
Fifth-row center at a Barbara Streisand concert.
5)”Single-stick” and “head bumping” sound like interesting sports to watch, although I’m partial to the Caber Toss myself. What’s your favorite sport to watch?
6) What’s the oddest item you’ve bought at auction?
I tried to win, “Can you see MC Hammer’s face in my slice of bread?” on eBay, but…heavy sigh, I got out-bid.
7) What’s your weakness?
8) Describe your arch-enemy.
My arch-enemy profile would look like the following:
Hobby: Scrapbooks everything down to her bowel movements, God-forbid she reads a book.
Husband: First guy to wave a shiny object.
Career: Please see Hobby.
Other interests: Probably shops at DEB.
Motto: Please see Hobby.
Car: Porsche or BMW, most likely both.
Hobby: Looking at himself in the mirror; applying his skin care products; buying his $2000 suits.
Wife: At first, says it should be me, but then breaks up with me and marries the next skank,
I mean girl, that comes along.
Career: Of course, uber-successful lawyer, real estate broker, or rock star.
Other interests: Buys me a coffee mug for Valentine’s Day.
Philosophy: Man-boys are like eggs, they either hatch and mature – or spoil.
* * * * * * * * *
What would your answers be?
Life moved around us as if set on fast forward, while we both seemed frozen in place. I sat alone facing him trying to gather the thoughts, feelings and emotions rushing through me into what needed to be the perfect combination of words to speak to the most wonderful man I had ever met.
The room was now empty. Even though other people’s departure seemed sudden, I knew hours had past while we both sat starring at each other. I remember, I couldn’t move any part of my body for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, I closed my eyes, tried to regulate my breathing with a long, deep inhale and dug down to muster every last ounce of courage and strength I had left within my now shaking body.
I knew I would never forget this kiss. I knew I had only one chance to make this kiss encompass an entire lifetime. I stood up and walked over to him.
I whispered the words which had been cycling through my head all day and which, by no means, were the perfect combination to fully convey what I had been thinking and feeling for days – for years.
After saying my unbearable goodbye, I lent over my father’s lifeless body and kissed his forehead trying to remember his face I would never see again.
A single girl stood contemplating her life while the ocean beneath her crashed at her feet.
The wind through her hair was like the myriad of thoughts wafting through her mind.
The smell of the salt air was calming; she had missed the smell of home.
The subtle chill of the night air was a harsh reminder of the unknown.
Would sunrise bring enlightenment or more moonlight alone?