....it was the voice I waited for all my life. In a sprinkling of time I was fully submerged in a sea of enchantment. I saw pixie dust little sparkles in the air.
I had been listlessly scanning, bored to death, feeling ambivalent ....ok...I’ll cut the crap....I was hopeless and depressed. He just kept popping up. He was subtilely cute in an understated kind of way that made him the creme of the cool. I checked him out and the first words that succinctly appeared in my head were, “emotionally detached, profoundly shallow and other stuff like dat.
Some words popped up in a little box. I squirted some words back out of desperate near death boredom.
and then .......... I was dematerialized and transported to cupid’s gym of heaven and hell, all is fair, crime of passion, heart stopping, soaring to the highest heights and IV in the emergency room, heartbreaking, anxiety attack, stress. I was dressed up, sculpted and caressed, then amputated, bagged up, tossed into the biologic hazard bin and incinerated.
“how are you this evening?”, or something like dat.
“do you want the polite answer or the full tidal wave?”
“I’ve got my wet suit on and I’m waiting”
One gob of words led to the next gob and then we were on the phone and I heard that voice... The dreamiest voice I have ever, ever heard. It made me regress to the grade school romances I never had and the proms I never attended. As a girl, I was something like the child under the stairs mixed up with Tarzan, Annie Oakley and the Three Stooges.
I didn’t talk much and I was painfully shy around guys unless we were skate boarding, surfing, playing with guns or, up to second grade, having a fist fight.
Back to my completely upside down, ridiculously naive condition of womanhood and my first contact with His voice. He was profoundly manly, accomplished, intelligent, successful, athletic, firm, toned, looks good in a tuxedo or in a wet suit next to dead fish, clever, witty, deep and I heard Ella Fitzgerald singing, “Why not take all of me” in my head. He was Superman and Batman. He was my modern day Conan the Warrior. He even used to have summer vacations on the island I grew up on when he was a most assuredly very cute boy. I wondered if perhaps he had ever been the subject of my then morbid techniques of flirtation. I would sit on the front steps with my dog Nikki, a big collie who looked exactly like Lassie. When a really cute boy would walk by, I whispered, “sic ‘em” in her ear. Then I would go save the frightened victims from my vicious dog and still be unable to utter more than a few words anyway. No one was ever bitten or hurt.
This connection took me back to crawling through rabbit holes, surfing in my little brown polka dot bikini, summer days at the Surf Shack with Zooman, running in the cloud of insecticide behind the bug sprayer, Mack's pizza on the boardwalk, smoking my one and only cigarette when I was nine in the woods with Charlene, excessive skateboarding, white powder sand beaches under the deepest blue skies, wildly and artistically modified Volkswagen vans, bell bottoms, big seesaws, the Cream, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Black Sabbath, climbing out the window whenever I felt like it, how clean and white Mr. Softee always looked as he swirled the vanilla ice-cream into the cone... All of this, with the Endless Summer soundtrack faithfully providing the background ambiance. There in the armpit of New Jersey, surrounded by the pine barrens and the mutants that emerged from that mysterious place. That was a fatal error.
Then began the flurry of phone calls. Clever ticklish e-mails punctuating my days, morning and night. He couldn’t wait for our first date. Apparently, I applied the exact proper amount of womanly mystique and reserve. He didn’t know I was just lost and paralyzed with an overwhelming shyness not normally associated with a woman of my biological chronicity.
The "first date" day came. My teenage buddies helped me pick out some jeans at the mall. My daughter wanted me to push her up the hill in her Kett Car again and again...
I said, “hey, use your muscles girl.”
She said, and this will stick in my mind for ever, “you have to get ready for your date mommy.”
“You have to pump up your muscles so you can kick his butt if he does anything wrong.”
This is the difference between girls that grew up with Popeye and Olive Oil and girls that are growing up with the Power Puff Girls (or I read, as they were originally created, The Ass Kick Girls). I am definitely not opposed. Although, I did teach her not to beat up boys (or girls).
Calm down, there’s been no guys parading in and out of her life. I have a healthy number of guy friends and she knows lots of guys call and I am dating. She thinks I’m a “hottie” and other times a “chick”. She has patiently explained the difference between the two categories of womanly existence and I think I get it... a little. That is, of course, when I am not embarrassing her horribly by simply breathing, or chewing or dancing while I drive. Daughters are great aren’t they?
I’m zigzagging. That was the other thing about Him. We could bounce and dance around around each other perfectly: boinging from thought to thought, barreling down the freeway, in perfect formation like our own MC (motorcycle club) that contained only us, Mr. Potato Head and the Bad Kittz. He called it “zigzagging”. He was the most fun person to talk to that I ever spoke with in my life. From making bets about quantum mechanics to his silly poem about potatoes. He didn’t get upset when I said,”wuts it to ya?” like other people in LA, who transmutate into zombies, visibly disintegrating into skeletons and then dust that blows away in a gust of special effects wind if you sound too “Sopranos”-esque. He told his secretary that I had VIP status on phone calls. Conference calls with prestigious clients were put on hold. I let him plan my life. He always made me laugh and I couldn’t not touch him.
Every morning, at 5:30 am, I would get the sweetest little text message announced by the most delicious vibration and an ascending sound that will haunt my dreams forever. He was on his way to the gym and then to his ivory tower downtown to tend to the empire he continued to conquer and build. He faithfully rushed home to coach the baseball team. He did homework with his children every night. He didn’t put them through a custody battle. He said, “why should they suffer. It wasn’t their fault the marriage didn’t work.” He was a master of the martial arts. He had the most perfectly desirable body my lips ever touched. He asked me to sing him Duke Ellington songs as lullabies. He graduated at the top of his class from Stanford University. He grew up poor and was completely unpretentious. He was a perfect gentleman and mischievous boy at all times. He said I was the most heartfelt and honest person he knew. He said that it was time that he really started living......
One night he called to say goodnight and bated me into asking him to drive over and say goodnight with his arms and lips. He explained that he couldn’t come over and break his routine of going to bed early. He had a very big crucial meeting to prepare for and attend. He couldn’t spend too much time with me on weeknights.
I said, “so tell me when you want to leave and I will punch you in the stomach and make you leave exactly at that time”.
He said, ”but don’t you see, I can’t tear myself away from you.”
I nearly fainted.
He said, “Will you answer the really big question for me?”
I stopped breathing.
“Will you open the door for me?”
I could sit with him for hours and not say a word. He said I was a beautiful creature and we were a perfect match. We planned to go to the opera and to hockey games. He said we would take a vacation in July at the beach and be completely silly on the beach. He said. He said. He said...
He was superman.
I was hopelessly in love. I blew my whole wad. I let it all rip. I accelerated to dangerous velocity. My vehicle was spinning out of control.....
My little brother feared for me. He is my best friend in the whole world and the best person I have ever known. My little brother says I am the “prettiest and smartest girl” he knows and “the three stooges all rolled up into one person”. The thing he fears most about me is that I “always see the good in people and refuse to see the bad”. When I was in graduate school, he was frustrated that I wouldn’t date his friends from the University Club and that I seemed to date only house painters and iron workers. I refused to date any “paper pusher “ rich guys in expensive sports cars. I said, “these guys are so convoluted and insidious. They could do the worst things to someone then walk away completely oblivious and never bat an eyelash or look back. “ It was some sort of tragically self-fulfilling prophecy.
The first date with Him was utterly amazing.
Everything went wrong. Everything went right.
I made him drive around for an extra 20 minutes while I finished agonizing over my makeup/no makeup look. My hair was exuberantly happy with outlaw curls perfectly unstyled. (He loved my hair.) Properly slightly scoffed hi heels with that look of casual disdainful biker chick gone cosmopolitan girlie femininity. A cautious black tank top with a hint of .... uh.... cleavage peeking out. Of course the new made-to-look-old-low-rise-but-not-too-low-boot-cut jeans. I was trembling. I was ready. I was so gone. If he looked like a frog, I would have loved him. But.......
I will never forget the vision of him standing in my doorway. A bag of potatoes in one hand. A bouquet of flowers in the other.
(We had a joke about potatoes that was so silly, I will leave it to your imagination)
He looked so vulnerable and handsome and manly and boyish and so ruler of the universe gone squishy, standing there worrying if I liked him. It was all so new to me, the one who grew up as the child under the stairs, awkwardist girl in the class et absent minded professor, tom boy, never-played-with-dolls, geek.
Just to set the record straight, I have come to learn and believe that the quirks and shortcomings we possess are the things that contribute most to the beauty that we all possess. And that will be enough esoteric philosophy for the moment because the big date is proceeding.
I briefly showed him around my little enchanted forest habitat complete with dogs, cats, one bird, antique solid pine cabinets in the kitchen, tumble weeds in the back and the giggling gurl-gone-lovestruck-but-I’ll-never-let-him-know creature that I was. My daughter had already gone to her sleep over before he arrived. I did make him look at a few baby pictures which he seemed to appreciate. I put the flowers in a vase. We got into his bazillion dollar sports car that he very casually never complained about getting covered with dust as we proceeded out my dirt road and into the sleek jungles of LA.
The restaurant I picked was too brightly lit, busy and bustling and he didn’t like sushi and I bit into a piece that wasn’t quite right but chewed it up and swallowed it anyway not wanting to appear unlady-like. It was nerve wracking but we clearly longed to continue so we went to one of his favorite clubs in an obscure location in the Malibu mountains. On the way he scared the wits out of me on the freeway. The Allman Brothers blared a little too loud for my level of anxiety caused by my perception of his seeming lack of driving skills for a car so ..... dangerously capable of high performance. My knuckles were white and I thought about ever seeing my daughter again. We arrived. The place was closed for remodeling. We went to another one of his favorite hide-aways and it was closed. He showed me his Dojo, then his favorite Mexican restaurant which was also closed.
We decided to walk a bit and wandered into The Wild, a hole-in-the-wall dive. There was a perfectly untamed rock band with a violin player dancing on a table giving a soulfully provocative performance. The drink I had, combined with the saki I ingested earlier, propelled me into suddenly sitting on His lap and kissing him savagely. I’m pretty sure he liked it. I quickly regained my composure and took my proper place beside him for the rest of our stay at The Wild.
He took me home and said goodnight.
He was a perfect gentleman.
The whole thing continued to progress and snowball......
He jumped into my life with both feet and I let him. He said, “don’t you see? Everything I do, I put my whole self into”. That was definitely true. He was the best parent, the best in his field, the best man I knew..... the best of the best.
You never know when the last time you see someone will be, do you?
One day the e-mail came. “It is clear to me that I can’t provide you with the relationship that you need and deserve. something, something. something and “I don’t want to go through the pain and heart break of breaking up when my time becomes an issue for you, as it inevitably will.... very, very, very sorry".
I called him at his office. His secretary said he was working at home. I called. He answered. All he said was, “I can’t talk to you, it’s too difficult,” and hung up. His voice broke as if he was crying.
I didn’t believe it. I figured we would present our cases, clarify the mis-communications, mediate and everything would be all right. I was catapulted into progressively making myself into a complete and total moron by the letters I wrote. I never called him again because I couldn’t bare having him hang up on me again. I did leave one tearful voice message at night when I knew he wasn’t in the office.
He did continue to write periodically, telling me that his life was hard and he didn’t have “enuff” time. It was no ones fault, just bad timing.
He said that I was so sweet and wonderful, he didn’t want to hurt me.
I asked him to please tell me the truth.
He said, “what truth are you looking for?”
And that is how the happiest-gurl-in-the-world became the gloomy princess locked in the dungeon and the old moldy, dried out potato is still rotting in the cabinet.