“Recognizing the absurdity of his request, he tried to explain. It wasn’t about seeing her so he could win her back but rather about seeing her so he could release the perceived hold she had over him.
I tried very hard to understand…”
Those words were written very recently by Loretta, the woman I love; the only woman I’ve ever loved this way. But I once told Loretta I wanted to borrow her car to go talk to an ex-girlfriend.
What the hell?
My brief time with the woman I dated before Loretta hadn’t worked out. Not a big surprise when you understand my habit of dating women it could never work out with. That had become my superpower, my safety valve. Don’t get too attached, and don’t get in deep with any one girl; play it light and easy.
It wasn’t always that way. I used to be pretty sappy about women, about love. To this day, Loretta would tell you of the overly sentimental music I still listen to. It’s music that pulls at my heart, the way I guess other things once did.
When I was a young man, I married a girl and started a family; and we were happy. My little family was my world. But the marriage wasn’t a solid one, and after I was shown the door (she actually brought me the newspaper with some apartments circled) I was less happy.
Eventually I got my footing back under me and I took another shot with a woman who seemed to get me, seemed to fathom the patience I needed to “go there” again. She was the one, right up until the day she gave me back the ring.
You know those movies where a loud explosion goes off and the central character hears nothing but ringing? I was still sitting across from her watching her lips move, but could not process her words. Nothing made sense.
She was supposed to be the one.
Then there was no one.
Life had taught me a hard lesson. It taught me not only can a woman be emotionally dangerous but if I was close enough to her when the danger happened, when she decided she didn’t want me anymore; the explosion annihilated my sense of self. It created a hold over me that kept her in my brain.
It made me believe a false narrative that she was perfect, and now that she’s gone I’d never have perfect again.
And so it became easier to just not get close. To be careful with my heart. Oh, and I found that if I was dating a few girls at a time and one did decide to call it off, I didn’t take it so hard. I had other dates to fall back on.
I sort of became that guy you didn’t want to meet. While I seemed to have the right attributes, knew how to say the right things (even do some of the right things) when it came down to it, when it was time to take that next big step, I ducked out.
That’s because I’d learned to keep track of where the exit was.
Enter Loretta: a woman who had literally just bailed me out of a tough spot. Not only did she raise my bail she also procured a truck and trailer to rescue my wrecked motorcycle from the impound yard.
Where do you find a girl like that? And if you do find her, why on God’s Green Earth would you ever give her cause to worry?
Loretta is amazing, and the kind of girl you date when you’re ready for that last first kiss. She’s not causal-relationship material. She’s the real deal. But here’s the issue I had:
I wasn’t ready.
Not only had I been running with scissors since my romantical catastrophes, but I’d also just crashed my bike and spent days in Intensive Care with a brain injury.
What I really needed was time to get my shit together. I was still emotionally and now physically a third stringer. So how the hell was I supposed to step onto the field and do whatever the sports metaphor is for getting the girl?
Maybe I didn’t have the skills, but I had the need.
When I was around this girl, I wanted – needed – to stay near her. Even when my old daemons spooked me, I could never stay away.
It took me awhile, but I began to understand who I now had in my life.
I remember the first time it really dawned on me. Loretta had flown off to be with her boy, his wife and their new baby; Loretta’s first granddaughter. When she flew back I was at the airport waiting for her.
She walked out onto the curb in this little blue dress with white polka dots, and my heart skipped. This was her, I could see it now. I got out of the car, hugged her tight and picked her up.
This was my woman. This was my future.
And maybe now everything was going to be okay.