Introspective Adventurer

Aging on my terms - Daily musings in 500 words or so

Category: The Story (page 2 of 8)

I Have Some ‘Splaining to Do – Guest post by John Gavin

“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?

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Deep-Rooted Friendship

A few days after breaking up with John he called to see how I was doing. I think he was surprised to hear I was fine. I was sad our romantic relationship had ended, but we had grown a strong friendship over the past year that neither of us could easily give up.

A place to think

I told John I had some things of his and asked if he’d like to meet for coffee.

Starbucks seemed an appropriate place to meet up since that was where the seeds of our friendship had first sprouted. It would be good to see him and to return his personal things.

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The Elephant in the Room

The summer of 2012 was filled with so many highs and lows I honestly don’t even like recalling it, and the ratio of highs to lows was unbalanced in the wrong direction. John and I not only had to deal with the snail’s pace of the legal system, but also the uncertainty of love.

John had told me he loved me one night back in April, but after the accident failed to remember he’d said it or that he even felt it. He spent the entire summer wondering if he’d let ‘the right one’ get away.

And he didn’t mean me.

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Time to Bail?

I never dreamed I’d need to know anything about how bail works or the process of navigating the legal system to get a loved one out of jail. But as soon as John was taken into custody, I knew I was about to learn. So I stood up on shaky legs and left the courthouse to call the number I’d been handed by the bail bondsman.

The young woman on the phone said she would meet me outside the courthouse and asked if I had my checkbook with me.

Sitting outside in the sunshine at a picnic table, I couldn’t help thinking about the stark difference of that beautiful warm summer day and the cold reality of John behind bars.

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Running with scissors

I remember feeling melancholy while driving home after dropping John off at his apartment. It was the first moment I had alone since bringing him home after the accident.

So much had happened in the prior weeks, and I had no idea where our future would go or if I even wanted one with John.

I knew the man he once was and wondered if that guy would ever come back.

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The semi-superhero

I don’t recall why we made the decision for John to come stay with me after being released from the hospital. But there he was, stitched up swollen lips and broken teeth sitting on my deck drinking coffee from a straw.

He had doctor’s orders not to drive because they were still trying to figure out the extent of his brain injury. So there I was waiting on him and nursing him back to health.

The guy who forgot he’d said, “I love you Loretta” to me the night before the accident.

The one who was facing a felony charge for running from the cops, and the man who now looked more like Sloth from Goonies than Michael Fassbender’s Magneto.

What the hell was I thinking?

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Lost moments, forgotten words

When John was finally coherent enough to communicate, the first question I asked was, “What the hell were you thinking?”

He was brought into the emergency room with nothing but a helmet and his wallet. His motorcycle crash was so severe, his clothes were cut off at the scene in order to save his life.

While his life was spared, his memory was not. He had no recollection of what happened.

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May Day!

Sitting in my car, outside the emergency room, I couldn’t think of what to do next. I’ve always been a person of action. Get the facts, figure out what needs to be done, and do it.

But as I sat there with tears streaming down my face, my brain couldn’t even figure out how to start the car.

The only call to action that came to mind was to phone my best friend.

She listened to me tell her everything and then told me to go home and call John’s brother, he would know what to do.

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When it’s time to cry

As soon as she told me, “Yes, they brought him in, he is in the emergency room” my heart sank. I didn’t cry though. That’s not the time to cry.

Instead, I grabbed a jacket and my keys and raced to my car.

I don’t recall the nine-minute drive to the hospital. But I do remember sitting in a chair in the waiting room for someone to give me information about John.

When I’d arrived and asked the person at the reception desk about him, she got a strange look on her face and told me I’d have to sit down; that someone would be out to talk to me shortly.

I was afraid to ask any questions. If you don’t ask, you can’t get unbearable news.

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April 30, 2012

That morning John said goodbye and headed home to take care of some business. He wanted to make reservations at his favorite place in Pismo Beach for my upcoming birthday, and said he had a few other things to attend to.

We were so happy.

The night before, John told me he loved me just seconds before drifting off to sleep. We didn’t speak of it the next morning, but there was joy surrounding us we could both feel.

And it felt good.

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Meeting the family

When John finally asked me to be his girlfriend in March 2012, I thought everything would be so much smoother for us from then on. After the last eight months of just friends to quasi dating I was sure things would settle down.

And they did, for a while.

The very first thing he did was to introduce me to his family. John wanted me to meet his Mom. She lived just 25 miles from the little town where I was born, and had never been back to since leaving with my family at age two.

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A gift of the present

It’s Sunday night and I wanted to write a little more of my story, but John just left and I’m feeling lazy.

I was in Oregon last week and got back just in time to see John on Monday night before catching the train back home Tuesday morning.  He worked all week away from home, and got back Thursday night late.

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A Love Story

Right after John asked me to be his girlfriend, he wrote this column for the newspaper. It is still one of my favorites. (You might want to grab a tissue for this one).

A Love Story

My Mom and Dad were married for a very long time.

And it can happen – when a man has been married for a long time – that he becomes a bit low-key in the ways he shows his wife how special she is to him. After enough years of marriage we guys can misplace our flare for the dramatic, and we can underwhelm when just the opposite is called for.

Upon the approach of my parents’ 40th wedding anniversary I think that might have been where Dad was headed. Not that that would have been an unforgivable thing, just the opposite really. Mom would have been happy with whatever he did – but then she’s like that. She was happy to be married to the man she loved – if he remembered an important date, well, that was icing on the cake.  Continue reading

Will you be my girlfriend?

What does that mean, girlfriend?

On March 21, 2012 John asked me to be his “girlfriend”. I had no idea what that even meant to him.

I’ve used the term “girlfriend” casually and never thought of what it meant to anyone else. To John it was a big deal. It was a step towards “forever” and his experience with forever wasn’t a good one.

I’d met John eight months earlier, and I can say that the best thing that ever happened to us…for us… was the fact that we became friends first. Once the pressure of the possibility of a romantic relationship was taken off the table, we both relaxed and stopped acting like peacocks looking for a mate.

There was no need to try to impress the other in hopes of “pick me”.   Continue reading

You can’t have spring without going through winter- part 2

I walked back into the bar and up to John. We looked at each other and then held each other, crying. It was all so sad.

We talked as John walked me to my car. I told him I thought what he did was “shitty”. He didn’t like that word at all. It was odd, he just didn’t want me leaving thinking HE was a shitty person.

We said goodbye to each other and I headed home. That night I cried.

I cried for the loss of “us”. After all of the relationships I’d been in, and through each failed attempt, I’d learned more about myself and who I wanted in my life. I could see us fitting together.

But apparently John couldn’t. 

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You can’t have spring without going through winter

I’ve clearly been dragging my feet about sharing this next part of my (our) story. But here goes…

It was February 2012 when I had the unfortunate incident with my co-worker at the winery. It was also that incident that got me to pick up the phone and call John.

I knew I wanted to tell him and get his support and I’ll admit, even a hug. Which is exactly what I got.

Over the next three weeks we talked almost every day. We played tennis and hiked and went to coffee and dinners together. Just like we used to.

He was still busy driving back and forth to the valley to get his house ready for the new tenant. But most days we were doing something together.   Continue reading

The wrong place, part two – the fallout

I wanted to tell him to shut his ugly mouth, but instead an uncomfortable laugh came out. It’s what we do, you know, when a man much bigger and stronger has you trapped in his car while telling you just what he wants to do to  you.

The entire drive back from San Francisco to my house in Napa, I kept up a nervous banter with the drunken guy driving me home. The second he pulled into my driveway, I flung my car door open and ran out.

I was shaking when I locked the door behind me and watched him drive away.

The first person I called was John.  

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The wrong place…

After John’s flat-out, in my face, “NO, I don’t ever see us in a relationship” statement, I was a bit numb. I had to come to grips with the fact that not only did I had a bad picker, but my instincts were off.

You know what having a bad picker means right?

Yep, that was me, the president of the “can’t pick the right guy club”. And my instincts couldn’t have been more skewed if I was looking at the world upside down.

Most of all, I was mad.   Continue reading

When it’s time to call it off

I want to share more of my story, and know most everyone who is close to me already knows all of this. But I also know there are way more people who don’t.

So I’m going to continue sharing.

I left off in January of 2012, with John deciding he still wanted to date around, and me wondering what the hell just happened.

Over the next month our relationship became more and more strained. I knew John was dating other women and I had no idea if he would ever let go of that pattern of casual dating and see what we had.

He was messaging me daily and we still did a lot of things together. But it wasn’t the same.

We planned to meet up for coffee on Valentine’s Day, but the day before while chatting on the phone I asked a question that was on my mind most days.

I asked, “Do you see us getting into a relationship?” He simply said, “No”. So then I asked, “Do you EVER see us getting into a relationship?” His response sank me. “No, Loretta, I don’t ever see us getting into a relationship.” Continue reading

Looking back – a great way to see just how far I’ve come

I was looking back at old posts I’ve written and came across this one. It made me cry!

Wow, have I come a long way. I don’t feel anything like this now and I’m so happy that I “kicked out the old tenant”.

I wrote this in August of 2017. Since then I’ve lost 20 pounds but more importantly, learned so much about myself. This blog is exactly what I needed. (Thank you for supporting me with it, John).

Me and John Oct. 2018
(photo: goirishphotog)

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