Well, right on cue, I’m getting neurotic.
I always wonder: am I the only one who gets like this? Or who gets like this beyond the age of 22? It makes me feel immature and destined to fail, like my nerves become a self-fulfilling prophesy as all the doubts flood my head and tell me, one way or another, “He’s going to ditch you. In a month, or two, at most, he’ll be gone.”
What evidence do I have for this? I hadn’t heard from Rick Tuesday, except for one response to a message I sent. That’s all. And I know. I know that’s stupid. I know it’s needy of me. I knew he was at work, and very possibly in meetings all day long. The last three days he was off and had all the freedom in the world to talk with me, and he did. We’ve seen each other twice, there has been an official First Kiss, and he has said he can’t wait to see me again (when we can hopefully try the Next Kiss in an environment warmer than a parking lot at 2am in January). We’ve exchanged grin-inducing messages that made my face hurt for an hour.
He has told me I’m very pretty, and that I shouldn’t thank him for saying it because it’s just a fact.
Ohhhh, but I could fall hard for this one.
Enter the voices. He just got out of a relationship. Do you really want to be the rebound?
(To which, quite honestly, the answer is, “Um, have you seen him? Yes. Yes, in fact, I do.”)
He’s still paying the rent on their place. Why is he paying it? Will he get his own place? Are they going to get back together? Why did they break up? Did he cheat? Will he wind up keeping me a secret for months because he thinks it looks bad that we went out so soon after his breakup? Or for some other reason? Does he even want a relationship right now or am I just salve for his pain? He worked for a politician and ran for office, himself… is he just a smooth operator? Is this chivalry of opened doors and pulled-out chairs just an act? Can I even believe him when he says such nice things to me? Will he just disappear, stop calling?
I have been kept a secret. I have been smooth-talked. I have been cheated on. I have been lied to. I have been disappeared on. These things don’t make me exceptional; most of them happen to everyone. I’m 35, so it’s happened to me much more than perhaps those who were married ten years younger and stayed that way. It’s a numbers game; the odds are stacked against me. And almost all relationships end. You really only hope for one Forever, and if you’re wise, you know that one won’t be perfect.
The problem is that when it ends those ways that many times, you start to think it’s because of you. And then every time it happens after that, your fears are only confirmed. And pretty soon you’re pretty sure it will happen again this time, no matter what, or who, this time is.
Today is Jack’s birthday. He was in a dream I had two nights ago, taking me to the doctor because I was badly ill. And that has happened in real life. But Rick was in a dream I had the night before that. Nothing too substantial, but he was there. Like real life. Jack will, I’m sure, be hovering on the edge of my consciousness today. This will be the first January 23rd in 10 years that I will not call and sing “Happy Birthday” to him, that I will not celebrate his existence. He doesn’t like fuss on this day, but I wonder if he will miss it. And I’m sure that, in some way, Jack’s birthday is part of why I got neurotic about Rick.
Who, by the way, did end up in meetings all day, and we chatted through the night after he left work via those wondrous things with which I have a love-hate relationship: text messages.
Of course, once I heard from him, the neurosis cleared up. And we made a date for Friday.
It’s exhausting, being in my head. And my heart.
Guess I’d better buckle up.