I’ll admit, I’ve basically walked around for the last few days with the same refrain running through my head: “My mother doesn’t know me.” How is that possible? I mean, logically, I understand the medical explanation of mental deterioration but I can’t quite grasp, emotionally, how a mother can not recognize her child. I’m hers; how does that go away? And if that goes away, if my mother doesn’t know me, who do I belong to? Am I an orphan? Will it feel any differently when my mother dies?
Yeah, not a good few days.
Needless to say, I haven’t been particularly happy. As someone said the other day in response to my statement of having a shit week, I’m awfully good at covering it, but that only applies to people who don’t know me – or, more accurately, to situations that distract me. Thurs and Fri were solid meetings, which were much-needed distractions; you don’t have time to think about personal issues when you’re standing in front of 50 people in your department or working through some theory readings with a graduate student. Once again, work saves me. I can’t focus enough to write the book prospectus or read the material for my fellowship – 50 pages and I’m asleep, however much I really do want to read it – but dealing with people keeps me busy enough to allow time to pass. And that’s what I need: time. I need time to adjust.
I need some understanding and sympathy, too, which is why god created girlfriends. My friends here have been good to me: asking about my visit home but also keeping their distance if I don’t want to talk. They know my mom from my parents’ visit, and they know the situation from our conversations, so they can sympathize from different perspectives. Dinner Friday night was just what I needed: the chance to vent and the chance to laugh. I felt much more even-keeled after that.
Friday was strange, though. I had a ticket to a concert that night; I vacillated about going but dinner gave me the energy boost I needed. It was interesting – not quite my thing but one of those “glad I did that” experiences. The added oddity was meeting World Traveler afterward for a drink.
Yes, that would be one of the guys I was sort of dating when Rockford came on the scene. We were rather hot and cold in our interactions by that time, so, while I enjoyed our evenings out, it really wasn’t hard for me to decide Rockford was the one I wanted to spend my time with. He’s stayed in touch, though, with texts every now and then. We were friendly enough, and he was mature enough when we parted, that it hasn’t bothered me to exchange pleasantries every now and then – and no, I’m not an idiot. I know he’d like to date me again, but I also know that I’ve made it clear that’s not happening; as long as we can both live with that, I’m okay with the occasional interaction.
Well, he hit me at the right time Fri night. He joked that I should join him for dinner; I said I was going to a concert on his side of town; he suggested drinks; I agreed to meet him after the concert. One drink turned into four, and I came home at 2:30 in the morning. And nothing happened. We talked; we laughed; we probably flirted a bit; we parted with a hug on the street. Selfishly, I enjoyed his obvious admiration (I did look quite nice) and I appreciated his willingness to sit and focus on me for three hours. I just needed that: being the most important person in someone’s life for that point in time.
Where was Rockford, you ask? He was home with his kids. More importantly to my state of mind, he was on the “not winning” side of the spreadsheet that day. We’d managed to meet up for about 20 minutes late in the afternoon. Between my meetings and his work schedule, we hadn’t seen each other since I got back from Home State. We’d texted a bit, and he had been nothing but kind while I was gone, but we hadn’t had time to actually be together – and I needed that. I needed human companionship, a hug or a kiss, something to reassure me that someone was on my side. Our brief meeting on Friday wasn’t that. He’d had an awful day; he was dealing with a frustrating teenager; he was irritated and tired. So, he sat down across from me, talked for 15 minutes, then jumped up to go pick up his daughter. I got a distracted kiss in the parking lot and not one question about how I was doing after my trip home.
As a friend pointed out, he likely hadn’t talked to an adult for the past week. More over, he hadn’t talked to me, someone who cares about him. So I do understand but, at the same time, I couldn’t decide whether I should roll my eyes or have a crying jag that he was so clueless. I’m not sure I managed a smile the entire time he was looking at me; I’d been on the edge of tears the entire day; he knew how difficult the trip had been for me. A little sympathy, dude!
So, yes, I was receptive to World Traveler’s request to meet up, the first time since I started dating Rockford. And I enjoyed talking to WT. And I appreciated his interest in me. And, maybe, if I’d had a few more drinks, I’d have gone home with him (yes, honesty isn’t always pretty). But I didn’t, because he wasn’t the one I wanted.
And I did laugh as I was intercepted by a police officer while walking to my car. He very kindly asked if I needed a ride to my car, given the hour and the neighborhood, but I was close enough that he could watch me walk there. We talked for a bit and I shared that I was dating Rockford. Why I felt the need, I don’t know, but he got a kick out of it. And then I drove home.
To his credit, Rockford realized he’d messed up. Granted, a comment I made on FB probably led him to that conclusion, but he did apologize, and that counts. He invited me over Sat afternoon and, despite the work I should have been doing, I went. In all honesty, the chance to spend time with his youngest kid was really what got me there. I was still rather miffed at Rockford, and I needed to work, but I like his kid and, sometimes, a child is the medicine you need. I wasn’t wrong. The kid met me at the door and I laughed the rest of the day; he even got me on his dad’s bike to ride with him to the post office. And Rockford gave me one of his long looks and all was forgiven there.
I spent the afternoon watching basketball, then went with everyone to a HS basketball game. We stopped for milkshakes afterward and came home to watch a movie. If I wasn’t sure that I’ve officially hit old age, the evening confirmed it: Rockford and I both fell asleep on the sofa. Waking up and realizing I had to drive home was painful.
Today: more reading, an afternoon nap, and a Super Bowl party at a colleague’s house. Rockford had asked me to join them to watch the game but I was good and stuck to my original plans, and I’m glad I did. I had a surprisingly good time, interacting with colleagues from one of my departments. I like these people, generally, but we don’t mix much outside of school. They’re pretty fun people, and turns out, they think I am, too, so it was a good evening. I needed some socializing beyond romantic entanglements.