Love in the Cloud: BestWorst (chapter 4?)

Best First date EVER! How could she NOT like this man? Tall, handsome, funny and sweet. They talked all night. They were so comfortable with each other. She felt as though he knew more about her, and she knew more about him in that one night than she and the last guy had gotten to know about each other in a year and a half as friends and two five day long dates. He was already calling her “baby” and “lover” and she felt safe and secure in his arms. He was so open about his feelings. She hadn’t met anyone like this in…forever!

She spent the whole next day grinning from ear to ear. She realized at one point as she was sewing, that she wasn’t actually sewing, she was sitting staring out the window at the snow falling and smiling and smiling and smiling.

God, he was an amazing lover! Her firm decision to wait to sleep with him had left her less than an hour after she had told him that she wouldn’t be spending the night…how could she stop kissing him when it felt so good, when she felt his lips on hers and his strong arms around her. Later on he told her he was glad she had “the resolve of a marshmallow” She laughed and kissed him and they laughed and made love and laughed and made love again and again until the sun came up. He told her she was beautiful, and she felt beautiful, she felt like a goddess in his arms, and they talked and laughed and talked some more. After a few hours sleep, he stood naked as the day in front of the woodstove and was so giddy and

Oh, she could love this man!

They started to say things that implied a future: “You’ll have to see this meadow in the springtime” “You’ve gotta come to the fair in the fall” “In the summer we’ll canoe down the river.” It felt like the wonderful start of a very special thing.

When she got home there were the cute little Emails: “Good morning Lover. The wood stove is popping, the house is warm and cozy. The only thing missing is you.” and “I have a yummy dinner and a bottle of yellowtail waiting for you. Can’t wait to taste your lips again!” God, he was so romantic! She was a lucky, lucky girl!

There were all these weird parallels between him and her last lover: They were both born in the Chinese Year of the rooster, though this guy was 12 years older and a Sag. (just like her favorite cousin!) They had both worked as engineers, and now worked as handymen, even had the same day rate. They had both proclaimed “I’m a good man!” several times on their first date with her. (Why they would feel that she might judge them as being less than that was beyond her, but she figured it probably had something to do with their perspective ex-wives, who had left each of them suddenly and without warning after 13 years of marriage.)

The weirdest thing to her was, they both had a daughter with the same name!

I have to tell you, I am NOT making any of this up! All of this is the gods honest truth! These things and more were alike with these two men. It would have kinda creeped her out, but, they were both, it seemed, good men, so she figured she’d just go with it.

There were the other odd things too, synchronicities, coincidences, chess play movements by mischievous gods: She had been up in Washington state, figuring that the Pacific Northwest might be a delightful place to explore to see if she might land there when her gypsy days were done. She listed herself as being in Seattle on an online dating site, though she was actually staying on a piece of property a couple of hours south. She got lonely. There was no cell phone reception on the property, no wifi. She got sick, some flu-ey type of thing that made her hack and wheeze and whine. The people that owned the property went away, she was all alone, and, whenever she wanted even a tiny bit of company she had to haul her feverish butt into her cold, cold car and drive down the frozen road to check her gmail and facebook and voicemail. To make matters worse, she was obsessing about the last guy, even though she KNEW in her heart of hearts that, despite the glorious time they’d had together a few weeks back, their sweet affair was over, and while they would be dear friends till the endof their days, there was a very good probability that they would never be lovers again. (in her experience, if the timing wasn’t right the first time,which it wasn’t, it probably wouldn’t turn out right in the future)(not set in stone,she knew,but it was a pretty fair assessment to make) She knew she was only obsessing because she was lonely, and sick, and feeling very, very sorry for herself. She knew she HAD to get off that property and be among people NOW! She’d been planning to visit a friend on Bainbridge Island, but he said it wasn’t a good weekend for it, so she hooked up her Airstream and headed south to go visit a friend from High school…

Now this is where the whole synchronicity/coincidence/mischievous gods thing came into play: When she got to her friends place in Oregon, the mobile phone app for the dating site sent her several “local matches” based on her gps coordinates. The man that we’ve been talking about, the new guy, was one of them. As a matter of fact, he was the only one thatcaught her interest. She read his profile, and looked at his pictures and thought “Wow. He seems pretty interesting!” Then she put down her phone and went in to visit with her friend.

 An hour later the interesting guy emailed her!

Turns out he was on a job in Seattle and wanted to know if she might like to meet him for coffee. She laughed as she wrote back saying she couldn’t, because she was in fact inOregon, probably 25 or so miles away from his place. It happens that she was even closer than that, about six miles. He lived in the town where her friend taught school!

He joked about the humor of the gods, and she joked back that she hoped Loki hadn’t had too much to do with it, trickster that he was!

He listed himself as “Native American/White” which is how she listed herself. The last four digits of his “profile name” were also the last four digits of her bank account.

When he got back home, and they had their first date, she discovered that he had several pieces of the same unusual silverware pattern that she had grown up with. Okay, she knewthis was a stretch, but when you added it to all the OTHER coincidences and synchronicities, it DID count!

But the last coincidence seemed to be the most wonderful:  A week before she left Washington she had put out to the Universe a request for what she wanted with a man. She hadn’t done the whole affirmation thing since the “New-age” eighties,(or maybe the nineties) but she figured that since she was on her own personal roadof discovery, a little positive thinking couldn’t hurt, so she got out her candles, set up an altar, meditated on what she wanted in a relationship and wrote down a request that was so exquisite, so evocative, so beautiful that she even posted it on her blog. It was all about how she would feel in her mans arms, how he would see her (as beautiful!) and the kind of life they would have together. She even outlined their sex life! It practically made her swoon to read it, which she did, every morning as she woke up, and every evening just before she went to sleep.

And then, there he was, in this tiny town in Oregon that she hadn’t even know she was going to visit!

She didn’t know what all this meant, all these coincidences but she did know that whenevershe was faced with such an unusual series of them, the universe was telling her to pay attention. So she did.

Worst second date ever? No, no, it wasn’t the worst, and parts of the second date were really quite lovely, but…the issues that clouded the spirits of these two good and loving, yet broken people quickly revealed themselves on this go around….

He was a man that needed his peace and quiet. He didn’t handle crowds or cities well. He had a low frustration threshold, especially when tired, and, god knows, they certainly weren’t getting their full eight hours when they were together; mind you, they were loving every minute of it, both literally and figuratively, but they were both tired….the sad and tragic thing that had caused this sensitivity in his life was that he had been shot, and shot in the head. In many ways this was why he was so loving and open and honest. He said it changed who he was, made him a better man. He said he THOUGHT he was a bit of an asshole in his life before, but he had trouble remembering things clearly from back then. The thing is, it had made him hyper-vigilant, particularly in cities or places with lots of people. She could empathize…clearly, she had had her own trauma, had almost died, almost been murdered a million years ago, kidnapped in Mexico, dragged into the jungle at the tender and omnipotent age of 25. She had survived, fought her way to safety, though it was half a lifetime before she felt safe again. She remembered the hyper-vigilance, the sounds that made her jump, the fear that became her constant companion for years and years. She remembered the chaos….

So of course she could understand what he went through. She could sympathize AND empathize…after her trauma, she could certainly cut him some slack on the after effects of HIS trauma.

But when she experienced those after effects, she had quite the visceral reaction.

It was a case of rude and inefficient shopkeepers. After calling and calling for someone to help him get the needed yet unreachable items in the dairy case, he finally got them himself from the back of the cooler. Then he got bitched out by the clerk who should’ve kept the case properly stocked to begin with, and also should’ve responded when he heard a customers call…When there was no buttermilk, SHE went back this time and called and called and got no response. When she told him he said “Well, that makes me mad, ’cause he was just there!” Then he said “I’m frustrated now, I’ve gotta get out of here.”

To his credit, he handled it like an adult. He remained calm and quiet and polite. She wascertain that no one in the store knew he was angry….but SHE knew! She could feel itemanating from him in waves. She couldn’t quite figure out why it was affecting her the way it was….

There were a few more minutes of frayed nerves at the gas station which she inadvertently made worse by trying to be helpful, but again, he retained his outward composure…he really was handling it well, so why was she feeling so off balance?

He said “When I get like this, there are 3 things that can set me right again: smoke a bowl, go for a walk, or go to a hardware store.” Well, they were miles from his house and a bowl to smoke, and, it was drizzly and rainy, so:

 “I love hardware stores.” she said. And she did. Though, in retrospect, a walk would’vehelped her regain her balance too…damn her retrospective realizations!

 True to his word, within 5 minutes of entering the hardware store, he was back to normal. It took her a bit longer, but by the end of his errands she had relaxed again.

 Then on the ride back, another visceral punch!

 She couldn’t remember how the conversation started. Her memory narrowed to the moment she that she had become shell-shocked, the moment he said “If you ever curse and call me names during a fight I’ll put you over my knee and spank you.”

Everything around her froze.

She tried telling him that that would never happen, that that wasn’t how she handled things, but he wasn’t hearing her,and she wasn’t saying it right. He said something about spanking again, so she tried once more to say that that wasn’t like her. He still wasn’t hearing her, and she was becoming tongue-tied…she wanted to tell him about her family and what a battleground it was growing up, about how much yelling there was and how nothing was ever resolved and how she was the peacemaker, and so, SO sensitive…she wanted to tell him that she had spent her entire adult life learning how to communicate effectively so that issues were usually resolved before fights ever happened; and, on the rare occasions that things actually did devolve into fighting, that she ALWAYS fought fairly, and never ever EVER fought dirty, that she didn’t believe in it and just didn’t engage in that type of behavior. She wanted to tell him that in her entire time raising her son, she could only recall calling him a bad name ONCE and that was when he was being particularly hard to handle and she was particularly stressed out and, finally, in absolute frustration she had yelled “oh you son-of-a-bitch!” How her son had looked at her funny and started to laugh; How she then realized what she had said and also started to laugh; and how the fight was over, just like that!

 She could not imagine why he would say something like that to her! She thought he might’ve said he was just kidding, (he had!) but caught up as she was in her reptile brain reaction, she couldn’t be sure…and besides, why would he kid her about something like that? She had told him about the kidnapping and rape…to be sure, she hadn’t told him about the beating that accompanied it, but she felt that was implied…she wished she could have told him about the sociopathic alcoholic who was part of the small slew of chaotic relationships after Mexico, about how he threatened violence, never verbally, but how it screamed through his body language, about how his anger…emanated? Was that why? Oh, she couldn’t think!

 And so, she began to cry.

Not huge welling tears. Not sobbing or wailing. Just a few soft, sad, scared bits of her soul melting through her eyes.

Now I’ve upset you and I don’t know why.”

 The problem was, she didn’t know either. She only knew she was terrified and petrified; butshe didn’t know if she was terrified and petrified of her past or of her present, and she knew she wouldn’t know until she got to ponder and process and think, and that she could only do alone. So, she did what she had to at that particular moment in time: through sheer force of will…and a few swallows of beer…she put her reptile brain to sleep and put her neocortex incharge. She had to be rational, not reactionary.

The rest of the night went pretty well. Truthfully, he was a bit distant, as was she, but they muddled through, joked a little, talked some, even made love, and it was, in her mind, a little sweeter than the other times, perhaps bittersweet. But still, she found a few news ways her body moved that she had not known about. She wished, however, that she could’ve felt the way she had that first lovely, magical night.

By the next date she had pondered and processed and figured out the reasons for herreaction the other day, so she was no longer terrified and petrified, just a little gun-shy…so, when dinner was over, she didn’t quite have it in her to just rush into sex. She needed to ease back into closeness. They watched a movie, a Rom-com, and, by the time it was over she was relaxed and felt close to him again…but he was fast asleep!

They had started this little dance of pulling away…when she felt distance from him, she hadno choice but to pull a little more away herself, self protection and all….when they sat together on the bed, he pulled away to his “side” instead of meeting her in the middle, or grabbing her and pulling her to him…when he inadvertently said something that was a bit too frank, that bruised her oh so thin, sensitive skin, she pulled away again….she thought he was pulling away just as much, if not more than she was, but was that a fact, or simply her fear? She had no way of knowing. She just knew that the ease with which they related just a few days before was…missing.

It amazed her how quickly things could change in this bizarre arena that she knew so very little about. Love! Geez! Why was it so difficult? She felt that things had begun to go wrong, begun to change that day in the car, when she’d had her two intertwined visceral reactions, the day she’d become tongue-tied. Now, she had known that once she had a chance to  think,  she’d figure it out, things would be resolved, communication would begin again, and all would be fine…but did he know that? He had shared with her his process, but she hadn’t shared with him hers. Why was it so hard to say to a man she was involved withI’m upset right now. I can’t talk about it yet, but I will as soon as I can.” She could say that toher son. She could say that to her friends. She could say that to her employees, but shecouldn’t say that to a man….Why? Lack of practice was the only answer she could come up with.

He sent her home saying that he had to work on his house for the next few days, that he would be in touch. There was something about the way he said it, mixed with the weirdness they were now stuck in that made her wonder….

Well, there was nothing to do but leave him alone and wait and see.

A day passed, no word, no pretty email wishing her good morning, calling her bright eyes. He had said something about having four day cycles, so she would give it at least that long before she gave into her fears.

 Dammit though! She seriously felt like she was the victim of some cruel, twisted bait andswitch… like Loki had in fact had too much to do with this; like the trickster god had been the salesman in a bad plaid blazer that had given her the test drive in the luxury model, with all the bells and whistles, all the hugs and kisses. She had felt the comfort and felt comfortable in this model, the way the “seats” encased her, held her her tight and dear in their smooth lushupholstery. She had heard the sound system, heard the clear and beautiful tones ringing from the speakers, that lifted her spirit to a soaring state. There had been the strong purring engine that sped her along the road, exhilarating her, that engine could run forever…

So, she signed on the bottom line, which happened to be on her heart, and discovered that what she ended up with sputtered and stalled…the seats, while still comfortable were missing the seat warmers, so they could be a little cold…the sounds coming from the speakers couldsound a bit harsh at times, could even hurt her “ears” which were in fact the spirit that they had made soar before…and now, to make matters worse, this “vehicle” she had “bought” was in the shop, miles away, and she had no idea if it would ever work again….

 Or maybe she was just being neurotic and far more than a wee bit melodramatic. Maybe thiswas just one of those guy “cave” things! She just wouldn’t know until she waited it out….

Then there was a message in her inbox from him…Jesus! She could be SO morose! Why did she ALWAYS assume the worst? Of course there HAD been the times when she had intuitively known things, like, well, when something was over, but it was oh so difficult to suss out at times what was her intuition, and what was simply her little-girl fear!

 “Relax, girl!” she said to herself “Just relax!”


About babedarla

I've spent years as a clothing/costume designer with my own business, but a recent life change has put me on a journey of self discovery and returned me to my first love: writing!
This entry was posted in fiction, Love In the Cloud and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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