It is too early, perhaps, to think through everything that has just happened.
I am both very happy and very sad. I’ve not slept in a day. I have done a couple of very stupid things. I have done a couple of very smart things. And I may have saved a life.
Yesterday, sitting at my favorite bar, BV cried in front of me.
He was a mess. He was embarrassed about what had happened since I’d last seen him. He was hurt by someone, again, an ex-girlfriend, and he’d just found out a job he really wanted and went through several rounds chose someone else. He was depressed. He was lost. He needed me. He knew I’d be there for him. I have become the person to whom he can tell everything, and on whom he can rely.
Over the course of the evening, I bought a couple of rounds of drinks and he picked up everything else: dinner, cocktails, movie tickets, food and beer at the movie, and cocktails and bowling for me and a group of strangers we met waiting in line for a lane. It was all absurd. It was also the most fun evening I can remember.
It was tinged with lots of emotion. We were very openly expressive and affectionate. When he walked up to me, he embraced me so tightly and for so long it was uncomfortable for me and everyone else around. All night long, among other activities, we talked and talked and talked. I told him about my eating disorder. He told me how much money he actually has. We finally added each other on facebook. We played favorite songs. We talked about heading to my mother’s house for thanksgiving and a week on the beach. We finally made ourselves go to bed at 530 am, neither tired, and we wrapped ourselves around each other, kissing. And then, the next day, he bought a plane ticket, packed for 5 days, and I put him in a cab to fly home.
From the beginning . . .
BV had reached out in the morning with a simple “how are you” text. It was a pattern break for him — too early, too pointed. It was apparent quickly that he was falling apart. I made multiple sets of plans to see him, not giving him an option. I just kept telling him, we will be in the same physical space and you will be eating, the details of what and where are the only things you get to decide. We spoke by phone, he didn’t want to do anything, didn’t want to be anywhere, didn’t want to be here anymore.
At that point, I started boxing him in on time. Ultimately, he decided on a 945 movie at a theater near me, but we’d meet right then for drinks. It took forever for his cab to arrive, so I was sitting with the bar owner when he finally made it. He embraced me so tightly, for so long, it was actually embarrassing.
We sat next to each other and talked.
He apologized for his absence. There had been someone else . . . an ex-girlfriend, who had hurt him badly, reconnected with him. He said they’d been “hanging out” and that they’d not had sex. I do not necessarily believe him, as it’s the sort of thing one would lie about, but he tells me everything, and he knew anything he told me would hurt, he used the phrase “this will annihilate you” and he was upset to tell me. He told me everything that had happened with her, and it certainly hurt. He acknowledged he’d dropped out of sight when they started hanging out again. And then, a few days ago, she walked up to him, told him she never wanted to speak to him again and if he contacted her, she’d be going to the police.
It was then he realized she was likely bi-polar.
I mentioned to him at some point, later in the night I think, that I hadn’t been sitting home alone waiting for him. I was aware of the situation when he’d told me he was going to dinner with her and then I never heard anything else. He’d been so deeply hurt when it happened the first time, I do understand why he would want to reconnect. Again, he implied it was as a friendship not as a sexual relationship. So I was aware in broad strokes that he was otherwise occupied and I went on dating etc.
I told him about himself, about his heart, his loving nature, his loyalty, and he told me how much he feels weak and soft and a shadow of who he’d been. He felt he’d lost his confidence. As this is something I know and understand well, I was able to speak truths to him in a way he was open to hear. And I made him cry.
As we are having this conversation, I am keeping myself firmly physically connected to him. My hand locked on his thigh, my hand on his back. I am also saying to him, looking him straight in the eye, I am touching you like this, physically connecting to you, because I want you to understand and hear every part of what I am telling you. I want you to be present in this moment with me.
We talk for a while, two rounds of drinks, and then we decide that it’s time for food. Rather than order there, we start to leave. The owner of the bar, who understood from me the situation and moved away after BV’s arrival to give us privacy, shakes BV’s hand, gives us a couple of gifts cards from his wallet, and hugs me goodbye. BV of course then hugs him. Seriously love this about him.
Anyway, so we head out. I am still in stilettos and I am towering over BV, who is probably 5’7″, or only two inches taller than me. I swap out my shoes at the trailer and we opt for dinner at the tex-mex joint across the street. We order margaritas and food. We are engaged in a super-intense conversation, still. I am barely eating. I’d ordered a steak salad, of course, and we are talking and talking. I have my hand on him, again, grounding him into the moment. That’s what I had told him at the bar earlier, too, that I want him to be present with me in this moment.
Anyway, we’re in super-intense conversation, me and this handsome man, and I look two tables behind him and see two people I recognize who are friends with my girlfriend RA. I later learn they’d recognized me, too, but didn’t want to interrupt.
That’s pretty much everyone’s reaction.
Dinner was really great, and he is proud of himself for actually eating food. We linger for a while as I’d done so much talking, I’d not done a lot of eating.
After dinner, we head to the movie theater to buy tickets for a movie event, and then to the bar and entertainment complex next door for a cocktail. It turns out they are hosting a private party, so I talk our way in, of course, to BV’s delight, and we have shots and then I have a cocktail while he has a beer.
We are having a great time, now fully engaged in the fun part of the evening. And it’s fun. Like really, really fun. We start talking karaoke and we decide that’s what we’re going to do after the movie.
We start planning adventures for tonight and the future. We have, at some point, exhaled. We have been drinking just enough to have fun, and to start making some interesting choices. Two of which I will later regret, but I am up for adventure.
Going into tonight, I viewed him as an ex who needed me. I described him that way to the bar owner, as an ex, I’ve not seen for a few weeks. That was my entire expectation. He is someone who was actively in my life, who I loved and who I still love enough to save him when he reaches out.
But, now we are having fun. And he makes an offer, and I make a choice, and things go a little sideways, but in a really fun way. We have pledged ourselves to fun and adventure.
We tab out, again, he’s picked up everything, though he’d been complaining earlier he was broke and needed me to cover him. I bought exactly two rounds of drinks at the first bar. We head off to the movie theater. I go to the bathroom and when I returned he’d ordered drinks, and food he never touches. I do. It was awesome.
We had picked seats easy to leave intentionally and we both leave the theater — it’s an event more than a movie so house lights are visible — and walk out to the parking lot for a few minutes. I took a picture of something silly painted on a dumpster, which is something we acknowledged this morning we wish we could tell everyone, but we could only tell each other. There are many moments I wish I could tell even my own diary, but I know what happened. It was a commitment I made to him, a promise to him, solemnized in a dark parking lot.
The event was silly and fun and we are drinking quite a bit, whispering conspiratorially in a way that would never be acceptable in a movie, but is perfectly fine here.
When it’s over, we walk back to the entertainment complex, an upscale, hip, silly place with the idea we’d sing karaoke, badly. Instead, we end up meeting three people in line who had been at the same event and we all bowl together. It was ridiculous. We had the most fun. I was the worst, BV did well and came in second, but the camaraderie among the five of us was wonderful. At one point, I rolled the ball straight into the gutter. BV looked at me and said “You can still pick up a spare!” He was adorable and it was so much fun. At last call, they delivered the check, which he’d picked up for the whole group. He’d offered earlier to pick up a round of drinks, but instead, he picked up everything in a way that was very cool, in a hey, thanks for letting us hang out with you.
I know we grabbed a cab and headed out of my neighborhood and back downtown to his tower, but I don’t really remember it. I remember standing with him in his elevator. I know we kissed. We’d been kissing, hugging, and he’d been holding my hand for hours.
Upstairs, we start talking again, laughing about our evening, but we turn serious. I tell him about my ed. I wanted him to know I was damaged. We talk about family. We’d been talking about family because we are pondering visiting my mother for thanksgiving. The idea is, hey, let’s go to a beach for a week, where you can rest and recover and get happy. We show each other family pictures via facebook where he finally approves me, months later. We are alert and focused in a way I enjoy, despite the lateness of the hour and the amount of alcohol we had consumed.
I tell him about my father, the famous incident, and why we’re not close. I tell him everything. It’s intense.
The eating disorder talk was funny. I told him that I am anorexic and he looked quizzically at me, with his hand on my hip. He said, um, I think you look healthy. I said, yes, now, but I have weighed 15 pounds less than this is the past year. He then understood. By telling him, I was both empowering him, alerting him to the risk, and letting him know that our relationship needs some grounding. He’s not the only one damaged here. I am taking care of him, and I need him to take care of me. He’s in.
As the hour grows later, we talk about love and commitment. We admit we love each other. We acknowledge we’ve known that we love each other since the beginning. We talk about how we are connected and how this has been the real thing the whole time. We know this, and we know we know it, but it feels important to say. We have always known.
We talk about sex, which I make clear I want, and he makes clear he’s too exhausted. Which is fine as it’s now 530 am and he’d not slept well in days. He really wants to sleep with me, wrapped around me. We go to bed, finally, with our arms around each other, legs entwined, with as many points of contact as possible.
I find it difficult to sleep. My brain is racing. I’ve been in this BV vortex for hours upon hours, and we are now sort of back together, but it’s not a happy thing necessarily. We are wired together in a way. I know his brain and how he thinks. His erratic decisions do not surprise me. I know his heart. Love.
And I do love him.
I eventually give up on sleep and play with my phone, doing a little work as he sleeps. My phone rings at 8 am and I get up and walk into the other room. After I wrap, I go back to bed. This happens a couple of more times, and eventually he gets up to find me, and starts talking before I alert him I am on the phone.
He goes back to bed, and I join him, again, wrapping myself around him, so he falls back asleep. He sleeps until 10 ish. Then gets up, grabs his phone and computer and comes back to bed.
His mood is dark, which is not helped by a storm that’s blown in. It’s dark out, with rain hitting the windows hard. He has decided he should fly home, which his parents had begged him to do the day before, when he called me instead. He decides to call his mother. I tell him he should talk to me to get his voice normalized. I know he’s going to freak her out. He sounds, quite reasonably, like he’s at the end of a binged-out bender. He says it will be fine.
He goes into the living room to call her and, of course, when he comes back to bed, he admits he should have spoken to me first. She says, yes, come home, but call your dad first so he can pick you up from the airport. He feels like he needs to ask his dad permission. He asks me over and over, what do you think, should I go? And I tell him, over and over, yes, sweetie, you should go. You should go for them and for you. They need to see you be okay, you need to be okay. My only hesitation is whether he feels he can be strong enough to withstand the onslaught. He feels he can. He knows it’s right.
He buys the ticket and asks me to come with him to the airport. Of course I will. I tell him I will be there. He asks me to lunch and to the bank so he can return the cash I gave him last night. He starts packing and I am there. He asks over and over if people will think he’s running away from his problems. I tell him that he is heading to recharge, that he will return refreshed and better able to cope with what’s happening.
He starts to get excited about it, but his mood is up and down the whole time. I am there, supporting him, encouraging him, and telling him how proud I am of him.
He sits on the sofa, as I am outside fully dressed, on his balcony, taking a photo of the rain downtown. My heart is racing, my head feels weird, and I feel not quite right. As I say it to him, he assures me it’s perfectly normal and by about 8, I’ll be feeling back to myself.
I am now going a little sideways, in my head. And I am watching him and I am worried. I am beginning to understand him better. I worry that he doesn’t understand me at all. I am getting increasingly worried as I am exhausted and depressed and facing the reality that I dropped a significant to me amount of money foolishly. I am trying to hold it together for him and for me.
One of the reasons I understand him so well is that we are wired similarly. I know his brain because it’s like mine. His fears are my fears. We knew this about each other from the beginning. We don’t make sense. He’s a louche playboy, a hedonist with enough money in the bank to live comfortably. He has an expensive drug habit, and I was unaware of just how expensive until, as with everything, he told me. He had given it up while we were dating. It’s not anything I’d done before, and he made a decision to stop. When things went sideways with his ex this weekend, he went on a binge with his best friend from college who happens to live here, and his friend’s wife.
I am in the midst of personal financial disaster. I’ve not been paid since July, as I’d told him. July. I wanted him to know. The night before I also explained to him what my commission is if I close a deal that may close next week. In which case, I told him I am going on vacation, and if he plays his cards right, he’s coming with me.
The idea of a week away with him somewhere, chilling on a beach, sounded rather perfect to us both.
Instead, in the interim, he’s booking last minute flights and expensive hotel rooms, and I am fretting about how to get home from his condo.
He packed enough clothes for 5 days, telling me he’d be home, most likely on Sunday. He tells me he will be in touch while he’s gone. He’s starting to freak out and the more the reality hits him, the faster we both realize he needs to leave. We cancel plans for lunch, he forgets about the bank, and he says I do not need to go with him. Fine, as long as he gets in a cab and goes, I don’t care. We bring his luggage downstairs and look for a cab. It’s drizzling. He looks good, if freaked out. He looks “normal” — he’s wearing glasses, a golf hat backwards, an interesting cardigan, sneakers. But, he’s slowly panicking. He runs back upstairs for something and misses three cabs in a row. He finally comes back down and I can’t tell if he just got a drink or something else, but he seems a little more ready to face the day. I stand with my arm around him, hoping to give him strength. He gets cab money for me, and I hail a cab for him. We hug tightly and kiss goodbye and he says “love you” which i return. He had told me he’d call when he clears security.
He doesn’t. I texted him at one point, but I’ve not heard back from him. I am going on faith that he made his flight, got to his destination, checked into a hotel to shave and clean himself up, and mentally prepare to face his family the next day.
I told him to fake it for his parents for a day and then start to pull himself together. He’s in need of a break, of a refresh. He was obsessed with the idea that people would think he’s running away from his problems, but I kept telling him he needs to go and recuperate and get ready to fight another day. The job thing will work out. I asked him to send me his resume and I would help him network in any way I could. I do love him, and I would do anything to help him.
But leaving him on this rainy afternoon, I felt it was as much an ending as a new beginning. Part of it, I am sure, is the lack of sleep, the coming down from 18 hours of intense emotion and adventure. Things will be different when he is back. That’s the whole point in him leaving for a few days. I am a positive thing in his life, but it’s hard to know what the future holds. What I do leave this with is: I am glad I chose to be with him. I am glad we’re reconnected. I am glad we were able to admit how we feel.
I texted my best girlfriend C at 730 in the morning (she was up):
the love thing. I am most definitely in trouble. He’s still BV, so I am taking it all in and processing it but not adding his initial to my monogram…
I know who he is. I know he’s trouble. I know he’s troubled. I know he wants me to be a bigger part of his life, to hang out with him and his friends, to integrate everything together. And, we will, while having amazing adventures along the way.