Last night, I was working from the sofa and LP, my impossible to categorize love, texted me.
I’d sent him a message earlier, with a request I never make: ” I’d like to get on your calendar some time over the next 7 days. When can you fit me me in?”
It took two hours for him to respond, which was more than enough time for me to get my nose out of joint and compose many unsent tweets.
When he finally did, it was a check in that was a little strange about work and the weather and became a discussion about restaurants where I was trying to figure out if he was trying to ask me to dinner or help him pick a restaurant for a dinner:
LP:”What do you think of [$40/entree restaurant] as a restaurant? Any good?”
Me: “the food is great. It can get a little loud.”
LP: Hmm 7:23 PM
Me: Hmm? 7:23 PM
LP: Wondering 7:25 PM
Me: They have a […] dish and a […] dish that haunt my dreams 7:25 PM
LP: Hah 7:26 PM
Me: I am also a fan on their other restaurant [new, super-chic, but less expensive]] 7:33 PM
LP: Ooh never been 7:33 PM
Me: It’s excellent. 7:33 PM
LP: We should go sometime 7:33 PM
Me: We should go sometime 7:34 PM
LP: Your are my culinary guide and goddess 🙂 7:34 PM
LP: Picture taking and all!!! 7:34 PM
LP: Jinx 7:34 PM
LP: 😉 7:34 PM
Me: Ha. Same text 7:34 PM
LP: Yes 7:34 PM
Me: I love culinary guide and goddess 7:34 PM
Me: And thanks for always indulging my picture taking. 🙂 7:35 PM
LP: I like it 7:35 PM
Me: 🙂 7:36 PM
The conversation ended here, which is not unusual for our texts.
I returned to my work, the game, etc., still charmed that he finds my food things charming, and enjoying the title “culinary guide and goddess.”
Scanning Facebook two hours later, I was devastated by a post on his page. His best friend and bandmate from college had killed himself and his emotion poured off the page.
I commented that I was so sorry for his loss and then I texted him immediately: I am here if you need me. Xoxo 9:40 PM
I didn’t want to be intrusive. After all, I’m not his girlfriend and I assumed he was on the phone or whatever.
About an hour later, he commented again, sort of apologizing for the typos, correcting them.
Now, I called. I got his voicemail.
Me: Sweetheart just calling to check on you. I am available if you need to talk or need anything. 10:44 PM
He called me as the text went through.
He cried on the phone with me and told me about his friend, their adventures, the music they made together, the darkness against which his friend was fighting even then. He spoke of his friend as beautiful and talented. He counseled him back when they were 19 to always keep fighting, that life was always worth living.
He told me something shocking about his childhood that makes sense given what I know about him and some of his dysfunction and yet never occurred to me. He had shared it with his friend then and he told me about it as if I knew. It is something so shocking and deeply disturbing that I am impressed he was able to find the strength to go on.
He said to me, “as low as you and I get, we keep going…”
Which is true.
We live with darkness. We know the shadows. We keep going.
We told each other many times “I love you.”
It’s something we began saying to each other so matter of factly since we started having dinner again every saturday that it seems silly we hadn’t said it until last summer.
We have loved each other for so long it’s hard to remember a time existed when we didn’t. Or didn’t know. Or didn’t want to say it.
I reminded him: “I love you and I am here.”
We spoke for a while and then I headed upstairs to try to sleep, knowing I was going to leave my ringer on in case he needed me.
I was so emotionally rocked by everything LP told me that I couldn’t quite process the emotions. I was stunned by his personal admission, angry at his friend for giving up, angry at the mental health system for not being able to help him overcome depression and addiction, reliving all of the dark days with the Bon Vivant, and thinking about how close I was to stepping in front of a bus on Mardi Gras and the amount of guilt i felt for what i put my friends through.
I wanted to write here about it, but I was so tired and so drained.
I nodded off around 1230 until RSG’s message in rsponse to something id posted awakened me. I got LP’s text immediately after.
LP: Thinking of you 12:47 AM
Me: Thinking of you too sweetheart. You’re still awake? 12:48 AM
LP: Yes 12:49 AM
LP: Are you in bed? 12:49 AM
Me: I am I was just wishing I were with you 12:50 AM
This became a long series of texts, photos, and then a 30 minute phone call.
LP and I have often connected this way when we could connect no other. And now, this handsome grieving man reaches out to me in the dark to distract himself and deepens our relationship.
To take a step back, dear reader . . .
Our relationship has gotten weird.
We are closer emotionally than we have ever been. We are physically affectionate. We look, were you to see us in public, like a very happily married couple. Second marriage for both, obviously. He’s handsome, though older, and moves through space solidly. He doesn’t so much command attention. He is entitled, of course, and rich, but he’s incredibly kind and understanding to staff.
Until they’re unnecessarily rude or demeaning and then — like me — the claws come out.
I love him from his gorgeous smile to his green eyes to his workmanlike hands, rough hewn from years as a musician.
He is silly and charming and fabulous in the way I always find enthralling.
Starting in late December, we began having dinner on Saturdays. Always impromptu. He’d be at work and decide he was starving and he’d text me to see how i was as he was wandering around and we would end up meeting at some fabulous restaurant where we would have a lovely meal, hold hands at the table, kiss in his car, and then he would go back to work and I would go back to whatever Id been doing before he called.
The idea was that he was depressed and I was getting better and we loved each other. We were not dating by any stretch of the imagination.
Except that of course these were dates.
We have been seeing each other regularly with a break when he was traveling or had the flu, but we’ve been consistent, working around his weekends with his daughter by subbing in brunch.
As time has gone on, we have gotten closer. We are still not having sex. We have made out, we have talked about it.
We were lying in his bed together one afternoon, our bodies entwined, my head on his shoulder, near the end of an amazing date. My perfect Saturday, as a matter of fact: we had walked to brunch through his historic neighborhood looking at houses, then had time to kill as the wait was long, so we went to a faux-tique shop where we showed off for each other and I quickly outlined the btw I no longer live in my place, looked at the cabinetry for his big bathroom remodel, the record store and talked about everything. I told him I am now fearless. He praised me for my ability to take risks, and for . . . My willingness to be myself, to live by my own rules, and to operate outside his ego-driven big-money, big firm life. We held hands during breakfast, with the easiest rapport, anticipating the other’s needs, ordering for each other, our years together bubbling up, though i laughed it was the first time we had ever brunched together.
So, we walk back to his house, with his landscapers installing new work in his yard, and admire their work on the new fountain before we head in, and ultimately, to his bedroom. its mid-afternoon and we know he has to go pick up his daughter to take her to the park.
Still, we climb into bed and kiss and cuddle, at times passionately, at times tenderly. We are both incredibly aroused. At one point, I climbed on top of him and he laughed at the gender reversal that he wanted to cuddle and I wanted to have sex.
I was not as amused. But, he’s always been kinda weird about sex. Sex is meaningful to him in a way it’s not to me. Then again, I suppose, sex with LP is de facto meaningful. Every single thing between us is meaningful.
We had an excellent date the week after, and over time, we have become more and more comfortable. When I was grabbed on the street during an event, he’s who I texted because it was into his arms I wanted run, and against his shoulder I wanted to cry. (he was responsive, but with his kid.) He is loving and supportive and I am loving and supportive.
So the flurry of late night texts that turned overtly sexual and then became a long intense phone call were a part of my loving support for him.
Me: Checking on you. Ill be downtown later if you want to grab a drink after work. Xoxo 10:57 AM
LP: Xxoo 10:57 AM
LP: Thank you for last night xxoo 10:57 AM
We have now turned a corner in our relationship, where we are in daily contact, with him embracing that I am now checking in with him daily. He told me he loves it, even when he is not as responsive.
It feels — for possibly the first time in years — that we are fully in each other’s worlds. He needs me to open his world up. I need him to stabilize mine. These and things we could accomplish on our own, of course, but the connection between us . . . That unending, impossible to define, impossible to ignore connection that has kept us in each other’s lives for FOUR years. Through other relationships, other lives, other loves.
In the dark, he said to me “you’re too good.”
He fears I am too good, too beautiful, too loving and amazing.
He feels, even now, unworthy of me. He forgets that I am as fucked up as he. I have the same moral flexibility. I have made regrettable decisions. I have compromised myself at times.
And yet, I feel like my best me with him, always.
He is my heart. And, I am his.
I have no idea where we are going.
Actually, that’s wrong.
I have no idea when we are going.
That is the only part that feels up in the air — Joy, passion, love, life, trust — I think at some point we will be together.
In the interim, I am still dating every eligible man, and an ineligible one or two. I am still in regular if not daily communication with my long-distance fling and the new superstar in our town, along with regular communiction and or seeing the nice guy, PR, the Recently Separated Guy, N, and even the Bon Vivant. And the LDF’s gorgeous friend. And other people in my world who would make a move if I mentioned any interest.
I am not waiting.
I am living my life.
But, this series of events feels momentous. And, he is now someone I refer to as “someone I am seeing.”
And he is the only someone who regularly tells me that he loves me.