Hello! You know the drill by now. Go read the previous posts of this stories, especially part III in order to be caught up with this thrilling tale of love, danger, espionage and–oh wait, it’s mostly about love.
Where was I? Oh yes, musing about having Idle in my life. More on that later. For now, more on the rest of his visit. We’re up to Wednesday, and I have to share with you an odd detail about me: I hate the end of things with a passion. If I’m watching a TV series on DVD, I will delay watching the last episode because then I have no more left to watch! It’s so bad, I start the countdown when I am halfway through the series (if there are not a large number of episodes). Take, for example, Miracles. There were only 13 episodes made of the show. When I hit 7, I became increasingly morose with each episode viewed because it meant I had less to watch than I had already watched, if that makes sense.
I’m the same way with trips (at least, ones I want to take). When the midpoint arrives, I start becoming depressed thinking about the end of the trip and how soon it’s approaching. It’s funny because my friends were shocked I’d let Idle stay in my house for eight days (so long!), and all I could think of was, “I wish he were staying longer.”
Wednesday was the halfway point of his trip. I pushed it to the back of my mind because I wanted to enjoy his company to the fullest, but it was lurking like an evil, lurky thing. We went to my therapy session–or rather, I went to my session and he wandered around St. Paul, the lesser-known of the Twin Cities, in the ninety-plus weather we were having at the time. After my session, I joined Idle in the wandering, and we checked out some of the local shops. Oh, he also got excited about the Snoopy statue we saw in front of a nearby vet’s office ‘coz he’s a big Peanuts fan. Charles Schultz is from MN, and they did a series of Snoopy statutes to commemorate something or the other in relation to him. We saw another one further down the street that had been vandalized. Poor Snoopy. Idle didn’t have his camera with him, so I said we’d do a tour of the statues. We didn’t get to that, but hey, it gives him added incentive to visit me again, amirite?
We went into a neat local boutique called Bibelot ‘coz the ape likes soap. I had told him I didn’t like scents of any kind (‘coz I’m allergic to everything), but I neglected to say that some natural soaps are actually soothing to my poor, afflicted nose. Nevertheless, I wasn’t really into soaps–I view them as utilitarian. Idle has a very keen sense of smell, and he collects soap. In Bibelot, I started sniffing one soap after the other, and I was really drawn to one (apple pear). I held the bar to my nose as we walked throughout the store, and when I gave it to Idle to smell, he commented on how the bar was warm from me holding it to my face. That pretty much sealed my fate; I had to buy the bar after that!
I need to interject something here. Idle and I have both had shitty childhoods and traumatic events happen to us later in life. Yet, despite that, Idle has the ability to find beauty and joy in seemingly mundane things. He also has a childlike glee that is infectious. We started a series of inside jokes that to the outside ear would have been outrageous. As a survivor of trauma, though, I found it a relief to be able to joke with Idle about some of the horrors in life. It was also healing in a way. Being able to crack wise about terrible events allowed me to put some of the trauma where it belonged–in my past. Cops are notorious for their gallows humor, and Idle and I engaged in something similar. We both knew that it was only appropriate for the two of us, but we couldn’t help muttering joke after joke under our breaths whilst out in public. We did this in Bibelot, and it felt really good. We weren’t disruptive–just boisterous. We were partners in hijinks, and it was so much fun.
Another telling point: I was cooing over some three-legged pigs because I collect pigs (I was born in the Year of the Pig). I regretfully put down the one I was holding because I have a ton of pigs, and I did NOT need to buy another one. Idle picked up the pig, looked it over, and commented about its origin. Unlike me, he didn’t put it down. I didn’t think anything of it as I just assumed he was taking it home as a reminder of me. You astute readers probably can see what’s coming–he gave it to me when we got back home. I was touched because that was such a sweet thing to do.
After we were done in Bibelot, we went to Garden of Eden, another local boutique, to see more bath stuff. I don’t normally hang out in St. Paul, so it was cool to see one of my cities with my ape in tow. I was having a blast smelling soap after soap, something that would have befuddled me if you had told me about it merely a year ago.
That night, I was feeling a bit melancholy when my mom called. Now, conversation with my mother is always strained. Idle slipped outside to smoke, and I gritted my teeth and took the call. I had laid down the law some time ago that she was NOT to mention my weight as she had no concern about my health–only my looks.* She adhered to the letter of my edict, but not the spirit. She talked about going to a clothing shop and buying things for my niece (who is tall, thin, and gorgeous). She added, “Of course, I couldn’t find anything in your size”, and my esteem plunged. After a few more minutes of noncommittal chatting, I hung up and went outside to smoke with Idle.
I thought I was OK, but later, after we went inside, I suddenly burst into tears and clung to Idle as if I would drown. I told him it was because he was leaving, but my reaction was out-of-proportion to his departure. As he said, I was crying as if I would never see him again. He figured out that in the deep recesses of my mind, I was afraid the one visit was all we had. It had nothing to do with Idle at all, but with my past. I was used to people leaving me. In fact, I picked people who were unable to commit, in part because I was dicey on commitment myself. Still, the end result was that subconsciously, I expected Idle to return home and say, “That was fun. We should do it again!” and then disappear or fade away. Again, it had nothing to do with him as he has shown no inclination to bolt. Additionally, I realized in retrospect that talking to my mother had made my vulnerabilities sharper, and my intense reaction to Idle’s departure was in part a response to said situation.
Still, it was difficult for me not to obsess over the fact that Idle was going to be leaving soon and that it would be some time before we saw each other again. I’d done long-distance relationships before, but they were under different circumstances. There was no possibility of a future, so the long-distance, while frustrating, was actually an integral part of the relationship. With Idle, the distance is an obstacle to be overcome because we do have a future together. I don’t know what that future will bring, but at least I know I have one now. I’m terrible with delayed gratification, and the thought of being apart from Idle after just having found him was almost more than I could bear.
So, Thursday. This was the big day. I was taking him to Taiji, and he would get to meet Choolie, my teacher (there was a substitute on Saturday). After that, we would meet my best friend, Kat, at Sen Yai Sen Lek for dinner so she could vet him properly. He was nervous about meeting them. I said that Choolie was very gregarious and that Kat was one of the sweetest people he would ever meet. She’s very good at putting someone at his ease, and I had no doubt she would do the same for Idle.
Class was a bit nerve-racking for me. I am one of the senior students, so I sometimes tutor the newer students. This includes teaching them new postures. When Choolie called me over to work with one of the newer students, I was nervous because I did not want to fuck up in front of Idle. Fortunately, the posture I had to teach was really early in the first section of the form–it was one with which I was comfortable. I am a pretty decent teacher, if overly concerned with doing everything perfectly (me, not the student).
One of the other students was someone from my Saturday class. She’s a dynamic, Indian (from India), sixty-year old woman who reminds me of my mother from time to time. She came late to class, so I didn’t get a chance to introduce her to Idle. She admonished me sternly for it after class, and I was abashed enough to call him over and introduce the two of them. She gave me a taste as to the reaction of my mother when I tell her about Idle. Idle has asked me what my parents would think of him, and I was sad because I had no idea. I could imagine my mother being anything from elated that I was with someone and not TOO old to have the babies (no) to being disappointed because he’s not a MD neurosurgeon/pastor/ Taiwanese/Christian/doesn’t want kids/etc. As for my father? No idea. And, honestly, I don’t particularly care.
After we chatted a bit with various people in class, we walked over to the restaurant. Kat was meeting us later, so we ordered right away. Kat came breezing in, and it was as I said–she put Idle at ease. He was still nervous, but he told me she was easy to talk with. Later, she told me that she really liked him and could see the four of us (including her hubby) hanging out. I could, too. They had an easy rapport that boded well for future encounters. Nothing sucks more than having your best friend and your partner be at loggerheads. We shut down the restaurant and went outside to smoke and chat. Kat had to leave early-ish the next morning to drive to Iowa, otherwise, we would have continued the conversation elsewhere. As it was, it was a very pleasant night.
So, to recap, two of my closest friends met Idle and approved of him. More to the point, they approved of the way he treated me/thought of me. Score!
Oh, there’s another important thing: We had two arguments, and I didn’t react as I normally would. I have been trained that my opinion isn’t important. When I have a serious disagreement with someone, my tendency is to withdraw, avoid, or go cold. I’m not particularly proud of that trait, but it’s how I handle adversity. Or rather, it was. With Idle, I was able to look past my own hurt and see that he was hurting, too. One time, he said something hurtful, but I was able to see that he hadn’t meant it the way he said it. He was in a vulnerable spot, and he hadn’t phrased what he wanted to say in the best manner. But, he wasn’t trying to be malicious. So, after I went to the bathroom to, well, pee and to cool down, I returned. He had slipped outside to smoke, and I so wanted to go out to him, but I was afraid. This was right after he said the hurtful thing and before any explanations. What if he was disgusted by me? What if he thought I was more trouble than I was worth? I was paralyzed. Later, I found out that he was having a hard time of it, too. Coming back in the house was difficult for him, and I am glad he was the bigger person in making the first move.
We had a lengthy, serious talk about what had happened, and we were able to talk about it in a constructive manner. For once, I was more concerned about us than about me. That’s not to say that I am a doormat–I’m not. It’s just, I gave him the benefit of the doubt, and we were able to work through the pain. That helped me see that it was OK for me to speak my mind in a non-accusing, nonjudgmental manner in order to work out our problems and issues together.
On a tangential, but related note, I am utterly enjoying being part of an ‘us’. I told Idle this earlier in the evening, and I admitted how strange it was to me. I have spent most of my life fiercely declaring that I was an island (Guam, to be precise) and that I wasn’t part of anything–least of all, a couple. The bonding part of me was broken pretty early in life, and it’s taken me this long to slowly, painfully, painstakingly put it back together again. Now that I have, I am tickled by saying things like, “After I visit you next month, we have to decide what we’re going to do to be together.”
We’re a team. I like that.
Whoops! Running long again. I’m going to post this as is and start part five sometime soon!
P.S. Videos, top to bottom: A scene from Truly, Madly, Deeply, one of my favorite movies of Alan’s. It has Alan Rickman AND cellos! Idle posted this clip to my wall, and I loved him even more for choosing the right Alan Rickman clip. Nina Simone and Barry White because Idle and I love both of them.
*I can say this for certain because not once did she murmur any word of concern when I was anorexic/bulimic.