‘Lo. I’m back with the fifth and final (I think) installment of Truly, Madly, Deeply: JAZZ HANDS–er, a tale of a grrl and her ape. Before I start, though, I have to regale you with a funny/cringe-worthy anecdote about my mother. She’s here visiting for a month and a half. She called two days before she came (right as I was about to clean for her visit!) and asked me many questions about the ape. I was cautiously optimistic at the tone she took, but I knew the real test would be when she arrived. Of course, one of the first things she wanted to talk about was the ape. After I answered her questions for roughly half an hour, she said, “Dad told me I shouldn’t tell you this, but–” Pro tip: If you want to tell someone something, do not start out with, “So-and-so told me not to tell you.” She then proceeded to tell me how, you know, she’s been praying for me (I know). Well, she usually prays that my relationship with God would be healed (shudder), but in the past few months, she’s been asking Him to bring me a good man.
Inside, I’m laughing, but also rolling my eyes. I said, “Why did Dad tell you not to tell me that?”, thinking, “He knows I do the opposite of what you say”, or, “‘Coz you sound a leeeetle bit crazy right now!” She said, “He knows that you’ve been hurt in your past affairs, well, you know what I mean–”. I interjected, “Relationships.” She went on as if she hadn’t heard me, “And he doesn’t want you to get hurt again. He’s very protective of you in that way.” That was the cringe-worthy part. I shrugged it off, but I also felt a flash of pure anger. Protective of me? What the fuck is that shit? Still, I said in my head, “A good man is better than God, apparently!” and moved the conversation to another topic. This is huge because even a year ago, I would have gotten into it with her over her words. Now, I can just say, “Whatever, Mom,” and go about my merry way. And, as friends pointed out, if she thinks she had a hand in me meeting the ape, she’ll be more for the relationship. And as another friend said, “Let her nag God. At least she’s leaving you alone!”
All right. Back to my narrative. When we last left the titular couple, they were climbing Mount Everest, swimming in the Amazon, and–oh, all right. They were at taiji and meeting with the grrl’s best friend for dinner. Which went swimmingly. We closed down the Thai restaurant, causing the manager to push a vacuum noisily past us as a hint to get the fuck out.
Then, Friday. Idle’s last full day here. We planned on getting Indian food (his favorite) and visiting the Snoopy statues around St. Paul. We didn’t manage the latter, but we did do the former. My absolute favorite Indian restaurant got raided and closed years ago. Three others have come and gone, but couldn’t hold a candle. The one to which I took Idle was very good, though–except for one thing. It was ninety degrees out that day, and the restaurant didn’t have air, for whatever reason. It was brutal, especially since both of us do not like the heat at all. Sometime in the evening, I started saying, “It’s not so hot. It’s not bad at all!” Idle looked at me and kindly said, “You’re hallucinating, honey.” Apparently, part of being dehydrated is entertaining delusions. I didn’t care ‘coz at least I didn’t feel as if my brains were being scrambled in preparation for the zombie apocalypse.
The weather broke while we were in the restaurant, waiting to pay. Idle had gone out to smoke, and he said it looked like rain. I have to say, as I watched him walk away (nice ass, by the way. Yum), I was bursting with pride that he was my man. I loved walking around with him by my side–absolutely loved it. I thanked the powers that be who brought him into my life (including ABL) as my skin melted off my bones. Afterwards, he asked me about the cuisine in general in MN, and I said it was bland and not very spicy. He said that when I go visit him in Ottawa, he’ll take me to an authentic Indian restaurant. Yum!
Then, we went back to my place after picking up some beer and celebrated Canada’s Day. Or, as he insisted on calling it, Canada Day. I had my customary one beer (OK, half) as we sat on the porch, smoked, and talked. We held hands or had our hands on each other’s knees, and there was no place I would rather have been than with my ape. The night had pleasantly cooled off because of the rain, and it was so peaceful sitting outside with Idle.
People who have known me for some time know that for most of my life, happiness was not what I was seeking. To me, happiness is a fleeting emotion, and it’s to be cherished when it happens, but not sought after. No, for me, my Holy Grail was peace. I just wanted to feel serene, calm, and at peace with myself and the universe. When I was the deepest in the abyss, I quietly gave up hope that I would ever find any serenity or peace in this lifetime. But, that’s exactly what I find with Idle, even over the intertubez. Just chatting with him on Skype soothes my frazzled nerves (and by chat, I mean typing ‘coz neither of us likes the phone), and that’s especially helpful with my mother here for her yearly visit. The feeling of peace that came over me was especially strong when he was here, though. My mind, always going at hyperspeed, would slow down and just go twice as fast as most people’s with a touch of his hand. And, after an explosive session of sexing in which he’d made me come a time or a dozen, my mind, body, and soul would all be aligned and at peace. I would have a hazy, melty, blissed-out feeling that, from what I’ve been told, some people experience during meditation*. I had no desire to do anything or think anything. I didn’t feel I had to jump up and take a shower (as I used to a long time ago). I didn’t have to talk if I didn’t want to, but I could if I felt like it.
This feeling didn’t just last for a few seconds or even a few minutes–no. It lasted until we went to sleep. Or rather, he went to sleep. I know it might sound like not a big thing, but he gave me the gift of a quiet mind, and I treasured it very much. As I spooned him while he fell asleep, I would match my heartbeat to his, and I would just be content to touch him and to breathe. I’m usually someone who has to do three or four things at once–it was incredibly relieving to only have to do one, at the most, two.
Then, the day I was dreading was upon me. Saturday. It was hard. I’m not going to lie. Driving him to the airport was fucking hard. Holding his hand as he slowly made his way through security? Even harder. And, when I had to let go so he could go through the gate? Killed me. I was numb as I left the airport, and somehow, I made it home. I felt something was missing, though, and that something, well, someone, would be him.
I’m not going to lie to you. Being away from my ape is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Yes, I’ve done long-distance relationships before, but never with someone with whom I actually had a future. By the time Idle left, we both knew that we wanted to be together; we just had to figure out how to make that happen. To that end, I am visiting him in three weeks to check out his fair city, Ottawa. After that, we will discuss the pros and cons of Minneapolis v. Ottawa, and then we will make a decision.
We. It’s still a little weird to say that, to think of myself as part of a team. Weird, but wonderful, too. From a very young age, I learned that the only person I could rely on was me. And, to be painfully honest, I couldn’t rely on myself much, either. But, for as little as I trusted myself, I trusted other people even less. And, because I was so fucked up, I chose partners who reinforced my view that love was not to be trusted–and neither were romantic partners. I’ve never really thought of myself as part of a we, even when I was in a steady relationship. I chose partners who would eventually leave me, therefore, I felt justified in never fully trusting said partner. A neat little vicious cycle I had trapped myself in without fully being conscious that I was doing it.
In addition, I saw what my parents’ marriage had done to my mother (or how she was in it because I can’t say how she was before it), and I wanted no part of that. My father treated her like a maid/housekeeper/all-around-drudge, and he bristled any time she tried to hold him accountable to her or to the family. Then, when I discovered feminism, I had the perfect reason for eschewing marriage. It was the feminist thing to do! Patriarchy! Mantle of the oppressor! And, there was the fail-safe position of, “Well, I couldn’t marry a woman I loved, so I’m not going to marry a man, either!” Let me hasten to say that these are all legitimate reasons to be wary of relationships and marriage in particular, but I was using them as excuses so I wouldn’t really have to examine the issue. My best friend and I used to discuss marriage back in the day (she’s been married for as long as we’ve been friends), and any time I would complain about this or that about marriage, she would say, “Marriage is what you make of it. You get to decide what marriage means to you. You and your spouse.”
I pooh-poohed her at the time because I was deep into my “relationships fucking suck” mentality, but I have slowly started to see that she’s right. I don’t have to do X, Y, or Z while in a relationship because women are expected to do it or because I think I should do it. It helps that Idle doesn’t have many preconceived notions about relationships, either–except that once you commit to a relationship, you work hard at it. I can get behind that!
I feel like I’ve known Idle forever, and yet, I’m learning new things about him all the time. I marvel at how much change I’ve made, just in the short time we’ve been together. Silly things like the public declarations of affection I make on his FB wall, mostly through videos, not to mention the very fact that I have my status as in a relationship with Idle Primate. That may not seem like a big thing, but it kinda is. If you had told me a year ago, no, six months ago that I would be in a relationship and declaring it thus at this point in my life, I would have laughed in your face. Or, in my mind so as to not be too rude. I was skittish of even contemplating a relationship, let alone declaring myself in one–and loving it. We call each other by endearing nicknames–this is another thing I never would have done two years ago.
A big one: I see myself as having a future–one starring him. Or rather, starring us. In the same place (be it Canada or the US or elsewhere) within a year at the very most. I see us living together at some point soon. Let me pause and repeat that: I see us living together. WTF? This from the woman who declared she would never live with someone (what is it ‘they’ say about never saying never?)! We’ve discussed marriage, and I haven’t run screaming from the room, my hands over my ears. Again, WTF? Who is this woman? I can barely recognize me sometimes.
Another big change is the fact that I chose to be with a man who has a history of committing to his partner and who is happily monogamous. He’s not someone with one eye out for the better thing, never quite content with what he has. He loves me, and I know this (I really do, and that’s another new feeling for me), and he wants to be with me. With me. No ifs, ands, or buts. He wants me to be his primary partner–no, he wants me to be his only partner–and I can’t tell you how wonderful that makes me feel.
More to the point (yes, another big realization), he is the only man I want, too. I’ve pondered monogamy and nonmonogamy for much of my life. I can see the value in both, but my realization is, I’m a one-person person. Part of the reason I hesitate to love is because I do it so deeply when I actually do dare to love. And, I could give many well-thought-out reasons as to why I have chosen monogamy, but the bottom line is, this is who I am. I can be happy in a polyamorous relationship as long as I’m the primary partner, but I think I am more wired to be monogamous. I’m not sure about how hardwired it is in me, and more to the point, I don’t really care. I want to be monogamous with Idle. That’s all I need to know.
It’s been a long journey to get to this place. I am a person who has regretted much of my life, but I would not change a thing if it meant not being with Idle right now. I don’t know where we’re going (literally and metaphorically) or what will happen in our future, but what I do know is that I’m ready to finally take a chance on love.
P.S. I decided to post this without much editing. Why? ‘Coz.
P.P.S. The videos are songs that are now ours. The first, there are three versions. My favorite is the original by Depeche Mode, which I posted on his wall; his is by the band that is comprised of pin-up girls, The Saturdays; we both like the Nouvelle Vague embedded in this post. The second video is one that the ape posted on my wall. The third vid, I posted this version on his wall after he posted the original by Abba on mine. The fourth is a song I posted on his wall. It’s one journey’s end, but just the beginning of our journey together.
*Not me. I hate meditation, as I’ve expounded on before.