Tuesday, September 27, 2011

History Repeating Itself?

Shortly after I moved here, I joined a bowling league.  I like to bowl and thought it would help me to get out of the apartment and would help me to meet people.  In other words, the Culligan water delivery guy at work was cute and needed a girl to round out his team.  Shortly after that, he hurt his back, couldn't bowl and I never saw him again.  I ended up bowling with the league for two seasons. 

The second season ended in the spring of 1998.  The teams were supposed to have four members but our team was short by two for most of the season.  There was another girl in the league who was loosing her team and we decided we'd team up for the next season.  I agreed to go out with her one Friday night right after that second season ended.  I didn't really want to go; I'm not a bar person, but I thought it was a good idea to get to know the girl that was supposed to be on my bowling team the next year a little better.  It was on this night that I met R1.  (I didn't bowl the next season-never heard from the other girl again).

By the time that night was over, I was very much the smitten kitten.  Our first date was two days later-it lasted for eight hours.  We ended up dating for a couple of months but it wasn't smooth sailing.  I liked him a lot more than he liked me; ultimately, he decided that he missed being a step-father to his ex-wife's kids so much he was going to try to win her back despite the fact she was living with her new boyfriend.  He'd agreed to help me move into my new apartment, however, and since I had no one else to turn to, I did call him on it.  The last time I saw him was in November of 1998-six months after we first met.

After that, I became addicted to AOL chat rooms-basically, the 1998 equivalent of online dating.  I did go out on a few dates as a result of this but nothing ever went past the first date.  I eventually gave up on this when the last date didn't happen-the guy met me, went out "to get his coat" and I never saw or heard from him again.  This, of course, was around the time my dad asked what was so wrong with me I couldn't attract a man. I was convinced I'd never meet anyone-that I was destined to be alone for my entire life.  Not happy here, I decided to rejoin my college friends and move back to Idaho.

Thirteen months after I last saw R1, I was in the process of moving back to Idaho when I met James in December of 1999, who was in the process of moving back to Sacramento.  He was nothing like what I thought I was looking for but neither of us moved.  Instead, we had 8 years, 1 month and 6 days together and were planning for many, many more when he died of a heart attack while driving home from work on February 6, 2008.

In April of 2010, I went out on a Friday night that I didn't want to go out on.  I'm not a bar person but a couple of my friends were going to be there and I hadn't seen them in a while and I wanted to see them.  And I met R2 (aka No Longer New Guy).  By the end of the night, he asked for my number and I hoped he'd call.  He did the requisite wait three days to call thing; our first date was 9 days after we first met.  It wasn't an easy road-I really shouldn't have gone out on a third date with him, let alone let it drag on (and off) for as long as it did.  The last time I (purposely) saw R2 was five months after we first met.  (The last time I saw him was Friday.  Definitely not on purpose).

Since then, I've become addicted to online dating.  I've been on eHarmony, Match twice and Ok Cupid twice.  All my "dates" have been with male friends.  Having no luck, I'm having a hard time not believing James was my one shot and I'm done.  That I'll be alone for the rest of my life.  I don't plan to move this time, however; my life is here.

The last time I (purposely) saw R2 was a year ago last Sunday.  I've always thought it was interesting the last guy I dated before and the first guy after James were both named R and I dated them for about the same amount of time and that I had no luck with dating after both of them.  Maybe this is why I keep feeling like there is something good coming and it's right around the corner.  If history is repeating itself, my first date with MH #2 will be right around Halloween.  Fitting it would be around a holiday.  My first date with James was New Year's Eve.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Progress, Interrupted

I have moments when I feel I am making pretty good strides with moving forward with my life.  I've made some really good friends, my bad days are few and far between and I'm trying new things I never would have tried before, like kayaking.  (Kayaking was kind of a "f*** you" move, I admit.  I'd always wanted to try it and James was always sure if I did I'd drown.  Well, I did it and I'm still alive, so there.  Although I do have to admit, it can't be a coincidence that even the guide was amazed by how calm the water was and how perfect it was for beginners).  Most of the time these days I can find myself thinking "Life is good."

During these strong times, I think "Hey, I can do this.  I'm in a good place.  I'd like to date now."  And then it happens.  I get a reminder of what I had that makes me feel I'm not supposed to date-that while it wasn't done in a church (well, garden patio) in front of our family and closest friends who joined us for our destination wedding in Folsom, California (no, not at the prison), I vowed to love James for as long as we both shall live.  And I still live.

After swearing it off again, which we all knew wouldn't last, I ventured back into the world of online dating, or not dating in my case.  This time I decided to experiment with free vs paid.  (Results, or rather non-results, still pending.  I have until 10/4 on the paid site).  I was contacted by a guy on OK Cupid and we e-mailed back and forth for a bit.  I have to admit it really wasn't much of a conversation-one sentence answers from him each time which made it hard for me to know how to proceed with the conversation.  So when he wanted to take it to the "next level" and talk on the phone, I was hesitant.  I just wasn't feeling it but I had vowed that I'd really give it a chance this time and not freak out and close my account the minute someone expressed interest.  This was also during a time when I was super busy and I just didn't want to make time to squeeze in a conversation with a stranger.  But I was trying to talk myself into it because, as several people pointed out, maybe he was better on the phone than online.

And then I got the e-mail from Trip Advisor congratulating me for my review "helping" five people.  My first thought was "Huh?  What review?"  I had no clue what in the world they were talking about!  So I pulled up my account on Trip Advisor, which I forgot I even had and found the only review I have ever written:  the experience of buying my engagement ring at Diamonds International in Cozumel, written in January of 2007.

Ok Cupid Guy did not get my number.  I told him that when I signed up, I had more time but now found myself really busy and I didn't think it would be fair to say "Here's my number.  I'm free to talk a week from Tuesday."  And that was the end of that.  This was in July.

Fast forward to last week.  I was getting ready to go see a movie with a guy friend.  I met him almost a year ago, ran into him again about 6 months ago, and then again a few times in July and August at various events which led to us starting to hang out on our own.  While I've definitely felt stronger connections with other guys I've met since James died, I kept feeling like there could possibly be something simmering underneath all the mixed signals.  (Inner Heather says that's because there is.  Given that he's currently blatantly ignoring me, I think Inner Heather either got hit in the head or is smoking crack).  And then the phone rang.  It was my mother-in-law.  This was the second time she'd called within a couple of days and since I didn't call her back the first time, I figured I really should answer it.  So I did.

She was calling to tell me she has an abdominal aortic aneurism.  It's considered to be fast growing and there's a couple of options but both boil down to surgery to remove it.  Because if it bursts she probably won't survive. However, even her doctor said if anyone were to survive this, it would be her.  She's pretty much a medical marvel at this point.  But that's not entirely why she was calling.  She was calling to tell me these things are typically genetic and occur more frequently in men than in women so that may have been a factor in what caused James to die.

I'm not really sure what vibe I put out at the movie, but given the above mentioned silent treatment that has followed it, I'm gonna guess it wasn't "Come to Heather." 

I don't feel guilty for wanting to fall in love again like I did before.  I want to share my life with someone.  I feel I deserve a second chance.  But every time I try to move towards that, I feel like I'm being told "NO!"  That that is not the path my life is supposed to take.  That I had my shot at love, and it was great, but now it's game over.  It's just going to be me from here on out.  Me, trying to hold on to a love I shared with a man who is no longer here to reciprocate.  Or now that I think about it, maybe it's that I'm being told I'm just not yet on the right path.  It sure would be nice if I could be put on the right path.  While I'm still young enough to enjoy it.