Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Hostage Situation

(Next, I will return to my regularly scheduled posts.  Noted: Hats off to military wives.)

I was angry. I was sad. I was panicked. I was falling for someone. I worry now. I worry for someone beyond myself; beyond my family; I worry for this person I’ve known for less than a month. I long for him. I wonder if he’s okay. And I find it fucking obnoxious.

In my moments of panic – when I knew I was really beginning to care for this person – I’m fairly certain now that I was subconsciously trying to push him away. Because I knew what was coming; I’ve been here before: The Ex and I were dating for only a few months - and I had told him just the night before “I love you” for the very first time - before he flew off to work in Egypt for six weeks. And it fucking sucked. That was nearly 10 years ago and I still remember how awful it was waiting for his call once a week - twice, if I was lucky. Beaming at the sound of his voice; learning how to navigate the awkward pauses of an international satellite phone. And absolutely pitiful when it was time to hang up. I would miss him even more and knew it was that much longer between the next time we would speak.

It was so incredibly difficult because he had become a part of me, part of my heart. And it is terrifically awful to have your heart away from you, so fucking far away from you and for so long – particularly when it is so new; fresh; exciting. While my current situation is different in that we've only been dating a few weeks and aren't in a relationship, the infatuation is still being ripped away and you can’t curse the other person, you can’t grieve or cope by hating them - this isn’t a break up: It’s a hostage situation.

Last week, when I knew shit was happening, when I began to really feel something for The Turk and thus understand it was going to be just as shitty as Egypt, I asked him more than once “Do you have any idea how hard this is for me? How difficult what you’re asking me to do is?”

It’s bullshit. It really is. But I can’t blame him; I know that. And you can’t control matters of the heart. My brain didn’t even stand a chance. It tried to fight in intoxicated moments, but the sober reality was that my heart left no choice but to not move and wait for him. To stand with my fucking hands in the fucking air for five fucking weeks - baited by just three.

I want to say what he should have done was just wait, wait for him to leave and come back before chasing me, but he would have been chasing my trail – I would have been gone by then. I would have been twenty two hundred miles away by then. And the way he looked at me - even that first day. That weird intense stare that creeped me out - like his heart feeding through his eyes - how could I ignore that? In the moments we met, it’s like he knew something I didn’t. You can’t fight that kind of thing. And he did what he needed to do to keep me here, all while urging me to leave “if that’s what you think is best for you.” He didn’t want to stand in my way, but that weird guy and his intense stare drew me in; he grew on me unimaginably in 19 days.

And now after I have been content single for so long - at times longing for a partner - all I want to say is: this fucking blows. Dangling a carrot and saying 'wait five weeks to eat it'; having to worry about and yearn ache for a guy 5,200 miles away all while living my same single life as if nothing has happened: what a seriously fucked up way to re-enter the dating world. But even while I have my fist-shaking frustrations, doubts, or insecurities while he’s gone, I’m not questioning waiting. I'm not certain as to why I am certain, although I am cautiously curious of the outcome after 36 days.

As for today, I'm only five days in. I assume it gets easier over time; that I’ll acclimate to my hostage environment. Or at least, Dear God, I hope so, because my brain appears powerless over the activity rumbling in my chest. Or maybe they just agree for once. And it's fucking obnoxious

Friday, August 22, 2014


It's Saturday, August 16 - 14 days in. He picks me up. He whips his Mercedes around as a clutch to the chair, fit at my sides: “Your setting number is 2,” he reminds me, having set it 10 days before. We go to hibachi and stare adoringly. He had pulled out my chair, graciously offering me the seat next to an empty chair and taking the other seat on the corner, next to a twenty something guy on a date.

“You can sit beside each other if you want; no one else will be joining you,” the waitress informs us five minutes later at our grill table set for 12, but seating only seven. He declines and tells me he’d rather look at me. We are the two at the table, the two foolishly falling for each other; the ones I normally roll my eyes at and sometimes envy.

I wipe sauce from his beard, mid-meal. I refuse to catch the shrimp in my mouth. I’m fairly certain the cook thinks I’m just a wet blanket. Honestly, I just don’t want you to blow air in my face with your Pee-Pee boy or fish a shrimp out of my cleavage. Thank you very much.

Dinner ends, we take a short walk – nothing compared to the walk along the water at Georgetown’s boardwalk the previous Wednesday, when we lost track of time and sauntered aimlessly for hours, only to get home by 2am from a 9pm dinner. Then we head back to his car, the seat still at my setting; a little less I clench the sides or whimper as he took note of my previous fast-flying reaction and slowed down. I relax a little and breathe the wind into my hair. We discuss where to go and head to a bar on the way home for a game of pool.

He doesn’t drink. Never has - strike one, my list would suggest. His hazel eyes – a strike of two. The glimmers of green that cascade his brown eyes, I only just noticed the Friday before - just six days past when we met - after I canceled my date with 3 bottle of wine guy to see the Turk. When he came to my house, he was troubled. “What’s wrong,” I asked as he walked into my room. Something had happened to his brother in Istanbul. (He's okay.) So opposed to his normal hyper, I’m met with calm; his energy enigmatic, yet completely transparent. Fuck, I’m taken.

I sit him down, trying to figure out a way to fix his sadness. Watching the tears well up and die down. It's then that I delight in the glimmer of green in his eyes, all while his anguish becomes mine too. He insists we leave. We head to a local diner. On the wall of the patio outside they’re playing “Chariots of Fire”. We get a table, order some burgers and catch up on the film – intertwined even still at our table for three; gripping each other and holding on between the corner’s edge. This is where I’m comfortable.

The calm of that night reminds me who he is when, at the bar for a game of pool after hibachi, he orders a Red Bull with my vodka tonic and bounces off the wall like the frenzied guy I’d first met. But he makes me laugh. 'Thank god he doesn’t drink,' I think, 'maybe he wouldn’t be quite so endearing.' And that glimmer of green; those little glimmers might be what keeps me from moving.

That glimmer that finds me on a wall later that night, half drunk and half terrified at 2am outside the bar: ping-pong, ski-ball and pool have never been quite so unnerving. The green a mystery of the only sometimes seen; it keeps me interested; keeps me searching; it stares at me while he listens to my vodka-honest mad-man rant, consoles me, and then gets me off the wall and back into the car. “You’re beautiful,” he tells the frazzled girl beside him, while she thinks his interest has got to be feigning by now.

We go back to my place. He leaves early this next morning for a soccer game and I don’t hear from him all day. My mind grips back onto panic. All day alone: panic’s playground.

The day winds down and he calls to say goodnight – a now normal nightly routine that at first I thought was crazy and have since come to adore. (Sort of like him.) It’s 10pm. I’ve had all day with my thoughts; the stifling feeling of a caged elephant. The word “girlfriend” - he’s expressed desire to use - scares me. It feels like a loss of freedom: 'Girlfriend' at 30 means a whole lot more than 'girlfriend' at 21. “You sound crazy today,” he tells me after I go on for a bit, “and I just want to like you more every day. One day of like on top of the next on top of the next. One day I want to say ‘I love you.”

What I should have said was, “I’m not crazy, this is just what panic sounds like.” Instead I quickly quipped, "You have take the good with the bad," and changed the subject.

Because he already knew about my “wall” – as he called it the week before with no overtly guarded indication from me. He just knew. And followed that up with "I'm going to knock it down brick by brick. I wish I could use a crane, but a crane wouldn't work."

His admirable perspicaciousness led to another lengthy conversation during our nightly call on Monday. He inquired why I had been "cold" the past two days. And by now I have come to learn that in interpersonal relationships it is better to say exactly what you are thinking than fishing for what you want to hear. And so, there I am completely forthright with him about my concerns and misgivings. He quells my fears and explains what he meant by things versus my interpretations. The thousands of jumping fish calm to the bottom of my ocean. My poetic little Turk - through mildly broken English - ends the conversation with: “You are like my water in the middle of the desert.”

I hang up knowing that I’m losing giving my heart and with it, the power of owning it all alone. It’s terrifying to let go and I'm ever so cautious, but I'm also 30 now and there are really only two ways to handle these situations: 1. Eh fuck it. All I can do is give it a shot because I've been hurt before and I know I can survive. I've got nothing left to lose. and 2. I've been hurt before. AHH!, run because I don't want to go through it again! Then he calls each night, makes me laugh, reminds me that I’m beautiful, texts “good morning aşkım,” and I melt a little more each day.

In two days he leaves for Turkey for five weeks. And I don't plan to move while he's gone. I'm too curious to see where this goes. He did it - not quite "love" as he forebode - but that little mother fucker did it: For the moment he (in part) has kept me here...just like my mother predicted.

Mom, You'll be happy to know I should be home for the holidays. I'm happy too. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Turk

::blinks:: really, guys. REALLY?
It was GFN’s birthday party last Saturday. We had a table with bottle service and many, many bottles. I had spent eight hours at the dealership that day buying a new (used) car in prep for my cross country move. After a quick shower, a Lean Pocket, I was out the door and on my way: A striped crop top and a knee-length asymmetrical blue skirt with matching striped shoes. Cute, yet tasteful. I didn’t even get up the metro escalator before a man was hitting on me while I was on the phone. To get rid of him I spouted off my digits when he didn’t even ask and instead said “give me your number” WHILE I'M ON THE PHONE. Seriously dude, take a hint. Three days and two un-responded to text messages later, I receive a dick pic from escalator dude with a pack of Ritz crackers for scale and the message: “Okay  you’re clearly not into me…do you think an other girl would find me attractive?” I was tempted to text back “nope” or tell him some girl had given him a hoax number and I was a church clergyman, but I just left it go and did my best to laugh it off.

But seriously dudes, NO. No, no, no. Bad. And probably illegal.

What’s funny is that this text came just moments after I had told my cousin that I’m happy single; I enjoy dating now, thinking earlier in the week how much better it is at 30 than 25. Then my phone buzzes, I see a penis next to a pack of Ritz crackers and immediately voice, “Maybe it’s time I rethink that”. And this conversation only started because of the Turk. So let’s go back to the bottle service...

Lean Pocket in my belly and with every intention just to wriggle my butt all night to celebrate a birthday, I arrived at the club. The hours pass with much merriment. Some people left; some of us stay. It’s about 2am and I’m spinning and drinking my pink champagne when a man at a table across from ours that I now just happen to be dancing in front of tells me he likes my dress. I correct them that it’s a skirt. “I like your outfit.”

"Thank you," and I excuse myself to fill up my glass and come back as promised and we continued to talk. I learn he is from Turkey, he just turned 30, he doesn’t drink, but he likes to dance so that’s why his birthday was being celebrated there. Through his accent and the haze of blasting music, I can’t understand him so I pull out my phone to type what I’m saying: This I only learned last night and today when he told me and then came across our conversation in the notes. I was clearly sober. (Psych. Although he thought I was - go go gadget auto pilot!)

He woke up in my bed Sunday. I wake up and actually remember there was a guy in my bed before I saw him this time. (Progress! haha) He had to pick up his friend at one, whom he made get a hotel room because his friend was drunk and the Turk was using his car to take me home. He tried to take me to breakfast but I declined because I was going to lunch at 12:30p. So we went to grab Starbucks and while in line, lunch fell through. So I told him and he exclaims “We could have gone to breakfast! … Well I’ll come back and take you to lunch.”

I didn't really take him seriously, but that’s exactly what he did. And then for ice cream..nom nom. And we spent the day together until 11pm when he went home. During this time together he revealed that he’s going home to Istanbul the 24th for a month and I said “I might not be here when you get back.” He was taken aback when I said I planned to move to Seattle and declared that he would figure out a way to keep me from moving. The following afternoon I asked if he had a plan yet; apparently he's going to make me love him so I can't go...

He called me again Monday night to say goodnight. A short call; okay. And last night we spent 90 minutes on the phone; a huge deal for me; someone who “hates” talking on the phone. Serious subjects matter too, like he'd like if if just he and I could date. That’s sort of a problem for the three bottle of wine guy I have a date with on Friday (oh, I need to tell you guys about that one…) but I kept that to myself. This is all so weird. So fucking weird.

“I have 19 days to make you fall in love with me…”

 And then my mom chimes in “I had a gut intuition that you would meet someone in late summer who would keep you from moving on the schedule you wanted.” Okay, mom. Okay pipe down, everyone. This is so bizarre. But I have to go – he’s coming over tonight. He wanted me to make him dinner but when I said I wasn’t going to put a candle he told me to save cooking for when it was “special”. I don’t know what’s going on. But, you know, someone calling you a drug isn’t as weird as it sounds. It’s sort of endearing. And infinitely better than a pack of Ritz crackers.