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Saturday, June 28, 2008

a small part of the story part 2


        Eventually, Drew and I arrive in New York City.  I can't help but notice that the guy has on a nice, new button-up shirt (later on, he admits that he had bought it with me in mind, hoping I would like it).  I can't help but notice he looks good in it.  I can't help but notice that his eyes are still wide-set and blue, the same kindness in them that I had fallen in love with before.  He is the same, I am the same, but we are different.  And I can feel the difference in the guarded way he looks at me, the space he is careful to leave between us.  

     But, it is difficult not to be close in our interaction.  We've been there before; we know the way all too well.  I find myself talking, teasing, drawing him out.  He is reciprocating and we are both having fun.  I am smiling and laughing, and I can feel him walking a little closer to me, not pulling back if our shoulders happen to brush.  If I am being honest, I like it.  I am liking him, a little.  But really, I tell myself, Who has the time to sit and think all this out?  Sometimes, it's better not to think...

    There's this picture in my parents' house that captures that time (at least, it used to be.  It might not have survived the great Jessica-picture-downsizing from the photograph wall after a certain family member complained of the unbalanced Jessica-to-sibling-ratio of pictures displayed there).  It is of me and Drew smiling, on that day in a small cafe in New York.  A friend spontaneously asked us to pose for a photo, and poor Drew hesitated.  I, however, moved in quickly--putting my cheek right next to his so that we were touching right as the camera flashed.  You can see the awkwardness of the moment in our shoulders, though; it would have been more comfortable to just let them touch, but not knowing how to be with me, Drew barely moved and so there is room between us.  Telling, awkward room between us, with our smiling faces pushed together.  

     Like I said, I am having fun.  And I think Drew is, too.  But, that night he has to go ruin this carefree time with a serious talk.  Oh shoot, I was really enjoying this whole not thinking thing...But, if we have to, I guess.  Drew starts in, Jess, it's really hard for me--you flirting with me and being close to me.  Always quick to point out that I am not the only one at fault, I shoot back with, Well, you are flirting with me, too! Very mature, I realize this. Then he calmly and deliberately says, The difference is, I mean it. 

  Oh. Now, I have to start thinking. Really thinking...Do I mean it?  And honestly, at that moment, I don't know.  I am bereft of any words for him.  So, he continues, Please tell me why we are not together right now. I look at him incredulously as I say, You know why. I mean, I've told you a good amount of times...Or at least once, I've told you once...Right? No, Drew answers, but without any accusation or anger in his voice, as if it was my right to simply break up with him without telling him why; as if most people wouldn't have demanded to know months ago.  

   The thing is, I honestly had thought I had told him.  I certainly told enough other people.  I thought I told him that it scared me how he wasn't perfect and didn't have a full-proof plan for his life.  That the depression he had fallen into (which was surprising, because I know now that Drew is not easily depressed) was too much for me, which I know sounds mean and unfeeling, but I am sorry, it's the truth.  There were little things that bothered me, and rather than tell him about it and risk hurting his feelings--I just looked for the quickest exit.  And breaking-up was what I found. 

  I look at him and quietly say, You really want to know why I broke up with you? I mean, really? Every little thing?  Yeah, he says, please, he adds. I take a deep breath and talk for a long time.  I am not afraid of hurting him; I have already done that to a greater degree than my honesty now could ever do.  He is not defensive, but just listens.  And finally, when I am done, when I have racked my brain for every thing--little or big--that bothered me and laid it out for him to understand in no uncertain terms, he says a mere, Okay. Um, Okay?  Is that it, I think?  But it's not it.  He goes on to say, I can see how those things could scare you or bother you.  But, I also need you to understand that you are never going to find somebody who is perfect.  Having said that, I need you to know that I am willing to work on everything.  I am not done. I want to change, mature, realize my potential, figure out where I am going in life...

    Oh, I think.  He asks me if I am starting to like him again, because it feels a little that way.  I say I am, a little.  But then I get very serious and say, I am a very dangerous person.  I will hurt you.  I could change my mind again. I could decide tomorrow that I don't like you at all.  I need you to know this.  He gets the sounds of a smile in his voice as he says, You are a dangerous person (I am not sure, but he may have been picturing me as a ninja, or something--a truly dangerous person)? Jess, I of all people, know this.  You've hurt me more than anybody else.  But, you have also made me happier than anybody else.  And sure, it's true that you could change your mind tomorrow--but do you always want to be that way? Do you always want to have a fickle heart?  It could be nice to someday decide something is worth sticking with.  

   Well, I had to admit that sounded logical.  I didn't always want to be fickle--that actually is not so nice and very hard when it comes to planning ahead.  We didn't really settle on anything that night, other than the truth finally being told.  And maybe that he loved me and I liked him again. A little.  

   I get home from New York a few weeks later, and I know that I miss him.  I want to spend time with him, maybe even start dating him again.  So, I call him and ask if he wants to see a movie with me that night.  

    Sure, he says, What did you have in mind?  
   Catch Me If You Can, I reply.      

        
         

9 comments:

Kathiek said...

Something tells me that was more than just a movie title ;-)!

jason said...

It would have been funny if you wanted to see Dumb and Dumber.

Mindy said...

Jess, I so enjoy the way you tell a story! It is really funny to hear how things transpire and how vividly you remember them. Drew was smart to keep with it.

Joe is like that... I think I broke up with him like 5 times... For a few of those he retorted something like "wait, I thought we were already broken up and just hanging out? I am not so sure I know what is going on, buuuut okaaay?"

So will you write my biography someday???? I will give you the important stuff and you can soup it up with all the great ways you paint with speech. :)

jason said...

Mindy, the funny thing about you and Joe is that I think 3 of those breakups have happened since you got married...

Peaj said...

This sounds familiar. I broke up with Donna three times, but couldn't stay away from her. Finally she laid down the law and told me I couldn't treat her that way anymore. So I asked her to marry me. The end.

KathieK said...

I never actually "broke up" with John, but I did tell him once that I would not go out with him (on the advice of my 2 roommates, because I knew I was falling in love with him and he had never spoken of his feelings or given me any reason to hope that he had any for me, they thought this would get him to open up). He asked me if I was busy, I said no; he asked me if I was sick, I said no; you get the idea. Anyway, it was the most miserable weekend of my life! Bruce actually made a housecall and when I told him everything that happened, he told me that if I wanted advice on the male psyche, I should not ask women. On Bruce's advice, I asked John out to lunch and, after spending most of that time in silence, I finally told him I missed him, whereupon he said, "thanks." Then I invited him to dinner later that week, and he accepted. The night of the dinner, I asked my 2 roommates (whose names are withheld to protect their identities!) to pray for the situation. After dinner, John and I were talking when, suddenly, from upstairs, I could hear this pretty loud praying (think spiritual warfare) going on upstairs! I was mortified and could only hope John didn't hear (later I found out the prayer was for some other, unrelated, situation)! Anyway, I told John how I felt and he proceeded to tell me that the reason he asked me out on that fateful day was to tell me how he felt about me! Thank God that His grace covers our bumbling mistakes! This September 10th will be our 25th wedding anniversary!

Peaj said...

I reread this post a couple of times, and I am struck by several things:

1. You are an excellent writer. You write sparingly yet vividly.
2. You have a great memory! Of course, all of this is fresher for you than my story is for me. But still...
3. As always, I'm touched that you are so open.
4. Man and woman were not made to retreat from intimacy. It just isn't the way we were created. That's why we "know the way all too well."
5. I recently told my story to some friends. When asked why I broke up with Donna so many times, my immediate response was "I was an idiot." I next gave my noble reason, which is that I take commitment very seriously, and I didn't feel that I was committed to her, so I (tried) to break up with her. I think that the truth is somewhere in between idiocy, fear and nobility. Your story sounds like it has a similar flavor - you weren't just being fickle. But you weren't just being discerning, either.
6. Drew rocks all kinds of ways. He is my new hero. For a little bit. OK, that's enough. No wait, a little bit more... there. Drew was my hero for a little bit.

min said...

Jase, HA HA. and um, shouldn't you be leaving comments for Jess here? Sheesh!

Jessica Latshaw said...

Min--First of all, I am happy to share comments here with anybody, and especially you:-) and, I would love to write your biography some day...

Peaj--thank you for the compliment! And don't we always stumble upon the truth somewhere between our own idiocy, fear, and nobility?!