Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Put the load right on me....

Roxanne & I hadn't spoken in a year...and the first question out of my mouth was, naturally, "what happened?"

She told me simply that she had gotten scared. It was as simple as that, she said; with all the history we had between us even back then, she had realized, after our whirlwind weekend, that she might have flipped that particular record over too quickly. Looking back on it now, this is something that I can completely identify with, but back then, I was still something of an idealist.

I know that everything I write is tainted somehow by the curse of age & hindsight, and it might seem like I was always this jaded commitment-phobe, but actually, it took a long time for these walls to be built up...back then, I still believed in true love, and following your heart, logic be damned, and all those things that so seldom happen to work out in the real world, and instead of understanding where she was coming from, I was probably more annoyed than anything else...or at least as annoyed as I've ever been able to be with her.

I asked her why she was calling me now, and she told me that she had been seeing a therapist, and had been trying to work on some problems she felt she was having in her life, and she was a lot happier now...which was news to me, because I didn't realize she was unhappy in the first place. Regardless, she said she had been thinking about me, and she wanted to see me. I don't remember everything we talked about, but I know we talked for a while, and, as cautious as I tried to be after what had happened last time, I got the distinct impression throughout our conversation that she was willing to try and pick up where we had left off last summer.

Of course, I made plans to see her as soon as possible, and I hung up the phone with my heart skipping a beat. Ok, so maybe she had some issues she was working out, and maybe she had gotten a panic attack last year...after all, it had been about as intense & sudden as anything could be...but maybe it will all work out now...finally. I'd find out soon enough, I figured. I can't remember if Alan was there when I got the call from her or not (he practically lived at that apartment, too; without that pesky rent that always mucks things up), but I know I talked to him immediately afterwards & told him what had happened. He was actually the first one to try & make me stop & think for a second about the whole situation; after all, he had seen how upset I had been the previous year. He said he was excited for me, but to keep myself in check, just in case she were to bolt again. Right, 'cus I'm able to control my emotions so well...

So, she showed up at my place that Friday evening after she got out of class. I opened the door, and I remember her standing there, wearing this flowing, flowered sun dress with her hair all falling down her shoulders, and as I went to hug her, she reached up and kissed me right away, ending any speculation as to her intentions. I ran with it.

I remember we sat on the sofa & talked for a while, and she told me about everything that had happened since I last saw her. She's always been able to completely hypnotize me with the way she talks: she's just so animated, and expressive, and alive...and I remember she seemed even more so than usual then. She said that she hadn't really dated anyone since she had seen me, but that she had made some new friends at college & was spending a lot of time with one girl in particular, who was apparently some other bohemian-artist type like herself. Details are fuzzy for me on the particulars of this, but if I remember right, this friend had also introduced her to the therapist she was now seeing. Only thing is...she wasn't paying the guy.

Now, again, I don't remember what the exact deal was, and she & I haven't talked about it in years, so it's really hard for me to piece it all back together, but I think that the guy was maybe a good friend of this girl's family or something, aside from being her doctor, and he had gotten to know Roxanne through her, and had sort of taken her in as a pro-bono patient...or something. Now, I remember she didn't really tell me all this at once; I sort of gleaned it all throughout the course of the conversation, but it started to strike me as being a little weird. I mean, first of all, what kind of doctor...especially a shrink...treats someone for free. Second of all...exactly what was he treating her for? This was spring, 1994, so she would have been...let's see...19 years old at the time, and I had been around for much of her formulative years. I was best friends with her brother, knew both her parents extremely well, and I had never seen her so much as in a fight with either of them. She & Jerry used to bicker, but no more than normal brothers & sisters, so I couldn't figure out what exactly these issues were that she was working out.

I wondered for about half a second if she could be sleeping with the guy, but immediately dismissed that idea; it just wasn't (and isn't) Roxanne, and besides...if she was having some big fancy affair, she had no reason to be here sitting on my lap telling me all about the older, married guy she was having it with.

Aside from that, there was just something...different about her. She kept talking about things like...I dunno...race relations, and education, and social issues...all valid topics, but ones I wasn't used to discussing with her....or really with anyone much, at that age.

Now...and maybe just now...with the benefit of hindsight, I think I know exactly what was going on: she had what the guys on South Park called First-Year College syndrome; you know, where the kid goes off to a big university, all alone for the first time, surrounded by liberal intellectuals & hippie students & then comes home thinking they've unlocked the secrets of solving all the world's problems....only with her, it wasn't some dope-smoking sociology professor driving a Fiero, it was some therapist & his extended family of sensitive new-age freshmen. Yes, she was too smart for all of it, but I know now that it would have taken her a little while to realize that...

Of course, it took me a little while to realize that something was amiss, as well, since I was just so damn happy to see her that I was still willing to forgive or gloss over almost anything. I didn't have much time to ponder it anyway, since before too long, Alan & Mindy showed up; apparently we had planned to double-date that night, even though I don't remember planning it & don't know why I didn't want to keep her to myself that first night.

I remember Mindy was excited to meet her, in that gossipy girl kinda way, since she had heard about her for a year now, ever since she & Alan started dating. She & Alan knew each other, and we all seemed to get along well enough together that evening. I remember we went out to dinner, then we went to see Wayne's World 2, but I don't really remember anything that happened while we were out (although, just now writing this, I remembered a date I took Roxanne on...or at least I tried to make it a date...a few years earlier, that I never blogged about. Oh well, nothing much happened, other than I paid for an expensive dinner, bought her flowers, but she just talked about other boys all night. Anyway...).

We got back home, and we all hung out & talked for a while....I remember she went & put on pajamas with little sheep on them at one point, answering any question as to whether she planned to stay the night. Alan & she got into some kind of debate about...something or the other, but mostly, I just remember us listening to her tell us more about the things she had discovered lately: she talked about her father & how she had now decided that he had never loved her, and that he never wanted a daughter (something you'd never say if you spent five minutes with them). She told us how her relationship with her brother had forever colored the way she would look at men (maybe true enough, but still...), and about all the great social-work programs she was going to get involved in, and a lot more soul-searching that, passionate as she was about it (and she's nothing if not that), still just seemed sort of...I dunno, misguided to me, and to the others too, I'm sure.

Whatever the real issue was, it accomplished something that I didn't think anything would ever do & that nothing else has done successfully since: it made me look at Roxanne outside the pedestal I usually put her on (can you be outside a pedestal? You know what I mean, nevertheless). I saw her as a vulnerable, confused young woman, and, as attractive as some men might find that, this was not the Roxanne I knew & loved. She was in there somewhere, but there were obviously a million thoughts pulling her in a million different directions. In retrospect, it wasn't any big deal; she was just growing up, but back then, so was I, and I didn't know what to think.

So, I just tried to not think about it too much; I was still happy enough to just to be with her again, and before long, we went back into the bedroom & left Alan & Mindy to the fold-out sofa. As soon as we hit the sheets, she was all over me; that part certainly did pick up right where we left off. We still didn't have sex, though, but we lost a lot of sleep nonetheless. She fell asleep next to me, and I remember I lied there in the dark, smelling her hair & thinking about what the hell was going on & what the both of us were really feeling...

The next day, I don't remember much about. I know we got up late, and Alan & Mindy were already gone. I remember us lying on the sofa together and talking about our relationship, but I honestly don't remember what we said. All I remember is that, by this time, I was definitely freaked out. I don't know if I thought that she was just here on a whim & would disappear as fast as she had before, or if I was too wierded out by the sudden change in her personality, or if it was a combination of everything, but I knew something just wasn't right. I wasn't any less attracted to her, and I didn't love her any less, but I guess I just sensed that the timing wasn't right, for whatever reason. Or maybe I was just scared, too...but whatever the reason, she left to go back to school that day, and I didn't call her again.

A few days went by & she tried to call once or twice, but after a couple of messages, she stopped trying. I figured she must have sensed it too, or maybe she had just decided I wasn't worth the trouble after all. Actually, I didn't know what to think. I just knew that it didn't feel right. It would be almost two years before I saw her again.

And so began my long, reliable history of running out on Roxanne...


Blogger oldhall recalled...

I had a similar experience... In my case- I asked her why she had changed so much... she said no one really liked the 'old' her, I said that I DID, and I walked out. That was probably a very damaging thing to do. Oops.

Ah, youth.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005 4:43:00 PM  
Blogger Manda recalled...

you make me think about love and timing and how it never stays the same. i used to think that once you loved somebody, nothing else would matter, and you could adapt to anything life threw at you. but people change over time, and feelings change, and we're always guessing and shooting arrows in the dark.....

timing is everything. because it's so rare that two people are ever on the same page at the same time. So that means that if you DO ever happen to find that ever-so-rare perfect timing, you'd better snatch it up and run with it!! :-)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005 5:39:00 PM  
Blogger Frankie recalled...

Like I said to you before...I never knew it would be this hard...

Tuesday, November 22, 2005 7:39:00 PM  
Blogger Charlotte recalled...

well wow, you've just got all these ladies, and such long histories with them! -- captain obvious

Tuesday, November 22, 2005 10:58:00 PM  
Blogger Ana recalled...

what the hell was up with u??? no offence

Wednesday, November 23, 2005 2:04:00 AM  

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