Monday, November 14, 2005

Back to the Future

No, I'm not Marty McFly and don't quite except to be anytime soon. I haven't worn an insulated vest or attempted to ride a skateboard since the late 1980's. And I've certainly never been befriended by a local mad scientist working for international terrorists so that he can get the plutonium to power his time machine. And besides, if the future looks like it does in BTTF 2, I do NOT want to travel there, no matter how cool my DeLorean HoverCar is.

What I'm trying to say through all this is that I've spent the last 2 weeks rehashing large sections of my past with a LONG-LOST friend of mine. Or to be totally honest and upfront, a LONG-LOST girlfriend. "WHAT?!?!" you might be asking yourselves. "You've had a girlfriend before?" you also might by asking. Yes, at one point in my life, I actually entered into romantic relationships with members of the opposite sex. The reason why I haven't pursued any relationships in the past 20 months is the topic of SEVERAL other posts. Such a discussion falls outside of the scope and realm of this post, a post which could be very long, hazardous, and worthy of several subsequent posts & discussions.

All introductions completed, here is the story:

Back in the day, say over 8 years ago, I was graduating from High School and I was dating this young woman, a freshman at the school we both attended. It was a rather random, tumultuous, frustrating, on-again, off-again, on-again, stifled, stymied, misunderstood, under-appreciated, and complex relationship, futher complicated by the fact that people didn't want us dating and avidly tried to break us up on a regular basis. There was never anything inappropriate that happened between us -- we never kissed, rarely hugged, nearly never held hands. Such was the life of two teenagers in a Pentecostal church (or probably any conservative church which told teens that ALL physical contact was wrong and never gave them appropriate guidelines for mature/developing relationships).

But, you see, even with all of the crap (or insert applicable profanity/derogatory noun of your choice) that was going on around us, we did like each other. We really did. She's told me as much before. We just didn't know how to deal with that, especially since we weren't getting any support or advice from those around us who should have been helping us and not just conspiring against us. I left for college in August of 1997 and we wrote letters for awhile, but with college life (and another girl that I had started talking to) upon me, our communications dwindled to nothing. Life happens. There were days that I regretted it, but I was a stupid guy. And like I said, we never really knew what to do with how we were feeling about each other. That kind of emotional ignorance would kill just about any relationship.

Fast-forward about 2 or more years -- say, about Fall of 2000, thereabouts. I know it was after May of 2000 because I had exited a 5-6 month-long relationship on a very bad note. Maybe that's why I decided to re-establish contact with this ex-girlfriend of mine. I don't know. Probably so. Who knows? It's beside the point. Or is it? Anyway....

Definitive and Necessary Bit of Back-Tracking -- You see, along with our personally tumultuous relationship, this friend of mine had lived in a near-literal hell on earth for most of her life -- psychotic mom, drunkard father, weird relatives, and all of the emotional disturbances that come with parental units who never functioned as parental units or even as decently-behaving spouses who even remotely loved/respected each other. She spent much of her time raising her two younger brothers, and started working as soon as she could in order to pay for her private school education. She grew up MUCH MUCH MUCH too quickly -- she didn't have much of a decent childhood, much less even had anything close to a normal adolescence. And I think that I spent too emotional time trying to "fix" her, to "help" her, all with the best of intentions, but it's rarely a good thing for a boyfriend to spend more time fixing/helping/protecting his girlfriend as opposed to learning about her and growing to love her for who she was/is. I was young, stupid, and emotionally immature. I told her that much over the weekend when we went out for dinner. I didn't know how to deal with her life & her issues, but we tried anyway. And failed -- we were much too young to make anything work at all.

We started talking again in Fall 2000 and convinced her to come visit me for a weekend, go to dinner, go to church, even to the point of trying to get her out of her home, out of her negative life, and bad church experience (since I was attending another, healthier Pentecostal church). Again, I was trying to help her, not love her; be her caretaker, not someone who cares for her regardless. My attempts failed; we stopped talking again.

Fast-forward yet again to Spring of 2003. We were talking on the phone for a couple of weeks, and she and I had even arranged for me to come visit for a weekend. She had stopped attending any kind of church and was living independently of just about anyone. She was happy, and I wasn't. I was beginning my transition out of my Pentecostal church culture and into something else. Granted, she wasn't to be a part of that, but I guess for awhile, I thought that we could start something. We stopped talking when another old ex-girlfriend entered my life again. It happens. I don't have a good excuse. It just happened. Damn, that's lame....

((Yes, for those of you STILL reading this rather curious, or possibly depressing, diatribe, I do realize how strange my interactions/relationship have been with this woman. I'm not stupid, just a bit delusional when it comes to her.))

But, on Halloween night, October 31st, around 9:45PM, she called ME. Yes, she called me. She told me it was Halloween, she wanted to do something crazy, and, besides drinking at home on her night off, she chose to call me 2-1/2 years after we last talked. She figured she had nothing else to do but call to see if the old cell phone number she had for me still worked. I was floored, flabbergasted, and totally astonished that she would call me. She's a rather headstrong woman who does what she wants and doesn't tolerate assholes in her life. And I had been a rather large asshole in her life, especially with how often I'd broken off contact with her for ridiculous reasons. She talked to me. I'm not sure that she wanted to really talk, but I did. I wanted to talk to her, mostly out of pure curiousity, blown away at her pure chutzpah.

So, we've been talking for the past 2 weeks. We've gone out twice -- dinner and drinks one night; dinner, coffee, and a 3-hour conversation this past Friday night. We talk or communicate nearly every night, even just to say hello. It's been rather strange, but rather good at the same time. I'm not sure exactly what to make of all of this. I think she enjoys my company, my personality, the fact that I'm not anything like the holier-than-thou, protector-boy I used to be. She's comfortable with who she is; I'm comfortable with whom I'm becoming. Maybe this is the beginning of something healthy, something.... But then I've been wrong before. But I'm hope that I'm not wrong this time. It feels rather good to have her in my life, even if it's just as friend. We had trouble being friends; we don't seem to have that trouble right now. It just feels good; nothing more nothing less.

Does any of this make sense? It does feel good to write about this though....

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