26 November 2008

In the Dreamtime

There is that place, somewhere between sleep and awakening, where time is not linear, where past and present blur, sometimes disappear altogether.
I heard a muffled cough, a clearing of the throat, my father getting up, about to start his morning routine. Softly closing the door to let my mother sleep, padding down to the garage to do his stretches before going on his morning jog---my mother would tell me that ever since I had told him he should always stretch before and after jogging, he had done so religiously.
For a moment I felt utterly content and secure, knowing that I would walk down the hall and see fresh flowers on the table, either cut from his own rose bushes, or picked up at the store on the way back from his jog.
I smiled to think of the routine I knew so well, and then I heard it again, the coughing. I opened my eyes, not to my childhood room, not to my father’s soft footfalls. It was my house mate in the next room, this room was miles away from my childhood home, and my father almost seven years gone.
It was a cruel trick of sense and memory.

For the first year or so after my father’s death, I dreamt of him almost nightly. Eventually the dreams subsided, but I still have the occasional bout with them. It is always the same. It is some strange mistake and I haven’t lost him, merely…misplaced him, almost as one would an earring or a pen. He’s on a trip somewhere or an errand and I catch brief glimpses of him, sometimes even catch up to him for brief conversations, and then the search is on again. The settings change. Sometimes it’s Colombia, sometimes Myrtle Creek, sometimes places I don’t recognize, but always there is the searching and the feeling that this is all just an elaborate pernicious prank.

I’m not much for regrets. That rare regretful moment I might have is usually fleeting. I figure once I make a choice, I’ve made it, and that path will lead me to my lessons, even if it is by a more circuitous route. Lately however, I’ve had the nagging doubt.
Would I be having these dreams if I had gone with my mother to the funeral home to see the body?
I had scoffed at the idea then, and wondered why she would torture herself with the sight of a lifeless shell, a likeness which was no more “him” than any of his pictures hanging on the wall.
Of course, I went to the farce that was his funeral. It was a Catholic mass. The priest wore white sneakers under his robes, like he’d just popped in on his way to an evening jog. He stood before my mother as she sat in the front row and went on at length and in great detail about how horrible it was to watch a loved one gasping for breath and desperately clinging to life, watching a loved one suffer for weeks on end. He then told personal anecdotes of the agony of watching his loved ones struggling for breath and desperately clinging to life and suffering for weeks on end.
Those wacky Catholics have a strange notion of comfort.
After I returned to Portland, I still felt no sense of closure and I asked my dear friends, Jen and Keith, to give him a send-off, Dahlia style. It may be the one and only time the band began, rather than ended, a show with their haunting didjeridoo/vocal improv, and that night it was dedicated to him.

Some time later, the family–– my mom, my brothers and a couple of our respective significant others–– met to scatter his ashes. The two stepsisters had gone from pledging undying fraternal affection over our father’s deathbed, to battling us for parts of the estate before the body was even cold. They declined to join us, but the rest of us drove to a lovely spot, where he had first wooed my mother. It is a beautiful lazy little creek where I once caught turtles and chased frogs, while he whispered sweet nothings to her under the shade of the myrtle trees.

The last time I saw my father in any physical form, he was a twisty-tied baggie stored inside an exorbitantly over-priced wooden box. It may have been particle board. I think we had to pour lighter fluid on the thing to finally get it to burn.

These days I’m left to reconcile the contradictions--- being aware of a realm beyond the physical, and having been raised in a culture which only acknowledges that which can be proved, measured, or perceived in a “tangible” way.
I often sense peoples’ energy in a way that is much more real to me than their external trappings, but it’s just that--- energy. At times that energy can be so strong that I can feel somebody’s presence long before they enter the room, sometimes even if they never physically do.
And yet, thanks to cultural indoctrination, people don’t really become solid or “real” to me unless I have actual contact with them.
I have been aware of my father’s presence since his death. When I find myself in a situation where I would normally turn to him for advice or comfort, I often have odd experiences, mostly involving hummingbirds, for which he had particular affinity.
The last encounter, however, involved a small figurine, presumed lost for six years. I had been living in my new home for several weeks and I was out on my porch telling a friend that I was leaning toward attempting a monogomaous relationship with the guy from “The Talk”.
A man started walking toward me from my old building across the street, saying he had found this figurine in my old apartment and thought it might have sentimental value for me. My eyes welled up. I had been crushed when I lost it 6 years ago, as it had very strong associations with my father.
It was the last bit of encouragement I needed to give that relationship an honest go.
(By the way, Papi, I have a bone to pick with you regarding that last bit of advice…)

So I am left to ponder…would I still have these dreams? But it is an exercise in futility, the product of stress, disrupted sleeping patterns and impending holidays. Who knows? There are cultures that see no separation at all between what we call waking reality and dreamtime, rather seeing them as two manifestations of the same thing.

Right now I would settle for some sleepy-time.


Photo © Mister Graves, 2008. All Rights Reserved.




All Content Copyright 2008, Juliana Tobón. All Rights Reserved

17 November 2008

Remembering Jeff Buckley

Today would have been his birthday.





I originally posted the following blog on my myspace page on 13 January 2007. It's about meeting and spending a few hours chatting with Jeff when I was 17.


Lest anyone think from my last blog that I think all musicians are trouble, I thought I'd write about one who is somewhat responsible for who I am and what I do now. Jeff Buckley. It is partly because of him that I am living in Portland and still taking photos, among other things. This isn't one of those "that song changed my life" stories. I actually met the man and spent several hours with him.

My older brother, Victor, was the editor of a music 'zine for over ten years. Growing up, I always got to hear music that was outside of the mainstream and usually before it was ever publicly released. In December of 1993 he passed along to me an E.P. titled Live At Siné. It was the most incredible thing I'd ever heard, so beautiful and haunting. I'd never heard a voice quite like that. I was enamoured with that voice and those four songs.

In April or May of 1994, my brother received an advance copy of Grace and gave it to me. Oh, and the news that Jeff was going to play in Portland in July. I begged him to take me to the show. He did better. He arranged to do an interview and got a photo pass for me.

The night before the show, he told me he didn't want to do the interview, that I would be doing it. Ack! I had never done an interview and, well, this was Jeff Buckley. I was just hoping I wouldn't make a total ass of myself. Victor told me I'd have about 15 minutes to talk to him.

The next morning, I put on my best lacy bra (for confidence, as well as lift) and headed off to Portland. We pulled up to La Luna, just as a white van pulled up. I hopped out of the car, notebook and tape recorder in hand. The main door was locked. A young guy in a pink button-down shirt, docker shorts and penny loafers hopped out of the van and looked as lost as I was. I was skeptical but told him I was there to interview Jeff Buckley. He made a face and said nastily "So you're the one we had to rush down here for". This bodes well, I thought to myself.
I followed him around to the back and we went into the green room where he asked me to wait. After about 10 minutes, he walked back in looking annoyed "Well, are you coming?" he said. I followed him into the main stage area where there were several guys milling about and unloading gear. "Here she is" he announced. "This is Jeff" he said, motioning to a rather short, scruffy looking young guy in a plaid flannel.

"Hiya!" I shook his hand and introduced myself. "Hiya!" he repeated. I was at a bit of a loss. An older gentleman in a suit walked over. "Did you say Juliana?" He actually pronounced it properly, the Spanish pronounciation. "I'm Steve Berkowitz", as in Steve Berkowitz, head of AR for Sony. He'd flown in from NY to see Jeff's show. It turned out his wife's name was also Juliana and she was from Bogotá, Colombia. The ice broken, I got introduced to the rest of the band. Mr. Personality turned out to be Gene Bowen, Jeff's tour manager.
Everyone dispersed and Jeff and I sat on the couch in the green room...for a second. It was miserably hot and anyone who ever spent any time in that green room can back me up on this...it smelled. It reeked of stale cigarette smoke and beer and who-knows-what-else on the best of days. I followed him through the place, on a quest for a fan and some incense. We chit-chatted along the way. In true Juliana fashion I made my first of several oh-so-tactful comments. "My brother's friends met you in NY and said you were pretty pretentious". I never did have that filter. He turned and looked at me for a moment with a raised eyebrow. "You just don't seem all that pretentious" I added. He looked somewhat mollified, then said "tell them I said 'fuck you'. No don't tell them I said that. What kind of an insult is 'fuck you'? Tell them I said 'may the fleas of a thousand camels infest your armpit hairs'. Now there's an insult!" and smiled.
He finally found some incense and sent Gene to track down a fan and we settled onto the couch again to do the interview. That was where my life changed.
I was aware that time was ticking. "Don't you have another interview to do?" I knew there was a reporter from a Japanese magazine waiting to talk to him. "Yes. No. it could happen at any time. But stay, hang out, I'm not going anywhere." We had exhausted my interview questions quickly and I was completely unprepared beyond that and told him so.
"What do you do? You look like an artist" he mused. I told him about my dreams of pursuing photography. I was turning 18 in a month, had just graduated from high school and my parents were pressuring me to pick a 'real career' and I was unsure of what to do. "Fuck 'em. Follow your dream, follow your photography. Move out. Why don't you move here? Portland seems like a really cool city." So here I am.

I spent about 2 hours with him that afternoon and we talked about all sorts of stuff, from music and spirituality to t.v. and toe jam. We shared a beer, because Gene wouldn't bring me one of my own. Jeff told me about his Panamanian grandmother and how she would sing to him. He sang me one of her Spanish lullabies, softly, almost under his breath, then got embarassed. At one point he got called away to do a sound check. He insisted that I stay, that he'd only be a few minutes. After sitting in the green room by myself for a bit, I decided I had better say goodbye until the show.
I found him sitting on the stairs, looking distraught. "Are you, ok?" I asked as I sat next to him. He and the band had gone to some music store downtown earlier and he'd bought a new effects pedal. When they unloaded everything at the venue, Michael, his guitarist, had snapped it up and Jeff had said something nasty to him. He was filled with remorse and shame for being selfish. " Well, you apologized, yeah?" I asked. He nodded. "Well, he's your friend, I'm sure it's alright.." He seemed to feel better and we talked some more. At this point my brother came huffing and puffing up the stairs. Oops. He'd been waiting for me outside the whole time, thinking I'd be out in 20 minutes. He was not amused. Jeff diffused the situation. He was pretty charming and my brother soon forgot his anger talking about his 'zine.
When I returned later that evening for the show, Gene saw the camera and asked me what I thought I was doing. There had been some mis-communication regarding the photo pass. Steve overheard, walked over and put his arm around my shoulder. "Of course she can shoot!". Gene shot me a murderous look. The gracious Mr. Berkowitz walked me over to the door girl to get my hand stamped "This young lady is my personal guest. She's going to be taking photos tonight" he told her. I realized then that it was also a 21+ show. Sometimes it pays to be Colombian.
It was pretty early and Jeff wouldn't be playing for at least another hour and a half, so I wandered around looking for someplace to pass the time. I made my way downstairs to the café and there was Jeff again. He invited me to pull up a stool next to him. I asked what he was drinking. "A mocha. Caffeine, it's my first drug of choice. Do you like them?" I'd never had one. He seemed almost offended at the thought. "You have to try one, do you want one? My treat.." And Jeff Buckley bought me my first mocha. Gene came in at some point to have me sign a release for the photos. "You know you would never have been able to shoot if Steve wasn't here tonight.." he pointed out. That guy just had a chip on his shoulder.
Other than that, we passed the time in pleasant conversation. In the course of our talks he also changed my entire outlook on spirituality and what it means to be a spiritual person. I consider him one of my first spiritual teachers. He asked if I considered myself a very spiritual person. Until then I had the mistaken impression that religion equaled spirituality. I had turned my back on Catholicism when I was 9. My mother was fond of saying I didn't even believe in the food I ate.
"Have you ever had an orgasm?" Jeff asked me. Gulp. "What?" He repeated his question, then seeing my embarassment, continued "that moment when you have an orgasm , or see a beautiful sunset , or hear a beautiful piece of music.. that's spiritual, that's spirituality. There's a word in Urdu, the language of Pakistan, it has no translation in English , but it means 'knowledge gained not by ordinary means'.. anything that moves you like that, that's spirituality." It was like a light bulb went on in my head and in my heart. It was on that day that I learned that I was indeed a spiritual person, I had been so moved, even if it wasn't by the means that my upbringing had taught me.
It was an exciting night. I had a lot to think about. The show was amazing. I was listening to his beautiful voice and taking photos, pausing once in a while to take it all in.
After the show, Jeff and I were talking again and an older man walked up and told Jeff he'd enjoyed the music---that he'd been a big fan of his father's (Tim Buckley). Uh-oh. The rep at the label had said "Whatever you do, do not mention his father".
His smile faded "Well you'd know more about him than I would" he snapped and stormed off.

I hadn't had a chance to say goodbye. My brother walked in at that point and I managed to catch Jeff's eye and waved from across the room. He walked over and put his arm around my shoulders and said to my brother "You have an awesome step-sister". We hugged goodbye. I promised to go see him again in November.

It never happened. I was so excited to be living in Portland then, and had been taking photos. I wanted to thank him, but my friend flaked on me and I never made it to the show. Jeff played one more show in Portland after that and I've already written about how that turned out. I still have the photos and a tape of part of our conversation. I also have a beautifully autographed CD--- he tried to write me something in Spanish. "How do you say beautiful in Spanish?" he asked me.
The more intangible gifts are the most precious to me, though. I won't say that he put me on my current path, but he certainly gave me the gentle nudge I needed to start walking it, for which I am ever grateful.




All Content Copyright 2008, Juliana Tobón. All Rights Reserved

Favorite Reading, Favorite Show (PDX)






Favorite Show is a multimedia comedy event that combines stand up, stories, videos, and more into a single night. If you're the one in the office who shows all your friends you tube videos until they start crying, you'll enjoy the videos of Favorite Show. Like to listen to funny words read by people you can look at? We have that. And if you are a fan of sitting down, we got you covered with our luxurious, state of the art, "seats".

November 22nd will be the date Favorite Show goes down in infamy. Maria Bamford, stand-up icon and international woman of mystery, made a web series called the Maria Bamford show. Prepare to watch her episodes in all their infamous glory. Society has been warned.

What could make it more infamous? The Infamous CoatCheck Girl will be gracing the stage to read a story. Katie Jean Arnold will play music that's brimming with infamousness. Kevin Wilson will be hosting this ragtag team of daredevils, as well as providing some stand up comedy of his own. This is not all there is. There will be more stand-up, more stories, and more fun to make this night end with explosions and/or a satisfied audience.




When: Sat, Nov 22th

Where: Happen'N Place, Portland Oregon

Time: Doors open - 7:30p

Price: $5


13 November 2008

Getting My Hands Dirty

So, Obama has been voted in and everyone is hopeful. Or most everyone. I vacilated between trying to stay informed, and utterly desparing of following any of it, since I’m not allowed to vote in this country. You see, I’m one of those legal U.S. residents who loses more and rights by the day.
I come from a country where politics are more often run by the gun than the popular vote, so I'm withholding judgement and jubilation. I don't see it as entirely impossible that some lone nut will decide that Obama shouldn't be president and will take matters into his own hands.
Wait. What?. This has happened here before...?

But, when it comes to discussing politics I am a little old-fashioned. I just don’t feel comfortable doing so in public. Another thing I am typically not comfortable discussing in public is money, the economy. (Come to think of it, I don’t know if these are so much old-fashioned quirks as they are Latin ones.)
However, it is difficult to deny that most everyone I know is facing economic hardships right now. Some of my friends have taken on second and third jobs.
I’d settle for just one.
The luck I’ve had in the job market would make a splendidly cheesy 80’s film montage––“She Works Hard For the Money” plays in the background, I wipe sweat from my brow, the screen quickly cuts between a mind-numbing blur of equally mind-numbing jobs, and finally at the end I plop down into bed, exhausted.

Even the Infamous CoatCheck Girl can’t get by on her looks alone (believe me, I’ve tried).

While I look for something more permanent, I do odd jobs here and there. Probably most entertaining to my friends is the fact that I’ve been doing manual labor.
After many off-color jokes and incredulous comments, I figured a photo shoot was in order.

(The following images are all © Kenneth Barton, 2008)

Ready!



Feelin' lucky, punk?




(And yes, that is indeed the Infamous tool box.)

Really, the manual labor stuff isn't so bad. I've become a wiz with a caulking gun, a paintbrush, and the like, but when it comes to power tools, I still feel a little bit like this:



And, I'm sorry boys, as much as I know some of you wanted nothing more than to see me sporting nothing but a tool-belt...well, it just messed with my lines.

All Content Copyright 2008, Juliana Tobón. All Rights Reserved

11 November 2008

We'll Burn That Bridge When We Get There

Several years ago I got involved with a guy who was some sort of Marilyn Manson wanna-be (yeah, I know). He ended up trying to run me over with his beautifully restored Cadillac hearse when I insisted on being paid for a photo shoot I had done for him. He then showed up at my apartment an hour later, and asked me out to breakfast as if nothing had happened.

With the exception of that guy and maybe one or two others, there are very few people I have known or with whom I’ve been involved, that I wouldn’t at least have a curteous “hello” for, should our paths happen to cross again.

I have continued to follow the Beachside Bukowski’s blog, because I always enjoyed his writing. When I saw that he was gearing up to do some publicity work in town, I emailed him and offered to help in whatever way I could.

Four words from his reply made me smile and forgive.

The first two, a cheeky:

Nice letter. (Argh! Punk!)

Then:

miss you.


You, I replied, are a punk, but I miss you too.

And just like that we were friends again, and made plans to catch up while he was in Portland for the Wordstock Festival this past weekend.

He invited me out to dinner and had me pick a place in the neighborhood.

“Meet me there in fifteen minutes? I want you sitting in the corner, reading something by Flaubert or something like that,” he joked.

”I’ll see what I can do to oblige.” I replied dryly.

It wasn’t quite Flaubert he found me reading, rather one of the local weekly rags. I only felt a fleeting bit of…something…and then we hugged and he said “Kiss me.” And the last several months of tension never happened, as we sat across the street from the coffee shop where we had met for the first time.
We were colleagues again, friends, drinking buddies. We swapped stories and filled in the blanks we knew were missed between the lines of each other’s blogs.

“Of course I’ve been reading it! I think that last piece you wrote about me was one of the best pieces of yours I’ve read yet,” he confided “ and not ‘cause it was about me...The ending though, I didn’t think it was a good ending for a piece of non-fiction. You assumed a lot. If it’s fiction and you’re the narrator you can do that, but not with non-fiction…”

For a flash of an instant I wanted to throw my beer at him, but I just laughed and shook my head. Such are the hazards of fraternizing with fellow writers, not to mention of maintaining a chronicle that blurs the line between fiction and non-fiction.

He apologized about the incident with the now Infamous letter, admitting he may have been a little insensitive.
“In my defense though, you never really told me how you felt about me. I still have the letter. I re-read it after you posted that, and it was kind of cryptic.” It was a gentle reproach.

I never have been very good at telling people how I feel about them. I try to express my fondness through action. Rather than say “I love you” to a friend or lover, I might cook and present them with a steaming hot bowl of lentils (one of my trademark tokens of affection, as some people very dear to me could attest).
I have always treasured the people that were able to truly see these affectionate getures for what they are.
This, however, may be the one area of my life where I might actually be accused of being too subtle.
And stubborn.
If they can’t see it…

Eh.

I shrugged it off. “We’re here now.”

“I don’t like to burn bridges and neither do you. I know you don’t.” he shrugged back.

I could only partially agree. I believe some bridges you never burn–– others you raze because you know it is fruitless to harbor even the illusion that you can ever cross them again.

But it was neither the time nor the place for such debates.
We raised our glasses, toasted to reconciliation and got back to swapping stories.



All Content Copyright 2008, Juliana Tobón. All Rights Reserved

10 November 2008

A Passing Thought (in pronouns)

They sit on either side of me and I can feel their hands--- his steel-hardened, hers soft and tentative. I kiss them in turn, enjoy the press of her ample breasts against mine, the feel of his breath at my neck.
That ache which had threatened–– it’s back.
I feel it in the pit of my stomach and pounding, pounding in my head and...
It’s too soon. Too fast.

In the cab home, I have a passing thought.

He won.


All Content Copyright 2008, Juliana Tobón. All Rights Reserved

09 November 2008

Citadel of the Spirit

Several months ago I posted a myspace bulletin or two mentioning that I was being published as part of an anthology of Oregon writers. The book, Citadel of the Spirit, is a celebration of Oregon, and arrives just in time for the state's sesquicentennial.
When I was asked to contribute a story by editor Matt Love, he reiterated that he was looking for stories that were uniquely Oregon--- that could only happen in Oregon.
That was my inspiration for a story titled "Sauvie Island Heat". I knew Sauvie Island was pretty unique, but had no idea of just how varied (and sordid) its history was, until I really started doing my research. My essay is true to form––humor, sensuality, eroticism, but with a good dose of erudition thrown in. Let's just say, that small island is no stranger to Misadventure.
I am so honored to have been included in this anthology, particularly as it's my first "officially" published piece. Citadel includes over 60 original essays by Oregon writers, past and present, as well as many excerpts from primary documents related to Oregon history. It has a little bit of everything–– sex, drugs, rock n' roll, politics, environmentalism, you name it.

Citadel of the Spirit hits bookstores next month (just in time for the holidays!). In the meantime, it can also be purchased directly from the publisher, Nestucca Spit Press. Look for the official launch at Powell's on February 13th 2009!




*I haven't and probably won't post the entire essay on my blog, so the only way to read it is to get the book. So go out, buy it!

xo,

Infamous CoatChek Girl






07 November 2008

I Dig The Tarot

"Stupid cards...what do they know?"

Or so I ruefully ask myself every time I give myself a reading.
I usually do so when something has happened which raises more questions than answers.
Sometimes I use tarot cards--- Crowley's Thoth Deck is my favorite. Other times I use the Medicine Cards, or if it's a new moon or I'm just particularly in tune I need use nothing at all. I get pretty psychic if that's what you want to call it.
Today it was the Medicine Cards, since I am feeling easily duped by my own intuition.

The very first card, indicating what has just transpired, had this to say:

Beware of con artists and users.

Son of a...! *smacks forehead*

Where was this advice a month ago?!

Stupid cards...!



P.S. The first person to email me with the name of the band I am referrencing in this post (Portland connections, people!) gets...well...I'd say my undies, but I'm planning on selling those on eBay.


All Content Copyright Juliana Tobón, 2008. All Rights Reserved

05 November 2008

"The Talk"

”Today is gonna be ‘the talk’,” I tell my room mate and his friend over lunch. “I can feel it”

When he walks in we hardly say a word. I hug him and he kisses the top of my head and I just hold him, because I know. Then we kiss and he is pulling me down the hall and into my room. The door still open, he runs his hand over my breast then tugs my shirt up. I shut the door as he kneels in front of me and pulls at my belt and jeans. Still, we haven’t said much more than hello, but I know, as surely as I knew his ex was sleeping in his bed two nights before.
My clothes are in disarray as I hold myself up between my bed frame and the door. I come twice before we tumble onto the bed and hastily tear away our clothes.
It isn’t sweet. It has all the passion, anger, and desperate intent of the good-bye fuck. Something to remember him by.
And he makes it count. Once. Twice. Almost a third and he pulls out, offers himself up to my mouth.
One last taste.
This time, he choked just right, pulled my hair back just so, and this time, he was the one to pull away just as soon as it was done.
He looks at me from across the bed, so far away.
I dash to the bathroom to clean myself up, straighten my thoughts. When I return a moment later he is zipping up, already half dressed and I half expect to see cash on the night stand.
I had planned on cooking dinner, but he wants to go out to eat. There’s a bar nearby where his friend works. They chat about the new record on which she’s just recorded.
When we get back to my place, I suggest a movie, so he chooses one and settles onto the couch. I try to find a spot to settle into his arm. In Sex and the City, Carrie called it “the nook”. It feels awkward and he absent-mindedly touches my back on occasion. When my room mate comes home, I spring up and pounce on the cake he’s brought home.
I try to settle back in to “the nook” but it’s no use.
I go out for a smoke then wander into the office, where he finds me at the computer.
It’s time for bed and I find him laying on top of the rumpled covers completely clothed. I change into my pajamas and lay down, with him watching me the whole time.
He comments on my body language, says it feels weird.
If he were more observant he’d see that I’ve assumed “crash position”. Have been all night.
“You just feel so far away” I tell him. ” I felt the moment you disconnected a day ago. I could physically feel it, even though you were nowhere near.” And I wish he would just say it and get it over with, swing the axe hanging over my head.

“I’m reacting to your energy.” He insists. Says it’s too awkward and that he is going home so he can get some sleep.
I walk him out so I can lock the door behind him. He tries to kiss me and I resist for a moment, then give him a quick peck on the lips.


The following afternoon, the axe finally falls. He’s on the phone with excuses and reasons. Too much on his plate right now, financial worries, ex-crushes, ex-crutches, too much transition…he just can’t handle it right now.

”Well, I was a day off. ‘The talk’ I mean, I thought this was coming yesterday” I tell him. ” Guess I’ll see you around.” and I think that’s that, but he’s not through.

“I’m afraid you won’t want to.”

“Want to what?” I ask.

“See me. I’m worried that you’ll go back to what you were doing, dating other people…”

Well. Yeah.

”If we’re not together, what do you care what I’m doing or who I’m seeing?”

For this man I stopped seeing others. I turned down intriguing propositions, appealing men, enticing couples, old lovers. For this man, I faced my fear and discomfort around children, spent time with his son, met his ex-wife, her husband and their kids--- went trick-or-treating with the lot of them, for cryin’ out loud! For this man, I respected a woman I don’t even know--- his ex-girlfriend--- and hid our budding relationship to spare her fragile feelings.

“Well, you’ve been transitioning into being in a monogamous relationship…”

”Yeah…with you. It’s kinda person-specific, this monogamy thing. All of the changes I made were because I wanted to be with you, and I knew what that meant. I’m not opposed to monogamy, but it takes a specific person to inspire me to do it. I thought you were that person--- all of it, your son, your ex-wife, turning away other people --- it was a change, yes, but I think I took it all in stride. Because of you.” I countered.

And this seems to be the relationship theme of the year, these men who want to be with me, but seem to have countless reasons why they shouldn’t. Then they’d like to fuck me but can’t bear the thought of me fucking somebody else.

” What am I supposed to do?” I continued, “Just hang out and wait to see if you decide you do actually want to be with me? Look, I’ll just talk to you another time, ok?”

But he seemed to have more to say. More reasons, and excuses. My past, my exes, my public persona, and the fact that one of my exes propositioned him. Us.
And his ex. The unwillingness to hurt her or lose her friendship.
He ended things with her because he had put his life on hold to take care of her. He was through with being her crutch, or so he told himself.

”You said that part already,” I reminded him. It was all I could say, as the “interested party”. I had already told him if he really was that concerned, he should realize he is not the most fit person to help her get over him. But he would put his life on hold, “put the breaks on us” he told me, if it was going to hurt her. And I couldn’t help but feel sympathy for this girl--- the hope she must feel and lack of incentive--- getting mixed signals: “move on, but I won’t move on while you still need me.”

That’s if that was really his reason to begin with. I felt like he was just talking to talk. He said he might change his mind, might just be thinking out loud. He would still like to see me sometime, but felt weird about the thought of me dating again.
We’d been over this already.

“Right now I feel like I’m just more fodder for the blog…” he says finally.

Uh, well…if the shoe fits, as they say…

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