A Love Story: Happier

Typical. It’s three am the night before I leave for my trip and I’m wide awake. There are so many thoughts whirling around my head that I don’t know where to start. But that’s partially what this blog is for. I originally started to talk about living the single life. The good life. But after last night – I find myself with all these feelings and emotions I forgot I had.

Let’s go back in time, shall we? If only I had a DeLorean – I could go back nearly twenty years and correct all the things I did wrong. Like falling for the wrong guys. Or breaking up with the good guys for the bad guys. It’s a stupid thing that people do. It’s a stupid thing I’m known for. And it’s largely why I am still single at forty-two years old.

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Last night, I felt things I haven’t felt in a long time. And get your mind out of the gutter. Sex wasn’t part of it. But there was chemistry. A connection that I had forgotten about. Sparks flew. I laughed like I hadn’t laughed in years. I smiled so much my cheeks actually hurt by the end of the night. I giggled like a school girl. But that was more because I was pumped about seeing the band back stage. Yeah – that was totally fun. I got to be a groupie (without the sex) for a couple of hours with a Canadian rock band.

A Sweet Romance

I’ll simply call him K. Even though there were a few “K’s” around in my life in my younger years.

K and I had a whirlwind of a romance. We met somewhere between 2002-2003. I actually don’t remember. This was the era before I invested in a cell phone. Smart phones weren’t even a thing. I deleted my old yahoo email account so I have nothing to fall back on to confirm dates. This relationship predates the dawning age of social media. We didn’t have Facebook to remind us daily of past memories. That might be the only thing I like about Facebook these days. Just sayin’.

K and I dated for the better part of a year. We grew close. There was a chemistry. A spark. A connection that I didn’t have with others. He was goofy. But he made me laugh. He was quirky and others looked at him and saw him as a loser. But to me – he was one of the sweetest and most caring guys I had ever met.

It was a sweet romance. Neither of us had much money at the time. When it came to birthdays and V-Day, we made each other presents. We gave each other mix cd’s (like mix tapes) and homemade presents. We always found things to do around the house.

He met my family briefly. And only briefly. At the time – I was on the outs with them. I didn’t fit in. I was the black sheep of the family for my lifestyle choices. They didn’t know K. Not like I had gotten to know him. For as goofy as he was on the outside, on the inside, he was a sweet and caring guy who loved me.

We had a lot of fun together. I remember laughing a lot and attending a lot of parties. But we were both so young. We were still figuring things out. And I was a pathetic little push over who had become everyone’s little slave to use and abuse. There are a lot of things that I regret from that time in my life.

She Needs A Monster in Her Man

I was going through a phase in my life where I wanted a bit of a monster in my man. Sorry Buffy, but that line stuck with me all these years. I wanted the bad boy. Like Spike. You know he’s wrong with for you in every way. You know he’s going to break your heart more than once. But you can’t help it. You’re drawn to him. You need him even. And I found my Spike.

I found a few of them actually. But none of them were as handsome as James Masters. I mean, come on. And David Boreanaz back in the day. I blame the show’s influence it had on me too. Everyone wanted a bad boy like Spike.

This is my inner geek Goddess coming out. I loved Buffy and Angel. And all things Supernatural. I’m just sorry I missed the Comic Con panels. I mean – look at those cheek bones. Buffy was a hit show and nearing the end of its life back in 2002-2003. We were all fans of the show.

Environmental Factors

It’s true what they say. That environmental factors in our lives can play a huge role in our relationships. I still believe all these years later, that my relationships met a short demise because of the people I had in my life at the time. I was surrounded by narcissistic assholes who couldn’t stand to see me happy.

Back in those days, I ran with a small clique of friends. Lisa was my bestie at the time and we did everything together. Tony was another friend that hung out with us. And so, when K joined our group – we became a foursome and we spent all of our time together.

Lisa and K did not get along well. Lisa was a meddler. She was like – Blair in gossip girl. She would go behind your back and meddle with your relationships without you knowing it. It happened more than once. It happened with more than one guy. She said she did it out of love and concern. But I always had a hunch there was more to it.

K told me last night, “She meddled. It seemed like if you were happy before her, she couldn’t let that happen. You were only allowed to be happy if she was happy first.”

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That is so spot on. Back then, I was a meek little submissive female who let people walk all over me. I was taught to be well-behaved and be respectful of everyone. It took me years to figure out how to stand up for myself and defend myself.

While Lisa and I had a lot of fun times and created memories I’ll cherish for the rest of my life. I truly feel she held me back in many ways. Some people do that to you. It doesn’t make them a bad person. It just makes them bad for you.

Taking My Life Back

When I started defending myself against the crowd and people that were my “friends”, I was suddenly labelled an asshole and “difficult to deal with.” I was no longer the push over they wanted me to be. That they needed me to be. I had finally become a strong person with a voice. Fiercely independent. And they hated me for it.

Or maybe they hated themselves for it. I don’t know. Instead of walking around like the perpetual victim that I was, bouncing from relationship to relationship – I was discovering who I was meant to be. I was figuring shit out. I was finally becoming comfortable in my own shoes. To coin an overused phrase or two.

I fell in with a bad crowd of people. The most mentally challenged and dysfunctional people I had ever met in my life. I spent so many years trying to fit in with them. One day I finally clued in. Like a light bulb went off in my brain. These people were idiots. And I could do a lot better without them.

It was around 2009-2010 that I walked away from that scene entirely. And from all the negativity. It was a decision I don’t regret to this day. Sometimes you just gotta do it for your health. For your sanity. And for those in your life.

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Going back in time to 2002-2003…

The Biggest Regret

About eight or nine months into our relationship, my old flame James came into the picture. Speaking of bad dudes. This guy was the worst of the worst. This guy always seemed to pop up when I was most happiest. Or most depressed. It was like he had a radar for these moods. He would swoop in. Make all kinds of promises and dash out of my life just as fast.

James called me up one day and asked to see me. He took me for a drive and showed me the acreage he wanted to buy. The ride was very quiet. So I mostly bragged about how happy I was. How happy K made me. How well life was going. I had a good job. A great guy. I was … happy.

And that’s when the bastard did it. But what’s worse – is I let him do it.

He leaned over and kissed me on the lips. It was the most spontaneous thing that man had ever done and it totally threw me off balance.

And all those feelings I had for James came flooding back. Like no time had passed. This is the same James that I had dated off and on for twenty years. I told this all to K last night as we sat in his car and chatted. He leaned over and said,

“And did you learn your lesson?” I laughed and replied, “Nope. Do I ever?”

The terrible thing about James is that I let him do these things to me. I knew it was wrong. All those times he stood me up or lied to me. Which was often. He claimed he never wanted to get married or have kids. And yet now, he’s married with a baby girl. He seems happy. But I can’t be happy for him. He caused too much heartache.

Can you believe the jackass had the nerve to ask me out for drinks on the week of his wedding? I only found out because his fiance posted their lives on the internet for all to see. How stupid can a person a be? I mean. Come on now.

The Breakup

After James dropped me off at home that night – I was so confused. My head was a mess. I called Lisa right away. She took me out for a shopping trip the next day and we chatted. That night I guess she had a heart to heart with K behind my back. Meddlers meddle. And she was the queen of meddling. We were like Blair and Serena. Only – we weren’t exactly Upper East Manhattan material.

It was a few days before K and I would see each other. He picked me up and we went for a short drive to chat. I still remember the look on his face when I told him what happened between me and James. He grew so quiet. So angry.

“What happened?” he asked me.

“We kissed,” I said.

“You kissed?” he repeated back to me.

“Yeah, it was only one kiss though. I stopped him,” I said.

A long moment passed before he said anything. He leaned over and started the car engine and said something I’ll never forget.

“It was one kiss too many,” he said quietly.

We sat in silence for the rest of the drive. And that was it. The relationship was over.

I was devastated. I knew that K and I weren’t a match and we wanted different things. But I felt so horrible for what I had done. I never intended to hurt him. But it happened anyway.

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Mending Broken Hearts

I don’t remember when K and I reconnected. But after we broke up, we chatted and started hanging out as friends when we were in between relationships. We still cared for each other. We supported each other – until we eventually drifted apart. As people often do in life.

It was in 2012, when I was very involved with Greg (another love from my past), that I learned K had gotten married. I wanted to be happy for him. I really did. But I felt a twinge of jealousy? Maybe not. Maybe it was regret. Maybe it was that thing Lisa felt whenever I was happy and she wasn’t. For a moment – I became that narcissistic friend that everyone hated.

K and I found each other on Facebook a couple of years ago. I heard through the grapevine of old friends that he was divorced. I looked him up and we started chatting again. But it wasn’t until last night that we finally saw each other in person.

For the first time in at least 11 years. If not more. Like I said – we were young and in love. As so many love songs sing to us. It was more like Strawberry Wine.

Like no time had passed…

It all started when my phone buzzed and I saw a message from K on Facebook. We had chatted a couple of weeks earlier about possibly seeing some concerts together. He mentioned that his uncle was performing at a local festival and he had four free passes. He invited me to join him.

I have a suspicion I may have been a last resort for him. He didn’t seem overly eager for me to accompany him. But – instead of talking myself out of it, I took the plunge and agreed to meet up with him and his mother.

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. I went on a date with him and his mother? Let me start off by saying – this was NOT a date. It was two old friends reconnecting over a night of music. I always got along well with K’s mom. And I know now that more than ever, family is so important. It’s important to stay close.

I arrived early at the festival sporting my favorite pair of blue jeans, a low cut black blouse and had spent a long time straightening my hair. K had mentioned that we would be going backstage during the show and I was super pumped at the idea of meeting the legendary rockers. So it wasn’t him I was dressing up for – it was the band!

When we saw each other at the gates, K didn’t hug me. Which surprised me. I leaned in for an awkward wrap my arm around his shoulder kind of hug …and he flinched. That threw me off. He had always been a snuggler. But I knew something was wrong. Something was off. But I couldn’t put my finger on it. And so I shrugged it off.

Damage had been done he told me. He was damaged goods. But as I told him later that night as we sat in his car – everyone is damaged. We’re all damaged to some degree. It’s about picking yourself up, forgiving yourself and moving on. This is one of the songs K had put on my mix cd. Only now I finally get what the song is about.

Band-Aids

The concert was short – only an hour long. But we laughed and chatted – or rather we shouted over the loud rock music. The energy of the band was contagious and I found myself giddy over the prospect of meeting the guys. Even though my eardrums were bleeding from the music. That happens when you get old. I should have brought ear plugs.

I grabbed K’s arm on more than one occasion and linked mine with his. I hugged him. I don’t even think it was flirting. It was more just that I was excited for the music. And caught up in the moment. Music does that to me. Especially 80’s rock music.

But through the night – K remained stoic. He kept his hands to himself. And I found myself wondering – was it just me that felt the chemistry? Was it just me who felt all those emotions come rushing back?

The show ended and we hurried backstage to meet the band and his uncle. We sat in the VIP room which was a tiny room in the corner of the hall with three leather couches and a fridge full of junk food. But I didn’t care. K and his mom sat on one couch. I sat on the other.

When K’s uncle came in the room, the guitarist, he shook my hand. I introduced myself and he said, “Then why the hell are you sitting so far from K?” he laughed.

I moved on over to sit in between K and his mom. That worked out well. The band’s drummer sat next to us on the couch to the right and I got to know him a bit. Some of these old rockers sure are aging well. And others not so much. I’m looking at you Billy Idol.

I had my first groupie moment. And it was thrilling. I had called myself a band-aid all night and K looked at me like I was crazy. I had to remind him of this great movie and this epic scene. One of Cameron Crowe’s finest films.

As the band prepared to leave and head onto to the bus for their next gig in Ottawa, K’s uncle leaned over and gave me a hug goodbye. I had leaned in to shake his hand but he reached his arms around me. I think he knew. I think he could see a connection. And he seemed happy to meet me.

The Ride Home

K drove me home and I asked if we could stop somewhere and chat. I was still coming down from the high of the show. Music does that to me. And I didn’t want the night to end. I had so many questions and so many things I wanted to tell him

We chatted for a long time. Until about one in the morning. We talked about everything. And he mentioned several times that “if he started dating again, me or someone else…”

I wasn’t sure what to make of that statement that he repeated many times. I asked him outright what he meant.

“So, do we do this as friends? Hang out and see what happens?” I asked him.

“Everything starts with friendship,” he said as he started the engine.

At that moment, I had a serious flashback to the night we had broken up. And all those feelings came rushing back. It was overwhelming.

The last bit of the drive home was quiet. I had been fighting the tears back. I thought of all the things that had happened in my life since our last drive together. And I couldn’t help but think back to that night that I broke his heart. And how much my heart had hurt that our relationship had ended.

And as we said goodbye, he finally leaned in for a hug. I think I held on for a moment longer than I should have. It’s been ages since I’ve hugged someone in more than a “friend” capacity. And the moment he wrapped his arms around me – those old familiar sensations bubbled near the surface.

I don’t know what this means for the future. I have all these thoughts and feelings today. I’ve been single for so long, I’m not sure I can welcome someone into my life. My schedule is full. I have plans. I’m still working on me. My fitness challenge. These blogs. I still have so much to see and do before settling down again. I have a trip to Toronto in about eight hours and I’ve been awake all night. I should be in bed sleeping. But all these thoughts are keeping me awake.

But… on the other hand… and this is a big one. For the first time in a long time. And I mean – a really long time. Like years. And years.

I felt comfortable. I felt at ease with myself. I felt at ease with K. I laughed. I smiled. I had .. what’s that word again? FUN. More fun than I’ve had in a long time.

Because with K, I could just be me. There was no impressing him. There was no judging. It was just two old friends out having a good time without pressure. There was no meddling. There was no backstabbing or lying. It was just two good friends who cared a lot about each other – enjoying the moment.

What does this mean for the future? Or even this blog? What does this mean for mostly single? Well, I guess for now at least – mostly single is what I am. Because as K suggested, friends first. No matter how difficult that might be for both of us.

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Happier

Do you think it’s possible – after all those years for two people to finally get things right? Or do you find yourself wanting to just be happy? Or happier than your ex? Maybe Ed Sheeran can put it into perspective for you on how I’m feeling right now.

If it’s what you wanted to hear – I think you’ve already made up your mind.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. I enjoyed reading! 🙂

    Like

  2. Jen Jensen says:

    Thanks! I enjoyed writing it.

    Like

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