7~ Have you ever been deeply in love? Explain.
Yes, I have been. However, it has taken me so time to come to terms with it and to recognize what to do with it. Before I give too much away, let me tell the story.
Rewind to fall of 1994. It had been almost seven months since my relationship ended with Ronnie; the love feelings had evaporate long ago, but the pain still lingered. There was this guy (I'll just call him T) who approached me and wanted to go out. He and I were two totally different people. He was outgoing, opinionated, and everyone knew him. I was more reserved, introverted, and wouldn't speak on it unless necessary. He cared little to nothing about school; I was seen as one of the most intelligent students in my class. Everything about this spelled disaster, but one day, out of sheer loneliness or maybe because I got tired of him constantly asking me, I said yes.
The union was short lived, only lasted for a week. I broke up with him; T didn't seem to take it hard at all. A couple of weeks later, I got into a relationship with Bryan and was with him until around the end of the school year. It became hard for Bryan and I see to see each other outside of school, so I figured it would be best for he and I to split. There were rumors that he was cheating but I never saw or got any proof of it. I think by that time, I was not worried about it. I had not allowed myself to feel love as much or as intensely as I did with Ronnie.
Around the beginning of June, a familiar face kept popping up, kept coming around. I had started a job, wanting to get a head start on saving up money for college. I was a cashier at the local Piggly Wiggly. It was T; I saw him in passing during school but not much since the break up. He apologized for how he acted during the brief time we were together. T admitted to me that he wasn't ready for a relationship then but felt he was ready for one now. I told him I had jsut gotten out of a relationship with Bryan and quite honestly, I wasn't feeling up to having another one so soon. T pleaded with me to give him a chance, that I wouldn't be sorry...we would take it slow and take it one day at a time.
So T and I, round two, began.
As T & I were getting to know each other, he seemed true to his word. He did take it slow. I did let him know I hadn't gone all the way with a guy (touching, kissing, yes; just not the full thing).
I was trying to hold out for the right person. I know many of you reading this may find it rare; heck, even in this day and age, ridiculous, to try and hold out until one is married. However, my mom was 16 when she had me; by the time she left, she was on baby number 3. My dad was her first love; to this day, she has never fully gotten over him. I didn't want to be like her, having babies before being able to take care of them.
So that motivated my resolve to wait. Yes, that along with my fear of diseases. And wanting it to be the right person.
I'm not sure if my confession made T and mine's relationship better, but it did make T stick his chest out with even more pride. I guess the thought of being my first made him smile.
One of the greatest things that happened during 95-96, besides it being my senior year, being offered scholarships, being on the newspaper staff and what not...was the person I ended up meeting. And I never would have met him if it weren't for T.
T introduced me to his twin cousins, S & Z. S had a baby face, eyes that drew you in; he was quite a hit with the ladies, but he never allowed himself to get too close.
T's other cousin, Z, I was drawn to right away. I discovered he and I had a lot in common. We liked to write, read, and we could talk about a variety of subjects. I enjoyed hanging out with him; at times, he would hang out with T & me.
Around mid August, I started getting pressure from T about taking our relationship to the next level. At times, he got so insistent that I almost wish I never told him that I had yet to be deflowered. He got so aggravated at times, he accused me of being a prude. Little did I know it was because Bryan had told T I had slept with him and was no longer a virgin.
I started getting opinions about sex; the handful of female friends I had were already doing it. All of them kept saying it would start off painful but would get pleasurable later, just to make sure to use protection and the guy was gentle.
As August moved into September, the tension concerning the sex issue was taking its' toll on the relationship. I was wondering if my failure to put out was the true reason my relationships were going up in smoke. I felt like sex wasn't everything; there had to be a good foundation of everything else. But many people who were having sex seemed like their relationships were fine; did I have to blueprint backwards?
Whatever the case, I was getting so sick and tired of the bickering. I hoped that if I conceded, then my relationship with T would get back to some form of normalcy.
So I agreed.
Let me tell you, my first time was nothing like Harlequin.
OTHER CARNIVAL ACTS
the bright lights
weren’t shining as much
as the gleam in his eyes
the loud sounds
weren't as loud
as my inner voice
you’re making a mistake
do not do this!
took a back seat
to his eagerness
and the great outdoors
became a lover’s
and the splinters
became my crude cushion
pushing at my skin
until my flesh gave way
but I went to another place
as grubby hands
tugged denim and cotton
all at once
and the swish of unzipping
kissed my ears
and latex met my sex
with the grace
of a blundering fool
and my eyes darkened
with fury and pain
as I flooded him
with life juices
that he thought was
“the sex was tight”
until he had to explain
to his mom
that the red
was a ketchup stain
and if this was the way
of becoming a woman
me thinks I would have rather
remained a child
That poem was from Private Pain; yes, I was writing about my first experience--on my 18th birthday. He didn't seem to know what slow and gentle meant but was an expert in fast and furious...I was in so much pain and bled heavily. I had to scream against his had because of where we were located.
After the act, he said, "So you were telling the truth after all."
"What do you mean by that?" I was confused. It hadn't occurred to me that T thought I was lying. What was his motivation if not to bring our relationship to the next level, as he called it.
"Two of your ex's said they had tapped that before..."
"Eric & Bryan."
"And you believed them?"
"What did you expect me to do? I could have excused it if it was just Eric, but it was more than one person saying it..."
"So you did this, not to bring us closer but to prove to yourself and them that you were the first. You didn't believe me! You claimed to love me, but you didn't trust me..."
I felt really dirty. I washed and soaked multiple times. I still didn't feel clean. I would never feel truly clean again. I had given my most sacred not for love but to soak his ego. My heart was so broken.
Next time I saw Z, I couldn't hide how hurt and pissed I was. I began confiding in him about the downs of my relationship with T...how T believed Eric & Bryan and it was the only reason he wanted my virginity. I told Z I felt like I was some trophy to T, not a real person. I wasn't sure what I should do.
He told me that T was still trying to mature and he had a long way to go, but he seemed to be genuinely interested in trying to build with me. He told me now that T knows I didn't lie, he wouldn't do anything like that again...things should get better from here on out.
As Z held me and got tissue to dry my tears, I couldn't help thinking that if T were more like Z, I probably wouldn't have any issues. But Z wouldn't have pressured me, either.
I shook away the thoughts quickly. I had to get back to my counselor aide duties. Besides, T usually stopped by around that time.
Although T apologized for not believing me, I was still feeling hurt. I was in no hurry to do it again if that was how it was going to be all the time. Eventually, we did start having sex more often but it was still very uncomfortable for me. As my class load and work load became heavier, T started becoming more insecure and demanding of my time. He also started becoming uneasy at the amount of time I spent with my male friends, including his cousin Z.
Z had become the mediator between the two of us, but he was more of a confidant to me. Even when T would ask Z about our conversations, Z stayed steadfast and wouldn't reveal anything. Z was so strong, so compassionate, so gentle, and didn't go into all these fits of jealousy.....
I shook away these thoughts again. I was supposed to love T, although all of his crazy actions was starting to chip away at it. People began telling T they felt Z and I were getting too close for comfort.
One particular day, I was curling my hair (I still was perming my hair back then) and accidentally burned myself with the tip of the iron. I combed my hair over the burn on my neck. Z and I had been hanging out most of the day. He was concerned about T's behavior; I had suggested maybe I shouldn't talk to him anymore.
"I feel so bad you are spending so much time trying to work things out with us. Perhaps I should stop talking with you...maybe T will be a lot more at ease..."
"Even if you stopped talking to everyone, I still think T would act like a nut. I don't know what's wrong with him; I was hoping he hadn't gone back to his old ways..."
Before I could ask him what he meant by T's "old ways", the bell rung. It was time for us to go to class. Z gave me a hug, whispered near my ear (the side that happened to have the burn mark) it would be okay, and kissed me on the cheek.
From a distance, if one wasn't close to the action, you could have sworn someone was sucking on my neck. T had people spying on me...some of them ex-girlfriends that he was still cool with.
A few hours later, T and I had the biggest falling out ever. He didn't believe I had burned myself with the curling iron. I couldn't deny I had spent time with Z that day, nor the hug or the kiss on the cheek. He asked me had I slept with his cousin; I denied it and was furiated he would say that type of things to me.
He's like, "You know what...bet."
Then, he walked off.
Homecoming came. Instead of spending time with me, he was in deep interactions with another girl. It was a month or so later, around Christmas, that he chose to tell me he had cheated. When I asked him his reasoning, he said, "You did it to me, so it was just payback. Now we are even."
My relationship with T was having an adverse effect on me. My grandmother didn't approve of him; it had always been a struggle to even get time with him. The way he started treating me wasn't helping his cause, particularly the incident where he claimed to have purposely poked a hole in the condom so I could have his child. (that's when I immediately got on birth control of my own)
Soon, my grandmother, guidance counselor, and the vice principal did an intervention. They said my relationship with T wasn't healthy; the mind games, the accusations, the things he would say about my weight when he got upset, his demands--it was too much. They wanted to help me; they felt it was in my best interest to break up with him.
At first, I was quite indignant, being told I had to break off the relationship. It was after having a long talk with Z that I realized they were right. He didn't like the way T was treating me; he said it was stupid all these rules and demands he had...that I deserved to be happy. Z apologized for trying to encourage T and I to stay together but he really thought he had stopped playing games and wanting to be with different people.
I knew if I had to face T, I would renig on what I had to do. I wrote a letter to T and entrusted Z to deliver the message. I knew the aftermath was going to be nasty; I just didn't ascertain how nasty. I couldn't help but be thankful that Z had stuck with me through all the madness, how his girlfriend was blessed to have a guy like him...
I usually would push these thoughts of Z away, but now that my relationship was over with T, I was very glad I didn't have to...I believe that was when it started...the inkling, the feelings of in love that were developing.
I knew I loved Z as a fellow human being and as a friend. However, as my relationship with T started getting worse, I found myself analyzing how Z treated me in comparison with what I was going through with T....I saw what love was not.
But Z and T were cousins. Plus, if one is going through heartache, any good treatment looks ten times better...I kept telling myself maybe I was overamplifying Z's good qualities because I was enraged at how much T had put me through.
The next day, while I at the counselor's office, an angry T came and demanded the ring he gave me. I didn't believe in giving back gifts; I never asked for the ring I gave him back. So I was outraged he would want the one he gave me. He grabbed me to the point where it hurt. My counselor came out and told him to leave...that since he gave it to me as a gift, I didn't have to give it back to him, unless he was prepared to give back the ring I gave him. Of course, he wasn't.
The counselor contacted the vice principal; she issued an order for T to stay away from me or there would be serious consequences. T acted defiant for the first couple of weeks, but after a while, he kept his distance. I delved myself into my job and schoolwork. Z and I continued to spend time together. It was great being able to talk about things which had nothing to do with T and me having problems. I still discussed the hurt I felt with Z, but each day, it got a bit easier.
T had moved on, gotten with another female. I would be lying if I said it didn't affect me. He would perform lots of PDA (public displays of affection). At times, I thought he would mainly do them if he sensed I was there. I would just go somewhere else, or if I were with Z, he and I would ignore them.
I couldn't ignore the in love feelings. They were in fact growing. I thought once the sting of my heartbreak became less, then it would go away. But I couldn't shake how drawn I was to Z, especially to how he wrote. He tried his hand at erotica; his descriptive ways of talking about things really made my mentals wet. I got drawn into his stories; I jokingly thought they were about me. Perhaps I even hoped they were.
But T still had a hold on me.
I had gotten into another relationship--an older guy, but everyone seemed to approve of him since he had a good rep when he went to our school. However, he and I rarely saw each other or spent time together. Back then, I wasn't as focused on the quality of time as I was the quantity. I kept getting aggravated with M, particularly when he said he would take me to prom and at the last minute, he couldn't take me. I still went but with my female friend and her date. T was there with some girl I wasn't familiar with. Z let me know the girl T decided to bring was their cousin. T kept coming around me, even went so far as to take a picture with me at the prom. I was infuriated with M; T was almost the person he was before we decided to get together.
But the difference is once it happened, I recognized it was a mistake, that it didn't mean that T and I should get back together. However, T couldn't let it go; he thought there had to be a reason why things popped off the way they did. He said it was a sign.
I told him to go back to his girlfriend. I had no one to really go back to, since I considered my relationship done with M for his failure to take me to the prom.
Yet through it all, I still thought of Z. He and I still talked constantly; he told me T would never change and I shouldn't start back up with him. He was having problems with his girlfriend as well. I joked how he and I seemed to be going through similar things, yet through it all, he and I remained tight. He smiled. I kept finding myself wondering if he felt the same as I. I knew I probably would never tell him because of his bond with T. Besides, it might have given more credence to T's theory.
So I stayed silent, figuring I would carry this around with me. It wouldn't be the first secret. Perhaps I could just downgrade it to a crush. And maybe I could have if life didn't have Z and I still interacting with each other.
Inklings of it being reciprocal first sprouted up in 2001. I remember because it was a day or two before I was to leave out for GA. It was also the day before he was to marry his first wife. He and I hadn't had as much contact since I had gone to college; his brother had gone into the military; Z was still trying to decide what to do with his life. He confessed the little erotic stories he wrote were about me, but because of respect for T, he never said anything.
I took it as a confession of lust, not about being in love with me, necessarily. If he were in love with me, I reasoned, he wouldn't be walking down the aisle the next day.
I took the knowledge for what it was and soon I was off to GA. Z and I were not in touch as much. Nor was I in MS as much as I wanted. Next time I was in MS was November 2005, and I got a chance to connect with Z once more. His first marriage was coming to an end; she had been unfaithful and gotten pregnant by her lover. I was a sounding board and listening ear for him...like me, he also seemed to encounter those who could or would not stay faithful to him.
He also told me that his bond with T was strained because he had relations with someone he knew was Z's first love. I guess low, down and dirty ran in T's veins. But Z confessed to me that T still held on to the belief we had messed around those many years back. I laughed until Z said that he wish it were true....
Then I stopped laughing. Z had felt the same way, probably around the same time I did.
So now the question...what did I do with this knowledge, now having confirmation the feelings were similar?
I could weave a tale about how we tried to have a relationship but it felt too awkward and didn't work out.
I could tell you guys a story about how we decided to get together and ride off happily, ever after into the sunset.
I didn't have the reaction I thought...it wasn't relief, it wasn't even joy...it was a tinge of bittersweetness...
"why did you do this to me/why must I be everyone's confessional/some things are just better left unsaid/I don't know how I feel/what can I do with what you've told me/Why didn't you tell me sooner when a difference could have been made in both our lives?
what can I do with this truth/this truth you have carried for ten years/you are feeling the wrath of Happily Ever After, interrupted/I am living beyond the closet others tried to trap me in, already spoken for.
when I ask are you sure/that this isn't residue from your hurt and anger/you tell me this was all before her/this was during school/that he stepped up before you/and because of your bond, you faded to black/never spoke a word
even when he betrayed you/by being with your first love/you remained respectful, carrying this baggage with you
and I cry inside/for there's nothing I can do to ease your burden..."
And there is nothing.
Since Z's confessional, he has gotten married again, and is in the process of getting another divorce. Her crime--same as the 1st, only without the baby.
I recognize just because the in-love feelings are mutual doesn't mean they should be acted upon. To him, I am the epitome of the type of woman he should be with; one he should try building a life with, but for his own reasons, has chosen not to.
I could get mad at it, but what good would it do? Just because one knows you have to be with better doesn't mean you have things in line for the better to come to you.
I observe that he still has to get his life together...to be wiser now that he's older, to not let his need for companionship blind him to whether the female is right for him or not. He still hasn't mastered that yet. He showed me that in his inability to fully free himself of number two, and there were moments when she blatantly disrespected him...where family would plead and pray for him to break it off with her and he'd go right back to her.
I know I do not have as much patience with one's potential now as I do back then. I believe it is because I got taken advantage of too many times for loving and having faith in potential versus the reality.
Our failure to act may have done us a great service.
I love him. I know that as long as he keeps being drawn to these chickens, he's going to need a wise old Mother Hen to talk to.
So I will be loving friend Mother Hen.