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The Moon and Me

February 24, 2015

So, we’re friends now. He comes over and shares a salad with me and we talk on the sofa. Sometimes we drink tea. Sometimes coffee. He picks on me and makes me laugh. He talks to me every day.

He pushes me, telling me I should be doing more with my talents, which is weird for me to hear. I feel flattered and pressured at the same time, I think. I can see the motivation behind his insistence and I find myself getting defensive about it, which means he’s touching a nerve. It’s not the same as my ex’s crushing disappointment in my lack of success. It’s not about money. It comes from a place of admiration. But it brings me back to that lingering feeling I have that I’m not doing enough. That I don’t know how to suceed. That someone else would be doing more with the talents I have. He reminds me of that. I don’t know if that’s good or bad for me.

He’s annoying at times. Sometimes it’s cultural miscommunications. Sometimes it’s just him. He’s sad Eyeore who can’t find his tail when we’re texting each other but laughing, confident Persian Guy when I see him in person. He’s a bit lost. And unconsciously or not, I think he’s using me as a temporary ballast.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

There had been another Bouza Tannat night. We kissed again. Just over a week ago. Last Friday. He joined me at the park and asked to come over. I wanted a bottle of wine. A light white, for me. I told him he couldn’t have any. We went to Marcello’s and the Santa Claus man congratulated him on walking in with me this time. He suggested the Bouza. I said no. It had gotten us into trouble last time. He bought it anyway. I bought my white. I looked at him in the car and laughed. “This is a really bad idea,” I said.

We had our salad, I took a shower and we drank wine and talked. He kept inching closer to me. He asked me to kiss him. “I’m going to punch you in the face if you wake up tomorrow and say you regret this,” I told him, after exhausting what resistance I had in me.

“I might,” he admitted. I kissed him. More than before. He said things to me. I could have easily surrendered. He revealed a side of himself very different from my first impression of him; the shy foreign guy standing at the edge of the Blue Moon, watching everyone, grateful for a little attention from a pretty woman. Not that night. He knew what he was doing. He knew what he was saying. I put a stop to things before they got too far and told him it was time to go. We were going to Avery Island the next day.

I would be lying if I said it wasn’t wonderful kissing him. I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to be with him. I know I’m lying to myself by thinking that I’m somehow holding to my morality because I haven’t slept with him. Just because a line hasn’t been crossed doesn’t mean it’s ok.

“You’re going to punch me in the face,” he texted me the next morning. “We can’t do that anymore.”

No shit.

There was so much I wanted to ask him, to say to him. I was confused and pissed. I seemed to be the keeper of our shared morality. I was being the strong one. I wasn’t sure I would be the one saying, “It’s time to go home,” if it happened again. As we walked the beautiful grounds of Avery Island, taking pictures and laughing, I didn’t bring it up. I didn’t want to ruin the day with him. I sat next to him on a set of old stone steps and we ate carrots and nuts, enjoying the view before us and the lovely weather. We stood next to each other on the observatory stand watching the birds. He took a picture of our shadows on the moss-covered water. I looked over at him, at his hair, his neck. I was falling for him. I wished he could be mine. It was Valentine’s Day.

I asked the big Buddha in the temple, “Can I have this one, please? Can you make some magic happen that will let me have this one?” I don’t know if he was listening. I don’t think that’s how Buddhism works. That’s more of a pray-to-Jesus kind of thing.

The next day, I told him I needed to talk to him. He stalled. I offered to e-mail him. He agreed. I told I needed him to be the strong one if we were going to be friends. I admitted how nice it had been to have his head in my lap, to express affection that way. Maybe I shouldn’t have told him so.

The other night we successfully shared a bottle of cheap white wine without touching each other. And today we had tea and salad and fruit and watched Friends, the source of his English education. He came back later and we tried to stream the Oscars. We were propped up on pillows in my bed where the divorce-aquired big screen TV is. We watched MASH instead. Being next to him in my space was both delightful and pure torture. What the hell am I doing?

He tried to tickle me which gave me an excuse to hold his hands while I pushed them away.

Yeah, I know. I get it. This is not an innocent friendship. I’m fucked.

I’m stuck. Falling in love with the man on the Moon.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

And now for the overanalyzing. Talking about with Liz, this angle, that angle. Why am I attracted to unavailable men. What is his motivation? What should I do, why am I seeing him? What am I getting out of it? What is the meaning of this word or that word used to describe him or myself?

I went to see my therapist. We hashed it out. She was all over the place.

“Listen to your body,” she said. I laughed out loud. “That’s terrible advice,” I joked.

“You’re flirting with disaster.”

“You’re completely in.”

“You’re going to sleep with him.”

“Maybe you knew each other from a past life.”

“You’ll end it when you’re ready for more than this.”

“It will be liberating when you decide to choose something else.”

My therapist is nuts. But she pokes me in my sensitive spots.

“Hey, at least I’m not depressed,” I said. I had laughed my way through the hour.

Then the debrief. What she said, why she said it. What I’m doing, thinking, feeling. The lessons, the reasons, the motivations.

I was putting both of us on trial in my head and through my advisors.

I just like him. Why can’t it be that simple?

By the time I got into the tub around 8 o’clock, my head was spinning. I needed to stop thinking about it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

I was downtown today running errands. I stopped at the museum where a former art teacher had an exhibit up. I sat alone in front of a weird display of canvas and lights. The canvas made a half circle except for one broken segment. Crude studio lights were placed inside the circle facing out, casting harsh shadows on the texture of the blue canvas. The cords dangled in front and collected in piles on the floor.

I sat there for a long time waiting for my gut to speak to me.

I love him. And it’s not right. 

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