Where do you see this with us over the next month? Where do you want it to go? Are you happy? How about a few months down the line?
Wow! Talk about a loaded string of questions! I thought for a second and answered:
I think that if we can make it through April, we’ll be fine. I want to see whatever this is keep moving in the direction it’s going. I’m happy and I like where we’re at. No one knows what the future holds, but I want this to continue, I know that.
The conversation went back and forth for a while, until I got heated because he wouldn’t answer the same questions. Damn it!! I told him that if he expects me to open up to him and tell him shit, then he has to do the same. Give and take. I told him if he doesn’t reciprocate then I’m not going to feel comfortable opening up to him.(I think I deserve that, don’t you?) He refused to reciprocate, so I refused to answer anything else. I know, I know, immature. We sat quite for about 45 minutes as we continued our long drive home.
I think I’ll just drop you off and go to my warehouse to work tonight. Maybe you need some time alone since you obviously don’t want to let me in.
It pisses me off when he says shit like this! Why is this all on me?
Why is that always your response when things get like this between us? Why is your first instinct to run away?
Yes, I know, I’m one to lecture about running away! lol But here I was, being a big girl and facing all of this relationship stuff, and I felt like he wasn’t doing the same. He feels like he is, but that I just don’t accept his answers. Umm, I’m sorry, but they are cryptic and when I ask for further information, you shut me down.
He asked me what I was thinking about, and I said nothing. I really wasn’t. OK, I kind of was. I was thinking about the letter I had written him and how we had just covered 90% of it during this trip… all but one very important three words. Should I say it? Would it break the silence? Would it fix this little tiff we were having over me not opening up and him feeling like I won’t let him in? Or would it make him run?
He shook his head at my “nothing” response, to which I replied,” please just let me process this conversation for a few minutes and then I’ll respond. Deal?” Deal.
We pulled over to stretch about 20 minutes from home. We also both needed a mental break after being trapped in the car for a truth telling marathon that lasted about 3 hours!
“Do you want to know how I spent my time alone yesterday?” I asked him.
“I wrote you a letter.”
He chuckled. “OK. Can you tell me about it? Am I ever going to see it?”
“I didn’t write it for you. I wrote it for me.”
“That doesn’t make sense. You wrote me a letter that isn’t for me, it’s for you? Huh?”
“Some people go to therapy to work shit out, some people go for long rides or listen to music and I..”
Things were quiet for another couple minutes. And then he said, “You are maddening. I just don’t understand. If there is something bothering you, just talk to me. Why do you have to write letters that I’ll never see? It’s not good to keep things inside, festering. Did I do something to upset you?”
“Are you happy?”
“Do you need space? Am I there too much?”
“No, strange as it is, I’m good with you always being there.”
“Why are you OK with it?”
“I like having you around.”
“I just do.”
He sighed and we remained silent for the next ten minutes until we pulled into the driveway. As we walked into the house he asked, “So, where’s my letter?”
“I don’t think you’re ready to read what it says.”
“Is it bad?”
“It’s good, I think, just depends on how you look at it.”
“Can I please see it since you obviously meant it for me?”
With a deep breath, I pulled the letter from it’s hiding place next to my laptop, and handed it to him. “Just please wait a minute and read it while I’m in the shower, OK?”
As I showered, I feared his reaction to my words. In the letter, I told him that it’s hard for me to be a team player (one of his issues with me) because I have never been able to depend on anyone but myself my entire life. It’s just the way I’m wired. I’m consciously trying to change this and to let him in more, but I need him to be patient with me and help me. I told him a few things that upset me that he says or does and then… I explained why I’ve been such an emotional roller coaster lately. I told him I was in love with him. I told him that I have only said these words to two people (non-family) in my entire life and that I do not take these words lightly. I told him that I’ve had to bite my tongue lately to stop from just blurting it out. I told him that my biggest fear is that I’ll open up to him, tell him and he’ll run.
I laid it ALL out there.
And now he was reading it.
There was no turning back now, and as scared as I was of his reaction, I was OK with it… kind of. I just did something that I wouldn’t normally do, I took a chance with my feelings. True, it was in writing and not verbally spoken to him, but brave just the same. Come on, the greatest love stories all revolve around hand written love letters don’t they? And if he did walk (or run) away, at least I could move on without regret knowing that I took a chance on love.
He knocked on the bathroom door, stuck his head in and said , “I’m gonna go. We’ll talk,’ and walked out, closing the door behind him. My heart sank, my jaw dropped. Had my worst fear actually just come true? I couldn’t move, I was frozen in that spot, standing int he shower with my head peeking out from behind the curtain, staring at the bathroom door. Not 10 seconds later, he peeked back in, “Just kidding.”
I didn’t know whether to cry or throw something at him. He has a really sick sense of humor sometimes. I resumed my shower, not saying anything. He joined me.
“So, um… that letter. Wow!”
“So, I don’t know what to say, but let’s talk about it.”
“Here, in the shower? Seriously?”
“Well, yeah. You can’t run away. Well, I mean you could, but you’ll be cold and wet if you try.” (insert adorable smile here as he looked at me with his big, deep brown eyes)
“OK, let’s talk then.”
“So… How do you know? I mean… yeah…. how do you know you feel that way?”
“I can’t explain it. I just know.”
“OK. I don’t know what to say. I’m caught by surprise.”
“I’m not looking for a response. You weren’t meant to read that letter.”
“Then why did you write it? I think you intended to give it to me otherwise you wouldn’t have written it.”
Shit. He had a point. I had contemplated giving him the letter at some point.
“I wrote it to work shit out for myself. My head and my heart were full of stuff and I just needed to get it out. I told you, it’s like therapy for me.’
“I’m therapy for you.”
Fuck, he could be charming and sexy all at the right moments.
He kissed me… a good, long, passionate kiss, as we stood in the steam with the hot water beating down on us.
“I care about you. I hope you know that.”
“No, seriously, if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have come in here to talk to you. I would have run. I would have just left and not said a word.”
We got out, dried off and continued our talk.
“I think you need time to hate me before you can say those words to me.”
“Hate you? Why would I hate you?”
“There’s still a lot of shit we don’t know about each other. A lot we haven’t seen yet. You haven’t known me through a baseball season, and I haven’t seen you through one either. This is the busiest time for both of us. I think you need time to hate me, find things about me you don’t like.”
OK, I could see his point. Kind of.
“But I don’t want you to think that I don’t care about you, because I do. I’m just in shock a little, that’s all. I mean…. ” and he trailed off, not finishing his thought.
“Hey, this isn’t something I take lightly you know. I don’t just go around throwing those words at people for the fun of a reaction. I understand you’re scared, so am I. But if you want me to be open and honest with you, there you have it. That’s as open and honest as anyone can get.”
“I know, but it hasn’t been that long. How do you know?”
“It’s been 4 months and I just feel it. It can’t be described. I described it as best I could in that letter. I just feel it.”
“I think we just need to slow down. I think you need to relax.” Typical commitment phobe response. I know, this is usually my response to the “L” word.
“See, this is why I didn’t want you to read it. This is why I haven’t said anything. You’re not ready to hear it or read it. You say you want me to be open and honest, to let you in, to let the protective shield down, but when I do, you don’t really want to hear what I have to say because it’s scary as hell!”
“Do you really think I’ve never been in a relationship and said those words?”
“I have no idea because you don’t want to talk about you, only me. You have your own shields up.”
“Did you ever stop to think that maybe I’m trying to do things differently with you? That maybe I care so much about you that I’m trying not to fuck it up? Trying to do things different? That maybe I think you’re pretty fantastic and amazing and that this, whatever you want to call it between us, is pretty fucking close to perfect and I’m trying to do things different than I always have?”
“OK, so then talk to me. Are you? Is that what you’re doing?”
“I spent years with someone, talked about having kids, shared my life with her, said those words and she never said them back. Ever. I just want this to be different. I don’t want it to be like that.”
Now he was getting emotional. He was opening up. He was being vulnerable. I pulled him close and kissed him, “I get that you’re scared, so am I, trust me. OK?’
“OK. I do trust you.”
Putting those three little words out there, putting myself out there, it doesn’t change anything. We are still going about life as usual. We are still figuring out who we are as a pair and what this is, still learning about each other.
It’s scary, but I’m glad that it’s out there and that he knows. This thing between Mr. Sports Fan and I is proving to be a valuable learning experience for both of us; learning to be patient, learning to communicate and learning from past mistakes so we can grow and trust as we move forward.