Today’s been a weird day. Last night I had funky dreams about a man I haven’t seen in years. I met M 17 years ago when we worked together at a restaurant. He was a cook, I was a waitress. There was something that immediately drew me to M, even if our first conversation was a bit of a shouting match because I was the new girl and he was the ass behind the grill. But, he had the most mesmerizing eyes. A beautiful deep blue that I could just drown in. Just awesome. We worked together for several years. I had a bit of a crush on M for most of that time, but he had a girlfriend so nothing ever came of it. Until he didn’t have a girlfriend anymore.
With us, I guess it was easy because we already knew each other, although when he first asked me out it scared me to death and I ran. But, he chased me and showed up at my house. That’s all it took. That’s how it began. I don’t think you could really call what we did dating, but we hung out. Or maybe he hung out. And I fell hard. We were in our mid-twenties at the time and we had fun. We went dancing, although he couldn’t dance I still loved being held in his arms. We’d play pool, we’d hang out, we’d drink. Eventually, we slept together and then eventually we stopped hanging out and it essentially became about the sex. At least it did for him. For me, I was lost. I was just in so deep with this guy that I lost myself. I’m not a casual sex person, but I couldn’t say no to him. I just couldn’t.
About a year later, he got a job with the oil rigs and left the restaurant. He’d be gone for weeks at a time, and then would be home for a week or two. He’d go out drinking with his friends and then would show up at my house for I guess what is basically a booty call. We didn’t go out anymore, although I desperately wanted to. But it got to the point where I just couldn’t do it. I didn’t feel good about myself anymore. But if I was around M, I just couldn’t say no. So I hid. A mutual friend would tell me when he was coming to town, so I’d go hide out at my sister’s until he was gone. That was the only way I could stop it. It was unhealthy for me and for him, really.
My heart shattered.
Time passed and soon I didn’t have to hide anymore. More time passed and ultimately I was able to have fun again. I went out with my friends again. I dropped my guard. I laughed. And eventually, I met the ex-fiance.
Life went on and eventually ex and I split. Then in 1999, M called out of the blue. Evidently, he’d sought out my sister in the hopes of tracking me down. According to her, he and his fiance had split and he basically just wanted a friend. He asked my sister for my number. She gave it to him, although I chewed her out because of that later. Anyway, M called and asked me out for lunch. I was struck dumb, but asked the only real thing I could: “Why?” I can’t really remember what he said other than an uncomfortable “Ohhhhhhhh-kay”. I don’t remember what he said. I don’t know how he talked me into it, but I agreed to meet him at my sister’s restaurant for lunch. I got ready, went to my car, put the key in the ignition, and…..nothing. It wouldn’t start. I called M and told him I couldn’t make it, but then he offered to pick me up.
I remember waiting for him and thinking it was a mistake. I was hurt so badly with him the first time, and my heart was still tender from the break-up with my ex. Thoughts just rambled in my mind as I waited, which gave me time to second guess everything. But then he knocked on the door and I immediately saw those eyes. We went to lunch and talked for hours, we really did. Everything and nothing all at the same time. He’d been engaged, but she’d cheated on him; I’d been engaged, but he’d cheated on me.
That’s how it started again. We’d meet for meals, or we’d go for walks, or drives. We talked. We actually did become friends. He’d call before he went to bed. He’d call in the morning. He’d just show up. Kiddo and I would go to the park with him and his daughter. We watched movies. I met his Mom and Dad, and soon I’d be hanging out at his house as much as he hung out at mine. He cooked me dinner. He even drove down to my mom’s house to spend the evening with her. It was nice. It really was.
When he had an accident, I was the person he called from the hospital because he wanted me to be with him. So I met him at his house after his dad brought him home. He told me his ex had gone to the hospital to see him and he’d actually gotten some closure. He was moving on.
It was like that for months and I got comfortable. But then M called me. He said his ex wanted him back and he just didn’t know what to do. He didn’t know who to choose. I told him the only thing I could, that I wouldn’t choose for him because if I told him to choose me, if we were unhappy he’d hold it against me for the rest of our lives; but I wasn’t going to tell him to choose her either. I told him that only he could make that decision, only he knew his heart.
He chose her.
That was years ago, but I can’t deny that there’s still some part of me that cares for this man. I still think of him from time to time and I still think of what might have been if he’d chosen me instead. And sometimes, I still wish he had. He’s my Mr. Big without the bank account. He’s the elusive guy that I can’t get out of my head, or my heart. No matter how many times I wish I could.
So last night I dreamed about him. Haven’t seen him in years, but he invades my dreams sometimes. Last night was one of those times. I dreamed we were together. I dreamed of a kiss like the hundreds he gave me before. I woke up this morning and for a split second I believed it. And then I didn’t. And it made me sad.
Tonight, I went out to dinner with my best friend. We were sitting and chatting having a good time when who should come in with his wife but M. He went to the table across from us and sat so he was facing me because he does that. Every few years if we do find ourselves in the same place, he always faces me. But tonight, I couldn’t look at him. So we left.
Needless to say, I’m a bit reflective tonight. I have to wonder at the timing. Perhaps seeing M again wouldn’t have affected me so much if I hadn’t had the dream about him last night. Or maybe it would have.
But one thing’s for certain, I was sure glad I had my black wrap dress on. It may be vanity, but I was glad I looked good. Because I can gleefully say that he can look at me all he wants, and then he can look at that unhappy, sour woman who was sitting across from him at that table and know that he chose that.
Friend says he traded down. I’m not sure about that. But I was able to get out of there and go on. For the most part I’m happy and that’s all that matters.
So guess what, M? I won.