Boyfriend. Was I really ready for this?
Our worlds could not have been any different.
I lived in a gated community on the Plaza with a pool and fitness center. My apartment was small, but tidy. I prided myself in stuffing a few of my antiques into the living room and keeping dog hair off the couch. It was cozy.
He lived in a sprawling mansion with two boys. I would later refer to the house as the Man House. Because that’s what it was – a giant house filled with boy things and usually the opposite of tidy. And holy cow you did NOT want to use the bathroom there.
As someone who had been domesticated for nearly the past six years of her life, the man house was crazy foreign to my previous life. And so were the inhabitants – both living and well…
Yes. Action figures.(Do NOT call them Action Men.) Hundreds of them.
They stared at me from the bookshelves they stood on. Their little beady eyes penetrated my skin. Was I woman enough to share this new boyfriend with them?
I said yes.
Yes, to wanting to see where this would go. Yes to juggling strange sleep schedules. Yes to meeting new and often unique friends (living). Yes to table top game cards, action figures and comic books. Even yes to that freaking gross bathroom.
But mostly, yes to this guy I was starting to fall for.
So a summer of sleep deprivation, bar-hopping in Westport, Rock Band playing, movie-watching and road tripping began. I couldn’t have been happier.
But my life wasn’t completely clean of the divorce. Around July the little bits of communication that I still had with my ex-husband got really ugly. Things were said that upset me. Then I got upset for getting upset.
But I’m so happy, I’d say. Why is this bothering me?
It bothered me because it should. Because as much as I was starting to fall in love with the boyfriend, there were still some messy emotional issues I had to face. I didn’t want to. I wanted to dive into this new thing with my whole heart and soul.
But was that fair to the boyfriend?
Whatever. I loved him. He loved me. We told each other that on the night of July 3, 2008.
The next morning on my way home from the man house, I wrecked, totalled my car. The boyfriend was amazing. He arrived at the scene in minutes. He went to Winsteads and picked me up a butterscotch milkshake. He held my hand through the process of dealing with insurance and the decision to get my old car that was sitting in my old garage running again instead of buying something new.
It was starting to feel like a relationship. I could depend on him. He could depend on me. We were a team.
And then, without warning, I hit the panic button.
We were at a concert with friends. Suddenly I started to feel like I wanted to cry.
For no reason. Like I was about to have a complete and total meltdown.
I left. I told the boyfriend I needed to home. To my home. Not the man house where I had planned to stay. But my tidy little apartment with my nice furniture and cute candles and snuggly pajamas. He was supportive, a little worried but not concerned. It was probably just PMS, I had told him.
By the time I got home, I was in the throws of an anxiety attack. But why?
Was I not just 20 minutes ago out with friends having fun?
I called Dawn. She was down the street at another friend’s condo. Come over, they said.
I put it all on the table. My doubts, insecurities, the pain of the divorce, the recent harsh things that had been said, this fast-moving, free-falling relationship I had embarked in.
And then they asked me another question that I wasn’t quite sure how to answer: Are you ready for this?
I thought I was, but…
To be completed.