After a few years of silence – I suddenly feel the need to write again. It’s not like words haven’t been constantly flowing through my head. Road trips with the tunes playing, long haul air trips with my ear buds in, dusky summer evenings when the heat finally recedes and the back veranda is the coolest place to sit and sip a wine… that’s where my self talk is the loudest – my characters fighting in my head to tell me their story (no it’s not a split personality!!). I just haven’t been writing it down.
I don’t know why.
My hands just went … silent.
This last few months though – this last year to be exact – so much has been happening – so much has changed. I feel like I am on the precipice of another move. Another direction. The butterflies in my tummy doing barrel rolls are a dead giveaway – if only I could see the future.
I have been single now for longer than I can remember (Umm 2004?). There has perhaps been some flirting in that time – not that I could remember it or probably even recognize it. I totally lost my way in the world of man, woman and relationships. I turned inwards and I guess almost shunned any kind of possibility. One could say that perhaps I have been burnt in the past. Yes – that would be true. Burnt to the point that you would turn your back on any future relationship? I wouldn’t have thought so – but perhaps I don’t know my own psyche as well as I would wish.
On a recent long haul air trip (I take many) my mind drifted to the first of my loves. A true mans man – yet the kindest, gentlest soul you could hope to ever encounter in life. Good lord I crushed hard on that man. Just a high school girl with NO IDEA on how I supposed to address those feelings. All I knew was that I idolised this totally unattainable wonderful man. I thought we were best friends – apparently, so I was told by many others later, we were both completely useless when it came to sorting out the fact that we SHOULD have been together. By the time I worked it out he was gone. Off to his career (which let me tell you has been amazing and I am so proud of his accomplishments) and onward with his life. Not that it would have made any difference if I had ‘worked it out’earlier – remember, I am totally useless at the whole dating game. Although a make out session in the driveway that can only be pulled off by teenagers says perhaps we did both know – and perhaps I was just not mature enough to roll with the new status quo between us.
The next I remember was a beautiful, intelligent, funny and handsome RAAF member. That man made me hold my stomach with laughter everytime we spoke. He was married. He was completely faithful and completely a gentleman. We moved around what we knew was there like shadows around a campfire. Unable to not have our friendship – unable to ever do anything other than push it all down into a dark secure place to never be analysed or spoken about. Over the years life drifts you apart. This is in the time before Facebook and just at the beginning of the mobile phone era. Drifting apart was actually easy to do – it took effort to stay in touch back then – rather than just perusing a virtual wall and pressing a like button. You had to send a letter. Pick up the phone and call – as it got easier you could send an email. So my married unattainable funny air force man continued with his life and his very lucky lucky wife and I continued on my merry way. A few years later and I found out he was divorced. We ended up at a military exercise together and the old connection was still there alive and well – but living in different states just made it impossible. Plus now that he was actually available it was like there was this huge pressure on me – that now I couldn’t be myself or say exactly what I felt – because he might actually want to take it further. Like I had lost the protection around my heart of him being unattainable. He was now openly available and knocking on my door – which I was rapidly shutting and reinforcing with whatever table, cupboard or couch I could shove up behind it. I was an idiot who needed someone else in that room to smack me in the ear. Or at least tackle me while I was running hell for leather in the other direction from what was only an opportunity to be loved and adored by an amazing man. As I said – I was an idiot.
Now inserted here a little ways down the track is a young man – a US Marine who lived overseas – who happened to be visiting Australia. This was a whirlwind. A totally unexpected, meeting eyes across a room- heart and time standing still, and spending the next 8 days together whirlwind. Remember the whole no facebook or email thing? When he shipped out I had an address in Okinawa and it was only a few months before he posted back to the US to Florida. I was totally smitten with this man. Like the sun just didn’t shine as bright the next day after he left. Tall, assertive, totally confident in himself and I am sure believed 100% that he was ten foot tall and bullet proof. Yet kind, generous, open and honest with any subject being spoken about, and have I mentioned was just the hottest man I had EVER laid eyes on. and I mean EVER! – think a young Tom Cruise with gray blue eyes. A planned trip to Florida to visit never eventuated due to the consequences of some playing the field on his part – but hey – we weren’t exclusive – I had no judgement there – just disappointment because I knew this Mid West country boy was going to do exactly what his Mama and Pa expected him to do and marry this girl. Another lucky girl out there. Fast forward 15 years and we are in touch. That is a chapter that will never be closed – and will always be a gorgeous memory of young love and impetuous spontaneity. A beautiful time in my life that I will forever cherish as something only the young seem to able to embrace and take on. To just lock eyes and jump in. No thoughts about ‘too soon’or what will they think. It just feels right so you dive on in to the delicious emotions and feelings that are pouring over you like a waterfall of young lusty love. Every woman deserves at least one of these experiences in her life.
A soldier followed who broke my heart after he returned from active duty overseas. He really broke my heart. Like tore it out of my chest, ripped it in two and then threw it on the ground broke my heart. I still to this day don’t actually know what happened. He returned and within 2 weeks we were apart. He never spoke to me again. I now know a lot more about PTSD and what returning vets have to deal with when they come home. I can say from a place of honesty that I may not have given the support or understanding that he needed – nor did I fight for the relationship. He told me to walk – and I did. Bawling and sobbing my heart out – but I walked. I regret that. A year of waiting and worrying, a year of 3 letters a week from him with so many promises of the future. Yes, I regret not having the courage to fight for what (who) I wanted. I still think about my soldier – 17 years later.
Then a few years later I was living and working overseas and there I met a helicopter crewman – oh my lord – was that just a total mess! A lot of fun – but there were some mind games going on there – that continued for a long time. We were together when he was single – but then he decided he needed to go back to his Ex and I was relegated back to ‘best friend’. Not that I really knew what was going on. It wasn’t actually put on the table in so many words – I kind of had to figure it out as we went. That was rough. Somehow he was able to just switch it all off to being friends – and I wasn’t allowed to ‘not be friends’. The group of friends and colleagues surrounding us got whiplash from what they thought they understood was going on – and I’m not surprised – I was part of it and I had no idea! I couldn’t go out and drink with others without a judgement about getting too drunk or that ‘that guy you were hanging with is just a player’, but the alternative was sitting in his hotel room watching platonic tv and drinking cups of tea. Coming home to Australia on a holiday and having text messages and phone calls to chat – emails welcoming me home – emails while I was at work – I had everything a girlfriend got – except the sex and the actual relationship! It even continued when I moved to a job in Africa. Getting phone calls while I was on holiday in a B&B in France. It was 3 years of mind games – that took me years to really work out. It’s hard to pick a mind fuck when you are in the middle of the chaos. We really need an app for that.
Since then I have done nothing but have platonic friendships or a sneaky one nighter that no one ever hears the light of day about. Like it is easier to just avoid the whole deal than go through it you know? Yes – I hear you – therapy. I think there is definately some therapy in my future. Apparently it helps…
Ask the question of my girlfriends – I dare you – you will get a ginormous eye roll and shake of the head with some mumbling about ‘blind’, ‘clueless’, and possibly a ‘lost cause’thrown in there. They are so used to me turning up single to functions and parties that they no longer notice. Except for that engagement party where I dragged an old friend along with me – THE WHOLE ROOM STOPPED AND STARED. Seriously – the entire room just turned and looked at us like what the hell? Did something just interrupt the space and time continuum? Oh no – I just walked in to a party with a date. No biggie. Don’t worry that my date is like my little brother. Just go right ahead and make this awkward..
So approximately 10 days ago I decided that I am doing nothing but wasting time sitting at home on Friday and Saturday nights because all my friends are loved up and married (and apparently have no single friends except me…). So how can I get out and about to a movie or a coffee and meet new people? How do I increase this social circle of mine? I decided to check out what this Tinder is. I’d never seen it – just knew that there was ‘swiping’involved. So here I am. Now signed up to Tinder. Jury is out on how I feel about it yet. So far it has involved a lot of matches – but very few messages. Or some messages that go the distance for a day or two – but then suddenly stop. Like they could have just saved the effort of the prior 20 messages and asked me for coffee. Save the finger cramp you know?
Still – I have now officially thrown myself back into the pond – put myself back into the metaphorical sea – along with plenty of other fish! I am sure there will be a plethora of blog fodder to come out of this – with all names changed to protect the innocent of course. 😉 I think I might have to steer clear of Marines, Soldiers, Air Force and Helicopter Crewman though… perhaps I need to start looking at stockbrokers and carpenters?