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Sunday, April 27, 2008

History of My Love Life, Episode 2: Specialized A-hole, Part 3

There's something so idealistic about first love. The loss of innocence that accompanies the loss of that first love can permanently change your views about love for the rest of your life. In a way this loss of innocence is necessary -- it's a graduation from fantasy fairytale views of love into a more realistic view. Reality is less romantic than fairytale views of love, but it's much more rational -- it's about respect, reciprocity, and companionship, and I think that's an acceptable exchange. I didn't lose that innocent view of love after the first two tries with Specialized, though. No, I left those experiences behind with my hopeless romantic side still intact. That loss of innocence would come before the beginning of part 3 of my experience with Specialized. In fact, the break up that caused reality to crash through my idealistic view of love is what prompted me to initiate part 3 with Specialized. I was crushed, vulnerable, and needed a way to heal. I needed comfort and familiarity. So I turned to the comfort and familiarity of Specialized.

Part 3

Fall 2005. I had graduated from the University of Utah the prior Spring and had spent the prior Summer in a relationship that would change my view of love forever. It was the night of my break up with Like Me, But Not in Love with Me, and I had just returned home from the coffee shop where the break up was finalized. Being in an emotionally fragile state is like being drunk, but less fun. Still, they both cause you to do stupid things. Like, when you're drunk, maybe you'll drunk dial or text someone. I wouldn't do this until the end of part 3, though. When you're emotionally fragile, on the other hand, you might reach out to people that you shouldn't reach out to with a 10-foot stick in your hand. That's what I did at the beginning of part 3.

I went right home from the coffee shop from my break up with Like Me and tearily typed up an email to Specialized. I don't remember most of what I said, but I know I basically told him the truth: that it was probably weird that I was contacting him, but I had just broken up with my boyfriend, was feeling emotionally vulnerable, and wanted the comfort of talking to a familiar person. When you don't know what to say, sometimes candidness is the only thing that makes any sense.

He replied kindly the following day, telling me he was glad to hear from me. That's all I know he said. Maybe he also said he was sorry about my break up, I'm not sure, but all I know is that he didn't shoot me down or ignore me, and that was important to me. We sent another couple emails updating each other on what had happened over the past year since we'd seen each other, and then we agreed to meet up for coffee.

Deja vu.

Except this time, when I looked up from my magazine, I saw those familiar steel eyes shrouded in a less-familiar bearded face. It was the beginning of full woolly man beards coming back into fashion, and Specialized always seemed to be at the forefront of fashion trends. I had previously been a shirker of facial hair of any kind, but Like Me had sported an Abraham Lincoln style jaw beard that I grew to like, and so by that time, I was prepared to find Specialized's new hairy face still attractive.

We did the basic catch up for an hour or so, and then decided to take a short drive up Big Cottonwood Canyon to see the Autumn colors and to drive by Specialized's family cabin. Then we went to see where Specialized was shacking up these days. Turned out to be a crusty little duplex roughly half a mile away from my mother's house, where I had been staying for about 5 months. I was introduced to Specialized's roommates, a couple of whom I had met previously during part 2 of our relationship -- the part Specialized couldn't remember --, and I was also introduced to several friends who were regular visitors at the duplex, and who I came to enjoy being around over the following four months.

But, though hanging out with Specialized again was a welcome distraction from my broken heart, I didn't exactly jump right into a relationship. For one thing, I was still pretty hung up on Like Me, and though I spent a few weeks maintaining very minimal contact with Like Me, I did get together with him a few times during September, mostly trying just to be friends, but also trying to figure out if there was a way we could possibly get back together again. But that's a story for the next episode.

The point is, I kept a friendly distance from Specialized at first, still trying to keep one foot on Like Me's side of the court in the chance that we could work things out. But when it became clear that we couldn't, I let down my barriers. I invited Specialized to come with me up to my old roommate LaNae's cabin to hang out at one of her infamous overnight parties, and that's when we rekindled our romance.

For the first month or two after that, things seemed to go ok. Specialized told me about his time in Southern California and said he felt badly that he had behaved like such a douche bag. I told him that I had sold his Nintendo games and had given his system to Paula, and he said he deserved that.

But it quickly became apparent how little of a priority I always would be to him. Still working more than full time at the bike shop, Specialized eventually decided to add a second job at a car racing facility. He worked so much that I rarely got a chance to see him, and when I did get to see him, he was so tired that he'd often fall asleep while I was there. It was like I was having a relationship with myself. I eventually told him that I didn't want to dictate what he should do in life, but that his working all the time wasn't conducive to the type of relationship I wanted to have. He said he needed to figure out what he was trying to do.

And this is when our relationship turned into a "relationship". Any self respecting girl would have bailed the moment reciprocity vanished from the relationship, but guys like Specialized have an intoxicating way of making you feel like you need them, even while it's blatantly obvious that they don't need you. They throw out just the right amount of sweetness, affection, and complimentary words to keep you willing to suffer their emotional neglect.

And suffer it I did, even willingly. Even after I knew that the "relationship" was a ticking time bomb that would go off in only a matter of time. Luckily, Specialized had introduced me to the world of MySpace, and so I spent a lot of time meeting new people through the month of December.

Then New Year's Eve came, and I knew that night would be the end of our "relationship". But I made a grievous error in judgment by getting good and drunk at the New Year's party at the duplex before initiating the break up. My memory of the evening is choppy, partially from the alcohol, and partially from my attempt at blocking the night out, but I know that at one point early in the night, I was sitting on a couch, and when Specialized walked past, I grabbed his leg, and he bent down so I could whisper in his ear, "You're an asshole."

More drinking and partying ensued and then at some point, both Specialized and I ended up alone in the other half of the duplex, and the argument began. I had wanted the break up to be a calm, rational discussion, but in my drunken state I became very emotional and angry. So we ended up shut up in a back bedroom with me sobbing on the floor and him staring at me speechless through those steel eyes, no longer swoon-inducing, but cold and heartless.

And that's when I made another error in judgment and told him that I loved him. I think I remember rationalizing that this was the last time I would see him, and though I didn't actually love him anymore, I wanted him to know that he was one of the people who I did, at one time, love. Oh, the things you think are good ideas when you're drunk! This broke his stoic silence into an angry spew of words in which he eventually said, "Have I ever, at any time, told you that I love you?" No, he hadn't, and I knew that he didn't love me, but that wasn't the point. I had loved him and wanted him to at least know that. I think he needed to lash out at me, because what was the alternative? To feel guilt at my admission?

So it was over, and I could hear that people had reentered that half of the duplex, and I was too ashamed to face them. So I said, "I'm going to jump out the window." Luckily it was a first floor window, but it was raining cold and hard, and I was drunk and coatless, and I ended up falling into the bushes and scraping my shin -- a scar that will always stand as a cruel reminder of that night. I walked around to the front of the duplex where my car was parked, and put my key in the lock, almost free from the sounds of the party, when two of Specialized's friends yelled from the patio, "Hey, Sra, are you alright?" I froze and looked at the ground, watching my tears fall like the drenching rain into the puddles at my feet. "No," I said. And then Specialized appeared with my coat. I don't remember if I said anything then. There was nothing left to say, not that that had prevented me from running my mouth off earlier. I got in my car and drove home, and was lucky enough not to get into trouble or kill anyone else or myself on the way.

And then that's when the drunk dialing happened. Apparently I called my friend Sov and sobbingly related how I had just broken up with Specialized. I don't remember doing this, but I do remember drunk dialing and texting Specialized so that I could tell him that he was a fucking jerk, and that I hated him.

I did hate him, too. Third time was enough to break the spell, and this time I knew that chapter of my life was closed for good. But after awhile my bitterness waned, and I stopped hating him. It's too much energy to carry on hating someone. I still think Specialized was an asshole to me, and I have no doubt that that is the only way he could ever be. But, believe it or not, I feel bad for him. I feel bad for him because I believe he can't feel. I believe he knows that he can't feel, and tries to behave in ways that people who can feel behave. But he knows no love, neither for himself nor for anyone else. And that is enough to warrant a little pity.

Next time: Episode 3: Like Me, But Not in Love With Me

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Sov said...

I find these revelations interesting. I knew the stories to a point, of course, but you've never divulged details like this. It's very personal I know, and you're brave for writing it out where everyone can see them.

heidikins said...

Gaaah, what an emotional rollercoaster mess... I'm so sorry dear, no woman deserves to be treated like that.


Sra said...

That's alright. I look back on the whole thing as a great learning experience.

The Over-Thinker said...

"Have I ever, at any time, told you that I love you?"....'specialized' is an understatement. That scar on your leg is a true war wound.

Sra said...

It's true, I definitely didn't deserve that. Maybe I was asking for it by being stupid enough to get together with him again after the first two disasters, though.

tauns said...

Found this story in your life very intriguing...thanks for sharing!

Sra said...

Thanks for commenting! I tried to be entertaining. Reading through it again, I think it could stand a little revision and tightening up, but isn't that the way with blogs?

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