The truth is eight was around, and never far from my mind, during what’s been a period of immense personal growth and relearning to love and value myself. My personal growth in the last few months is completely unrelated to him, but none the less, his presence over the course of it all feels like a somewhat meaningful timestamp in my life. I did good things for myself and he was just there; everyday, nearby, checking in, and orbiting the peripheral of my journey. Now … back to destiny’s walk of shame.
When I got home from those 5.5km, I pulled off my sandal heels to find blood all over my feet. There was a morbid satisfaction in what I felt was a deserved and self-inflicted punishment especially considering I had precisely zero other symptoms of a hangover. I had analyzed everything I could – any further information would have to be gleaned from speaking with eight or cheeks, so I showered and blow-dried my hair, allowing the process to overshoot a “reasonable amount of bathroom time”. When I finished two hours later I texted eight: I told him I was mildly embarrassed about how drunk I had been and tossed out a weak invitation to brunch if he wanted. He replied I hadn’t been messy at all, even coherent, and that he had some “adulting” to do and wouldn’t be able to swing it. He had a home game that evening, that again, he’d never explicitly invited me to and I decided it was best for me not to go.
I made a little list of to-dos for myself around the house and set my Spotify playlist. I’ll freely admit I pulled up the live score of his game and kept an eye from time to time – I was infatu8ed after all. Eights team had been down by one and he himself had been struggling offensively. Twice, I considered putting on my shoes and just going to the arena. One of those times was when eight had made a hugely crucial play, tying the game up, which led to their do-or-die comeback win. My heart leapt for him, I knew what sort of stats he ran and this was impressive. When the score changed to “Final” I shut the app on my phone. *ding* The timing is just weirdly tight to the end of the game and Eight is texting me.
“Did you enjoy the game?!” Shit – he thought I was there. Now please know I’m not proud of this thing I do when I’m afraid of disappointing someone; semantic non-specific half-truths. “You’re a goddamn hero.” was all I replied.
The conversation we had that night after his big win was gentler than his brunch blow-off – he was proud and was sharing it with me. He continued to text me from the pub, explaining how he felt like the stress he had been under was shaving years off his life – I asked what the cure was and he sent me a Snapchat of the team, sitting around a table, like a loving family around Christmas dinner, except it’s beer, bar food, and tired faces.
At 2:20 in the morning I rolled over and saw a text message from eight from around 1:50am asking how the rest of my night had been. Blinded by the phone, I quickly tapped out a message to him that I had drank tea and smoked a joint, and that I was crashing again. He told me how nice that sounded and said he was going to do the same when he got home. I replied with a 🙂 and went back to sleep. Truthfully – if eight had ever directly asked me to get in my car, ever, in any of these late night messages, I would’ve. The less he asked to see me at this point, the more I wanted to see him, and every other guy blowing up my phone with date requests around this time, literally got no response. C’est la vie isn’t it ladies?
The following day I heard from eight again at 4pm. He had seen the photo I had posted of my daughter and I at her first day of third grade. Nothing special, he asked how was the first day back had been for us, but you need to remember eight has been a sort of unicorn unique situation for me; he knew a lot about my daughter contextually because of our mutual friends daughter. He’d be able to predict what she was like, age, personality, interests, all of it from his experiences with her little friend. When I date guys without kids I do my best to explain being a mom from the perspective of dating me, nothing more. I just haven’t met many guys I can see being worthy of being in my daughters life. I’m ok with dating the same guy indefinitely if I like him for me, but the standards I have for whoever I bring into her life are so high I honestly don’t have the ability to put men in that category, even just in my imagination. But whenever eight would ask about her, which wasn’t uncommon, it was always unsettling because I was forced to consider him in that context, consider him being involved with her. For what it’s worth I do think he absolutely could’ve, I always settled on “he’s got potential” and we know how quickly I fall for brief little nothings because “they feel like something”.
And remember that contextual roundabout lie I told him when I wasn’t at his game? This is where it comes back to bite my ass. As he’s asking me about my daughter, the topic changes to his sport, he asked who I had come to his last game with, and I clarified my “truth-dodge” from earlier. “Oh I watched the thing online, I almost got in the car when you tied it up but I chickened out.” Now I tried to soften the fact that I had lied, by being vulnerable. I’m trying to convey to him that I was scared to see him. I woke up in his bed the morning of that game and he had blown me off and avoided me. And in that moment he had the opportunity to assuage my doubt, acknowledge anything, my lie, his feelings, whatever he could’ve said anything – instead he doesn’t reply at all. It takes a week for him to reach out in a meaningful way but our communication for 7 days had been a entirely painful and forced exercise in futility.
And I guess I can summarize that we never really get “it” back after this. Maybe I disappointed him by lying, maybe he realized I needed more from him than he was willing to give. Its irrelevant why, but this is sort of when I think we both realized we weren’t going to fulfill what the other wanted. In what I’m sure should be the last post about eight I’ll cover one more face to face (sort of) and (definitely) my telling eight in not so many words “lol no thanks”.