When I began frequenting The Storm I didn’t notice you. Maybe it was the newfound freedom mixed with manic episodes that caused my eyes to continually scan the room, never resting on one person for too long.
I felt like I was starting my life over. I felt like I could breathe without my family there to “babysit” me or judge me. It was an amazing feeling. The people here were so friendly and curious about what brought me to this small town. Few people living here are actually from here, most are from my neck of the woods.
I laughed, flirted a little, and met so many different types of people that I felt comfortable being myself.
I forgot that “myself” wears her heart on her sleeve, is easily hurt, cares too much, trusts few, and is a little naive when it comes to “normal” dating.
I started drinking at 16/17 with a group that consisted mostly of older men. It was the early 90’s a time where sex, drugs, and rock and roll was still going strong. No one ever really dated, we hung out in groups, drinking, going to concerts, and “hooking up” with whoever you found attractive. The people I surrounded myself with didn’t give compliments, make direct eye contact while talking to you, ask you how you are, or do any of the social norms that you learn at that age. Their behavior became my “normal”.
I admit I’m not good at reading male behavior. I can spot a con artist, drug dealer, ex-con, or a potentially violent/abusive man as soon as they enter a room. My past has taught me to be hyper vigilant when it comes to my surroundings.
One night a tall, strong, outgoing, attractive man, started talking to me. We talked for a few hours and flirted. We left at the same time and when we got outside he kissed me. I felt nothing. For someone who hasn’t been with anyone in over 10 years I expected to feel something. I hurried up and said goodnight wondering if I would ever feel again.
I had been going to The Storm for about a month before I noticed you. You weren’t someone I would normally find attractive. It was when you laughed at a sarcastic idea I had and complimented me on my pale Irish skin that I began to see you differently. What really made me change my mind was when we started to talk about our favorite music and I realized how much we had in common.
I had just sat down in my usual spot when you came over to talk to me. Someone had seen us talking and laughing and decided to play matchmaker. You asked what my plans for the future were and if you could show me around. The butterflies in my stomach were out of control. I also wasn’t sure if you were asking me out on a date or just wanted to be my tour guide. I never did get a clear answer.
I didn’t accept your offer but you continued to make it a point to come over and talk to me, compliment my skin, my outfits, noticing little details that no one else had. The butterflies grew and so did my fear.
You would hug me when I arrived and when I left, always making a point to comment on how good I smelled. The hugs felt like home and I was terrified. I didn’t know if you did this with everyone or if you were interested in me. I also listened to too many of the people surrounding us.
When people are unhappy in their own lives they consciously or subconsciously try to ruin the happiness of others.
My low self-esteem didn’t help the situation. I started to push you and act jealous always wondering what it was you really felt.
Conversations taken out of context and twisted plagued both of us. I don’t know exactly what you were going through but I could see a rapid change in your behavior. You started discussing topics in front of me that if you were interested in me you wouldn’t have done. I chose to ignore it. I also ignored what other people said about you. Why? I did this because I learned a long time ago that unless I see it or hear it myself that person deserves the benefit of the doubt.
Unfortunately you chose to believe someone you had just met who shouldn’t have been talking about me in the first place.
This is the very definition of gossip.
You reprimanded me in front of other people. I was humiliated, sad and angry. I very rarely swear but that night you wouldn’t listen and I reached a breaking point. I said I would find somewhere else to go and you did a slight nod and continued talking about how you needed your employees to respect you. I stopped you, trying my hardest not to cry, told you “I can’t” and left.
We’ve texted/messaged a little sense then but it feels like you’re just being polite.
I understand you need to deal with issues in your own life.
But I’m still left wondering if any of it was real.
I’m thanking you for making me feel again, at least I know it’s still possible. You also made me feel special, at least for awhile. My self-confidence/self-esteem has improved immensely. I still think about the “what ifs” and if you will even let me know if you come back. Somehow I don’t think you will. I have to find a way to move on. For someone like me it isn’t easy. I’ll remember all the good things about you because that’s how I am.