Never Surrender!

It’s like it never happened. If it weren’t for the emails I’ve put in the cyber-vault and collection of pictures I have stored in my internet file labelled: men with impact, there isn’t any evidence of Omar, my Egyptian connection. I mentioned how resilient I am? I am. I shed a few tears, yes, but I’m bouncing back and it’s barely been 48 hours since he sent me Whitney’s song. He has not responded to my last email, nor did I think he would. I hoped there would be something from him, perhaps telling me he can’t bear it. He can’t bear being apart and would be arriving in Canada to whisk me away to a new life.

But as the hours tick by, his touch on me is lessening. That’s the way it is when a relationship is cyber-linked. My dear friend, upon hearing about the latest internet casualty, remarked that the story is a sad one and it is unfathomable to her how I handle this jerking around of the emotions that occurred with this one.

“I don’t regret it at all. He is one of the most unique, exciting men I’ve ever met,” I protested.

And he was.

It was quite the ride.

My male friends have their input too:

‘A little test for guys. Tell him your ‘good friend’ recommends that you end this relationship because there are too many warning signs, religion, politics, just another guy about to use a Canadian woman, etc. Then see how he responds. If he says your ‘good friend’ is an idiot, foolish, or don’t listen to them, then dump the guy—he’s a control freak. But if he says he can respect your friend and will take it slow, and would even meet your friend to prove he is sincere, then he’s ok. Just a strategy from my SpyvsSpy handbook.’

And more from a cyber Big Brother:

‘I don’t know what to say. You’re obviously normal in the brains department. As long as the guy isn’t a scammer. It’s a fun chapter until the heartache, or it all turns into a comfortable sock. Maybe that’s what love is, seeking out one person because, whether they’re ballistic or balanced, it just won’t soothe till you hear that long drink of water. Saving it up for them, and they save it up for you. They’re out doing and wondering what you’d say seeing through their eyes. The entire dating phase should last four hours. If the two of you aren’t knee deep in living by then, they aren’t even a friend. Love means lugging home stupid landscaping rocks.’

Lugging landscaping rocks? I think he’s right. And he should know, having been happily married for a couple (few?) decades. I don’t want someone who is going to keep me on the edge of my seat. I like excitement, sure, but I crave that domestic bliss and that means quiet times just sharing a bowl of popcorn, watching a movie together.

‘What will we ever do with you if you ever meet Mr. Right?’ my friend questioned.

‘Can you imagine never going on the dating sites? If you finally commit to someone you’ll have to quit going on them, you know…’ warned my niece.

I don’t think I’d have too much trouble adjusting once having found the perfect guy for me. But, in the meantime, the internet beckons and one never knows what’s just around the corner in life or in the cyber-world.

The inbox holds such promise.

Distracting Myself
It’s Valentine’s Day. I am online logged into two dating sites. I received an email from Sgt. Ryan stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan:
‘Happy Valentine

Hello Am Sergent Ryan a military officer Based in Texas But presently now in Kabul Afghanistan, Am here for My Development,I was searching for an old friend when i came across your profile,you such a pretty lady..i will like to get to know you better..Looking forward to read from you…take care’

I’m not writing nor responding in any way to anyone who is not within easy driving distance. But, I sent a short note to this one.

‘Happy V Day to you, Sgt. Ryan.

Take good care and be safe!’

I have the day off and I’m propped up in bed drinking coffee and corresponding with friends and the odd letter in my inbox. One of my soul-sisters and I spoke a few moments ago about my experience with Egyptian Man. She wanted to know why I didn’t know sooner that this guy wasn’t sincere, that the signs were all there. I had my red flags about him. I went into it with my eyes wide open and it was an experience I wouldn’t have wanted to miss. Besides, I’m not sitting here crying my eyes out. Yeah, I had some emotional moments to be sure and I was up there on Cloud 9 for a while. It does hurt a bit crashing down. But, because I’m going into every single connection slightly detached, I don’t bruise. I am interested in relationships that originate from cyber-space in an investigative sense. I really feel I’m in the trenches doing field work.

“Your stories do show other women that things are not always as they seem,” my friend admitted.

She certainly has that right.

A gent (I say that giving him much more credit than he deserves) wrote me yesterday, helping to distract me from my recent fall from la-la-land with Egyptian Man. He wrote the usual~ hi how are you i’m interested kind of first letter. He’s East Indian and attractive. He’s a retired engineer. He wrote that he is very adventurous and possesses a great sense of humor. (Two things listed on my profile.)

I called him on my cell as I went for a late evening walk down to the ocean and back. The sky was clear and I don’t remember the last time I saw the stars blinking back at me so brightly. Because it was a Monday there weren’t many people walking the pier. A few strolling lovers…

I called this Jay and we chatted as I walked, the sound of the tide rolling in, a peaceful backdrop to the conversation. Within minutes I discover that he is living in Toronto. Temporarily, mind you, while he finishes a course he is taking.

Uh huh…

“Let me tell you something. Can I tell you something, Adrienne?”

“Of course. Go ahead.”

“I see your pictures and…can I say this? The last one? I love it. I printed it off my computer and I have it beside my bed.”

Uh oh.

“Well, thank you, Jay. I think that is a compliment.”

“It is. Most girls, if you don’t mind me saying…display too much. They show everything in their pictures. Adrienne. I want to come and see you. I want to buy my ticket and come and see you next week. Would you pick me up at the airport?”

“No. Probably not. And why would you come all this way just to meet, Jay? It would only be for a coffee, you know.”

“Well, we can talk today and tomorrow and then I buy the ticket. You know how much that ticket will cost me?”

“No, but probably a lot. That’s a lot of money to spend to meet someone you barely know. A lot of pressure.”

“Well, we have a coffee together and then I go to your place or you come to my motel.”

“No, Jay. I wouldn’t do that. I wouldn’t do that with anyone I don’t know.”

“What is that noise?” he asked as a train chugged by me, a sound making me think of escaping to exotic destinations.

I briefly longed for Omar and travel.

“That is a train, Jay. I’m outside on a wonderful walk by the ocean.”

“Why?”

“Why what?”

“Why are you walking?”

“Because I love to walk to hike, to bike, to be outside. That’s why.”

“Adrienne!”

“Yes, Jay.”

“When I come to see you, can we walk?”

“Well of course.”

I wrote Jay a sort email once I returned home and said in a polite manner (that we Canadians are all accused of being) that it isn’t going to happen. Hours after I hit send, I received another email suspiciously like Mr. India. He listed engineer as his occupation, same age, living in Toronto. No pic. He wrote:

‘how are u doing…i know u are great..ur profile sounds nice to me and if u will not mine lets be friends first and see where it goes….hoping to hear from u soon’

Another friend remarked to me upon hearing of this little blip on the computer screen, “What are you, Adrienne, The United Nations Lonely Hearts Club?”

Fieldwork. Somebody’s gotta do it.

 

An Empty Inbox

It hasn’t been easy wiping Egyptian Man out of my system. I left that one porthole open: the Yahoo account email and I admit to checking daily for any message. The first few days were the worst, of course. Nothing, nothing and nothing. Then my son’s girlfriend told me that she has been cyber-stalking him on Facebook.

Really?

Yes, my son confirmed. She does this with every one of my romantic connections. If she has a name, she’s game.

“She’s had me sit through eight viewings of his 80 or so pictures, Mom. I know all about him. She didn’t like this guy from the get-go,” he reveals to me.

She looked down onto her lap. Guilty.

“Did you see his recent pics, Adrienne? He’s really quite…ummm…. overweight. And I said to Steve, your mom is so fit! What does she see in him? And those pics of him in Tahrir Square? He looks kind of dangerous to me…”

They both looked up at me, puzzled.

“I know. I saw those recent pictures. It didn’t matter really. Weight can be lost. I think I was falling in love with the excitement and adventure he seemed to offer me. I was in love with the thought of visiting Egypt and the pyramids and the marketplaces, the people. The way he communicated with me, was like no other.”

But the days passed and I slowly let go of his cyber-touch. I realized finally that the age difference was way too much for any couple. I am reminded of a very funny skit on Saturday Night Live. It was a spoof on cougars, exaggerated of course.

A decrepit old woman is crumpled on the floor and this young buck of a guy is standing above her hanging onto her thin bony arm and he’s saying, “C’mon…git up! Git up!”

Ewwwwww…don’t want that to be me. Look what happened to Demi.

What was I thinking?

So, as Egyptian Man was fading, I’m back online. I haven’t heard from Mr. India for days now. I sent the letter off and then nothing. I changed my profile online and added that anyone working or living out of the country or province, please pass me by.

A fireman wrote me an email with a compliment. I wrote back, ‘Rescue me!’ He responded with, ‘How shall I do that: with a bigger hose?’

Delete! Next!

An older gent I’d been corresponding with who is a writer and has written a manuscript about relationships, has been on and off writing to me. I felt inclined to write to him about Egyptian Man. I hoped he would have some sage advice to give me, make me glad that it’s over. He figured that I deliberately chose a man from a country where women are passive creatures. Why was that? Something in my childhood perhaps? Also, why did I hesitate in writing to him? He was a very gentle and giving person. He encouraged me to examine my motives.

I did.

Adventure and excitement. Those two elements in life drive me.

Oh, and a respectful way of speaking/writing to me.

(!XXX)

I’m up and running again. Omar is like a dream to me now. Although I still do a little Facebook cyber-stalking myself. But after a couple of viewings, it was losing any appeal.

My cell rang rather late last night. I checked the incoming call number and it was unfamiliar to me.

hmmmmm

I couldn’t have been more surprised. He’s here. Mr. India. His plane landed hours ago and he’s checked into his motel. He wants to see me. Yes, he came all the way here from Toronto.

A coffee with him?

Why not?

I checked his profile just now and I see he’s added, ‘walking’ to his list of favorite activities.

A Blonde Metaphor
I don’t feel excitement about this one. Where Egyptian Man was this soft seduction, Mr. India is a caveman with a club. He’s brash, over-confident and fairly aggressive. EM asked if he could send me the application for audio to speak to me and when he did, his voice and manner was gentle and shy. IM, without even asking me, buys a plane ticket, flies in, checks into a motel, THEN calls me to tell me he is here and demands to see me.

He was supposed to call me just after five o’clock last night. I would be at my second job, a very laid-back contract that I have and I told him I could talk to him and I’d let him know at that time if I was up to a first meeting. I worked nearly eleven hours and may just want the evening to kick back, alone. He didn’t call at five, then six o’clock ticked by. At seven I arrived home, changed into light jogging clothes and stepped out into the warm, but rainy night. It was gorgeous out. After being inside for much of the day, and tending to people who are not mobile and so compromised in their abilities, running and feeling that ocean air on my skin rejuvenates. I plugged my music in and marveled how good it feels to be alive and well.

I pass only a few others on the Promenade at the waterfront. This seaside town is hunkered down for the light storm we were in the midst of. I like passing by homes and imagine what the shadows inside mean.

Deja Vu.

****

I am reminded of the shadows the firelight made when I would turn all the lights off in our family home. My son was a baby, asleep in his crib. The rain brings melancholy…

The rain and the darkness, driving that highway to the airport with Steve and Janice last week. Janice sat in the front next to me fielding calls to her family. They are flying to Cow Town. They may have seats next to my ex, Steve’s dad and his wife (known as the Q-Tip, by the two in my car)

“Is he happy, Steve?” I asked as we munched pizza just before our journey in the rain.

“Nope. She drives him crazy.”

That doesn’t make me happy. On the contrary. It was my idea to him that he call her up and get back together with her when he first followed me and Steve out here. I do regret some things in life. I was living with my own nut case, but hadn’t finished off our time together. All about timing isn’t it?

“Being back there will bring back memories to you, Steve. Well, maybe not so much for you, but it would me. We lived there 16 years. A long time.”

I don’t think I would want to go back there and see the changes. Drive by the homes we lived in. I found it emotional enough bringing the two to the airport. Memories and images and smells and feelings found me on that highway. The dryness of the air. The smell of the cedar home we lived in. The chinook arc in the sky and the warm wind sweeping across the city, tricking us into thinking it is spring. The sound of the snow melting, trickling. That sense of family and belonging to something bigger than myself.

One fleeting moment changed it all…..

****

Once back at home, I hung up my wet clothing and checked out the hair. I’ve recently gone a light brown and everyone compliments me on it. But, the pictures on the sites show me as blonde. I decided to streak it myself. I fastened the plastic cap on tightly, poked strands of hair through the holes, mixed up the toxic concoction, feeling quite confident, having done this before with good results. I smear the smelly mixture on my head and plunk down on the couch to watch something on TV to pass the hour that the bleaching needs for processing.

My cell rang.

Of course it was Mr. India.

He wants to meet.

Now.

The time is nine-thirty.

For the next half hour he tries to convince me to come out and have just one coffee with him.

Five minutes. Come on. I came all the way from Toronto. I will drive to you. Please. Do this one thing for me. Just five minutes. I want to see you. Please sweetie. I couldn’t call you earlier. My tooth was bleeding. I had to go to the pharmacy to get something for it. Unless…I won’t say it.

Say what?

Maybe you have another date with someone else.

No, that is not it. I am actually, streaking my hair right now. I don’t want to go out, Jay. It’s too late now. I worked nearly eleven hours and I’m going to stay home and relax. I will meet with you tomorrow.

Five minutes? Just five minutes. Please sweetie. I want to see you.

We let that subject lapse and then he asked me about how comfortable I was talking with him.

Yes, I do feel comfortable with you. I don’t ‘get’ any feeling that you’re a dangerous man or anything.

You should not feel comfortable with me. You don’t know me.

That is true. You’re right. I don’t know you at all.

I suppose it’s because I haven’t met up with someone who is dangerous. I’ve been very lucky. There are all kinds of predators out there. I’ve met insincerity, bad manners, men whose motive involves getting prone and between the sheets. But, never a dangerous predator.

A little red flag went up.

The conversation turned back to meeting with him that evening. He pressured a little more and then finally gave up and we agreed that he’d call me the next day and we’d meet for that elusive coffee. I returned to my bathroom and picked up this unopened package on the counter. What is this? Whoops. It is a second package of lightener. I re-read the directions. It said, be sure you use both packages of lightener in the mixture. A blonde metaphor perhaps?

Damn!

I checked the limp strands, laying drenched in bleach, looking at this point, a dreadful orange shade.

To Be Continued….

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