Monday, November 1, 2010

In which Ted and I go to the movies and neck BUT WE'RE NOT DATING!

Ted left me a message he had gotten some really good chocolate that he needed to share with me. I left him a message that he should bring it over to my house, if he wasn't too scared to be around me. I told him that the main reason I exercise is so that I can eat chocolate. His message back to me was this: "To me, you are sexy with or without the gym, with or without chocolate. You are the one who mentioned exercising, not me."

But he never brought me the chocolate. And we still were NOT DATING.

He called four times in three days and I was not at my desk for any of the calls. I didn't return the calls because I was a little annoyed with him. I decided to call him back on Wednesday, but when I got home, an ice storm had knocked out all the power lines. We didn't speak again until Friday. I told him I wanted to call him on Wednesday but couldn't and that because I didn't have light to read by, I just went to bed.

He said, "Too bad you couldn't reach me. There's going to bed and then there's going to bed."

I didn't respond. I couldn't figure out why he is talking like this if he was the one who wanted us to be 'just friends' for now. [Now I understand completely. He is a manipulative jerk.]

I mentioned that I was taking off work early and going to a movie. He said that he could meet me there. My heart raced. I hadn't seen him in three weeks. We agreed to meet at the theater.

When I got there, he was on the phone. When he was done, he walked over to me, stopping just inches away from me. He looked into my eyes, smiled and said, "You are indeed captivating." [It's like he got his dialogue from a Harlequin Romance.]

When we were in our seats, he asked if I want a mint. I nodded yes, and he took one, placed it between his lips, leaned over, and kissed me, passing the mint to me. It was a dizzying, swirling kiss, full of promise. We spent the entire movie kissing. He whispered, "You are so beautiful and smart and funny and sexy." [Harlequin.]

But we were NOT DATING.

When the movie ended, we put our intertwined limbs back in their public places and waited for the theater to empty. As soon as everyone else was gone, we kissed again until the attendant entered to clean. We walked out reluctantly, stopping at every corner and hidden space to embrace. At my car, he hugged and kissed me, but I was too cold to enjoy it, so we moved into the car and kissed some more until the windows steamed up. I finally, reluctantly had to leave as I had made other plans for the rest of the evening.

When I got home, I found a message on my machine telling me what a wonderful time he had and how he was not going to be able to stop thinking about me.

But we were NOT DATING.

In which Ted tells me he is attracted to me BUT WE'RE NOT DATING!

Ted called me at work. "A bunch of us are going out to dinner. One of the women who is going is the older one with the crush on me."

"She has good taste," I said.

"I've tried to get across the idea that I'm not interested in her, but she's unconvinced."

"What does this have to do with me?" I asked.

"Maybe if you're there, she'll give up."

I laughed. "Sorry. I have other plans for tonight. You're on your own."

Later, I left him a message. "I've thought about it. Having me there would make her even more determined. Some women are into competition. It's not enough to win the guy -- you have to take him from someone else."

When I got home, I found a message from him. "I disagree. If she could see how very attracted we are to each other -- how hot we make each other -- she would realize that her efforts are futile."

But remember - he told me we could not have a dating relationship.

In which we have another version of the class reunion meeting with Ted

I have found an old journal with very detailed notes. I'm glad to see that I have remembered the basics of the Ted story, but there are additional details in my notes.

He had walked me to my car and we were standing there with that wonderful tension you have before you kiss someone for the first time. This tension had been present every time we had seen each other the past few weeks but he had never acted on it. I couldn't stand it anymore and blurted, "Are you going to kiss me or not?"

He said, "I want to kiss you. I've thought about it a lot. But we need to have a conversation first."

"OK, so talk," I said.

"Not here. When we get back home."

Thinking he was going to tell me something like he moved back in with his parents after the divorce and until he completed his residency -- which I already had figured out -- I said "OK" and stepped away from him and toward the car.

And he kissed me. We ended up sitting in the back seat of the car, kissing and talking. I hadn't done that since I was in college. Appropriate that I was back in one of the same parking lots I used to visit with my college boyfriend. We talked until 2:00 a.m. He said, "I've been attracted to you for a long time."

"Oh -- since we first met at that alumni thing last month," I said.

"No. Since we started talking on the phone in August."

"But you hadn't seen me yet," I protested.

He leaned over, caressed my cheek and whispered, "But we had spoken. How could I not be drawn to you?" [Tell me you wouldn't have fallen hard for a line like that.]

He said, "That evening, when we met in the airport, when I saw you walking toward me, you were so beautiful. But you had been so casual in your messages -- 'maybe' you would meet me there!"

"I was playing it cool," I explained.

"Why?" he asked. [Because I didn't trust you and in retrospect, I was right.]

He had already turned my stomach into knots that evening. When I got to the Class of '85 reunion dinner, I saw him standing at the bar. None of my college roommates were going to the dinner and I had no one to sit with. I walked over to him. He looked at me and said -- and this is the first time a man had ever said this to me in my life, "You are gorgeous." Up to then, I had not known what his feelings were about me. We had talked a lot, but had not been out on a date and I didn't know if he was attracted to me. I have lots of men friends who are nothing more than friends; he could easily have been one of those.

He looked into my eyes and said, "You are gorgeous" and I couldn't catch my breath.

"So are you," I whispered, and it was the truth. He was smart, he was articulate, he was passionate. [He was also manipulative and a liar and nothing was ever his fault, but whatever.]

We had spent hours on the phone and I had not gotten bored. I couldn't believe that I had met someone so interesting this late in my life. I had just about given up.

At dinner, we sat together. I didn't know anyone else at the table [except Sam and his wife, but yeah yeah yeah. Primo was there as well but I had not met him yet. Sam probably introduced us but the wedding ring on his finger made him dead to me], but didn't mind talking just to Ted. I took off my glasses and laid them on the table.

"Why don't you wear your glasses?" he asked.

I considered telling him a lie: that they hurt my ears or nose. But I told the truth. "Because I'm vain," I admitted.

He looked at me intently. "You are beautiful with or without your glasses," he said firmly.

Two weeks later, he had the, "I'm hot for you but we can't date" conversation that I have already written about. Do you see why I was confused? Oh it gets worse. I'll tell you all the humiliating details. But ten years later, it is still hard to write about this stuff. Jerk.

In which Ted comes over for supper and tells me that he and I think exactly alike

I finished the birthday cake and called Ted to arrange the return of his cutting board and roasting pan. I asked if he was going to the wine tasting the next night -- he could come by before that. He was not. Disappointed, I said, "But I wanted you to help me with my attic. The cord has been snapped off and I'm not tall enough to reach the edge of the door."

"You're probably going to need a new cord put on," he sighed.

I stared to say, "Yeah, but I can do that," but then I caught myself. I have read Men Are from Mars, Women Are From Venus and now know the rule is that men like to rescue women. True, opening recalcitrant attic doors is not exactly slaying dragons, but it's better than nothing. By the time a woman is 37 years old, she had better have learned to take care of herself. But it doesn't hurt to play the game.

"Yes," I said, trying to be coy but probably failing miserably. Down to earth Texas girls don't do coy well. Helpless and clinging are even further away from my lexicon. I stuck with a simple "yes" and hoped that did the trick.

He came over that night and we cooked risotto. When I got out a chunk of parmesan to grate, I realized it wouldn't fit into the rotary grater my mom sent for my birthday. Ted looked at me and said, "You have to cut a chunk of it off."

I turned to him, surprised. "You don't know that's what I was thinking!" I said.

"Yes, I did," he assured me.

Later, I was refilling our water glasses. I didn't remember which is which. He looked at me, then said, "Mine is the one on the right."

"How on earth did you know what I was thinking?" I asked.

"All I have to do is look at your face and I know exactly what's in your mind. You and I think exactly alike," he answered.

It was one of the sexiest things anyone has ever said to me.

Weeks later, he told me, "I've never had that happen with anyone else in my life. It was eerie."

While we were cooking, I asked him about his job. How did he avoid being overwhelmed? He told me that he had had to learn to leave the pain with the patient. He washed his hands every time he finished a session. "I imagine myself washing everything away," he said.

"I had lunch with a customer today," I told him. "He is middle aged, divorced, new to the city. I tried to keep the conversation very businesslike, but he kept talking about his life. His loneliness was so strong. I had to fight it. I didn't want to hear it."

"Why not?" Ted asked.

I stirred the risotto and thought. "I don't have room for it," I said.

"Why not?" he asked.

I just shrugged. "Everyone has pain," I said. I hardly knew this guy. It was not appropriate to say, "Let me tell you about my father's excruciating eight-month battle with and subsequent death of cancer."

After we ate, he went to fix the attic. When he pulled the attic door open, he realized that the cord was not broken but that it was just pulled through to the other side. He drew it back down so I could reach it, then asked, "How do you want me to leave this?"

I answered flirtatiously, "That depends on whether you want to have to come over here every time I need to get into my attic."

He turned around, pulled the cord back through the door, then turned to me and smiled expectantly. I caught my breath and held it. I couldn't figure out what this guy wanted from me. He made me a cake and was flirting openly, yet had told me we couldn't date. I didn't know what was going on. Right then, we were in a perfect kiss moment, but he was not kissing me. I sighed and said, "Better leave it out so I can get to it when I'm alone."