January 05, 2003

Relationship Retrospective Obviously, no two

Relationship Retrospective

Obviously, no two relationships are the same. Some are fast, shooting stars of passion and emotion and unrealistic dreams that seem realistic as hell, that eventually flare out as the dual lenses of common sense and just plain unfair life come into focus and you realize just how much is missing. Others are slow, happening almost by accident over time, a shared laugh here, an unexpected interim alone there, until one evening you end up kissing and making your way to the bedroom, and you're left thinking afterward, "how the hell did that happen?" Some are one night stands, and some are nightmares of unrequited emotions that leave you tossing and turning into the wee morning hours.

So far, I think I've done them all at least once.

As I drove back to Rochester from St. Paul this afternoon after a weekend with Melissa, I found my mind wandering back to when we first met and how unlikely our being together actually is. By all accounts, we shouldn't probably be together, due to a confluence of circumstances, not the least of which is the fact that, for a time, I was dating two other women in addition to Mel.

To put it mildly, I had a busy summer. A good summer, obviously, but a busy summer.

Starting in July, I began dating a nurse at the Mayo Cinic, a disturbingly cute nurse with an alluring intellectual capacity that made for some wonderful sarcastic exchanges between us. She was funny, smart and cute. In short, she was a tough act to surpass, and I really didn't expect that to happen.

Also in July, however, as I was enjoying a late afternoon jog around the local lake, I came up behind another jogger, a tall female specimen with an impossibly tight behind. I started passing her without thinking anything of it, but I gradually became aware that she was matching my strides, keeping up alongside me, escalating things into an outright foot race. The long and the short of it, without going into who won, was that we exchanged phone numbers and started talking to each other on and off. Eventually, we went on two dates, during which time I realized that, although she had a stellar body, she was dumb as a stump, and that's actually being pretty damned mean to stumps. This girl didn't know what the word "cinema" was, and she once referred to a menu as a "men-ooh." Whether it was intentional or not, I don't know, but it gave me a headache.

Into this mix entered Melissa, a friend of a friend, Lisa, who thought we may have a chance together. Truth be told, if it hadn't been for Lisa feeding the two of lies about each other, we probably never would have gotten together. Lisa told Mel that I really liked her, when in reality I mostly tolerated her. On the other side of the coin, Lisa told me that Mel thought I was really cute and nice, when in actuality Mel says that she thought I was probably a player, which I guess I was a little bit in college, but not any more. I did think Mel was cute, and her dark red, naturally curly hair gave her a playful and innocent quality that made me feel comfortable around her.

Oh, yes, also briefly interjected into the month of July was a phone call from an ex-girlfriend of about three years ago. Despite an incessent pounding in my chest telling me to rekindle things, I allowed my mental reasoning to point out all the bad crap that got between us in the first place. I decided not to pursue anything with her further, although I spent about three sleepless nights making that decision.

So, there I was, in July, dating three different women and making excuses why I couldn't see one while I saw a different one. There was a certain amount of fun involved, due primarily to the appeal of danger of being discovered. Gradually, however, I realized that I couldn't play the game any more, and not just because I felt bad that feelings were involved. Quite simply, I was becoming pooped and irritable. It's exhausting to lie in perpetuity.

The first to go was the runner. This was an easy decision to make because she was so intellectually non-stimulating, and her sense of humor, if you can call it that, centered around gossip about her friends, none of whom I had ever met, so the jokes constantly escaped me. It was a simple matter of not calling her any more. She called once or twice when I was out, and I never called back. Case closed.

Which left the nurse and Mel. The biggest drawback with Mel, initially, was that she just never seemed to talked. I joked with her over dinner once that she was a "conversational black hole." I tried different conversational topics with her, I tried jokes, I tried everything, but to no avail. Despite my best efforts, she acted as though she was being interrogated by the FBI. It was frustrating, and I very nearly ended it.

The nurse, on the other hand, was a conversational fountain, always talking and joking and making insightful comments. So, it seemed like a no-brainer. The nurse was the girl to go with, hands down. Well, until Mel and I went for a 20 mile rollerblading sojourn in late August that is. The trek took us into the countryside, and it was quiet, and suddenly Mel was not. She talked freely and openly and, most importantly, she was delightfully funny. And she totally got my jokes, and she laughed with the most intoxicating giggle I had ever heard. For a few hours that afternoon, I found myself not thinking about the nurse. I thought about Mel, and I enjoyed her company thoroughly.

>From there, it came down to chemistry.

With the nurse, I always felt a stilted intimacy, as if we were secretly consulting mental intimacy books and going through the step-by-step instructions. I remember coming up with lame excuses not to go to the bedroom with her. Even though my groin was yelling "hey, what about me?!" my head was thinking, "this isn't right; something's not there."

Mel and I, however, had intimate chemistry. Tons of intimate chemistry. Ridiculous excesses of intimate chemistry. Contact came easy, fluid. Kissing was passionate and unabashed. We became those icky people you see in malls with arms around each other. Yes, that's us. Bedroom time is every time. Right now is the best possible time to have sex. I focused on Mel and extricated myself from the nurse. By the way, if anybody out there knows a good way to break up, please let me know your method. You know, just in case.

For six months now, Mel and I have been going out, making pilgrimmages to see each other on the weekends, and stealing time when possible during the week. We have yet to fight, and we have no problem with the other wanting to do something different and without them occasionally. It's a good relationship, and a healthy one. It's been a gradual process of getting to know one another, with both of use apparently sharing the belief that relationships are not lighting, they are work. Lightning blinds, and lightning numbs, and that's no environment to expose your most precious feelings.

And on Christmas Eve, after six months, I told her I loved her. And it only took me 1.5 bottles of wine to do it. I was figuring three bottles, easy.

Posted by Ryan at January 5, 2003 10:26 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble It!