Monday, October 10, 2005

The waiting game

Sunday was a long day.

If you think I've been calling Tim too much, maybe you will change your mind after reading this story.

I said goodbye to Tim on Saturday morning. He went to Annapolis to see a football game with his buddy and I went to see my "little sister" (not my actual sister). We discussed getting together later in the day and he said he would call me.

He called me at 2:30pm, after I dropped off the little sister. He said they were going to watch another football game on tv later in the afternoon somewhere in DC. I said I was going to the grocery store and would take a nap when I got home. He asked me to call him when I woke up from my nap.

I woke up around 4:30, after not really napping, and called Tim. He said they were on their way to the bar in DC and he would call me when they got there. I went back to sleep.

At 6:00pm Tim called me and told me where to meet them. I puttered a little, fed the cat, and headed out. I was about a block away from home when Tim called again, at 6:15pm. He asked where I was and began apologizing. He had to talk to his wife and was leaving the bar to meet her. I turned around and walked home. He apologized some more. He said, "This has nothing to do with you. I hate bringing you into this. It doesn't reflect on you as a person. I'll make it up to you."

I said it was ok, though I didn't understand why he needed to spend another night fighting with her. "You're worried about her, aren't you?"


"Just remember to think about what you want and take care of yourself."

"Thank you." He said he would call me later or the next morning.

He called Sunday morning at 10:15am. He apologized for not calling Saturday night. When he got home he fell asleep in his clothes and woke up that way in the morning. The conversation was awkward. I wanted to see him but he couldn't make plans. He said, "I'll call you later. I need to be alone. I'm still tired and I need to take care of some things around the house and have some time to myself."

"Sure, I understand. I'd like to see you. But..."

"I'll call you this afternoon. I'll probably feel better by then."'

I'd gotten up early and vacuumed. After we hung up, I ate breakfast and watched a movie. I called Pele at noon and gave her the scoop.

Then I spent 45 minutes working through the jungle of my back yard. There were small tree-like weeds growing out there that I could not uproot as they were wedged between the paving stones. Crazy. It needs another hour to be completely weed-free, but it looks much better than before.

Pele called me at 5:00pm. I hadn't heard from Tim. She came over and got me out of the house. We went for a bite to eat and watched part of the Redskins game. She knew I was waiting for a call, but there was nothing to be done.

By 7:30 I hadn't heard from him. I felt bad. I was worried about him but there wasn't much I could do to help. It was tempting to call, but there was no point in calling. It was hard to wait. It hurt. It wasn't the same kind of anxiety that I felt last week, but it still was not fun. I thought, "This could be it. It's entirely possible that he won't go back to his wife and that we'll still break up. Maybe starting something new is too much right now. "

He called at 8:30pm and we were on the phone for about an hour. When I told him I'd gone out with Pele he wanted to know where. I said, "It's not like you weren't invited."

"I was just home. In a funk." Indeed.

He started to tell me about his conversation with his wife. I said, "I don't know if I'm supposed to ask you--but I'll listen to anything you want to tell me."

"That's why I'm telling you. Do you want to know? Did you feel like you have to drag it out of me?"

"No--you're telling me. I do want to know. But..."

"But how much..."

"Right. I don't need to know everything." He told me quite a bit. It helped to understand what he's going through.

He doesn't think their problems can be fixed. But he feels guilty. He feels like a failure for leaving the marriage. I said, "Staying because you would feel like a failure for leaving would be the worst reason to stay." He agreed. He told me that if he could figure out a way to be happy with her, he would. It's not the first time he's told me this and I understand the sentiment. "I left the door open a crack, " he said. I agree. He's 99% sure about his decision, but that last 1% is still unsure. We both agreed that I did not and should not figure into his decision making.

He still has some sorting out to do, which is why he couldn't see me on Sunday. He said, "That stuff was still bothering me when I saw you on Friday. I want to get it out of my mind before I see you."

At the beginning of our conversation on Sunday night he made sure I was free to see the game Monday night. He asked me to come over for dinner first.

I told him I was disappointed about how the weekend turned out; that I won't get to see him very much before I leave for Seattle. He apologized and I told him to stop. I said, "No more. I want to apologize too."

"But you're blameless!"

"I hate that."

Of course he likes me, of course he wants to see me. I feel the same. He is ready to leave his marriage, but he still needs to reconcile himself to the fact that it's over. Really over. That must be hard. He thought it was over when he met me, three weeks ago, but his wife changed her mind and he's had to make the decision all over again.

I want to stay out of his way and leave him the space to figure it out on his own. But I still want to see him--it feels selfish.

Maybe this isn't the worst possible time for ten days out of town (I leave on Friday).

Maybe it's just the right time.

Grateful for: calm.

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