Last night, I told Tim about the blog.
It was rather like the conversation I had with Spesh about it. I got to his house at 7:40pm for dinner. Tim asked how I spent my day. I said I took care of bills, finally put away the camping gear, went to a coffee shop and did some writing. (I also bought him a birthday present, but I didn't mention that.)
"Did you write in your journal?"
"What were you writing? A story?"
"No. It's like a journal. Not the journal you saw [I'd told him about my paper journal]. But basically a journal."
"Yes. A blog."
He asked how many people read it, what did I write about. "Do you write about movies?"
"What's it called?"
"I'm not telling you that! You can't read the blog. You don't want to read it. Really."
He asked what I said about him. I told him I didn't say anything bad. That I keep certain things private. That I never write about sex. That I never write about his wife, other than that she exists. "It's mostly how I feel about things. It's like a journal, but it's also like fiction. It's heavily edited and sometimes fictionalized. It's edited for flow. It's different from my journal--I have dialog in my journal, but not as much. There is a lot of dialog in the blog."
"Why wouldn't I want to read it?"
"There are things I wouldn't tell you."
"You don't have to worry about not telling me things."
"It's not that--it's that I need to process those things on my own first. I'm not ready to tell you everything. I...it isn't about you. There's no point telling you. There is stuff I have to deal with. Like this week, I was feeling anxious and I didn't tell you, but I wrote about it. It was mostly my thing. I just had to deal with it."
"You can talk to me."
"Do people read it? Do they comment? Do they know I'm married?"
"Oh yes. Today I had a big fight with some people in the comments. They don't like what I'm doing."
"What are they saying?"
"That I should stop calling you so much. I'll scare you away. That men are 'hard wired' to pursue women. That I shouldn't get too emotionally involved. They pretty much think I'm crazy."
He shook his head.
I said, "I was going to tell you about the blog eventually."
"You should tell me. People are reading about me!"
"I was going to tell you, but there was no point unless you were going to be around for a while. I was always planning to tell you."
I watched him as he cooked dinner. Instead of being helpful, I made him nervous. We ate and chatted but I had to keep repeating myself. He has a bad ear and usually I make a point to speak clearly. "You're quiet tonight. I can't hear you."
"Maybe I am. I think I'm nervous."
"I can tell."
After dinner, he did the dishes (I offered, but he wouldn't let me help). I rubbed his back while he washed. He said we had to hurry because we were to be late to meet his buddy to watch the game. "We're going out?"
"Didn't I mention that? I'm sorry. I guess I forgot to tell you."
"It's ok. It's fine. I don't mind."
He went upstairs to change into jeans and get his jacket. I sat on the couch, trying to ground myself, but I was full of anxiety. He came downstairs and he could tell something was wrong. "Are you ready?"
"Can I talk to you for a second?" He sat down and took my hand.
"Is something wrong?"
"I don't know. I don't know what's wrong. I feel bad."
"It's probably the same reason that I feel bad."
"Why do you feel bad?"
"Something's not the same. We had a nice conversation at dinner, but we didn't really talk. Anyone could have had that conversation. It doesn't feel the same. When I hold your hand, it feels different." He was still holding my hand.
"What do you mean?"
"Even though we're not 'boyfriend/girlfriend' we're still in this exclusive relationship...but...I thought my wife was out of it. And so was I. But now..."
"But now you feel married again. You didn't feel married before."
"Yes. It feels different because I feel guilty now. I didn't before. I don't know why you would want to be with me."
"It doesn't feel different to me. You're still the same person. I still like you." He hugged me and we lay on the sofa, holding on tight.
"You do? Why do you like me?"
"Why do you like me?"
"No way. I asked you first!"
"Ok. I like you because you're funny and smart and silly. And we get along so well. And you're cute and a good kisser." He laughed. "What?"
"I'm embarrassed." He held me tighter.
"Silly. And...I like you because I like you. It's easy being together. For all those intangible reasons. So...why do you like me?"
"That's a hard question to answer...but easy to ask. You're intelligent, you're a doctor, because we get along so well. Even though we don't agree on everything, we can still talk about it. It's interesting. Because you are so responsive. I never thought about the kissing thing..."
"You don't think I'm a good kisser?" I said.
"I just never thought about it like that before. I like kissing you."
"Look, we have to make plans for this week or it's going to make me crazy." We did make plans, eventually.
Then his wife called and he didn't answer. We rode our bikes to meet his friend. We only missed a few minutes of the game.
There are a lot of problems with this situation, but there are not a lot of problems with Tim. When we talked, he looked like a boy. Lost and scared and worried--and trying so hard not to hurt me. He knows that it is his choice to stay engaged with his wife. He knows that just because she is asking him to return, it doesn't mean he has to go back. But he can't quite let go. Not quite. It's got nothing to do with me.
Folks, you can stop telling me that he is not available. I know that. And please don't tell me that I like him because he is not available. I like him because he's him. I liked him when he was available. I like him now that he's not available. I like him even though I know he may never be available.
It's crazy, but I feel closer to him than ever before. We both know it's absurd to feel this way after such a short time together and under these circumstances. Yet I think it's the circumstances that have brought us closer than we would have been otherwise. He's opened up to me in a way that he might not have otherwise and I've done the same. It's unusual.
I hope he chooses not to stay in a marriage that will only bring him more unhappiness. I hope he can forgive himself. I have faith that he will let go of the past and walk in to the future.
Grateful for: the here and now.