Throughout 2012 I have been fortunate to share my time with a few really great guys. All of whom have made an appearance here at HGM. As I reflect on my time with them, it’s clear that each came into my life for a very specific reason.
Mr. Jackpot saved the day back in early January. I remember the night he came to the house for the first time. The dog, who barks at the wind, didn’t make a sound. She didn’t need to protect me. He was there to ease her burden. His presence alone – we never spoke much about The Genius’ betrayal or the divorce – helped give me the strength and confidence I needed to stand up to the knockout blows being thrown my way and to navigate the brutal, pivotal early months post-Pocket Call.
Yes, as you all know, we had our moments. I’m grateful for every single one of them. I learned so much about myself. And we sure did experience a lot of magic together. Mr. Jackpot was instrumental in turning me on to the stars and the planets and even bravely tried to explain the Big Bang to me.
Mr. Jackpot taught me that I am beautiful. And to never forget it.
Mr. Delicious…I can still see him there, sitting on the corner stool in the Sand Dollar, a piano player close enough to kiss his bum. What a brilliant day that was, even if the sunset was subdued. After my awkward participation in his European kiss (I am so at the ready for that now. So, of course, it doesn’t happen.), I drove south on Highway 1, pulling over at my favorite spot to watch the moon tickle the ocean. I felt so free and full of hope that I would meet That Man, if I hadn’t already. I walk into this sleepy little beach town restaurant knowing no one, and walk out having met a tender, gorgeous and very smart man who lived all over the world, and now was fulfilling his dream here.
Mr. Delicious and I shared some amazing meals, the finest wines, and found time in between passing forks to trade tales. He told me a story that I will remember, detail by detail, for all eternity. A story of love. Not the fairytale love we’re force fed by Disney, but real love. Love of family. The willingness and bravery to do what it takes (trust me, it took everything) to save a family. I cry every time I think of this story. The story of his childhood.
Mr. Delicious taught me that loyalty is everything. And to never forget it.
Mr. Triathlete met me on Mt. Tam. I schooled him in climbing, and he schooled me in the bay. To include taking me to the Sports Basement to rent my wetsuit. I remember arriving first and not being able to wait to try it on. I bobbed and weaved to the back of this mammoth once-upon-a-time grocery store and gave over my personal deets – height and weight, and back came my first wet suit.
As I was finalizing my pick, Mr. Triathlete arrived. My flipper feet gave away my dressing nook. He waved hello over the top of the curtain. Ten minutes later we were on our way to Aquatic Park. Ten minutes after that I looked like I swam in the bay since birth. Well, except that my wet suit was unzipped and I was basically being dragged to the bottom. But I had all the right gear. And the right guy by my side.
Mr. Triathlete is focused. He knows what he likes to do and does a lot of it. He moves quickly. He doesn’t waste a moment. He doesn’t waste food, wine, cheese, or sauna time. Seriously, the dude sucks the air out of wine bottles, the air out of food storage containers. I’m convinced he was a shrink-wrapper in a prior life. He may be a bit disorganized (so he says), but every person and thing in his life is cared for in fine fashion.
Mr. Triathlete taught me that I am strong enough to handle any physical challenge. And to never forget it.
So where were these three guys on Christmas? Mr. Jackpot was north, with family. Mr. Delicious was east, with family, and I’m certain Mr. Triathlete was with family, but I have no idea of the direction.
Not one of them was with me.
The run up to Christmas was a fairly stable time given the multitude of opportunities to lose it along the way. I had no expectations, but found myself surprised that on Christmas Eve I was truly enjoying myself. Not because The Genius wasn’t here, although my feet are relieved to not have to pound egg shells anymore, but because I was alone, creating Christmas magic for the dudes. I didn’t succumb to the desire to shoehorn someone into our Christmas to complete the picture, uphold the idea that holidays are meant to be squared.
Our triangle was the perfect shape for me. And is.
Christmas Day was absolute perfection. The dudes appreciated their gifts, were delighted with the extreme window painting the elves did before heading back with Santa, and showed epic restraint with the candy stuffed in their stockings. Warning to those who may consider inviting the little dude into your domicile whilst it is occupied by candy: even if it’s in a lock box surrounded by poured concrete he will sniff it out, dig it out, eat it, and then tell you about it later without a shred of guilt.
I plan to train him on black truffles next.
I checked in on myself a few times throughout the morning – Are you sure this is all okay? Look, it’s okay if you’re feeling blue, lost, less than. This is your first Christmas post betrayal, it’s totally fine to stare in the mirror and cry.
Me, who can cry watching soup simmer, a hamster run on its wheel, during the opening song for Sunday Night Football, shed not a tear the entire day.
After some post-Christmas mass playtime we braved the monsoon and made our way to Muir Beach and The Pelican Inn where a reservation was not to be had, but we were told we could squeeze our way into the pub area for some bangers and mash. We were all super excited for the visit to a 16th century style English Tudor, the only commercial establishment in a beach town so tiny it doesn’t always make it on the map. But I was a bit concerned about the amount of beer spillage the dudes would have to endure. At their height, not a fun way to spend Christmas Day at all.
We took our time on the windy coastal road, every shade of green cloaking the well-nourished trees and hillsides. It had been raining for days. Mists, downpours, hail, double rainbows, more downpours. The kind of weather that slows down time.
I am even loving rain, when 4 years ago I cried straight through a spring back east.
I guess it wasn’t the rain.
The parking lot was empty upon our arrival. Of course it was. The potential crowds were the only reason I was going to bail, but I didn’t, so no crowds. Thank you. Come again.
The dudes and I put on our rain coats and opened the doors, ready to dodge the rain drops. But there were none. Of course.
We walked up the brick steps and along the front of the whitewashed building. Leaded glass windows glowed from within although it was just 4:30 in the afternoon. A steep pitched slate roof the bridge between two white brick chimneys. If they puffed with smoke, the mist and fog hid it well. Almost to the door, the dudes and I paused. We were being serenaded by frogs. Dozens if not hundreds of frogs. On Christmas Day.
We were the first to arrive as we ducked our heads reflexively upon entering the pub. I sighed with gratitude; this was exactly what we were hoping for when we talked about how to spend the holiday, post-gift melee. We sat on benches at our narrow table, the only one along the wall that ended with a little cut out for the dart board which was hung on the walk in cooler for kegs. A door in the next wall led to a private living room for overnight guests. Four other tables hugged two walls, the last wall a bar too small for stools. But perfect for Andrea, who made me feel like she was my long lost friend and we were at her Uncle’s house deep in the woods on a quiet weekend away.
I wanted to have a cozy Christmas. The only thing cozier would have been to sit beside a fireplace. Until we all had to strip down from being too hot. I’m serious – this pub is really just a pu, it’s that small. (FYI in case you want to dine at TPI someday – there is a gorgeous dining room with a large, stone fireplace and another covered outdoor dining area, also complete with fireplace.) In between dart games we chatted with everyone who came in for Christmas dinner. A couple in their 60s on a date, parents-to-be – she from Sweden, parents with a very grown up 5 year old boy who loved drawing buildings with the fountain pen I gave the tall dude as a gift. His parents enjoyed the time alone and I was thoroughly entertained by his proper annunciation and the great care he took with each little window he drew into his multistory apartment building as he stood at our table.
You draw like an architect. Maybe one day you’ll be one.
You mean like my Mom and Dad?
Yes, like your Mom and Dad.
They smiled at me from across the room, all five feet away.
Two very different and very attractive single men came in for a late dinner, one after the other. Late here is 7:30. Both were in rain coats, one was nearly floor length. It was teeming out and we had absolutely no idea. The sun could have been shining. We could have been not a mile from the Pacific, but a mile from the North Sea on the west coast of England.
Or in our own little world.
The dating couple stopped by (stepped around) our table to say goodbye. The man shook my hand and complimented me on the ‘special relationship’ I have with the dudes. My Mom must hire these people via job ads on Craig’s List to approach me while I’m out and make me feel good.
The little dude went off to peek into the living room and the tall dude explained the inner workings of a fountain pen to his new friend, a boy at age 5 who actually cared how a fountain pen worked. I let my thoughts wander through the day. And the whole holiday season. It was drawing to a close and I wasn’t happy to see it go, nor sad. But I will always remember it distinctly as our first Christmas as a family transformed. From square to triangle. From tense and stressed to relaxed and joyful, spending our time shooting darts and meeting locals, letting the moments breathe and be cherished for what they are – morsels of time lived once, briefly, and never again.
Nothing should be cherished more.
About two weeks before Christmas I wondered how it was going to feel to be alone with the boys on Christmas Day. Would I wish that 2013 would end with me in the arms of That Man? Was I disappointed that I didn’t have a companion for this holiday? What if it’s always just me and the dudes or me without the dudes because they are with The Genius? In my quest to live firmly present in the moment, I let those questions slide then.
On Christmas night at The Pelican Inn they were answered and those answers directed my gaze to a transformation that has been taking place inside me since the night of the meteor shower as the boys and I snuggled in sleeping bags on the sands of Stinson Beach.
I don’t desire a relationship.
I don’t want to find That Man.
I love men. Encounters in general, yes. And those with single men, most certainly. I have a solid track record over this past inaugural year of My So-Unexpected Single Life. I’ve met some great guys who have each taught me important things about myself; together we’ve had a lot of fun. Parts of That Man live in each of them. With each of them I have had the opportunity to explore different parts of me the woman.
While with the dudes I get to be fully immersed in all things Mom. I get to listen to them explain things to each other, and make each other laugh. My attention doesn’t have to be split up, so I can luxuriate in conversation with just them. One of my most favorite things to do. My ability to pay attention, really absorb them in action, isn’t diluted by my desire to also focus on another.
It feels good to have these two parts of me separate – the Mom and the woman. For me, it makes each experience richer because I am able to be more Mom or more woman when I don’t have to be both at the same time.
When we arrived home after our evening at The Pelican Inn, the dudes and I watched a video of climbing Mt. Everest before turning in for the night. Hot baths, kiss, kiss and we each took to our pillow. I continued to ponder the idea that being single for the rest of my life may actually be exactly what feels best for me. Not many men are going to feel fulfilled as I run off to scale some mountain where the trails to and from the summit claim lives. Which is what I will be doing when the dudes are off to college, prepared to live on their own and succeed. (Big goal for 2013: teach dudes how to do everything from laundry to making pancakes and tacos.)
How did it feel to be alone in my bed on Christmas night? Perfectly right.
The moving sidewalk style relationship predominant in our society is no longer a fit for me. We meet, we date, we say we love each other, we now spend holidays together, the next one better have a ring theme or we’re breaking up, we get married, we have babies, we…
My style seems more reminiscent of a Renaissance ball where encounters are brief but potent, able to be revisited again and again when the time is right. Love can be had, enjoyed and always cherished. Adventures shared, risks taken. Souls bared.
But in the end they go nowhere.
Right here, right now has become my favorite destination.
D, I hope in these words you find the perfect meaning for you, and hopefully some answers to the questions you posed.