For someone as intuitively challenged as I am, every now and then, I surprise myself when I have a gut feeling that turns out to be right on target. It doesn’t happen often but on rare occasions, I do get premonitions, gut feelings, instincts, intuitions and whispers from my subconscious. They’re usually right and they’re never good. (Why can't I get an intuition about winning lottery numbers for a change?)
When I left The One That
Got Ran Away at home the night we played poker at my house, nothing about our goodbye felt off. Everything seemed just fine and right with the world. We had shared a lovely evening, despite the brief and awkward hiccup that was the ex wife reality-check, we talked about our strong and mutual feelings for each other, we shared lots of kisses and talked about her desire to “put down roots”. The next morning, however, I awoke with a small sense of dread in my stomach. Why would that be? Why on earth would everything feel so right one moment and all wrong just eight hours later? I’ll never know but my Spidey Senses were screaming at me when I woke up the next morning. (“…I can’t date you … I can’t date you … I can’t date you…”)
Despite feeling angsty and very uneasy, I waited several hours that morning before I sent my girl an “I’m thinking about you” text. I didn’t want to appear needy, despite feeling so. No reply. No reply for hours and hours. I kept my cool (on the surface) and left her alone.
I had plans to hang out with Nugget (my little "Apocalyptic Pony") and some friends that evening to watch a football game at a local watering hole. They must’ve wanted to strangle me for behaving like such a neurotic nightmare. (Just picture Edvard Munch's "The Scream".) Despite wanting to chill out with my friends while watching a football game, I was a big ball of nerves. I was waiting on pins and needles and couldn’t understand why she hadn’t texted me back for so long. She was ordinarily pretty responsive.
Finally, a couple of drinks and three quarters of a football game later, I finally heard from The One That
Got Ran Away. It was a short text of no consequence at all and it didn’t do much to quiet the Spidey Senses but at least I had heard from her.
The next day, I wasn’t feeling any better. Something felt … off. Indescribably … off. (“I can’t date you … I can’t date you … I can’t date you.”) Still, I didn’t want to appear needy or to alarm my girl (needy is a most undesirable trait.) but I wanted to reach out. So I sent her an email suggesting that since she was kind enough to let me teach her to play poker, that it would only be fair to let her teach me something new too. It was playful, flirty and without any pressure, right? And she replied, “That’s cute. Let’s talk tonight.”
By the time she called me that evening, I already knew it was coming. My instincts, gut, intuition, Spidey Senses, whatever you want to call it, were sounding the alarm bells and waving giant red flags. I couldn’t shake the feeling of doom that was hanging over my head.
And so she began to explain that, while she cared for me, she had to trust her own instincts for once in her life. She felt something was off when I heard my ex wife’s voice. She thought she saw something on my face that she couldn’t ignore. She believed that it was too soon for me to begin a new relationship and I would never be able to fully love her because she would only ever be a rebound relationship.
I was devastated. Utterly devastated.
I listened to her speak and not just to her words, I listened to her feelings. I could hear in her voice that she had made up her mind and there would be no changing it. I asked her if these were the sole reasons for wanting to end our relationship. I asked her if there was something about me personally that made her want to end it. She said that it wasn’t me. It was timing.
“Timing.” My eternal nemesis.
Look, I’m not the kind of girl who’s going to beg anyone to stay with me, even if I felt like begging (and I did, sadly). I know enough to know that begging (like neediness) is a most undesirable quality and, quite frankly, if I have to beg anyone to stay, then it’s all wrong anyway. I want a lover, not an emotional captive. I want a partner, not a hostage to pity. So I told her, “I’m not going to try to convince you to change your mind. You either want me or you don’t. But if you change your mind, I’ll never make you regret it.” I also told her that I was disappointed because for the first time in several months, I felt like there was something and someone to look forward to.
And she said, “I do want you and I do want to be with you but I just have to trust my instincts for once. And who knows, maybe we’ll run into each other again by chance and things will have changed and our timing will be better.”
And I replied, “You know that’s bullshit. Life doesn’t work that way. That kind of thing only happens in bad romantic comedies. But I will tell you that I’ll miss you and I’ll think of you often.”
And then she said something that I’ll never forget, it was the coldest sentence ever spoken aloud, with absolutely no emotion and no heart:
“You don’t even know me.”
What the hell did that mean?