Things had been going well with Helen of Troy for a couple of weeks. I loved spending time with and getting to know her. She was fun, intelligent, relaxed, interesting, and we had an easy, sexy chemistry. I had gone on a date with a new person but she hadn’t interested me. I had emailed with a couple of people from the dating website but I just wasn’t feeling into it at all. I was happy dating Helen and my focus was on sustaining that happiness.
I had decided that it might be fun to have Helen and a small gathering of friends over to my house for a relaxed dinner of Mediterranean food and hookah smoking. Because of the nature of my friendship with my ex wife and given the fact that she lives just upstairs, an unexpected encounter with her and my new ladyfriend was too great a possibility and I didn’t want to take that chance. So I asked my ex wife to make sure she stayed out of sight for the evening. I didn’t want her popping in to say hi to me or to one of our mutual friends who would be downstairs in my apartment. I think I probably offended her with my request and because of that, she antagonized me by threatening that she would do just that. The more she antagonized, the more adamant and grouchy I became. Eventually, the disagreement turned into a passive-aggressive attempt at making a fool of me.
On Hookah Night (as it came to be known), just as my friends, Nugget, Lady DJ, and The World’s Cutest Transman were arriving at my house, we encountered a group of my ex wife’s friends on the stairs (including a very attractive friend of my ex wife’s whom she had been wanting to set me up with and also happened to be a mutual friend of Lady DJ’s [Readers: take note of this "attractive friend", she'll become a recurring character]). After a round of hugs and ‘what are you doing here?’, ex wife’s group goes into her apartment and my group goes into mine. Umm… awkward much? Oh, you betcha.
Later on in the evening, Gay Husband, Helen of Troy and I were hanging out on my back deck talking and laughing when we heard what can only be described as a wild heard of hyenas stomping around on the upstairs deck and carrying on drunkenly. My ex wife decided to pour water(?)/beer(?)/urine(?) [who the fuck knows?] off the side of the deck just to antagonize us. That’s just like my ex wife too: she’ll bend the rules as far as she possibly can without actually breaking them. She was specifically banned from walking downstairs towards my apartment but I had never said anything about partying loudly directly above us and pouring water within inches of where we were standing. (I really ought to have drawn up a more thorough contract with specific social interaction clauses. What was I thinking?) In any case, ex wife’s exceedingly stupid behavior did little to affect our evening. We still managed to have a nice night and no one was scared off by the wild heard upstairs.
The End of the Affair
About a week after Hookah Night, Helen of Troy and I had plans to spend an afternoon together. The night before our afternoon plans, I had a minor motorcycle accident while on my way to see some friends at a club. It wasn’t too bad (thankfully!); the bike and I were only a little banged up. So on the day I was supposed to be seeing Helen, I was feeling pretty sore and was nursing a mildly sprained ankle, a bad back and several bruises. I wasn’t feeling particularly active or up for much so I texted Helen saying so. She was sympathetic and offered to come over early with lunch in hand (how sweet!). I suggested that we lie low and watch one of my all-time favorite movies, which she had never seen but expressed interest in watching.
When Helen arrived at my house, I was so glad to see her. I was feeling pretty miserable physically, so a visit from my favorite blonde carrying lunch and a bouquet of flowers was exactly what the doctor ordered. We sat at the kitchen table and started to eat.
Helen: “So, there’s something I need to talk to you about.”
[Conversations that begin this way never end well for Miss-Adventures. It’s on par with ‘I’ve been doing some thinking…’]
She went on to tell me that she had been seeing someone “casually” and she felt strongly that she needed to explore this relationship. I was confused. I mean, I knew she was out and dating (that was all part of the agreement, after all) but the part that confused me was that I couldn’t figure out when this could have all happened when just days earlier, Helen was reassuring me that I wasn’t a “booty call” and that our dating did, in fact, have evolutionary potential. So I asked her when did this happen?, how did you meet this person?, how long have you known them?, is this official – are you already exclusive?, and then I asked her what all of this meant in terms of “us” and she explained that she thought we shouldn’t see each other any more.
[… ahhhh fuuuuck …]
Me: “Are you saying that you want to be in a relationship with this person? Do you think you’re falling for them?”
Helen: “I don’t know. Maybe.”
After all her talk about wanting to stay single for a really long time, wanting to explore who she was as a single girl and wanting to date people casually, here she was: breaking the very rule she so firmly established with me in order to explore a relationship with another person. Ummm… OUCH!
So where did that leave me? Stunned? Totally. Saddened? Yep. Rejected? God, yeah. Did it suck that it happened to be the literal, actual, fucking day after my motorcycle spill or that it happened to be two days before Valentine’s Day? Oh yeah it did! Timing is a motherfucker.
Despite all that, however, I respected the hell out of Helen. She realized what she wanted, realized what she needed to do in order to be true to herself and had the class and courage to come to my home and say it directly to me. There was nothing (beyond just the really unfortunate timing of it) to be angry with her about. And while it hurt because my optimism was crushed … yet again, I could see no reason to hold that against her or to be unwilling to continue a friendship with her. So even after she told me she didn’t want to date me any longer, I still proposed that we continue with our plans for the day and just hang out as friends.
Me: “Do you still want to watch a movie?”
Helen: “Are you sure you’re ok with that?”
Me: “Yeah, it’s totally fine. I’m still feeling kind of sore though, and if I promise to be good, can we lie down in my bed and watch the movie instead of on the living room couch?”
Helen: “Ok. Wait, what was the movie called that you wanted to watch again?”
Me: [insert ironical laugh] “The End of The Affair. Isn’t that apropos!?”