MELTDOWN. Shit, I’m having more regrets tonight. Can’t believe the timing on this one. I went out on an internet date with a guy I’d never met before. He seemed like a good guy and had even lost his own wife to cancer years ago. On top of everything, he’d written a “how to” book for other guys whose wives get diagnosed with cancer.
So he’s a writer. I’m a writer. He’s a widower. I’m a still-in-my-heart widow. How bad could it be?
I met the guy, and he was nice enough looking. Had a ponytail (rare for someone who lives in Irvine) and seemed a little older than his stated years on the website. He was tall but had a pretty good-sized beer gut. No way that body was touching mine in an intimate setting. C’mon, girls, we all know who’s gonna get lucky one day–and I promise you he won’t!
Then, to make matters worse, the guy doesn’t have a pot to piss in. Almost literally! Nice enough, and all that. Spent most of the dinner talking about himself. Okay, I know that particular drill. Seemed pleased to meet me and even impressed with how I looked. If I may say so, I was indeed looking pretty good tonight. Wore a new sundress which I’d never worn before. Seemed an appropriate enough time to wear it because it’s been hot as hell lately and, let’s face it, summer’s almost over. Did my hair and makeup and spritzed on my favorite perfume. A hot date, I don’t mind saying.
He must’ve said half a dozen times how empty his bank account is, how little he’s managed to earn even though he has a Master’s degree in Finance. I let him pay for dinner anyway, two portions of appetizers at a Mexican restaurant–cheap.
At some point, I decided I’d had enough and excused myself to go to the ladies room. I suggested we leave shortly thereafter.
In the parking lot, he continued talking, mostly on the subject of publishing his book–which was the main reason I’d wanted to meet him. Soon, I’ll be trying to publish my own book. I pointed out my car and suggested he walk me to it. I laughingly said it’s 10 years old (which it is), and he remarked he wished his car looked half as good. Then he pointed to this old clunker with rust spots and dirt across the body. I don’t even know what kind of car it is!
I tried to make light of it and suggested that he could take it across the street where there’s a self-service car wash. He laughed too and said he’d do it, but the car has a bad leak–made even worse during rainy seasons. Holy cow!
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not all about material possessions. But I’m not willing to worry that someone can’t afford to go to a movie or to dinner once in awhile. Never mind what that portends for future travel plans.
I drove home feeling kind of blue. Then, I got a personal email from Mark. He wrote about the car–how right before he’d decided to sell it, some punk side-swiped it and caused $1300 damage. As he was driving down the street, some guy threw him a big thumb’s up about how cool and sharp the car was. When he went to trade it in, his salesman’s name was Dale (my middle name). He ended with “life’s an adventure, no?”
And I lost it. I sent him a response tellling him how sad I was to hear he’d traded in the car, how much it seemed to represent getting rid of me, how crappy it was that he’d traded it for a crummy Acura.
Making matters worse, he wrote me ONE last email, in which he said he’d promised himself he wouldn’t allow himself to share anything more of a personal nature. It was a heartfelt email in which he told me his bro-in-law, and another old guy who was like a member of his family, had both died. He explained how he couldn’t keep the Hyundai because people in the town where he lives keep dinging it, etc.
Then, I let it slip–how sad I was that we just couldn’t make it work, no matter how much both of us had wanted it to, how that car was the last tie we have to each other, how this love story is coming to an end. I cried, and I’m crying now.
To pretend this marriage meant nothing to me is to lie to myself. Of course, I’d wanted it to work. Of course, I’d wanted to be in a happy relationship with Mark and to spend the rest of my life with him. It’s sad, and it’s appropriate to be sad sometimes. I’ve only addressed the anger.
I suppose more tears will fall as time goes on. I’ll have more bad dates. I’ll slip into moments of regret and question my decision to end it with Mark. I’m sure it’ll hurt when that divorce decree is finalized. A divorce is like a death, and, tonight, I feel like something inside of me has died.