Friday, 25 October 2013

Two little weeks...

Third night in a row, home alone.
It's not something I do... alone...
I'm not quite sure what brought it on, was it perhaps the audible expression of my goal - to learn how to be alone?
Or more likely, it's him. 
I hate how much I love him. 

He's been in touch recently. He reached out several times, actually, I just didn't want to talk about it. It started with some messages from his brother, filling me in, and letting me know he was thinking of me. He was relocated to another prison, he was closer now. But I couldn't do it, I couldn't visit. I'd come so far in the last few months, I didn't want to feel so powerless again.

Then he started writing to me. At first it was just some casual conversation, touching base, making small talk. But then came the letter that changed it all. The letter that took me straight back there. The letter that reminded me of the power that he has over me. 

He explained why he did it, why he cut me off. I always thought that he kept me on a pedestal... I know him too well. Have you ever felt like that? So innately connected to someone that often you don't even want to voice your thoughts for fear of sounding ridiculous? 

He wanted me to take this time to find myself. He didn't want to weigh me down. He felt, that after being in a relationship for so long, I really needed to let my hair down and just BE ME. He also claimed that I was too good of a person to be visiting a criminal in prison, and that he was embarrassed by his situation. He wants to do better, to be better. 

But the thing is, so do I.

I felt strong. I had the upper hand. 

Then he started calling.

He gets out in two weeks, you see. The sound of his voice made my heart skip a beat. Just like the first time we reunited, time and distance has made no difference. The invisible rope that ties us together is as strong and sturdy as ever. He wants to see me. He calls to try and get me to agree to dinner as soon as he's out. And I hesitate, every time. Not because I don't want to see him. I want more than anything to have him hold me in his arms. But I'm scared. I'm so scared because I love this man more than I've ever loved anyone even though I know that I shouldn't. Because if I let him in and it doesn't work out then I'll be faced with a big fat 'I TOLD YOU SO'
from everyone. 

I'm scared because before, I had a safety net, I was married.
Whatever happened with Eden didn't matter, I had a husband to fall back on.
But now, it's just me. 

Friday, 12 July 2013

A Booty Call

Eden stopped calling.

So I stopped visiting.

I stopped writing. 

I started living.

At first the silence was deafening. I stared at my phone, begging it to ring. It took all my strength not to contact his family and ask about him, not to write to him to let him know I was thinking about him. Before long, I stopped carrying my phone everywhere with me. I stopped waiting for his call. I accepted that I had been incredibly foolish, devoting so much time and energy to a man who obviously didn't want me. 

I needed to feel wanted. Adam still wanted me, but I couldn't go back. I felt like I had already disconnected myself from him, that going back would cause more pain than pleasure. So I did what any red-blooded woman would do in my situation, I made a booty call. 

Gareth was an old friend who I hadn't spoken to for a while. He was married when we used to hang out, but I had a sneaking suspicion that he may have wished he wasn't when he was around me. I had a feeling that he and his wife may have split, so I sent him an email, simply saying hello. After a brief exchange he let me know that he was in fact now single and that he would love to catch up with me. I had caught him, hook, line and sinker. 

He arrived at my place with a few bottles of wine. We sat and drank a bottle, catching up, before calling a cab to head out for dinner. I could tell Gareth wasn't handling his break up too well, he wanted to talk it over and over, asking questions and trying to figure out what went wrong. He was anxious, he was fragile, but most of all, he was over the moon to be in my company.

After dinner we grabbed some cocktails and sat on a couch. 

"I have to tell you something." He stated.

"When we met, I was so happy. You were so beautiful and fun and amazing, and you were married. So we could be friends, and there was no issue, because we were both married." He was moving closer and closer to me as he spoke. I couldn't believe how easy this was. We decided at that moment to head back to my place. 

As we walked from the cab to my door, Gareth tried to put his arm around me. It was awkward, he was obviously way out of practice, and I laughed at him. We poured some more wine and sat on the couch. Then he took my glass from me and set it on the table, turning to me and asking in a very matter-of-fact way,

"Can I please have a kiss?"

Gareth was a little older than I was, and I found his gentlemanly approach very amusing. But it also made him seem vulnerable, it made me feel like he NEEDED this night with me. So I kissed him.

"Wow, that was incredible!" He was blown away. This was exactly the ego stroke I needed, so I pulled him back towards me and kissed him again. We made our way to the bedroom, stripping our clothes off as we approached my bed. Suddenly this 38 year old man was like a 17 year old school boy, eager and excited to be having sex for the first time. His enthusiasm was just what my self esteem needed.

But then he became needy. He wanted to hold my hand, to stroke my hair, to cuddle. I realised I'd made a mistake. What I was hoping to be a booty call, he was hoping to be the start of something new. I just wanted him to break my drought and go home.

For the next few weeks he called, emailed and messaged me constantly, begging me to see him, telling me how I made him feel alive again, that he wanted to make me happy. I couldn't believe the difference, I had an ex-husband and a lover who made me feel starved for attention, and here was a man desperate to give me his attention but I just wanted him to go away. I tried to tell him over and over that I didn't want anything from him, but he still wanted to see me. Eventually I had to lie and say I'd met someone, it was the only way to get him to leave me alone. 

And just like that, I feel free. I don't need Adam. I don't need Eden.
The power is in MY hands now.
I'm not longer a fragile woman at the mercy of a man.
And I love it.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

I Don't Miss Him

*Present day*

Two weeks. That's how long it's been since Eden last called me.
Three weeks. That's how long it's been since I last saw him.

I find myself wondering if we'll ever have a chance... if we ever had a love. I've almost forgotten how it felt. Almost. I don't think I could ever truly let it slip.

At least I'm not on that emotional rollercoaster any more. Now I've accepted that this is how it is and there's nothing I can do about it. Nothing but wait. And occasionally visit.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, or so they say.

I rarely see Adam now, but for a brief interlude when we exchange the children. You'd be forgiven for forgetting that he exists at all. I don't miss him. I spent almost half of my life by his side and now that we're apart, there's no void. There's no emptiness. I don't miss him. 

At first I considered that this might be because I've been so preoccupied with Eden... but two weeks, no word from Eden, and it doesn't change how I feel about Adam. Or don't feel. Adam wants to work things out, Adam thinks we should be together, but if there's no void without him, then I don't see the point of being with him. If there's no void without him, then what value did he bring to my life in the first place?

We only get one shot at life. I want a love that leaves a void. I want a love that leaves me pining and yearning and needing someone. Not a love that leaves me feeling sorry for him. Obliged to check if he's alright. Sad that he's sad, but not willing to do what he needs to be happy.

I'm not sure if this is a reflection of me as a person, or if it's a reflection of our relationship.

I'm going to see Eden. I need to feel his arms around me. I need to look into his eyes. After our last visit, when I just felt off beat and sad, I need reassurance.

Because although I don't miss Adam, my God, I miss Eden.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Too hard, too much?

*Present day*

I left the office and headed for the motorway. After only one trip, I already felt used to this drive. The alone time in the car was almost enjoyable. The independence felt good.

There was something different this time though. I wanted to go, I wanted to see Eden, but I didn't feel as excited as usual. I felt down. I felt like this was becoming a burden. Like I was in a long distance relationship with someone who wasn't putting any effort in. Like I wished, just once, he could make the trip to visit ME. 

I was driving to a small town about half an hour from where Eden was, a friend was staying at a relatives for the night and offered me the couch. I pulled up outside the house just after 8pm. The quaint, fibro cottage looked small and cold and yet somehow still inviting. I think this was because of the warmth of the people inside, I knew that good hearts would be greeting me.

We chatted in front of the heater with tea and Iced VoVos. I felt welcomed and at home, and my somber mood soon lifted. As I snuggled into my sleeping bag on the couch, I mulled over the speech I was hoping to give Eden. I can't do this anymore. This is too hard. I need to think about me for a while. I started to feel like a terrible person. I promised him I wouldn't do this, I promised I wouldn't flee again, I told him I'd be here for him. I remembered the last time I gave him that speech. I remembered how he felt, and how I felt. The pain was indescribable. But how long could I try and be a friend to a man who I was in love with?

After breakfast we sat in the warm country sun, soaking up its rays. It was a beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky. I spoke with my friend about country air, country hospitality, country atmosphere... It was just idyllic, I didn't want to leave. But the purpose of my trip was not to have a holiday, it was to see Eden, so I went on my way.

I pulled into the carpark feeling concerned. There were so few cars there that I wondered if I had the right day. The visitor centre reception was almost empty, but for one woman waiting patiently. After about 15 minutes a few more visitors arrived, and this prompted the guards to bring the drug detection dog out for a quick search. I was fascinated to see the dog park himself at a woman's feet. She had a slight rock and roll look to her with her mini skirt, singlet, boots and messy hair. The guards escorted her into a room for questioning, and only minutes after came out and asked the woman at the desk to call the Police. I felt disappointed that I wouldn't see what happened, because at the same time I was taken in to see Eden.

I didn't wait long, he strolled out looking tall and tough in his white jumpsuit. It always amazes me how a prison inmate can look so handsome and well groomed. He had kept the beard, and his hair was a little longer than usual.

"I love your hair longer! You look... less... mean?" I stroked his head and smiled.
"I'll have to cut it then." He joked.

We were off today, Eden and I. I'm not sure if he sensed my mood, or if he was perhaps in one of his own, but we were off. We sat quietly, occasionally filling the silence with small talk. My planned speech sat on the tip of my tongue, refusing to take the plunge. I wondered if Eden was also holding back, trying not to say what was really on his mind. For the first time since he was locked up, we ended the visit early. Inmates aren't allowed to use the bathroom during a visit, so when Eden said that the can of Pepsi Max he'd consumed had got the better of him, I accepted the early mark with gratitude.

The drive home was long and contemplative. I didn't doubt my love, but I did doubt Eden's. And as long as that thought lingered in my mind, I wasn't sure I had the strength to keep going. But then I thought, if I were to tell him now that this was too hard, and then in six months time, if he were to call me on his release, I'd be eager to see him. I'm always eager to see him. So then how would it be fair of me to pull the plug when it was hard for me (again) only to dive back in as soon as it became easy?

Thursday, 18 April 2013

He just gets me

*Present day*

"People kind of, give up on you when you're in here, you know?"

When Eden spoke the words I really did know what he meant. I had considered that it would be easier to walk away than to be a good friend to him during these nine months. I could see how someone would want to give up. It plays on my mind sometimes, why am I doing this? Why am i putting myself through this? The emotional investment, the ups and downs. The financial investment with all of the driving and nights in motels. My husband and children, not to mention the rest of my family. Why was I doing this?

The answer is simple. I love this man.

I don't think it would be fair to dismiss him because of a mistake he made before I came back into his life. I think that the timing will test our love, and if we fail, then at least we'll know. At least we tried.

But some days it is SO HARD. Some days I don't know if I can keep going. I had one of those days last week. I hadn't heard from Eden for a few days and I was a wreck because of it. I hated that I was doing this to myself, I didn't want to be this person. I felt weak. I felt pathetic. Then he called. I could hardly speak to him, all of my energy was spent trying to hold back tears.

"What's wrong? You sound upset?" He asked.
"I don't know. I'm up and down." Was all I could muster. 

After a few attempts at getting conversation out of me, he gave up, said to enjoy the rest of my day, and that he would call me during the week. I felt broken.

For the next few hours I worked like a zombie, mindlessly flicking between screens on my desktop, not absorbing anything. And then my phone rang, and it was Eden again.

"I'm so glad you called back." I said softly.
"How could I not? You sound so down, what's going on?" He sounded worried.
"I don't know. I can't articulate it."
"It's not like you to be unable to say something. Why don't you write to me then?"
"Because I'm afraid I've already said too much."
There it was. I was feeling overexposed, vulnerable, and I hated it.
"No way." His response was firm and reassuring.
"Promise. Would I be calling if you had?" I found comfort in the tone of his voice. It was like a hug through the phone. "It's like before..." he continued, "Well, it's different this time, but, things have never been easy for us..."
"We'll get there. One day."

Eden proceeded to tell me the things he wanted to do when he was released, like go out for a nice seafood dinner. He said that one night he would sit down and make a list of all the things we should do together. Then he told me about his week, making jokes in attempt to get me laughing. I had to giggle when he said he'd made friends with a big, burly gay man, and that he had taken some baby oil into his cell and asked for a massage.

He knew just what to say. He knew how to make me feel better.
When I saw him last, I was telling him that I felt like a stalker, tracking him down and then following him across the state as he moved from one correctional centre to the next.

"You're not a stalker. I've known you for... well... I just KNOW you..."

He was right. He knows me. He just gets me.

Monday, 15 April 2013

I want to have your babies

*Present day*

Eden walked into the visitor centre with a noticeable air about him. He was angry. I stood to give him a hug and then he took a seat beside me. He was complaining that he didn't have time to finish his shower and brush his teeth because he had to get three different guys to cut his hair after the first one stuffed it up. I laughed at his vanity.

"Stop being a sook!" I nudged him in an attempt to loosen him up. It worked.

This correctional centre was different. On each table was a laminated A4 page with guidelines for inmates and visitors. I had read it while waiting for Eden, there was nothing out of the ordinary. Eden picked it up and started reading. A sentence a few lines down the page jumped out at him.

"Inmates may hug and kiss their visitors on arrival and departure, but there is to be no other physical contact for the duration of the visit. You better behave yourself or I'll kiss you and they'll end your visit!" He joked.

"I'll take it, I'll take what I can get" I replied. We laughed.

"I can't believe you came all the way here!" He smiled. "How was the drive?"

We chatted about the drive, the motel, the town. I told him what I'd gotten up to since I'd seen him last. These visits were getting easier, the conversation flowed and there were no awkward silences. We sat close together, our legs touching under the table. As usual, it didn't take long for the conversation to lead into a discussion about 'us'.

Eden was telling me about a female guard who may just have a thing for him, and how he could use this to his advantage. I made a joke about his ability to turn on the charm to get women to do things for him, and suddenly his tone changed and he looked like a wounded puppy.

"Don't say that. You said something like that before..."
"I know exactly what I said." I interrupted.
He was referring to the statement I made about him having me around because he knows I'll do anything for him.
"But how can I not feel that way? How can I not be paranoid? I have no idea what's going on in there!" I tapped his forehead as I spoke.

"I have no idea what's going on in there either. You don't understand what it's like in here..." He tried to explain. I felt like I'd heard it all before, so again, I interrupted...

"You think I haven't thought about the fact that your feelings are probably amplified by these four walls? That you'll get out and discover all of the other fish in the sea? I have a feeling you're going to walk out of this jail and break my goddamn heart!"

"I don't want to..." He said softly.

"I didn't want to have this conversation today. I came without questions or intentions..." I wasn't lying, I really just didn't feel like doing this dance.

"I know. We have to talk about it sometime though." Was his reply.

"Look, to me, it's simple. There's either something between us, or there isn't! It's that easy. So for now, can you just enjoy the pleasure of my company?" I smiled a cheeky smile.

"I am. I do. I really do." And just like that we moved on.

We started talking about age and how time was passing us by. It was a conversation we had frequently, brought on by the number of years since we parted company. So much had changed since then. Eden mentioned how we was feeling a bit down about the fact that he always wanted children, that he wanted to be a young Dad and that he only had one biological child of his own.

"I've just... always wanted a son... you know?"

I nodded as I listened, but I could hardly speak. I offered a few encouraging words about him having time up his sleeve, but it was the best I could offer. You see, only the week prior, I'd been wondering whether or not Eden wanted more children. I didn't feel like I could ask him this, and I was afraid that if his answer was no, I'd have some serious thinking to do.

Before long visiting time was over. We stood and he kissed me on the cheek before pulling me into his arms. We hugged for a few minutes.

"You smell good." I said, lightly pressing my lips to his neck.

I stepped back and he came toward me again, kissing me on the cheek for a second time.
"Drive carefully, I'll call you to make sure you get home ok." And with that he left.

The following day the whole reproduction thing was playing on my mind, so when he called me, I couldn't help but share my thoughts. I told him how I too had been thinking about children but I was afraid to tell him. I told him that so often he brings up things that are on my mind because he and I are so in tune.

I had carefully thought out what I would say. But as soon as I started talking the words came flying out of my mouth and I'm certain it sounded more like:


Carpe diem I guess.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Empowered, liberated, free

*Present day*

I felt a combination of relief and excitement as I pulled into the small country town. It had been a long drive and I was happy to be able to get out of the car and stretch my legs. Surprisingly though, I felt no fear. I'd never stayed on my own before but I was unusually confident. I could do this. I needed to do this.

I parked my car and walked in to the reception office, which was also the entrance to the restaurant. Two couples were sharing a meal at a table straight ahead, and as I walked in they joked about who's 'turn' it was. Then one of the ladies stood up and came to greet me with a warm, inviting smile. I instantly loved the place.

I was directed to room 17 and offered breakfast. I politely declined, explaining that I hoped to catch up on some sleep before departing. I wished the group a good night and walked off to find my room. I turned the key and pushed the door open, fumbling for a light switch. I was nervously expecting to find a slightly dirty, scary looking room remnant of one of those movies where people die in motels, but it was beautiful. A crisp white queen bed featured in the centre of the room, desk and flat screen TV in front of it. A couch and a table were conveniently located to my left, ready to receive my overnight bag and purse. Straight ahead was a vanity with a door on its left leading to the large shower and toilet. It was perfect.

I undressed and headed straight for the shower, which was hot and hard and just what I needed. As I pulled on a singlet and some underwear, I poured myself a glass of champagne to celebrate my first solo trip. I felt empowered, liberated, free...

Typical of a night before visiting Eden, I found it impossible to get to sleep. I was annoyed, the last thing I needed for the long drive home the next day was to be sleep deprived. I woke far earlier than I needed to, and when it became obvious that there was no chance of going back to sleep, I decided a slow morning would be a good way to start the day. I relaxed and took my time getting ready. I had a cup of coffee, did some stretches, and eventually headed for reception.

It was a gorgeous day in the small country town, and I had a little time up my sleeve so I had a bit of a look around on my way to the correctional centre. I could get used to this place. I drove to the jail, parked my car, and walked down to the entrance. I was greeted by to guards and a sniffer dog, and asked to line up so the dog could perform a search before I entered.

On entry I immediately noticed how much smaller the reception here was. True to its country town location, there was only one short counter to complete the visitor slips, only one small window with an elderly clerk behind it, and a tiny corner of lockers shoved off to the right. There was barely room to move, I stood shoulder to shoulder with the other visitors. And here, the most noticable difference, was how friendly the other visitors were, no one was a stranger in this room.

When the guard called Eden's surname, I headed into an enclosed room for questioning and scanning. Security here was not lacking. Once cleared, I was ushered through a door into an open and empty courtyard. And then nothing. I looked around, and laughed out loud. Another visitor came through.

"Where the hell am I supposed to go?" I asked her, still laughing.
"Come on love, this way!" She responded, and I followed here across the courtyard and through another door. I was directed to a numbered table where I sat and waited for Eden.