...when you find the one - part 1
Meanwhile, Voldemort claimed to be looking for housing, while transitioning from managing one restaurant to another. Thomas was there for me all along; and I was starting to think that maybe there was something between us. We had gone out a few nights; and I even drunkenly kissed him a bit, but was nervous about allowing what was beginning to feel like the natural evolution of our relationship. He was my only friend after all, and the risk of losing him felt too great.
I’m looking for something I’ll never find—that’s been the case for my whole sad life. When I was a kid, my dad would misplace his things—things my sisters’ and I had no interest moving—and would blame us; because his memory was shot and clearly the kids had to have played with his tools and put them somewhere other than where he clearly remembered them being. We would spend hours looking for things we knew we wouldn’t find. It would feel like purgatory—forced to search for all eternity. Eventually he’d find whatever it was, wherever he had actually put it, and the search would be over; but the trauma would stay with me. To this day, I can’t handle looking for a lost object. I get anxious, and the feeling of not having any control in the outcome overwhelms me. That’s how I feel now. I’m looking for someone to reciprocate my feelings, my attention, my desires, my passions and compassions. I’m looking for someone that I’ll never find—someone that doesn’t exist. It makes me feel like I’m never going to get the only thing I ever really wanted.
As I was wallowing in my despair, I received a message on Facebook from Jourdan.
Not sure if you remember me, but you appeared in my suggested Twitter feed, and I wanted to see how everything is. Are you still in New York City? How is everything going? How is your little one? Hope you’re doing well.
I was definitely not expecting to hear from my handsome interviewer from the previous July. Reading his message, I was not sure what to think; but following a quick glance at his profile, I determined that he was single, had seemingly tracked me down, and employment did not appear to be his motive.
Jourdan seemed like the very person I had been searching for all along. He was good looking, attentive, kind, and successful. We spent a couple of weeks chatting and texting until he finally asked me to dinner.
I liked him right away, but being with Jourdan somehow just felt like a continuation of the interview we had the year prior—which he admitted had only happened because he found me attractive after stumbling upon my long neglected fashion blog. Still, I was happy to have something new, and when the date ended, I kissed him and spent the rest of the evening fantasizing about the next time I would see him.
Having Jourdan to think about meant that Thomas and I could continue with our friendship unchanged. We would still talk every day, and he seemed genuinely happy that I was finally receiving the kind of attention I deserved.
I miss Jourdan and I just saw him. I love his face. I could just watch him talk all day. I should be working, but I’d much rather think of him. He’s making me nervous. I’m filled with so much stupid happiness. I don’t know what to do with it all—so I sing, dance, run, write, dream, and hope it doesn’t go away. I can’t push the thought of him out of my head.
Jourdan and I had been seeing each other for just a couple of weeks, but I was putting all of my pent up romantic expectations on him—imagining him to be the perfect partner I had been dreaming about. However, we were not exclusive. I was allowing the positive attention to feed my self-esteem, and using that energy to fuel my flirtatious spirit. Thomas and I had a back and forth rhythm of banter that felt like second nature—as if we had been that way our whole lives—and I was letting myself like him; being with Jourdan provided a safety net.
Voldemort, during this time, was filing our taxes as he had always done. I never bothered with the process and trusted that he would be able to do it himself, as he claimed. He used TurboTax and we were set to receive a return of over $6,000. The plan was to split the money. He would use his half to put a deposit on a new apartment, and I would be able to use mine to pay for my son's preschool—the only expense Voldemort had been responsible for since we had moved from Miami.
By the end of March, we had yet to receive the money. Voldemort claimed the IRS had attempted to make a deposit into the wrong account, and after realizing their mistake, were set to mail a check to us in a few weeks. In the meantime, he had planned a weekend trip with our son to visit family.
In anticipation of Voldemort's trip, I took that Friday off of work to give myself an extra full day of vacation. I met Jourdan for lunch and afterwards, he sent me a text with the caption, "I'm all yours." I responded to his text, inquiring as to whether he was alluding to our exclusivity, to which he replied by sending another image captioned, “No, but now I am,” with the question: “Will you go out with me?”
I was unsure as to whether or not I was ready for that step, but assumed his text meant that he was. I invited him to spend the weekend at my apartment, and hoped things would continue favorably.
After our weekend together, interactions with Jourdan began to feel forced. I asked him if he had wanted to make our relationship Facebook official, but he explained that he was not ready for that yet. His messages were scarce and impatient after that. I did not know what had caused the shift, but I hoped it would be temporary.
I don’t know what I’m going to do. I like him, but I feel like things are moving too fast. I’m not sure if I should talk to him or just let things be. Maybe we can talk tomorrow night. Having him in my head all day, every day, is making it very difficult to write about anything else.
I spoke to Thomas about my doubts, and he agreed that things seemed off. For Jourdan to want to be exclusive but to fear making our relationship public, seemed like a contradiction. He suspected that perhaps all Jourdan had really wanted was the intimacy we shared that weekend, and once he got that, had lost interest. I agreed; and without the distraction of everyone else—Rizi long gone, and Jourdan having been suddenly and for days since unavailable—I found myself wanting to spend more time with Thomas.
By April, Thomas was coming over my house most every night. We would talk, flirt, and kiss—and it felt as if we were getting along better than I had with anyone else. I decided that whatever I had first felt with Jourdan, was not enough to continue the relationship—but could not quite end things without seeing him again.
You know how people say that those little quirks you find endearing at the beginning of a relationship will end up being what drives you nuts towards the end? Well that’s happening. Why can’t Jourdan bother to spell out, “definitely”—it’s not that hard. It’s like he either isn’t sure as to the spelling or just simply doesn’t have the time to type an entire word. It was cute at first—I imagined him using the word “def” in colloquial conversation. It was an ironic contrast to his proper and professional outward appearance; but now, it’s just infuriating. I go through the trouble of correctly formulating a three or four-sentence text—with appropriate grammar and punctuation—and his response is a five or six-word sentence fragment, that’s missing the subject, and is including the aforementioned slang.
I set a date with Jourdan that he finally agreed to make, and was ready to tell him how I felt. It was raining that evening—already off to a bad start—but speaking to Thomas throughout the day, I decided to share a drink with him by my job, while I waited to meet Jourdan; and hoped the rain would let up.
We sat and drank at an Irish pub on Wall Street; and I found myself wishing Jourdan would cancel, allowing me to go home with Thomas, but I knew I needed to end things. About an hour later—the rain still coming down—Thomas and I left the pub and headed to the subway station; but after finding the platform brimming with expectant passengers, decided to catch a cab instead.
Standing on the corner of Wall Street, huddled under an awning, Thomas quickly realized he would need to move closer to the street if he expected to call a passing taxi. He left me to my shelter and stood in the rain. Five minutes later—still waiting for our ride—a man exited the store I stood in front of, noticed that Thomas and I were together and pointed towards him, saying, “That’s a good guy you have there.”
Riding towards midtown, discussing what we would do if we could go home together, I told Thomas I would just cancel my date with Jourdan; and that’s when he called—telling me he was swamped with work but would be getting out soon. I suggested that we reschedule; but he quickly convinced me that taking a rain-check was not an option. Slightly disappointed, I told Thomas I would call him and perhaps we could meet afterwards.
Jourdan and I ate our meals in relative silence, and soon paid and left. He drove me to my apartment, parked around the corner, began kissing me; and when he recommended we take the action to his backseat, I obliged—having been trained to never say no, regardless of my lack of interest. When he was done, I addressed the lingering topic; and instead of going in the direction of a breakup, he told me that he did not want to rush into anything. I somehow let him convince me that taking it slow was what I wanted. I left his car, weighed by the feeling of having made a mistake, and failed to call Thomas.
The next day, Thomas’ devastation was obvious as I confessed the events of the previous evening. We agreed not to speak for a few days; and the knowledge of having hurt him, lingered like a ghost. I could not stop talking about it to anyone who would listen. I needed to convince myself that I had done the right thing.
The situation with Jourdan did not improve. His messages were still trickling in like a leaky faucet—annoyingly steady, yet utterly unsatisfying. I messaged him whenever I felt it was appropriate, over-analyzed every response, excused his aloofness, and hoped that the nagging feeling, which told me to quit, was wrong—that I had not made a mistake.
After almost a week since speaking to Thomas, every aspect of my life began to suffer. I was sinking into sadness and had no one to lean on. I was also smoking almost half a pack a day—it seemed my only reprieve. My temper got shorter the longer I went without him. I felt the same emptiness that overtook me in the fall. After holding out—knowing it would be unfair for me to rip a fresh scab—I caved and messaged Thomas on Facebook.
I let him know I was off of work due to my boy being sick; and after we had exchanged a few messages, I received a text from Thomas. He asked me to go outside; and I used that opportunity to grab a cigarette. Once I opened my door, I noticed him standing by my front gate.
He sulked and looked the most miserable I had ever seen him. I invited him up once I had finished my cigarette; and he appeared defeated as he followed me upstairs.
I tried to make him talk to me—as we stood awkwardly in my kitchen—but he remained frozen in his sadness; so I talked. I spoke about my aon's being sick; feeling helpless to his fever and lack of appetite; the frustration that came with being unable to help my child. I cried and could not stop. The tears turned from my child to me. I rambled endlessly about essentially feeling like a lesser version of myself—bad mother, bad friend, and bad to myself above all else. His face melted. He scooped me up in his arms, realizing that I had been suffering just as much as he had. I spoke about everything I had wanted to but could not in the last six days. I talked and cried for what felt like hours—like a dishcloth wrung dry of all its contents. When I was weak and dry, limp and ratty, we attempted to feed the sick boy, but failed. Thomas then made up his mind to pick up every medicine, snack, kid’s vitamin, and supplement drink that he could find.
Once he left, I questioned how I managed to survive my life without him. He was not only selfless, kind, generous, thoughtful, honest, funny, smart, loyal, talented, and determined, he was also utterly and hopelessly in love with me; and he had seen me more completely than I had ever let anyone see me. He knew every flaw, every indiscretion, and every aspect of me. I feared I was something awful and cruel, and that he would somehow end up broken because of me. I doubted my feelings but could not determine exactly where the doubt stemmed from—too scared to admit that I saw myself the way I did; that I was crazy and evil, and did not deserve a person like Thomas.
Then Voldemort messaged, letting me know he had run into Thomas as he was leaving the pharmacy with bags of things for my son—on his way to the grocery store for more. Voldemort got home—like a tornado coming to take away my silent introspection; and I questioned his empty hands, thinking he would have brought the things Thomas had purchased for our son.
After a few minutes of waiting for him to return, I went outside for another cigarette, and found Thomas sitting on my stoop—huffing in irritation. He was upset that Voldemort was being his usual absentee self; and the desire to embrace him overwhelmed me. We made sure to medicate and feed the boy, left him with Voldemort after he had neglected him all day, and went out.
As the night progressed—hopping bars while holding hands—I found my slightly intoxicated lips meeting Thomas’ at every available instance. We would smile at each other, laugh, talk, and kiss as if the week before had never happened. The next morning, Thomas and I called out of work and spent the entire day together.
I was technically still seeing Jourdan, but decided—rather than giving him another opportunity to talk me out of it—that I’d send him an email telling him it was over.