I got a FaceTime phone call out of the blue earlier today. Not only do I not get many phone calls from the States, I get even fewer calls from numbers I don’t recognize. For whatever reason, my phone gave me the number without giving me the name. It was an ex. She was calling to catch up and say hi.
Considering we hadn’t talked in some time and she didn’t verbally assault me on the line, I was willing to take the call. There’s been a bit of an uncomfortable path between us in the past, so I’m not always open to talk to her. Today I was.
She told me about her daughter growing up and getting older, all of eight years of it, and her new cats. When we dated, she had the best cats, better than any cats I’ve ever lived with and I’ve lived with a lot (my mom was a cat lover). These cats were less like cats and more like dogs. They’d greet me when I opened the door and they’d curl up next to me in bed. Rather than being indifferent (like most cats are) these doted. They needed me and they let me know it (who doesn’t like to feel needed?). Sadly, these puppy-like cats passed away when I was in Madrid. Today, I got to meet their replacements, Vladamir and Rasputin (I love the names).
When we talked, she was on her balcony talking about what used to be her backyard (she moved). We spent a lot of time in that backyard together at night. We used to retire to it to decompress. I’d smoke a cigar and she’d drink a glass of wine (usually white). That was great. What wasn’t so great was that critters would come out, usually raccoons or possums, and they’d rustle in the bushes. I’d be scared, she’d be laughing. I’d flinch and squirm and she’d squeak and squeal. She thought it was hysterical that I was so frightened of things that go bump in the night because, by the sound of that phrase, I was expecting something different, something indoors and on beds, not animals outdoors waiting to fling themselves off of trees to eat me. While that never happened, I knew it could.
Either way, the more we talked the more I missed it. Not her as much as IT. What we shared. Time. Eachother. An uncommitted commitment (that’s sometimes the closest I can come). A concern. A common goal of making it through the day together. A mutual support and encouragement, because they weren’t my struggles or her struggles they were our struggles and those are much easier to mount than mountains on my own. In short, what I missed, what I still miss, is having a partner.
I’ve never been very good at relationships. I’ve never had one last longer than six months and in the course of my entire life I’ve had about seven (although I didn’t call them “relationships” at the time. My fear of commitment wouldn’t let me). I also don’t like the headaches. The nonsense. The trivial drama, the hurt feelings and the misunderstandings. Those and the lack of peace of mind that follow, aren’t any of my favorite things. What are my favorite things, are the riches, the ones I mentioned earlier. When those are good, there’s nothing better. And that’s the trade off.
As good as that can be and as much as I might like to share my life with someone, I’d rather be alone than with someone I didn’t really want and as a result, I often am. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it. What I might do well to learn is to accept it. Sometimes, somedays are better than others. Today, after that FaceTime phone call from her balcony, it wasn’t one of them.