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I don’t know if you remember me, but I was listening to Dire Straits and thought about you. I was also pining over a married man, who lived ninety miles away and assured me that he was “almost certainly” going to get divorced soon. I was able to relax and be myself because I still thought of it as just “practice.” J. Lexington, Kentucky as a lesbian in my early fifties, I met Winona at a women’s dance, and she invited me out for a drink.
(He holds the record for sheer unavailability in someone I was pursuing.) I called J. and I continued to go out on practice dates until the night he whispered, “I love you.” This past fall we celebrated our twenty-third wedding anniversary. Before long we were exchanging daily phone calls and text messages peppered with hearts and flowers.
It sounds really loud.” She said she was at a pool hall, playing billiards.
Though irritated, I agreed to meet her at a bakery Saturday afternoon. While waiting for my ride to the hospital, I’d placed a call to work to let them know I wasn’t available. At the clinic I would sit on a blue recliner with two thick needles inserted into my arm.
I was relegated to tiptoeing around her and the dogs (who, she reminded me, came first), paying the bills, keeping house, and generally accepting the blame for all that was wrong with our relationship.
Hurt and bewildered, I finally realized that, in my obsessive need to be loved, I had let myself be taken advantage of by a classic narcissist. Name Withheld for a semester abroad in Morocco, I prepared myself for a romantic dry spell.
We met up whenever we could, usually at the bar or at my place, never hers.
I sent her a message, and we exchanged phone numbers. When we talked again the next night, she was in another noisy location. After thirty minutes I checked my phone for a text or missed call: nothing. Once, I had woken up in the middle of the night feeling numb from the waist down.
A grad student I met at a party, who had just split up with his previous girlfriend and went back to her after a few weeks.