Monday, July 26, 2010

Eric - The Saga Continues

Back in May I posted "Eric -- The Saga Begins."  I think it is now high time the saga continued.  Ladies and Gentlemen, fasten your seatbelts; this may be a very bumpy ride. 
After my initial horrible experience with Eric at the Poe reading, I decided not to talk to him anymore because he refused to acknowledge he had done anything wrong, let alone apologize.  At first, he honored my wishes by not contacting me, but I would soon realize that following directions was not exactly Eric's forte.  Three months later, he IMed me with an apology so heartfelt that I decided I could let him back in, but only in a friendship capacity.  After all, people make mistakes, they realize their wrongs, say they're sorry and don't deserve to be punished for all eternity for one screw-up, right?  Am I right?  And thus communication with Eric resumed and two months later I found myself driving back to New Jersey to visit him.  And the month after that, too. 
I had found myself back exactly where I hadn't wanted to be, but soothed my own fears and uncertainties by assuring myself that everyone deserves a second chance... which I still believe to be true, on an incident to incident basis.  Forgiving Eric, however, only paved the way for suffering through further incidents.  The beginning of this particular weekend in May began just lovely.  We drank some beers on his balcony while he played the guitar and I hummed along.  It was a very chill Friday evening and once again, everything with Eric fell back into place and I was not just content, I was happy.  At some point throughout the evening, I realized that I was in love with him, and instead of frightening me (which falling in love now does), I only became happier.  But of course I did not divulge this information to Eric. 

Eric was a high school track coach and had a meet in the morning.  He had invited me to wake up early to go with him, but I declined in favor of sleeping in.  My decision also had to do with the fact that Eric did not want his students to see him with a girl that he would later have to explain to them, yet another issue I convinced myself was unimportant.  He never wanted to hold hands in public and was always cautious when we went out to dinner, the mall, etc. for fear that we would be spotted and he'd have questions to answer from hormonal teenagers.  I pretended to understand, but in actuality thought, "Why can't you just tell them you're dating someone?  What's the big deal?"  I'm no psychologist, but I'm pretty sure what Eric really meant was this: If he had to define the situation to his students, he'd also have to define it to himself.  And while, despite all the shit he put me through, I still believe Eric truly cared about me, he never knew what he wanted.  He never wanted to be exclusive; he never even wanted to talk about what we "were."  On-and-off we dated, for two years, and he was never open to that conversation.  And I pretended to be okay with it for two reasons: 1.) I never fully trusted him and was therefore cautious, and 2.) I'm a complete idiot who excuses blatant warning signs as personal paranoia.

But back in May 2007, I was sleeping in Eric's bed while he gently kissed me goodbye and headed to his track meet, set to return in the early hours of the afternoon.  After I woke up and got dressed, I decided to check my email.  I sat down at Eric's computer and saw he had left an IM window open.  My intention was not to pry, but it was easy to see from a simple glance that the conversation was with a girl and the conversation was not only racy, it was the same conversation he'd recently had with me.  This was obviously something he got off on.  My heart was racing; I felt sick.  I had to read more to allay my fears.  Maybe it was just a joke, an old friend he was just goofing around with.  Nope... it only got worse. 

And then I started to notice other things that had slipped past my vision previously: A hair tie on the living room floor, an earring on the bathroom counter... Yes, it's possible they had merely been leftovers from female friends who had visited, but everything began to add up.  I sat down to collect my thoughts.  Was I over-reacting?  After all, we weren't "exclusive," but on the other hand, he had told me he wasn't seeing anyone else.  I took a few minutes to weigh my options, grabbed my overnight bag and left a note next to his computer: "I was only trying to check my email, Asshole."  And I left. 

Instead of driving home, I drove to Sesame Place to meet up with my sister and her in-laws.  If a sister and Sesame Street can't cure heartache, nothing can.  En route, Eric got home, received my charming note and called me, claiming to have no idea what my cryptic message meant or why I had left.  I felt pangs of guilt when I pictured him arriving home to his empty apartment, going room to room looking for me and finding me gone.  He said he thought I had been playing a trick on him, hiding, which I admit is totally something I would do, but not in this case.  He finally fessed up to the IM, but insisted it was nothing and instead berated me for invading his privacy, which only served to infuriate me further.

I tried to enjoy my time at Sesame Place and I spent the rest of the weekend with my sister, who has been there through every single male I have ever shed a tear over.  (I think she's getting a little tired of it, but remains supportive, regardless).  Eric called incessantly throughout the weekend, but I ignored his messages, finally composing a speech to him that I left on his voicemail when I knew he would be at work and I wouldn't have to deal with actually speaking to him.  I told him he had betrayed my trust by being dishonest with me and he had broken my heart because I had discovered I was in love with him, yadda yadda yadda.  It must have been a damn good voicemail because Eric will later tell me that it made him cry.  Good; I'm glad.

The bottom line, of course, was that for the second time, Eric had no idea he had done anything wrong and so for the second time, I told him not to call me anymore.

And for the second time, he will not listen.  But that's a different chapter in this saga.

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