Number 1…part 2

 

THE COLDSHOULDER MOVE

As the months passed, I endured working with Robert, by being a bitch. I can’t explain why he brought this bitchy side out of me, but I wanted to make it clear that absolutely NO sign of attraction would sneak out onto my expression. He would walk pass me at work and say, “Hey, pretty lady.” I would sneer back. Every computer station I worked at, he would be there too, and if he said anything to me, I would ignore him. If he tried to jump into a conversation with me and another coworker, I would cut him off by saying, “Married men aren’t allowed to talk about this. Go away.” His response was always a smile and a little laugh, and he would CONTINUE talking with us anyway!

I hated him.

When we were on separate sides of the room, I would glance over in his direction and watch him work. He always had this intense look in his eyes whenever he worked on the computer and his lips pursed in concentration. He had full lips and long black eyelashes, black curly hair cut short, high cheekbones, skin the color of creamy coffee, and these subtle dimples that creased his cheeks anytime he smiled. I wanted to kiss those dimples.

Boy, I hated him!

One night, a bunch of us from work got together at a bar to celebrate an old manager’s visit home. It was hours upon hours of fun and drinks. LOTS of drinks. I had a total of about six vodka Red Bulls, which landed me in the arms of an innocent coworker. I suppose we made out for a couple of minutes, but I wouldn’t find out until the next morning at work.

“Everyone’s telling me that we made out,” I would say.

His young face would turn bright red. It always turned bright red when I talked to him.

“Is that true?” I would ask.

“Yes,” he would say.

“Oh…well, was it any good?” I would say.

“Yes, it was very sweet, actually,” he would say.

“Oh….well, I’m sorry, I was totally drunk. I didn’t mean to take advantage of you like that,” I would say.

“No, don’t be sorry. It was great,” he would say.

“I’m sorry anyway. It won’t ever happen again,” I would say. And it didn’t.

Back to the party at the bar, my massive drunk buzz was finally wearing off and I had returned to a more suitable buzz. Good timing too, because the next thing I heard was…

“BOBBY!!!”

I turned around and saw Robert walk into the bar, a bright white smile spread across his face as he greeted everyone from work.

As he made his way closer to where I was, I called out, “Well look who’s here!”

He just smiled back and came towards me. But I moved away and took a seat at the bar top, realizing as I was sitting down, my drunkenness was still affecting my thought process so I deemed it wiser to stay away from Robert. Somehow he ended up hovering beside my chair anyway, almost like a protective shroud. The coworker I made out with was close by too. But I distracted myself with my girlfriends, all the while irritated AND smugly pleased that Robert was standing guard.

Soon enough, it was closing time and we were all making our way out of the bar. People were offering me rides home, but I wanted to go to Denny’s to sober up some more. Robert offered to take me and I took it.

As soon as we walked into the old-fashioned diner, my gut twisted in a warning. But I ignored it. We sat down at a table and I ordered coffee and chicken strips. Or rather he ordered them for me, which I thought was quite bizarre. Pssh, I guy ordering FOR me, the nerve… 

It was just the two of us. We talked about musicals, history, my life as an actress, his life as a history major, details I would never remember because my head wouldn’t stop buzzing, and because I was too caught up with the fact that I was sitting alone with him thinking how wonderful it was and that I wanted so badly to reach out and touch his cheek, and that this was how it could be…if…

If what? You’re not married, my head would say. Then, but HE is, my other head would say.

We were leaned in very close at this point. I could feel his warm breath on my mouth, and then, before I knew what was happening…

“Well, are you done? Cause I need to get going,” he said.

I blinked and glanced down at my plate of food. Empty.

“Yeah, I’m done,” I said, and that warm feeling I felt inside my gut turned to an icy, numbing pain.

He drove me back to my car in silence, dropped me off and drove away without waiting for me to get inside my car. I remember it was freezing that night too and I only had on a thin jacket. I don’t know why that’s important, but I remember thinking to myself, as I watched his truck speed off, shivering, what an ass…a married ass.

Later, at work, I would ask him, “Why don’t you act like a married man?” But that’s for another story…

Number 1…part 1

 

It’s only been a week into the new year and I’m already running. I ended the old year with a great blog about my newest friends and Number 1 being the closest thing to BEING the one. And now I’m running again. Now I’m panicking. And crying. And being so girlishly possessive it makes me sick. If there’s one thing I hate most, it’s crying…and being sick.

And it occurs to me that I’ve never written a blog about Number 1 and how we became…something—sorry, the term “relationship” just makes me queasy, but that’s what we became.

I was much safer in my little dream world with Luke Skywalker, fighting off bad guys, and making love with the Force. You know you’ve always wanted to!

In the Beginning (one-ish year ago)

So here I was, minding my own business, eating a Turkey Cobb sandwich on my dinner break, when someone decided to interrupt.

“Hey, so I hear you’re an actress,” he says. I look up and see Robert, or Bob, or whatever he went by. He was very tall, had black hair, and amber-colored eyes. Of course I wouldn’t notice his eyes until much later. Needless to say, I was instantly attracted to him. Like BAM-in-your-FACE into him.

He was the new guy. I had already introduced myself to him earlier as I normally do to newbies…

“Hey, who are you?” I said, as he busied himself at the beverage station.

“I’m (Robert or Bob or something),” he said. At the time I couldn’t remember his name exactly. I was too busy trying to look and act cool as my insides were bursting with fiery hormones that wanted to jump all over this poor innocent human male.

“Well, I’m Xanna,” I said. “Welcome to hell.” “Hell” being The Restaurant in this instance. And that was it. I sauntered away as usual, trying to recall his name, but all I could remember was his brilliant smile and surprisingly comforting eyes. Mine, was the only thing that went through my mind. I felt a little smile grow inside of me.

Creepy, isn’t it? When people fall for other people. If you think about it…it really is creepy. But sometimes cute and it just makes you wanna go awwwwwwww……

Anyhow, later that evening, he decided to sit next to me on my dinner break and ask me a whole lot of questions about being an actress, to which I responded with “I’m the starving kind” and surprised me with how much he knew about musicals and such.

I figured he must be gay in some way—which was just my luck because I was always either attracted to gay men or married men—but it turned out he wasn’t and that he was just a history major in college and had an obsession about knowing everything about everything. Don’t ask me why that made me think he wasn’t gay anymore—just did.

And then it happened. Mine flashed through my thoughts again. It had been a while since anyone had sparked that inside of me…come to think of it, never had. And now all I could think of was tall, dark haired man named Robert. Going to work was suddenly fun for the first time. I couldn’t wait to see him.

Sometimes while I worked at one of the computer stations, he would come over and work next to me and ask me more questions. I don’t remember what, but it sounded nice, and all I could think of was mine—mine and yum.

Then one day I invited him out with a group of friends from work. A group of us usual go out to Crown and Anchor, a local English pub, after work and try to forget how awful our jobs are.

“Thanks, but I’ve got my daughter tonight,” he said.

Sting in the chest! (Not a stab, those are much worse). I “inner-winced” and remembered when I dated a guy with a daughter. Yeah, Mr. Georgia. And…it didn’t work out too well. Which was a “heavy” bummer at the time. But hey! Why judge this guy the same way? And the way he said “I’ve got my daughter tonight” made me think, soooooo this guy’s gotta be divorced, right? Who says it that way when they’re married?

“Ah, so you’re married?” I asked, assuming he’d probably say something along the lines of “no, I’m divorced,” or “no, I’m widowed,” or “no, I adopted,” or “no, I had a child out of wedlock and I got to keep her, ha!” which would all be perfect answers to my hopeful little heart…or hormones…or whatever!

“Yes I am,” he said.

………………………………………………STAB!!!!!

“Oh,” I smiled…I think… “Well, why would you say it like that? Why would you say, I’ve got my daughter tonight, as if you’re divorced or something.” Then I threw in a little sarcastic laugh like I was being cool or something. “So where’s your wife, then?”

“She’s got class tonight,” he said, still smiling that annoying patient, yet sweet and gentle and so very attractive, but untouchable smile.

“Ah, yes. Ah, well, that makes sense—yes. Well……………maybe next time.” And I turned my focus to the computer…very intently to the computer, all the while feeling my insides—AND hormones—freeze up and go cold. Of course he’s married. Of course

And that was it.

But it wasn’t…

Romantic Prelude

Romantic Prelude

I was at Bogie’s tonight.

This place held a special memory in my heart, considering I had met an extraordinary man there, whom I ended up falling in love with throughout the months we dated. (Yes, yes, I know it’s the place where cougars and divorced—or not-so divorced—men try to, ahem, “hook up.”) In any case, when that relationship disappeared into distant memory, I continued to Bogie’s to prove to myself I could go there without “the man” in mind, and to also prove to myself that I liked the place after all. I created Girls’ Nights and occasions to attend the casual Westlake lounge.

There was a bartender, charming and generous. He treated us girls with affection and unlimited alcoholic beverages. I liked him. Not because of the free drinks in a place where a martini would cost 14 dollars. I liked him because of the sparkle in his eyes; because of the slow, scoundrel-like smile that spread across his Italian, yet baby-face expression; because of how relaxed I could feel around him when he closed his arms around me in a warm, soft embrace and then the gentle kiss on my cheek, and the murmur he would say to me, “Please come back and I’ll buy you dinner.”

I liked him.

But I would never go there alone. The idea seemed embarrassing, even though I had in the past gone out to dinner by myself. But this was purely to see a man, FOR a man, to attract a man. Every time I imagined showing up to the bar by myself to see the handsome and charming bartender, I foresaw other beautiful girls sitting by themselves all waiting for the attention of the same young, Italian, baby-faced man. And, every time, I would convince myself that this man would never want me out of all the other beautiful options.

After all, I am a nerd. I am not the typical woman. I spend my off times either reading, writing Star Wars, or watching Star Trek episodes in order (or any science-fiction in that respect). I am an obsessive person. I discover things I like, or dislike, and obsess over them until there is nothing left to obsess about.

For approximately eight months, I have had random acquaintance with this enchanting young bartender. Sometimes at his work, sometimes at mine, and he even had the off-chance of meeting my father, spurring a BMW conversation while Dad was waiting for me to finish one of my shows. How one interacts with my parents is HUGE to me, and apparently the young bartender did reasonably well at the time, enough to be logged into my father’s memory. That’s a good bartender, Dad must’ve thought.

And as much as my crush compelled me to want him, I did not pursue. In the past, I had experienced negative results anytime I had pursued a man. They always disappeared. So I was tentative and rather discouraged to even show this young man that I was even interested in him.

Then, came the whimming itch. My whimming itch usually occurs when I feel ultimately down in life, discouraged in everything I do, and the feeling of “nothing to lose” comes to play.

I had been feeling this way for the past month, since the start of the new year. Somehow, my positive streak had dived down into negative, and I went sour. I worked non-stop and auditioned with no luck. Everything felt like crap. Then, one day at work, after months of not seeing The Bartender, or even thinking of him, he appeared. He had wrapped his arms around me and said, “Did you ever get my message? I had called your work to find you. To tell you not to come in when I had asked you to because I wouldn’t have been there. They switched my days. Did you ever get it?”

“I did,” I said, “and I texted you to say that it was okay, but I never got a response. I assumed it was the wrong number.”

And it was, just barely by a single misplaced numeral. About a month ago, I had remembered him asking me to come see him and that he would treat me dinner. Later, I had gotten the “cancel” message from work and was given the wrong number. But I had let it go, figuring this wasn’t meant to be in the first place.

And there he was again. At MY work, telling me he was sorry the shifts changed, that he’d hoped I got his message and that he wanted me to come in again THIS week.

Why would a person, as charming, vibrant, handsome and AVAILABLE as he be so persistent? I always imagined him surrounded by beautiful girls so that he would never need to persist.

And I know guys. A guy doesn’t go out of his way to find a girl without some sort of mission, however simple that mission may be.

So, when the time came, I almost didn’t go out. I knew that if I went to Bogie’s alone that I would be accosted by numerous, unrelenting old divorced (or MARRIED) men. I knew that I wouldn’t really be able to spend any time with The Bartender because he would be busy working.

Then I decided, what the hell. I’ve got to do something mysterious and exciting in my life, or else I’ll go nuts.

I dressed myself in sheer black stockings dotted with tiny hearts, a thin cream-pink shirt-dress with a black lace back, and black suede stiletto pumps. I have all these great clothes and never get the chance to wear them. So I did tonight.

When I showed up at Bogie’s around eight, the place was already full. I sat near a fire pit and waited for The Bartender to see me. He did and he smiled. He was very busy, though, as I knew he would be. Nonetheless, he was able to come over and say hello. He brought me a French martini, one of those pink vanilla flavored ones, and I ordered the Ahi Tuna Tartar. I sat by the fire pit enjoying my drink, trying to look busy on my phone, but all the while watching him work. There were three older men that night that tried to get my attention.

The first: Ken Something from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

“Are you really sitting here by yourself, alone?” he asked.

I said, “I’m actually here by invitation.” And I gestured to The Bartender.

“The Bartender?!” he exclaimed. Then he went on to say something about helping me out, or that he was looking for someone new because he and his girlfriend might be breaking up at some point, and that he’ll let The Bartender know that I like him, etc. I didn’t care what happened. The man had obviously plenty to drink. He continued to stress about how I might recognize him, which I didn’t. And not that it would have mattered anyhow. I had my eyes on The Bartender.

The second: Something Something married man. I didn’t bother to remember his name.

“Please tell me you’re not really here to watch the basketball game, right?” he said, gesturing to the game I was distracted by.

“No, you’re right. I’m actually here for The Bartender. He invited me to come out to see him tonight,” I said, as I sipped on my second drink, a smooth Pinot Noir.

“The Bartender?!” he bellowed. Then he went on to talk about himself, and how he wished he had a redhead to buy tomato soup for (I was currently nursing a tomato bisque at the time). I listened patiently, but not really paying any attention. My ears were picking up another conversation to my right from a couple deeply intrigued with each other.

It was obvious they had met that night, and the man was trying his very hardest to be agreeable, mysterious, troubled, smart, and a “good guy” all at the same time. There were a few times I couldn’t contain my laughter every time he proclaimed something only a woman would WANT to hear from a guy, proclamations undoubtedly quoted from all the other women he’d picked up in the past: “I’ve been bad before, but I truly believe in really knowing a person before sharing something as intimate as sex with them…as much as I enjoy it…I have been bad before, but I strive to be good…” The man might as well be saying, “Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit,” and the woman probably would still be interested.

Then I was brought back to my unfortunate conversation with Something Something, when suddenly The Bartender met my gaze. He looked at me as if to ask if I was okay. A gave him a smile to assure him that I could handle it and to not worry about me.

Something Something eventually left (although he had come back for a second try until realizing I wasn’t cracking).

Finally The Bartender came over to me, as the lounge began to wither to only a few.

Leaning over the bar and grasping my hands in his, he said, “This place is too dangerous for you. Next time you should bring a wingman.”

But I hadn’t wanted to bring anyone else with me. I only wanted to see him and wanted his attention only on me, not on another beautiful wingman. Besides, he had asked for ME to come, not me “and my friends.”

“I’m sorry I’ve been so busy,” he said, his voice silky and sweet, always drawing a smile from me.

“It’s okay,” I said. “I’ve been fairly amused by the people around me. Besides, I needed to come out and relax a little.”

“Let me make it up to you,” he said, still grasping my hands in his. “A real dinner where I’m not working. And we’ll do something fun.”

“That sounds great,” I said, my smile brightening. Boy, had I been waiting for him to ask, from the first day I saw him. So we swapped numbers and then, before I knew it, he was swept back up into work.

That’s when man number 3 came into play.

He was married just like man 2, but this one was much more harmless. He began asking me questions about what it was like to be an only-child, that he had a daughter he was worried about not growing up happy because she, too, was an only-child. That marriage was so hard, especially when he travelled so much. And he just wanted to know what it was like for me.

I told him I’d always been happy, and, though my parents were always away throughout my growing up years, I never questioned their love for me. That they were honest with me, which helped me to trust them as I grew older. And I was completely aware of my parents’ difficult marriage.

“I guess one of the most important keys in marriage is to always strive to be kind to one another, no matter how stressed out you are, how hurt or angry you are. It’s always easier to attack the person closest to you. So striving to show kindness regardless of the situation can very well keep a marriage safe.” I said this, although I wasn’t sure where all that came from, and watched the expression on this man’s face go from worried to an almost bewildered yet peaceful countenance.

“You are wise beyond your years,” he murmured, shaking his head, as if surprising himself that he said it at all.

“No I’m not,” I said. “It’s just something my mother taught me. I have yet to experience what marriage is like.”

“Thank you, anyway,” he said. “I feel better talking to you. I have to leave now. Have a goodnight. And thank you.”

And man number 3 left, just like that.

And I was alone at the bar. The Bartender was busying himself with closing tabs. There were two other men at the far end of the bar that tried to invite me to join them, but I firmly told them I was here WITH The Bartender.

“I’ve been using you as an excuse,” I later told him.

He smiled. “Good. Thank you so much for coming in anyway. I hope it was somewhat enjoyable.”

“It was,” I said. “Thank you for treating me. I hope we can do something outside of Bogie’s next time.”

“Me too.”

I got up to leave and he gave me a big hug and a quick kiss on the mouth. I found it interesting how relaxed and natural I felt in his arms. There didn’t seem to be any awkwardness that usually accompanies two people who barely knew each other.

When I arrived home, I received a text from The Bartender saying, “Thank you beautiful for coming in tonight! Xoxo!”

I smiled as I climbed into bed. Whether or not he ever decides to call me, it didn’t matter. It felt good to feel attractive again. It felt good that I made myself whim again. It felt good that the unknown was out there again. He had my number now. Who knows if he’ll use it. But it’s fun to know it’s out there. And never knowing what might happen is the beauty of a whim, and a possible prelude to a romance.

Being twenty-six. Going where no twenty-something has gone before.

There have been only a few stages of my life where I noticed a massive physical and mental change occur. At thirteen I knew my life from there on out would be hugely different. At eighteen, I knew my childhood had gone and I panicked. I truly felt I wouldn’t survive as an adult. The transition was terrifying.

But I made it to twenty-six. And, again, I sense another major shift in my body and mind. I have confidence now that I can survive the adult world and be happy in it. At twenty-six, working is addicting, even though I am worn out faster. Going out is less appealing as it is to going home and spending time with myself. Of course, this is surely the result of being ridiculously busy.

At twenty-six, all-nighters are no longer easy to do. Coffee no longer keeps me awake, but remains a comfort in the morning.

At twenty-six, I finally obtained a Victoria Secret body, something I had been obsessed with and working on since I was sixteen. And, although my body is stronger than it has ever been, it hurts more. My lower back is now a constant pain and my right knee is weak. Vitamins have become a part of my daily life. And I have high-cholesterol, shocking news that somehow made me feel old. And yet, at twenty-six, I’m still arrogant and carefree.

I’m much more curious and brave at this stage. I want more and more to go where I have never gone before and experience new things. If I can live through it, I want to do it.

Finally I feel a confidence in myself I had never had before. My beliefs and opinions on how to live one’s life is richer and more well-rounded than the days of being naïve and close-minded. I am more fascinated with the way people react and feel, and I’m always searching for newer information. I still feel like I haven’t learned enough.

Emotion is something I have FINALLY been able to make sense of and control. I can rationalize better than I’ve ever had. When I don’t like someone, or they me, I can accept and be okay with it. Because it is impossible to be universally liked. However, treating those you don’t get along with graciously is important.

I have FINALLY learned to be patient, something I’ve been working on ALL my life. That’s an accomplishment I’m really happy about.

I am no longer in need of being needed by a man, as if I thought that gave me some purpose in my life before. It really didn’t.

On the other hand, I have also for the first time, experienced what it was like to be in love, something that had eluded me before. I lost it, but I crave to have it again. Although, strangely, I have no interest in looking for it, I am genuinely excited about finding it. I know now that I have the capability to feel that way, and it is incredible!

At twenty-six, I have come to accept my obsessive compulsive behavior as a unique and intriguing quality, although I may be the only one who feels this way.

And, even though I feel like I am still sixteen years old, in that youthful, playful sort of way, I am now accepted and taken seriously by the adult world. Something that I’ve yearned for most of my life.

Probably one of the most shocking discoveries I had come to realize was that I now want a child. Being someone who never liked or wanted children, I am still puzzled by this sudden change. Maybe by twenty-seven, I’ll go back to normal.

And maybe the reason I’m writing this is to put a mark in time so that when I’m old, I will remember. Hopefully this blog will still exist somewhere in cyberspace by then.

At twenty-six, I still don’t know where I’m going in my life, but instead of being scared by it, I am thrilled. Someone once told me their twenty-sixth year was a good one. I got a feeling, they’re gonna be right.

Thataway

Awkward Exes Serving Awkward Exes

Being a server sometimes means you’re gonna have to serve tables that know either too little or too much about you. In my case, I have on occasion had to wait on my ex-boyfriends’ exes. Not just exes, but the women who had broken my ex-boyfriends’ hearts. Which would make them the “big love” my boyfriends had lost at some point not too long after. And these women always seem to know who I am.

I’m starting to confuse myself, and probably you, so let me throw some examples out there.

Years ago, after I recently broke up with my first boyfriend, Cameron, I had to wait on his high school sweetheart, someone Cameron had a hard time letting go of after they had ended their relationship. Needless to say, it was someone he had loved hard for and I knew this while dating him. They had also kept in touch during my relationship with Cameron, always making me wonder if he was ever over her. It didn’t really matter anyway, considering Cameron and I didn’t work out. But what was awkward was that I knew certain private and personal things about her and she definitely knew certain private and personal things about me.

So when I announced my name (which is incredibly unique) and that I’d be taking care of her, I knew the smile on her face was purely superficial and nervous. This, in turn, made me uncomfortable, so for the duration of her dining out, everything was tense.

Irony, I think. Why is it that the ex-love of my recent ex-boyfriend somehow ends up sitting in my section when I know they are entirely unaware of my existence at The Restaurant? Especially when we had never met before?

But it doesn’t get anymore awkward than having the ex-WIFE sitting at your table. THE ex-wife your ex-boyfriend talked to you about for hours, telling you things she probably wouldn’t want you to know. And, as far as you know, she might know things about you that you wouldn’t want HER to know. And not only is it an ex-wife, but a recent one at that. Tricky, tricky…

I had never met her before, but had heard plenty. I also knew she was aware of my existence, but it was hard to say if she could recognize me by looks alone. I knew she would know my name, though. So, as I watched her tiny figure gracefully sit, looking with those extremely arched eyebrows, puffed out cheekbones and lips, I had to consciously restrain myself from going in multiple directions like a chicken with its head chopped off. For a split second, I felt guilty. Maybe it was because I had felt like a mistress when dating this man. Being hidden from his personal life always made me feel like I was in an affair and that if the wife found out, I would be in huge trouble. But it was his EX-wife. And he was now my ex-boyfriend (or more like a whim/fling/situation #2…refer back to situation #1 for clarification). “Boyfriend” doesn’t seem to fit this particular guy anyhow.

Still doesn’t change the fact that it was nerve-wracking. I swiftly passed by the table without greeting the ex and her date, and grabbed Ethel, another server, saying, “I can’t take this table. It’s HIS ex.” But really, I could have; however,considering it was dead in the restaurant, I knew Ethel could take it off my hands. I just didn’t feel like testing out my acting skills at that particular moment. I was just happy she didn’t walk in with her daughter. I could just feel the bile rise up my throat if that had happened. He did such a good job at hiding me from his daughter, how ironic would it have been if I got to meet her through his ex. Not that I wanted to be hidden, but he felt it best for his daughter not to know about me. Again, the Mistress title being labeled onto me. And again, I want to vomit. If only I was a Super Ex-Girlfriend, I wouldn’t feel so pathetic…Yes...this is more like it.

There was always another reason to vomit, and it was because I knew he had really loved his ex-wife. She was his “big love” just like Cameron’s high school sweetheart was his “big love.” And both ended up in my section. Years apart, but in two separate states, and yet still the same irony. Still the same awkwardness. Because, I too, was an ex. And I hate serving exes.