Catching the right bus

Just because I haven’t written anything of substance for a few days doesn’t mean nothing has been happening. Things happen, but sometimes they seem just another iteration of previous items that it hardly seems reporting on, regardless of how interesting or fun. And sometimes I’m just too busy, or lazy to write. Sometimes this ad hoc attitude towards writing can mislead the casual reader. Because I give more weight to the novel or interesting those things may seem to predominate. I’d hardly claim my life is normal at the moment – it isn’t – but for the most part I must deal with the same domestic and banal events as everyone else. Like everything else they are a mix of everything, including quiet satisfaction. Quiet satisfaction doesn’t sell papers though, as they might say, and so it gets left out. And in place of those reports often are posts that just the opposite. I don’t know if angst sells papers, but it certainly fuels the impulse to write. If then my angst ridden posts seems to surface regularly it should not be presumed that my life is full of angst. In many ways I’m a regular dude, and probably better adjusted than most. The ratio of angst to non angst posts may seem high sometimes, but that’s only because I don’t bother with the everyday non-angst posts.

So – that’s my preamble and cautionary warning as I lead into another angsty post.

Last Thursday night I went to one of my networking event. This is an event I enjoy as the speakers and topics are normally interesting, the audience in attendance vibrant and motivated, and the wine flows. On this occasion I bumped into someone I knew from elsewhere and chatted to him for quite a while. Another acquaintance was in rare attendance, and I met a few new people with interesting stories to tell. And there were a couple of women.

During the speaking part of the night I sat in the front row directly opposite one of the speakers, a curly headed travel writer. She was not beautiful, but there was something about her that made me thinking she was very cute. In part it was her looks, which were a bit different, nice without being extraordinary. Much more was her manner, which I could imagine putting many people off, but only did the opposite to me. When she spoke it seemed often with a drawling indifference, Her face showed little and though the words flowed from her and she was clearly keen to share there was little emotion exposed. Though I did not know her she seemed the very definition of unflappable. I watched as she spoke, fascinated by her manner before being slowly drawn into it. There were times when she would suddenly smile, or even laugh at some story she told, and at those times it was like catching a glimpse inside of her. I decided her manner was not an affectation, but nor was it necessarily a true indication of her character. It was like much of who she was was hidden behind a heavy curtain. There was no suggestion of hiding or deception – this curtain as such was just another part of her. Behind the curtain though there were delights perhaps – who can know? – that were a pleasure to behold.

It is characteristic of me that I was drawn to this, as another example soon will similarly attest. I wanted to corner her, and privately to thrust aside that curtain to find what I might discover there. In my mind I had it that she was one of those people who actually had a lot – more perhaps – than most, but generally hidden from public view. I’m often like that myself. Privately and intimately though it is a different story. I found myself then delighting in her every utterance. As is its wont my imagination began to run away with myself in a particularly salacious direction. Right there sitting directly opposite her I began to imagine all sorts of carnal acts, and her delighted enthusiasm as she joined in. Whether it showed or not I don’t know, but as I was no more than 7 feet from her our eyes began to strayly meet.

There was another woman there Thursday, the attractive Vietnamese girl I’ve been out with a few times previously. As soon as she saw me she called out my name from the far side of the room. We met and embraced. As always she looked fine, and as always immaculately turned out. She is one of those women who seemed inextricably bound up in her grooming, almost as if her clothes and presentation are a second skin she only rarely sheds. I like her, but know pretty much I couldn’t stay intimate with her for too long. She is one of those driven entrepreneurs who are on pretty much 24/7. At one stage she complained how frustrated she became on a recent holiday when she found she couldn’t connect with the office to work. I chided her about that, gently taking the micky. I think she believes I’m her type: kind-of cool, ok to look at, and, like her, cleverly enterprising. Of course I only appear some of those things in relation to her – she draws from me a confident chivvying always presenting an alternative view. I get told I’m driven, but I tend to think it’s more laissez faire, laid-back. I’m not a guided missile like some, and would hate to become one.

I found myself being attracted anew on Thursday night to L. I knew there wasn’t anything long term in it, and didn’t really want that. I’m sure that we would drive each other crazy. I did want to remove the beautiful dress from her, and sure, some of that was pure desire, but there was also a large element of wanting to get at the woman beneath to see what I would find. If her dress is her uniform what is the woman like without it? I wanted to find her vulnerable and raw, driven by passion and emotion rather than ambition. I wanted to strip from her those layers and find the girl inside the woman, wanted to have her share with me her girly aspirations, her silly dreams, the impractical, illogical, but oh so real inner self. And as much as curiosity drove me, and desire, it was also the challenge that excited me – as if to achieve that feat was like breaking the toughest safe in the world. There might be bars of gold bullion inside, but the real satisfaction is in defeating the system, in getting into a place no-one is meant to get into.

I went home on Thursday with all these ideas going through my head, and notions of things I will do. I have a feeling that things haven’t played out with L yet, and on Thursday I had every intention of following up. I’m less sure about that now.

I went out on Friday night locally with another girl. It was meant to be an early night, but she got enthused and even though I wanted to head home it went on. There’s not much to say about the actual night except to report that next morning I felt as if I had reached a long-belated resolution. I had woken to a sound outside at about 6am. Unusually for me I got up and went to the window. It was light outside and the rain was falling. It looked very pretty and serene. I imagined everyone must be safely in bed right now fast asleep. I opened the blind and went back to bed with the early morning light and the hush of the falling rain a pleasing presence in the room. I fell back into a half sleep and in that state found my mind shifting and clarifying. Processes were at work synthesising not just my experiences of recent days, but long before that too. When I woke it all seemed pretty clear.

I’ve had enough of convenient sex – that is sex you have because you can, because it’s available, and because you feel like a goose turning it down (though I have occasionally). No more convenient sex I told myself, that’s that. It was a relief having made the decision. Passionate sex is still a goer – when you feel you must, when the head of steam is so great that any other choice is foolish. As is loving sex, obviously, though that seems kind of moot. One night sex is okay too as long as it’s spontaneous, one thing leads to another sex. I’m only human. Sex for convenience is gone though.

Following on from this I had a dream yesterday, or rather a succession of closely linked dreams. The dreams felt like they went on for hours. The dreams featured two people, though neither of them were in the same dream together, and both, unsurprisingly, were women: Jen and Amy.

I don’t remember much of the dreams events, but I can recall the general tenor of them. In each I think there was a sense of tentative reconciliation and forgiveness. In different ways these women featured heavily in my life at one time, and both times it ended badly, and with a lingering bad taste in my mouth. It must be hundreds of times I’ve wished, or dreamt in some way, that could be made good. Nothing big, just a “it’s ok, I understand, no hard feelings H” sort of thing. Just tick it off. More than that might be nice, but a bonus I’m not looking for.

It seems pertinent that in none of yesterdays dreams was I with either of these girls, despite my avid hopes at one time. The dreams were not about that. We had come together again, perhaps inadvertently, found ourselves talking and remembering and gradually coming to an understanding. Much of it was awkward, even difficult, but on each occasion I think we all knew it was worth persisting with. Time passes, water flows under the bridge, hurt feelings and disappointed passions transmute into faded memories, imprints of things that once happened but no longer exist. All of that gets pushed aside as you remember that once there was a reason you liked this person, and that survives. Things are different now, but there’s no harm in acknowledging that and finding some peace in the events now passed.

That’s how it seemed: I forgive you H. I like you and once you were an important person in my life.

For me waking up from these dreams I was left with a warm feeling. I was glad to have dreamt this. I took two things from those dreams. the first is obvious, the thirst for reconciliation even if it is only in myself. It’s not a big thing, it does not shadow me, but it persists. I wish I had done differently, and it galls me that I failed in those moments, and I would love to make it good if it were possible if only for my peace of mind. It’s a kind of redemption I’m searching for.

The other is less obvious. In light of the last few episodes I wrote of at the beginning of this post, and how common and recurrent the likes of those episodes are, it seems to me the dream was gently telling me you’re on the wrong bus, mate. These were authentic feelings it reminds me, with these women you felt it all the way through. So it didn’t happen, but it can, and that’s what you should be aiming for. Get your head on straight, find your heart, and forget those juvenile challenges: be yourself, and don’t forget it.

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