Telling, not kissing

I had a mini breakthrough yesterday when I actually told someone parts of my recently chequered past. It was over coffee at lunchtime. I met with a woman I’ve been seeing now and again, but with nothing serious in prospect. She had just returned from a few weeks holiday in Japan, and had very generously presented me with a selection of Suntory whiskies as a gift. The conversation transitioned from her travels to what has been happing in her absence, from plans for the future and hopeful expectations before somehow segueing into even deeper topics.

I’m uncomfortable speaking about what has happened to me. I’m not ashamed, but find it an embarrassing subject, particularly when I am forced to explain it. I’m a private person regardless and, as she observed, quite proud. I think I confessed trying to explain my reticence when it comes to things romantic. I want to, very much, but because of my recent past and the constraints of my present situation, my options are far fewer than in days before this when I had not a concern in the world.

I didn’t explain things to that degree, but said I was not quite right to commit – then, feeling I had to explain that a little told her that there was a lot more I was dealing with than I had told her. Of course, once you say something like that you can’t really leave it there, which is when I reluctantly confessed that I had spent 15 months homeless, hinting at all the complicating factors falling out of that, many of which are still ongoing (and which I don’t really bother about recording here).

She seemed unsurprised. I had probably foreshadowed something, and had admitted to smaller things along the way. Right from the start I had said that I had a complicated life and I was not a good catch – I need to be honest to that extent. She nodded her head. She asked some questions. I imagine it must have been hard for you to ask for help, she said. I said it was, but that in the end you have no other choice if you mean to survive. No-one knows the full story I told her, not even my closest friends.

She accepted it. She seemed undeterred. She may even have been impressed that I had survived and come through it. I reiterated to her that there was a long way to go, but that I was hopeful and determined.

I’m glad I told her. It’s a conversation I have to have more often, and it will be good for me. It becomes easier when things improve – I’d much rather confess to something done, dusted, and successfully endured, than something that continues to bear down on me.

I’ve told her now and we might become friends – she’s a good person and has interesting ambitions. She’s not for me though. I need someone who will lift me. I need a kind of innocence I can believe in.

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