For the past two weeks, I’ve felt like I’m on a ledge. I’m not sure how I got up here, but suddenly I’m looking downward into the abyss – uncertain what exactly is down there, certain it’s a long way down.
I stand on this ledge, daring myself to jump. Wanting to want to jump. Wanting someone else to push me off, to make it all so much easier. Then there is part of me that wants to get carefully down from the ledge, what in the hell was I thinking getting up here anyway? It reminds me of the feeling I had when I was a kid and I climbed up to the diving board. Never the courageous child, I still wanted to fit in with the other children (I aspired to be a cool kid) and jump off the high diving board. I would climb up the wet, slippery stairs, every step bringing me higher and higher. About halfway up, I wonder what in the world was I thinking, there’s no way I can jump. I feel an urge to start to climb back down, but then there is another kid below me on the stairs, so there is no climbing down, just up … up … up. At the top, I hear words of encouragement from my friends down below, and I know there is no way off this diving board but to jump. That’s how I feel right now. However, should I have ever climbed up this far? Am I ready to jump? What will be the consequences?
Things have been getting serious with Chef, and suddenly I’m on the ledge. Should I stop dating? Should I give this a serious try? How did I let this get so far, when I’ve clearly stated (in writing on this blog, no less), that I’m not ready for a relationship? Standing on this ledge, confused, scared, excited, I don’t know what to do.
Chef has asked me to stop dating other people; he’s falling in love with me. Yes. I feel that. I’m falling too. I can’t imagine how he must feel when I go out with someone else, much less make out with someone else. I get jealous of the servers at his restaurant, for goodness sake. He mentioned a girl, a Russian yoga instructor, no less, that hit on him, and I am anxious. Will he like her better? Will he get tired of me being unavailable? Why am I suddenly so worried I’m going to lose him?
Chef says I make him happy. He has such a busy schedule and now I find him in my house, in my bed, two nights in a row. Yes.
I think about all that comes with this relationship, and suddenly I feel panicky over the details. Will he call me his girlfriend? Do we need to change our relationship status on Facebook? No. No. Not what I want. I miss those things with my ex, but I’m not ready to have those things with someone else. I’m not ready for the congratulations of my updated status. I’m not ready to define what any of this is in the terms that we’ve all learned as a society. If I had to choose, I’d say “In a relationship, and it’s complicated.” Definitely not a good start.
He wants me to meet his family, but we haven’t talked about when or where … it’s more of a general announcement, “I want you to meet my mother.” Yes. I want to meet someone so important to you as well. I want to see where you come from, who you really are. But what are the implications of meeting someone’s mother, when I still miss my ex fiancee’s mother? When I still think about his family, wonder how they are doing, sometimes miss them almost as much as I miss him? They were my second family for seven years. We went through kidney transplants, cancer, countless barbeques, wedding preparations, religious fights and lots of laughter. Those moments are still such a part of me.
I’m standing on this ledge, and Chef wants me to just be with him. I can’t tell if it’s jealousy, because he goes back and forth on what he really feels. Sometimes, he doesn’t think we are ready. He points out that three months ago, I was supposed to be married. He always moves too fast in his relationships. He comes and he cooks for me, we watch terrible TV and we laugh. He brings Casablanca; he agrees to watch the awful movie Dear John with me. We fall asleep in each other’s arms. Yes. We have discussions about what we want out of a partner, and I learn he could propose to the right person in just a year. No. A year … that’s a drop in the bucket of what I had with my ex, and that obviously didn’t work out. A year? I feel myself wanting to climb carefully down from the ledge.
And then he kisses me, and then I ignore text messages from the other men with which I’ve been talking. Then I am more annoyed than excited by my prospects on Plenty of Fish. I’m anxious about setting up a second date with anyone – will they kiss me this time? Do I even want to be kissed? Yes. I want to be kissed. By someone else, however. Yes, I still enjoy the thrill and think that dating is possibly one of the most fun things I’ve ever done, yes I’m afraid that I’ll miss it. Yes, it may be way too early.
Chef says that things are changing, and he’s not sure that he can keep this arrangement any longer. He can’t keep seeing me go out with other men and still see him. I feel change is afoot too, and it scares me. I’m scared he only wants me because he feels he can’t have me, and that once he haves me, he won’t want me anymore. I’m afraid that in the end, I’m going to be hurt again. I’m not sure my heart can take it.
I’m afraid that I’m falling more than he is all of a sudden. Somehow I’m no longer on the ledge. I’m in a free fall, my speed increasing by the day, and I don’t know what’s at the bottom. All I hear is yes, yes, yes. The nos are quieted, for a moment. I’m not sure if they’ll come back, loud and clear, but right now I am falling. He’s playing with my hair, we’re laughing and cooking dinner. He made me one of the best meals I’ve ever had the other night. My sister came to visit and hung out with us, and I think we had a really fun time. I met his best friend too, and I genuinely liked him and wanted to get to know him better. We opened up the windows last night, and listened to the rain for hours, me with my head on his chest so that I could hear his breathing, his heartbeats almost louder than the rain. Chef kisses me better than any man has ever kissed me.
So I’m falling. We’ll see what’s at the bottom.