Sunday, March 25, 2007

primal inference

I ran into an old lover on Friday, the only lover in a non-relationship I've really ever had. It's probably been six years since I've seen him, strange enough because we work in the same field (I always was a sucker), but somehow we've managed not to cross paths in all this time.

I was showing someone around a site I am rarely at when I came around a corner and saw him, facing away, but recognizable (always) from a distance.

I actually stopped walking and before I could stop myself said Oh...I was so not expecting this...followed immediately by a silent and i look like shit. He must have sensed something from 100 feet away because at that precise moment he turned and looked, then turned again for a moment, standing still.

We both managed (always had managed) to play it off, even when we were involved no one at either of our agencies was remotely aware of it; but I'd be lying if I denied that my knees didn't all of a sudden feel like sand.

Perhaps some things may never change, and yet I walked past with a cool long time, friend, to with he replied yes, nice to see you. I walked into the office and took a few minutes to watch him through the window. He looks exactly the same.

It was always a visceral thing, a former life, a primal connection. He was the one in between others for a number of years, the one that was no good but I still couldn't shake. It was physical, with a minor in emotional, but from time to time I'd confused the two, and that was my downfall.

He looks exactly the same, a south american with a minor in cuban, a bit of new silver, but mostly, exactly the same. He is never someone I think of, no one I miss. But in those few moments it was if an invisible velvet cord wrapped in Neruda and red wine wrapped itself around my waist and pulled me close. The way a man places his hand on the small of your back while teaching you to salsa and guides you effortlessly around the floor. Omara Portundo singing in the background. A bit like all of that.

I took the high road and avoided him. He waited until there was a pause and came over, direct, subtle, exotic, saying I've often wondered how you are. Do you have a moment? Not really, my mind says Just a minute, I suppose, comes out of my mouth.

We wander off from the crowd and he mentions hearing that I've become a mother, he wonders how that is. I am trying not to fidget. I decide I don't really want to tell him anything.

It was always like this. And it was simultaneously very flawed. He was never truly forthcoming, he had too many wounds and was the opposite of what I needed all those years ago. And yet I dug in for far too long at the sacrifice of other things not the least of all myself. I'm still a bit irritated over the power he had, and the way even now, seeing him makes me feel.

After a few moments I tell him I need to go, people are waiting. He asks if he could see me, go to lunch, catch up, talk. No, I say, with my mind and voice this time, I don't think so. He looked taken aback, started to speak, then paused, gazed, nodded, and said adios, then, preciosa. If you change your mind....No, I said. I don't think I will.

I watched him walk away and stood still after he'd left, silent. It had always been like this. And it was the most it ever was. He was exactly the same. And thank god I am not.

37 comments:

Thailand Gal said...

Good on you for recognizing that. He sounds like an energy vampire. It is that kind of strong, irrational connection that is often a "soul mate" connection. You learned and got what you needed. It sounds as though he didn't? Is that your impression?

slouching mom said...

I echo thailand gal -- good for you. Those kinds of connections, raw and electric, are troublesome from the get-go, I believe.

(And, once, I lived that as well.)

Redneck Mommy said...

Wonderful imagery.

I have a velvet rope that often tugs on me when I see a certain somebody as well.

But like you, I have grown, where he has just aged.

ECR said...

Damn, I can never come up with anything that dramatic and final in coversation. I'd be all, "yeah, sure, I'll give you a call." And then I never would. Which doesn't make nearly for nearly as effective dialogue.

P.S. I can't help but think that it must have been nice to slip back into that primal place for just a minute, despite everything else.

Laurie said...

There is someone like that in my life. I have been moving away from him for awhile now. Your story has given me renewed strength in my quest to rid this man from my life.

Thank you.

Mrs. Chicky said...

What ECR said, it must have been nice to slip back into your former single skin for a moment. It's been years since I've seen the man from my physical-only relationship. I wonder what I'd do? Probably not come across as frank as you did.

jen said...

Chani - yes.

ECR - it was. i was struck by that in the moment and after.

Frankness is a shield....

QT said...

Whoa - I got a shiver reading this post. Much like everyone else has said, I have one of those too. Time and distance have loosened his grip on me, but every once in awhile he calls me and I do dream - just for a moment, of what it would have been like.

I don't know if I could have been as strong as you were in this situation. Kudos to you, and I will call you preciosa every once in awhile if you miss it :)

jen said...

Neen, sadly, I'd probably like that a lot.

Oh, and Redneck - i love how you put it, grown versus aged. Exactly.

flutter said...

Oh how I love this post. We are kindred, you and me. Isn't it amazing how someone you tossed no thought to can show up and suck the air out of the room?
I am proud of your response. Neruda, red wine and all.

Blog Antagonist said...

I love your writing. I could feel the tension between the two of you. I have had several "what if" and "could have been" people in my past, and the temptation to wonder is always tempered by contentment with what is. Still...when there is such raw physical attraction, it's difficult not to think about it...a little bit. But I think you must be a very confident and self-actualized person to have realized that it wouldn't have been good to rekindle the flames of that long dead romance. Good for you.

KC said...

I love the velvet rope part and I know exactly what you mean.

Strong, woman.

The ones that make you feel so desired are hard to forget.

kristen said...

I love these moments in life, when you're given a glimpse into yourself to see how you'd respond even if the answer is bittersweet? Thank you for sharing this delicious story - your imagery here was beautiful and the story written so well.

slouching mom said...

(Jen? Thanks for your visit a little bit ago. I have a sinking feeling that only the first half of my post was available for reading. I have been having Blogger issues all day! I can't stand it! So if you think it didn't end, well, maybe it really didn't. Sorry. Check back if you felt confused.)

Sorry, everyone. Please continue.

Julie Pippert said...

Oh INTENSE!

I felt that!

What do you think about it all now?

Do you ever wonder sometimes, with things like these?

I know this thing...I can logically say, "Oh yes, I've grown beyond, I learned a lesson..." but something about that for me just doesn't quite feel full. There's a lingering something, doubt, or something.

I don't know, maybe it's like that person is still within me, even if not running the show any longer.

UGH

I don't know how to word it. Ever good with concepts, not so much with emotions. If only you could pull it out of my head for me LOL.

Oh, The Joys said...

That you are able to walk away this time with confidence speaks volumes about the man you are with now and how you feel about him.

meno said...

I found it very telling that you didn't want to tell him anything. And that he was shocked at your "no."
A distance between you that only you will acknowledge.

NotSoSage said...

What an amazing post. I can't believe your insistence that you're not a writer. I knew the feeling just reading about it.

I have someone like that in my life...the crazy part is, it was never consummated, and I've convinced myself that had it been, the velvet rope would be cut. As it is, I'm glad I never see him or it would take a lot not be drawn in.

Lucia said...

Heck, by the time you got to the velvet cord wrapped in Neruda, I wanted him in a primal sort of way.

I know all about the right thing, but I have a deep fear of not having this primal attraction again in my life.

deb said...

I ran into an old flam last fall, he hadn't changed at all but I still felt weird. Then he hit on me and implied that the reason we weren't together now was all my fault. Hey, he was a dink 25 years ago and he's still a dink. Good to know.

luckyzmom said...

What a fabulous read!!!

Like everyone else, I am so proud of you.

karrie said...

I love that we all seem to have one of those guys in our past, and agree you made the right choice in refusing to get together with him.

Bob said...

I feel kinda sad that I was never that guy for someone.........

kinda, but not really.

Jenny said...

Beautifully written.

Good for you, chaquita. It's that fact that you aren't that person that makes you all the more precious.

Denguy said...

It may have felt like weakness, but in fact it was strength.

Beck said...

Luckily for me, none of my exes have any erotic frisson left AND they've also apparently all moved to the moon, a perfect combination.
I think you handled that perfectly.

liv said...

Oh! My comment just got eaten! Anyway, I just wanted to say how glad I am that you were able to keep walking. My past is sometimes infusing the present particularly as I adapt to newly single life. I know it needs to stay there, but still...

beautifully constructed post as always, darling!

theflyingmum said...

Wow. Intense. Do we all have that guy in our pasts? I dread running into him. Even though I feel like I've made a happy life for myself, if I saw him tomorrow I'd be all red-faced and stuttery. Sounds like you handled yourself with quiet dignity. Another excellent post.

kgirl said...

Oh god, I don't even like bumping into people I went to high school with.
Well played.

Tabba said...

This speaks volumes about where you are now.
I "enjoy" little things like this from time to time. It feels like you've been kicked in the gut. But when you stop and take it all in, you can see how far you've really come - and where you came from. You get to see the progress. You get to appreciate what you have now.

mamatulip said...

Sounds to me like the power between the two of you shifted at that moment with him.

Good for you.

hel said...

Before I met Flo I firmly believed those were the only men worth dating.

Sigh, the ones who makes ones toes curl back in passion tinged with a bit of fear.

But I'm happy with the choice I made to rather go for the ones who makes my heart melt with tenderness.

Cristi said...

"It was physical, with a minor in emotional..."

I've always wondered what "the friend with benefits" would be like if the emotions didn't creep in and it was purely physical? Oh, I guess that would make me a man.

carrie said...

Oh jeez . . . been there.

Carrie

Emily said...

Your writing continues to astound me. I love the neruda, red wine, salsa dancing paragraph. Beautiful. (and I'm glad you said no to lunch)

Alice said...

Wow. Awesome post. Reading it and all the comments was so cathartic for me because I have that same person in my life, although the break up is very recent and the wounds fresh. So hard when you know someone is not the right person for you but yet you can't seem to move away from that place in your heart. You give me hope. Thanks.

Ruth Dynamite said...

Yes - you have the power now.

Your writing sizzles, lady. Love this.