That’s Absurd…it is the theme of this week’s WordPress writing challenge, and we were asked to add a dash of magic and a touch of surrealism to our writing.
I took the challenge and wrote this fictional story.
Who hasn’t been using dating sites yet? Don’t ever say to her that those who haven’t are old fashioned, as she will be mad at you. She hadn’t got the courage until this year when finally deciding to break through deep layers of unconscious, rigid principles and morals, that she wasn’t even aware of.
Who is she? Her fictive name is Janet, a 35 years old, smart, young and fit woman (one should not ever ask her age). The ones who love her say that she is beautiful, intelligent, impressive and charming, and the opinion of those who don’t, is not important to her. She finds these comments a good boost for her ego! She is a shy person with loads of friends. Generous and loyal, she can get easily hurt when mistreated, having a tough time to forgive. Of course she has weaknesses. Many, and you will find it out for yourself.
She had a few but always serious and lasting relationships, including a romantic relationship with ‘the-one-and-only”, which was getting her nowhere.
Tired of listening to the exciting and romantic life of her cleaning lady, she decided it was about time to stop being jealous, and dare to make her own life more exciting too.
Some of her friends had been navigating in deep waters on the virtual dating space, but she always found it an awful, unreal and unsafe way to interact with human beings. They mostly met people that had nothing to do with one another, except for the shared loneliness and sadness that confused their sense of reality, to the point of calling it love.
She hadn’t tried it for not really needing it but she kept the curiosity. Coming from marriage to a serious relationship for many years, isolated her from what was going on in the modern world of relationships. She got the nerves to get rid of her emotional addiction to the “one-and-only” and broke up with him.
She was always too busy with work and used that to cover up her frustrating relationship. But she was tired of being the stereotype of a corporate slave turned into a workaholic and considering to go to a spa or a detox week in a spiritual centre in Tibet. The best would be though to get real and take real steps to change the way she lived.
Change would come from simply having a free weekend, going out with friends, calling or replying to their e-mails, accepting their invitations, or even paying attention to people’s attention towards herself, having vacations, leaving work at normal hours, dressing casual and having a laugh. She was on denial for a long time, immersing herself into her work.
One day she decided to be the modern, open, flexible, forward thinking person she thought she was, and contacted someone on a dating site, on an anonymous basis. Fortunately, he had left an e-mail and she didn’t need to register on the website! His profile seemed to be of a cool, intelligent and maybe interesting person. The kind of job he did and the environment he lived in also attracted her, for being so different from her world, and for she always liked hanging out with friends working in the areas of arts and humanities, who seemed to be more interesting than business accountants like herself. She felt the need to stretch beyond her comfort zone and experiment the thrill of a no-barriers, no-limits context. It was about time to feel closer to her inner self and just be.
Who is he? A 39 years old man that we will call Tony; creative writer, cancerian (yes, exactly as in the astrologic type), playing a deep undercover, easygoing cool guy, looking for a date, casual relationship, serious relationship, a friend, or a nice girl for Christmas but…who forgot to inform he is afraid exactly of having that. Ah, he also hates women on cell phones when on a date!
They met for a coffee on a sunny day and had a funny talk. In less than a few minutes they were talking about her cleaning lady’s love stories. Five seconds later, he provided her with an aesthetically direct assessment on the beauty of her ass. He had a good, cynical humor that she found attractive. By the way, he spent some time on his cell phone while on the date! Just for the record!
They met again at his place. Some sort of mutual physical attraction created a bond between them because of good sex, good kisses, lots of humor and a light and non-compromising exchange of thoughts. Successive encounters followed without planning, but often too often. She made a point to let it flow naturally and to never be the one taking the initiative to call, as she liked this new sort of relationship without commitments. Mostly he was the one pushing it forward.
It was feeling good. Relaxing, attractive. Nothing planned and nothing expected. Apparently, they were two people, who got along well enough and seemed to enjoy each other. It didn’t matter that he had a broken heart for an ex-girlfriend, who dumped him for open relationships. Neither that she had just come out of a long heart-healing process from a complicated, addictive relationship with a very dominant, suffocating and manipulative man.
Two human beings getting to know each other was a wonderful thing, because there is nothing more fascinating than the tapestry, the intricacies of the human mind. Having had similar experiences didn’t make them alike. Sometimes, it felt like he was asking questions to find out answers/solutions to his previous experiences. Mostly, showing special interest in understanding how and why women feel and think as they do. She didn’t ask many questions. She already knew that story of Mars and Venus; remember it?
Then, the magic started to be threatened. The first signs of normalcy showed up. In 2-3 occasions he cut off nice moments, with a “do-not-get-involved-with-me” talk, just out of the blue, unnecessary chill out. She got confused and couldn’t grasp his behavior. He was too regularly (every week, weekends…) calling to meet up and was always affectionate, showing interest and sometimes surprising her.
He was calling her when thrilled for having been awarded with a big prize at the Cannes Festival. Her friends told her to watch out, this was too much sharing of intimacy and he seemed to be too much into her! They thought that in private moments like that one either calls the mother or the other significant half. She didn’t think so.
She was traveling a lot but they always found time to see each other. There was no space for mixed feelings as she had the choice to be with him or with other people that she had met lately. She wasn’t lonely and meeting him for that.
She met a Canadian poet during a flight to Russia. A handsome, clever and interesting man, who was so fond of her (like Hugh Grant in a romantic movie with Julian Roberts) that he asked the flight attendant to give her a poem and his personal information, as he couldn’t leave the plane without contacting her. They met a few times but argued as an old couple on the verge of a divorce, as he was a jealous and passionate lover. After a few weeks of silence, a good talk and apologies and The End of the story was declared.
At the same time, the “only-one”, who was still in love with her, never gave up and kept calling her. The paradox was that too much love, just like too much food, can be difficult to digest and might congest your body system, killing some of the vital organs’ function, like in an entropy process. When a relationship becomes a “monoship”, based on only one’s wishes, imposing control through an insecure automatic pilot, and madly focusing too much on conjugating all verbs in the imperative and using only one personal pronoun format, namely “I”, then it is time to get the hell out of there, restore self esteem, self respect and ask yourself who and what you think you loved.
It was time to calculate how much she felt happy or unhappy, and if the latter was higher. She followed this mantra: breath deeply, cry, call your friends for a warm shoulder, go to the gym for two hours to get rid of your anger and anxiety (at least you will look fabulous), eat a whole pot of ice cream without guilt, whatever, but do something, get out of the “monoship”.
There was also another other guy from her office, who fancied her, as well as her personal trainer ( the one every woman dreams to have), and funny enough, she also met a neighbor, who invited her out. She had an intense attraction for clever and cultured people and could spend hours talking to them. He was just like that.
One could think that she was going out with all of them and enjoying open relationships. She indeed had too much choice at hand. Guess what, she was not. Instead, she was going out only with Tony.
Tony turned to be really cool but also very moody (as unexpectedly as it can be and as a weirdo as a woman with PMS). He performed a great show of self-confidence, use and control of words, but deep inside, he had deep insecurities, which prevented him from being happy.
He went through profound, afflictive and traumatic experiences in life, which made him believe, and set in stone, that he is forever a complicated, problematic guy, who will carry this cross all his life, like Jesus Christ did. He is a Catholic, at last. Sometimes she thought he liked to hide himself behind these problems as to justify his fears of living life for real. Contrastingly, he searched for new people while pushing them away, as if he didn’t deserve them.
Janet was exactly the opposite type of person. She had a normal family, with problems, difficulties, traumas, but was extremely positive, believing that anything could be sorted out if one wants, almost like being high and in a compulsive denial. She believed that one cannot forget past experiences, but can certainly continue dreaming and making an effort to make a better future, regardless. For that she didn’t care that he had these problems, which were non-issues for her. She didn’t think less of him and that is where she made a mistake to underestimate his preconceived beliefs by using her own references to judge him.
They always met at each other’s places. One day he invited her for coffee with a friend and when she was leaving, he insisted to have another coffee at his place. In less than 20 minutes, she was gone and puzzled. He went from cheerful to bad mood for no reason. He was like that from time to time, when tired or sleepy, so he said. She didn’t really like that easy way out explanation, and felt like someone who had been invited to be part of a movie she didn’t plan to be on, and then being abruptly dismissed. She couldn’t take this smoothly but for what it was, selfish and rude.
The climate got a bit cooler between them. She decided to keep some distance for a while and put her thoughts in order. All she didn’t need was to be hurt, particularly in a casual relationship.
She was about to travel again for another two weeks but would like to see him before. Self-control prevented her and instead she spent the weekend with one of her girlfriends, resisting his call to meet up. His birthday would be in two days, so while visiting an art gallery, she saw a picture that was a perfect gift. It was a fortunate coincidence to find a picture with a Madonna. They both being raised in Catholic families became a useful tool to play jokes with. His orgasms invoking “Santa Maria” became a must have in bed, followed by lots of laughter and a bowl of milk with muesli.
Their sexual life was a good fit. He liked to call himself the reverend and her the sister. He was visibly flattered to be in control of the domains of the flesh! So, what an innocent idea she thought it was when decided to buy this picture, not knowing he would later make a mess of misinterpretation out of it.
Despite the resistance to see him, she ended up doing it before going to the airport and made a fatal mistake to give him the picture. He was speechless, looking at her as if he had seen a ghost. They left the flat together as her driver had arrived, and she was speechless, watching his paralysis. She couldn’t understand what was the shock all about. Maybe he didn’t like the picture and couldn’t bring himself to tell her; after all, art is a very personal thing. He didn’t speak, he didn’t move. What was going on in his mind? She sent a text message to him asking if there was a problem but he said it was all fine. She didn’t believe it.
In the following day she was already abroad. It was his birthday. She called but got voicemail, so an e-card met him instead. They sent e-mails to each other, which resulted in a big miscommunication. She had decided to forget that she was mad at his behavior, after all, it was his birthday; the day one cannot be upset. She got really angry when he asked her to talk about him to one of her girlfriends. Jealous?
He said she was too much into him and didn’t want her to be too gooey and hurt her. She shot back calling him arrogant and pretentious, what offended him. She concluded it was precisely the time to stop the e-mail chain, as to avoid hurting each other more seriously. He was seeing her out of his own will, seemed to be enjoying it for making it a very recurring event, but at the same time made every effort to push her away with all stupid remarks.
Was he doing that to test her feelings? Was he actually searching for the opposite answer, and longing to hear that in fact, yes, she was very much into him? She never told him the truth, and she wasn’t aware of it either.
She was sure of not being pushy or forcing herself on him, but who knows, people are so different and maybe her way of being caring might have given him the feeling that she was trying to be in a serious relationship.
After a few days of cooling down, she briefly sent a text message and slowly words were flowing again between them, until one day she realized the need to apologize for calling him arrogant. Then he was cheerful again and they both seemed to look forward to meeting each other soon. That happened in the very day of her return, regardless of the jet lag, physical exhaustion and sleep deprivation. She felt good to see him again. She had missed him.
She decided to not talk about the exchange of e-mails. Sometimes, talking about things that happened in the past and had upset her, only served to hurt even more. She also thought that these kinds of talks are more the sort of cliché talks appropriate for girlfriends and boyfriends, what they definitely were not.
Now it was his turn to travel. He was away for some days. The very day he returned, he phoned her to meet up, and though she had other scheduled plans, when being encouraged by her friends, she went to see him. She shouldn’t have done it and learnt it the hard way only later that night. After having a good time together, they were just chatting. She asked about the picture, still curious on the whereabouts of the famous thing. Santa Maria now lives in the kitchen of the flat. She also learnt that the poor saint’s picture had caused much distress. This gift made him feel treated as a boyfriend and he reminded her that they had an open relationship! He forgot that he had given her a birthday gift when he returned from New York, only after a few days of their first encounter!
When he asked for advice about a relationship issue of a former girlfriend’s boyfriend, she much too quickly took it as a good opening for an outstanding talk. She brought the forbidden subject back into perspective, by asking him if he was still afraid of her feelings towards him. This question resulted in what felt like a strong punch on her face. Was there anything worse to hear than a guy telling you that he didn’t want to be your boyfriend, even when you didn’t think of him being your boyfriend at all? It hurts the self- esteem. He didn’t realize, but that night he broke the magic of that relationship, as she felt deeply hurt.
That very moment she decided to get out of the game. The reciprocity was over and she didn’t like unequal relationships. Relationships for her, are like bank accounts; the bottom line is simple, credit and debt need to be accurately balanced. She realized that though she hadn’t ever felt like he was a boyfriend, the very fatalistic comment that he would never be one, made her realize that he was unaware of his behavior as he didn’t perceive that he acted more like a boyfriend than she ever did. It was time to leave his apartment without saying all that angry stuff stuck in her throat.
He maybe moved by fear, lack of attention or rejection. She realized that he had it too easy as whenever he called, she made herself available, and he took her for granted. She didn’t wear rosy glasses nor has ever been a member of Cinderella’s fan club, and she wasn’t naïve but rather distrust people in general, particularly in relationships. But when she trusted someone, and she trusted him to enter in her inner circle, she didn’t play the teenager game “say-yes-when-one-wants-to-say-no”, and vice versa, just to get more attention. She was amazed to discover that he instead liked the game and played it well.
Only 4 days after the disastrous encounter, he was again chasing her. She refused, and though she wouldn’t really go out with him at all. Over the weekend he called again and again, to her amazement, and she opted out. She had other plans with friends anyways, but he kept insisting in “booking an appointment”.
Have you ever seen an insistent child in a toyshop when parents don’t give what he wants? He behaved like one of those. She kept firm and didn’t cancel her plans with friends. For someone who had clearly set ground rules and demarcated the territory, excluding her, just a short while ago, that was again a very, incredibly contradictory attitude. Maybe he liked the challenge of hearing “no”, which might excite him, more than the prospect of seeing her. It’s the conquering, the winning the battle, the defeat and exposure of her weaknesses, that seemed to move him.
Why has she concluded that? Not because she was hurt, but because more strange things took place in the following day. She was an incorrigible sweetheart and eventually accepted meeting him for a brunch. She convinced herself that they still could be just friends. Sometimes is nice to pretend to be mature.
Anyways, they met again. However, while being there, he was silent, a bit icy, a bit moody, uneasy, and a lot strange, complaining about anything. She tried to figure out what was going on, to hear that he was feeling lost and unwell. Once again, there was she again watching the same movie. She being insistently invited to be seen, and when attending to the wish of the master, he behaved like a jerk who is annoyed by her presence.
She kept the cool, as all she wanted was to avoid an argument but also because she didn’t have the interest in investing time in it anymore. Why bother? Instead, she talked about other things. He cut her talk off, stood up, and decided it was time to leave. He also decided that it was better to go to her apartment and have food there. He also decided she needed a massage and “sex therapy”. She then realized that perhaps that entire moody attitude was solely founded on that desire. Maybe his plans had been more to engage into sex than having a brunch in a cloudy and chilly day!
To close with a golden end, he decided to surpass his jerk’s skills! They headed to another café to have the infamous brunch. When they arrived there he quickly informed that he wouldn’t stay, as he was feeling a bit weird and left.
It didn’t stop there. He called her and left messages, apologizing and asking for a talk to explain the incident. By that time she was already having brunch with a friend; she was starving and had no intention of thinking, let alone ever talking to him again. He called her again later. She knew herself too well to not return his call. She was sad, hurt, but very, very mad, very angry.
There was maybe a possibility to be in love with him, who knows. She never thought about tomorrow but lived intensely just for the day. She didn’t feel that he was someone she would want to have a standing relationship with.
He, deliberately or not, destroyed a magic time. But he did a favor to her. That taught her a lesson to be more attentive, welcoming to people who truly are interested and like her for what she was, rather than being attracted to the unknown, the black box, the Bermudas triangle, in the form of a challenging and charming behaviour of someone who selfishly spent most of his time perhaps just playing another internet dating game, while enjoying some good sex. After all, all he saw in her, was a nice ass, isn’t it?
They: Two adults, clearly having a nice time. Who cares if it was real or not? Inner fears, hidden insecurities and expectations though, all played a role in making it rotten. Maybe it was too good to be true, and hey, some people just can’t handle happiness and rather need ambiguity and uncertainty around them.
We will never know who outperformed whom, nor whether this was even a clever game, if there was in fact one. And, if not, someone was just stupidly playing the Russian roulette and committed suicide.
This is no unhappy end but just something that happens to many people on a daily basis.
She: looked for a casual relationship and got into serious casual sex, and non-casual serious sufferings. She had lots of fun though and got out just in time…