It was a beautiful spring day; the sun was finally becoming warm, blossoms were beginning to form on the trees, and the sound of birds chirping were music to my ears. The temptation was too great, so I decided to leave work a bit early to enjoy the warm weather. To me, I thought it would be perfect to meet Alex for drinks on a patio and enjoy an afternoon without work. It was rare for me to initiate spending time together outside of work, so I was certain he would jump at the opportunity. I picked up my phone and started writing a message, painting the picture of an afternoon of drinks on a patio, asking him if he was in. I often forgot how much of a rule follower Alex was, so he declined saying he couldn’t skip out on work on a Friday afternoon. I was disappointed. Now what was I supposed to do?
I decided to head home and do some spring cleaning, open all the windows and let my house air out. Since Alex was working, I didn’t initiate messaging him much, but he clearly had different ideas. My phone was blowing up. Even though he wouldn’t leave work to hang out, he decided he would go ahead and message me nonstop while working. The irony is not lost on me.
My plans of it being a productive afternoon were shot. I found myself comfortably lying back on a chaise lounge chair in my backyard, the warm sun on my face and legs, gentle breeze blowing through my hair, with my BlackBerry in my hand. We eventually were messaging about the upcoming weekend; I knew it was a weekend he was going home. He was excited and looked forward to seeing his family. I was happy for him because I knew he genuinely missed them and was struggling without having them around as he was used to. During the period of time Alex was living alone and his wife had not moved yet, he went home every three weeks or so. If he didn’t go home, there were times when she would fly over to visit.
Then, he dropped the bomb. In our banter he was telling me about how he is wonderful and thoughtful and I joked back denying all of that. He decided to prove his thoughtfulness by sharing that weekend was his wife’s birthday and he was throwing a surprise birthday party for her. A surprise birthday he had planned from an entirely different state. My hand and BlackBerry dropped to the side of the chaise and I laid my head back taking a moment to process what I had just learned.
It was amazing how the feeling in the conversation could shift so suddenly. Our conversation was flowing, it was high energy, full of sarcasm, and our typical quick flow of exchanges. When we communicated like this, he made me feel as if I were the only person on the planet and I am positive I made him feel the same way. So, when we would go from a moment like that, it was like a slap in the face to hear about his wife. It was a slap in the face because I didn’t know how he could communicate with me in the manner he did, and then not feel any hesitation around mentioning a pretty significant event he had planned for her. I had realized I didn’t know enough about her to be as harsh as I was when I visited his house, but it was such an awkward topic for me. Did he not understand how weird it was? The energy and connection between us and then to talk about his wife as if we were normal, everyday friends? On the other hand, however, he rarely talked about her, so my discomfort may have been driven from the fact he never brought her up and when he did, it was a reminder to me that she did in fact exist and the way I was communicating with him wasn’t okay. The few details he would share were more in context about him, so when he would talk about her in the present tense, it was just uncomfortable. It didn’t happen often, but apparently he felt no concern about mentioning her in such a casual manner, in amongst our regular banter. I couldn’t let him know I felt this way though, because apparently I was the only person in this equation that had a problem with it. Yet, let’s be real, my problem wasn’t urgent enough to stop everything altogether.
I lifted my hand and head and began typing a message telling him I was impressed with his ability to plan a party like that. He continued outlining the details of the party. He had reached out to her best friend, who was helping him with all of the arrangements. When his wife left the house to pick him up from the airport, the friend was responsible for getting things ready and letting the other friends in the house. Then, when they got home, she would be surprised with a party of their friends.
To be honest, it was very thoughtful and I would love if a man did that for me, but for me, hearing these details were annoying. It didn’t make me mad, but it just added to the confusion. To me, he either needed to talk about her all the time, like normal people do, which sent the message she was a real person and had a significant presence in his life – or he needed to realize how uncomfortable it was to have the relationship and interaction he had with me, and then throw out details about her on rare occasion. I laid back in the chaise and found myself staring into the bright blue sky. There were no clouds, just beautiful blue for miles and miles. As I lost myself in looking at the sky, my brain quickly reminded me of the weirdness of this dynamic. Why didn’t he ever talk about her? If he considered me just a friend, because that’s the only description more than coworker he has ever used, then why wouldn’t he talk about her as his wife, the one he loved, the one he chose to spend his entire life with. Was it the fact he didn’t open up that much personally? That was countered with the fact he shared a lot of more personal information with me, so that couldn’t be it. It was so confusing.
It was early evening and I was in my bathroom getting ready to go out with friends. I had noticed recently it took me a lot longer to get ready on any given day because I was constantly interrupted with messaging with Alex. At the same time I was getting ready to head out with friends, he was getting ready to head to the airport. As usual, he was messaging me the entire way to the airport, while he was in the airport until just before he took off.
I found myself with my friends at a Mexican restaurant, on their patio, enjoying the beautiful spring evening, good food and flowing Margaritas! From time to time, however, I would zone out and think about Alex being in the air, on his way home to a surprise birthday party for his wife, that he planned. At first I thought the warmth taking over my body was the natural heat from the Tequila in my margarita, but I soon realized it had nothing to do with the drink and was actually my jealousy arriving. Jealousy. This was a brand new feeling for me. I had barely even realized I had feelings for him and now I was jealous of him spending time at home with his wife? I was annoyed, but I was also impressed by his thoughtfulness.
The sound of the music, my friends, and the crowd began to fade into the background in my mind. At the forefront was the conversation I was having with myself in my head. I began to wonder what our communication would look like while he was home for the weekend. Would it be less? Would it be the same? Would the content change? The moment of truth hit. I didn’t want our communication to change because he was with her for her birthday. I didn’t want our communication to change because he was home and spending time with his family. Then came the guilt. This is terrible of me because I should want him to spend time with his family. At the end of the day though, I was jealous he could go from having fun banter with me, connecting with me, and then throwing a birthday party for her. It seemed so counterintuitive. My emotions were so mixed! Feeling this way is so new.
After a few minutes I was able to move the confusion out of my mind and focus on the fun in front of me. Just then, my phone vibrated with a new message. He had landed. Messages from the moment the plane touched down, even when he got in the car, until he got home. Then he did go dark for a little bit in terms of communicating with me, but I will admit, not as dark as I thought he would. He would message me regularly throughout the evening and honestly, it felt good. It was even more of a high because interacting with me felt good enough to him he wanted to continue doing it while he was at home visiting his wife and friends. I liked it. I liked that he couldn’t go without me for what appeared to be any extended period of time.
The following morning, Saturday morning, the sound of a message arriving on my phone woke me up. The sun was shining in through the windows and the effects of last nights fun reverberated through my head. As my eyes slowly opened, I reached to the left for my phone on the nightstand. In my fuzzy haze I was really hoping it was him. I took my phone, pushed the button for the screen to light up and my heart happily sighed when I saw the little BlackBerry Messenger smiley face in it’s place at the top. With one eye opened, I slowly typed my password. Finally I saw it was from him. Ah. I loved a sleepy Saturday morning starting this way.
Our communication flow continued over the weekend and his entire visit. He didn’t tell me what they were doing or where they were going, instead our communication was like normal. About random things and topics not important enough to really warrant messaging, but we did anyway. Since he hadn’t been around her much since our communication had significantly increased, I was wondering what she thought he was doing on his phone all of the time. Did she wonder who he was messaging? Did he tell her? I can’t imagine all of the time spent messaging me was okay with her especially since they hadn’t been around each other for so long. Then, as usual, my mind turned to something else. Regardless of the messaging frequency while he was at home, our relationship had grown quite a bit since he was last home, so I was worried being around her would make him feel differently or act differently when he got back. Then, naturally, I started thinking about the potential ways our interaction would change when she actually moved. It was coming up soon; I suddenly felt completely unprepared for it.