Thank you

From: Felicitas Fortuna

To: Seabiscuit

Subject: Thank You

[Name],

Thank you for being honest with me about seeing someone else. It hurt more than I thought it would. Kissing you before we said goodbye was a mistake. We should not kiss again.

It was cowardly of you not to tell me sooner, and it hurt that you kept it from me. That was not kind of you to hide the truth from me; after what we shared, that is what hurts me most. I couldn’t bear to ask for how long, but I will guess a few months from what you said. 

I am sorry I was foolish enough not to get it sooner. I told myself your lack of response to my emails was due to all the stress and family drama, and I tried to be supportive as much as I could. Now I realize you were a coward and did not want to face the truth and tell me the truth. I wonder if anything you said when you broke up with me was true; it does not feel like it. How could you say you didn’t feel you should be in a relationship and needed to work on some things only to start dating someone else?

The problem is not that nothing good comes of being honest; the problem is you hid what you should have told. You knew you should have told me, but you did not. I would not have flirted with you if I had known you were seeing someone else. I wouldn’t have kissed you either. I doubt your current girlfriend knows you’ve kissed me so much. Well, you better tell her when you break up with her. She deserves to know.

I won’t ask to spend time with you. I won’t invite you to any additional events outside of the plays already scheduled for CS and LCT. Those words you said, I couldn’t tell if they were meant for her or me or both of us: “You like me too much and want to spend too much time with me, and I want to be free.” Well, I get it now. I won’t waste my time.

I deserve better. I deserve honesty and kindness, as all friends should, and I do not see that in your actions. If you want to be friends, you will have to do better and work harder at it.

But you are free, for whatever that is worth. You are free.

F

2017: A Year of Many Changes

I realize that the year is only a little more than half over, and it has been a tumultuous year so far. This is my life recap:

January
Work: I began working overtime constantly. My strict adherence to trying to maintain a healthy work-life balance became impossible with the work demands. 10-11 hour days became a new a norm.

Love: My one great joy was a long weekend with Seabiscuit for his birthday: Point Cabrillo was beautiful. We went naked hot-tubbing together in Mendocino. We saw whales spouting off the coast. I had never been so happy as that special weekend with him.

Home: Chaos. My ex-boyfriend still refused to move out even though we had broken up roughly 9 months ago.

February
Work: The overtime continued. Fellow coworkers on my team began to leave the company, adding more to the workload for me and the few left behind.

Love: Seabiscuit confessed he loved me, but two weeks later he broke up with me, saying he needed to fix things in his life first before being in a relationship. I was devastated and only had consolation in that he said he still wanted to remain friends, see plays together and wanted to see a Monet exhibit together with me. I think things had gotten too serious for him (neither of us expected our relationship to become so serious so quickly) and scared him. I still think that. He also announces he is most likely going to be taking a job in Texas. A double heartbreak.

Home: After a nightmarish drama (including threats and calls to the police), the ex finally moved out the last day of the month. He took the three cats with him, and I am still sad, even now, that I never got to say goodbye to them.

March
Work: Still craziness as the team shrunk. The burnout began as I felt more and more unappreciated. My boss told me we all have to make sacrifices; her inconsistencies in her directions began. I became very unhappy with work.

Love: Heartbroken and still trying to navigate what it means to be friends now. It was a sudden shift from daily emails to maybe an email or two a week. A great light in my life was no longer there to comfort me. I cried a lot. At the end of the month, he decides against the job in Texas. I wonder then if that was also partly why he broke up: to not have me be a deciding factor in the job decision.

Home: My parents moved in next door. Literally next door. We share a wall. I begin trying to clean the mess of the apartment to make it my own home.

April
Work
: The burnout continues. I no longer know who my boss is anymore as she has become someone I don’t recognize. Our team continues to shrink. I become the sole person on the team as the only other team member left comes down with shingles. When I describe how overwhelmed I am to my boss in a one-on-one, she tells me: “What I’m hearing is this is a role fit issue for you. Maybe you should start looking for work outside of [Company].” she also tells me, “You don’t seem alive anymore.” I realize then that this place I felt was my second home for over 3 years is now a hostile environment.

Love: It is my first time seeing Seabiscuit since February. We see a play late in the month, Dog Sees God, with a couple of my friends. Before he leaves, he hugs and kisses me on the lips. I am happy about that but more confused than ever and still brokenhearted.

Home: I have ripped out cheap, built-in particle-board closet cabinets in order to remove a smelly old strip of carpet (about 60 square feet). It reeks of cat, and no carpet cleaner can get through to the strip of padding straight out of the 1960s that has been glued to the uneven concrete floor beneath it. Fun. Lots of home improvement fun. And chaos as I destroy cabinets. It’s also weird getting used to parents next door. We put in tile to replace the carpet.

May
Work: It’s all downhill. Resentment builds along with the burnout. I feel my boss throws me and the other member of our team under a bus. Despite telling me we all have to make sacrifices and that I need to work now, now apparently it’s my fault I’m burnt out and working more than 8 hours. She used to care about our team, but that care has been MIA for a while now. Our team grows, but it’s a too little, too late effort. By the end of the month, I begin considering other jobs and looking.

Love: Still struggling to understand my relationship with Seabiscuit. It is hard feeling I’ve lost him. I keep asking about when we shall see the Monet exhibit together as it ended that month. At the second to last weekend of it, we tentatively set a date to see it together. I am then heartbroken when he announces Friday he shall see it with his daughter instead but I also realize I can’t be angry with him. He wants to spend as much time with his youngest daughter before she goes to college. It is a double pain. I go to the Monet exhibit separately with a friend instead. Unbeknownst to me, the same painting that is his favorite of the exhibit becomes a painting that inspires a poem when I see it.

Home: My parents offer some comfort, but the boundaries between my apartment and theirs need to be set. While I am grateful for their help, I also feel overwhelmed by constant presence. Sometimes I just need peace and want to be alone. They help with repainting the apartment. The apartment is chaos as things get shuffled around and I haven’t replaced the cabinets I destroyed.

June
Work: At this stage, I’m having multiple moments weekly where I think to myself, “Why don’t I just get out of my seat and quit this job RIGHT NOW?” I feel it is important I quit soon. I know that I will not be able to keep giving 100% any more. The resentment is building, and I don’t want to be that asshole who quits and leaves a mess behind. I will give 100% up until my last day. I apply to a job that opens up and land it by the end of the month.

Love: Still confused. I see another play with Seabiscuit, As You Like It, and am nowhere nearer an answer to our relationship status. We kiss, hug, and hold hands while together. It is very confusing. While our email contact is still distant from what it was, he pulls through during important moments, like especially bad days at work and to help me prepare for the job interview I had. I read the book Sex with Shakespeare and am convinced Seabiscuit is my lost other half. I cry while reading the book. It is the most important book I have read in all of 2017 and might be one of the most meaningful ones in my entire life. (I am grateful for Dan Savage having mentioned it in one of his columns as well as column’s wisdom.)

Home: It is still a neverending work in progress. Painting is still underway. The apartment feels like it will always be chaos.

July
Work: The first week of July, I’m in Alaska on a cruise. Work since then has been chaos, but I know my boss is supportive and will help me grow in ways I’d never expect. Long days, a long commute, and lots of work piles on. Despite how hard I have to work, I know things will get better.

Love: When I realize it is 5 months since Seabiscuit broke up with me and that our relationship lasted just a week or so shy of 6 months, I am very hurt and sad. One friend, whose wedding I will attend later this year, tells me to get over “Seaface”. I am more hurt. I feel people do not understand why the relationship is special. I got to see him today for our play, The Glass Menagerie. We hold hands almost the entire time. I want to talk about us, but as he tells me about his daughters, I hold back. While I am sad to not get more time with him, I am happy for him in seeing how happy he is to spend so much time with his daughters.

Home: I really gotta set boundaries with the parents. It feels intrusive, even though I know they mean well. I feel like I will always be alone if they do not give me space. And after a long day at work and a long commute, I just want my own space. Painting is mostly done but still in progress.

So as we get closer to just 5 more months left, I wonder what’s going to happen next?

Fathers and Daughters

It’s hard to love someone who is much older than yourself.

It is hard to love a man who has grown daughters closer to your own age than he is to yours.

I fell in love with someone 24 years my senior, and when we were together, they were the happiest moments of my life. Every moment felt precious, every minute. Just being able to hold his hand or feel him squeeze mine was feeling as if I were whole.

Some friends have said it’s time to move on. It has been over 5 months since he broke up with me. He had other things in his life to figure out.

But we still see each other occasionally. My feelings are still as strong now as they were then.

I wanted to spend more time with him today after seeing The Glass Menagerie with him, but he planned dinner with his daughters.

He will be an empty nester soon, and he is enjoying all the time he has left with them. Who can resent that? It breaks my heart, but not because he won’t have dinner with me; it breaks my heart because I will never know that: I will never be a parent. I will never have a daughter.

Don’t fall in love

I wrote Seabiscuit yet another ghazal, titled “Good boyfriends”. I asked the questions I asked here: what it means to be a good boyfriend, and what monogamy means.

He replied, “That gave me a nice warm feeling in my heart. I do feel like we have a strange and wonderful hybrid relationship, both platonic and erotic; virtual and real.”

We are both in the same world questioning things after being unhappy in our previous relationships. So we began our exchange last night, asking about each other’s fantasies and desires.

Later in the exchange, he replied that if we were to take things further in person, we needed ground rules: 

First, you must not fall in love with me. I came into your life on the winds from the Sapphire Sea and will go the same way.

Since when does making it a rule ever make it so? And why is falling in love forbidden? Why is that a terrible thing? How can love of someone you respect and care about be terrible? Even unrequited, it should be flattering but not a thing that tears a relationship apart and sends people away.

Also, is that rule a warning for me or for himself?

I have been writing another Brit (no nickname yet) about me and Seabiscuit. He has made some astute observations in the little information I have provided. He said it seemed both of us seemed to be holding back, but he couldn’t tell why. As I waited for Seabiscuit’s reply to my latest email, I wrote my unnamed British fellow that I suspect both of us are scared to lose this special, precious thing, whatever it is.

So a few minutes later, it seemed Seabiscuit and I were truly channeling each other. I received Seabiscuit’s email with the rule of not falling in love, and at the end of his email:

PS: Another fear I have with taking our erotic connection to IRL is that it would affect our e-connection. I like it. I sound like such a scaredy-cat with all this. But there it is.

So I find myself asking once more, is the warning to not fall in love for himself or for me? Or to us both?

You are that Kind

Well past 200 emails now, my relationship with Seabiscuit has taken quite an unexpected turn.

It is a special relationship, unlike any I’ve ever had before. We are friends and yet there is this graceful dance between us, an artful, erotic tension ever present. He has a girlfriend, and my heart is captured by another man, DJ MF, across the sea, but still that attraction lingers.

He is kind. Even when his emails are disappointing (confirmation of the girlfriend, for example), there is kindness in it. He is quite thoughtful. I’ve been given an open invitation to pursue him should I ever want. Otherwise, he will treat me with respect and as a friend in person and allow our erotic tension to play out by email.

His desire for me was a bit intense, only fully felt and revealed recently in one particular email this weekend. “But we both know you want and deserve a boyfriend,” he also wrote. And that is true. He has been very clear in not being good at the monogamy side of things–not that it bothers me as much as it might have once before.

I look back at my poetry–so much he has inspired. He is a muse! He said his mother once wrote a poem about cutting his hair. I have no doubt that he inspired her as a child, too.

I almost feel as though this is the deepest friendship I have ever had–and from Craigslist! Who knew. And still he continues to inspire me, and that artist and muse relationship continues to kindle the tension between us.

To go from who I was 6 months ago and to what a person I have become!

In a few months, I almost feel as if a phoenix risen from some ashes. I am me, and yet it as if I have been hidden in a cocoon for far too long, and here I am now: The Mistress of the Sapphire Seas.

 

Thirteen Ways…

I’m not sure what the scoreboard is anymore. The exchanges have become too many, too prolific, too many one-liners. They have also become incestuous. I am writing them about each other, so there is some rivalry going on–at least for Seabiscuit and Njal.

Seabiscuit, I would say, is still in the lead. He has shared two photographs that have inspired me to write poems about the beauty in the photos themselves. And he has inspired 4 ghazals now. I am very proud of the poems I’ve written that are inspired by his presence in my life. They are my best, I know it. We still have yet to meet. His weekends are busy for the next two weeks, so the wait continues…

Njal (thought maybe Don Juan would be a better name at this point) still writes some sexy, erotic poetry. I don’t think I will find anyone who can write better erotic poetry than he can.  Somebody get a hose–I’m on fire! There is some strange magnetic force between us, some dangerous attraction crossing a Translatlantic cable and the entire continental US to reach me. It’s probably for the best we’ve got an ocean of separation; the two of us together might be a destructive fiery force upon the world indeed.

Lord Byron, still trailing third. He write more slowly, but thoughtfully. I’m perfectly charmed by his Britishness. I also laughed when I read he’s enjoyed a few erotic adventures spanking younger ladies. He has shared his photograph; he is the most dignified, dashing, handsome older looking British gentleman you can picture, and picturing him spanking some young women in a BDSM dungeon in London greatly amuses me.

Learning of Lord Byron’s kink produced conversations with the other two about kinks, and whew! What a Thursday morning this was. Never thought I’d hear my name in the phrase “a Felicitas sandwich” in reference to a proposed threesome between me, Njal and Seabiscuit–and both men seemed to be really into it.

My life has taken a very interesting turn of events, indeed. I’ve gone from a history of rejection and neglect to multiple men wanting me at once. I am not used to so much attention. As Njal put it, “Always the bridesmaid, never the bride, eh? Well, Cinderella, your time has come.”

Working with a Druish Princess

I used to work in a small room (for 6 people, “the fish bowl”, we called it because it was an interior room with one glass wall overlooking the open office for everybody else.) A girl on the team at the time (almost two years ago) was the type of girl for which I could find no redeeming work quality: superficial in every way, fake and all up in everybody’s business, a gossip, no work ethic and sloppy, spoiled little “Druish princess” (thanks, Mel Brooks!), an embarrassment for myself just in having to accept she was part of the team and the reason people looked down on our team.

There was nothing about her that didn’t irritate me. She would badger me constantly, and each week asked either , “Are you and J getting married?” or “Has J asked you to marry him yet?” or “Am I invited to the wedding?” (Girl, you wouldn’t even be invited to the funeral.) It was especially a sore point for me because at this point in my life, the nights of rejections and lack of sex were starting to bother me and cast my doubts on our relationship–but not like I’d ever tell her that.

I was both relieved and disappointed when she finally was gone–the disappointment came from her being moved to a different department rather than fired. I really had wanted to see her fired, particularly since I would spend the next 3 months cleaning up her sloppy work.

I hate being fake. Absolutely hate it. I would still run into her here and there, and every interaction was painful. My colleagues (those happy smiling people) would laugh at witnessing our interactions because they knew it took every effort on my part to hide what I really wanted to say in those moments and hide my facial expressions every time she spoke to me. She’d catch me in the kitchen and exclaim, “F, I miss working with you so much!” My response: “Oh that’s…nice.”

The other thing my colleagues, the ones who really know me, is I don’t do small talk. It’s not my thing, at least not at 8am. They laugh when someone new comes along and thinks they’re going to really impress me by chatting it up first thing in the morning. Nope. Not even close. I enjoy being able to work in peace and quiet–especially when it’s early. I’m often the first one to the office and almost never late.

So of course this morning would be the day that I’m surprised to see the Druish Princess is in before 8 (again, the work ethic thing was never really her gig. When we worked in the fish bowl, she was late every single day.) As we’re the only two people in on that side of the office, she comes over to do her favorite: the fake small talk. (God, grant me the strength not to toss her out the window.)

“Are you and J getting married yet?”
“No.”
“Are you two ever going to get married?”
“No.”
“What?! Why not? Never ever?”
“No.”
“Really? NEVER?”
“Never.”
“You don’t want to get married???”
“We broke up.”
“What! When was this? Why didn’t I know? Was it recent?”
“Yes. This year.”
“Oh. Sorry.” Then she backs away, finally having gotten a fucking clue.
It’s certainly not how I wanted to start my Monday.

Measuring Intimacy

Text messages from this evening:

Phil: Long time no see

Me: Indeed.

Me:  I think I am falling for Seabiscuit.

Phil: Huh? 

Phil: Who dat? Specs. You date so much I can’t keep track.

Me: Lol, you have heard about him. The older guy, photographer.

Me: We have exchanged 90 emails now in 33 days.

Phil:Your metric for intimacy is rate of text/email exchange. I’ve always found that interesting. Not in a bad way mind you. Just interesting.

Me: I’M REALLY INTO WRITING.

He is right though. I do seem to think of intimacy in words exchanged. With Caleb it was texts. With all these men from Craigslist, it is by emails (and soon recordings–Lord, I can’t wait to hear Seabiscuit’s voice! But Lord Byron may particularly make me swoon with that special fondness I have of British accents and their effects on me.)

Despite Patrick being an idiot, he did get a few things right. He said once about me having an ethereal mind: “For you, words are real.” It is very true. They mean very much to me; it was always disappointing when I would ask J to write something for me and he never would. So it goes.

Now I’m just measuring intimacy in words–and how much variation there is in the quality I receive!

Thoughts of You

Seabiscuit and I have exchanged 90 emails now. What happens when we cross that 100 mark? Will we finally get to meet face-to-face? Will we finally have dinner and go out on a date?

I have mentioned it a few times, but he always seems to talk about some other thing. I wonder now if he has the same worries that I do: what happens next? What if it doesn’t work out? What if the spark only lasts behind the veil of email? What if we lose this friendship we have started? It is a marvel to realize we have exchanged so many words in a little over a month. It was exactly one month three days ago.

In his last email to me, he said he liked the idea of reading to me and that “it seems intimate, like sharing a photo.” I wait now as he decides what he should record for me. He asked me for a few ideas. I said it could be a song (he has mentioned enjoying singing) or some of his favorite poems. I even told him it might be funny to hear him read the poem I wrote for him read back to me — surely, he would read it differently. It would be fun to hear the tones and inflections, what he would emphasize. It could have a completely different reading.

He mentioned one of his favorite poems is T. S. Elliott’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”, and that is one of my favorites too. I am very excited about hearing his voice. I want to hear it before bedtime, before I sleep. He has already started to fill my head at that late hour…

Would I be a woman you would have an adventure with? Would I be a woman you’d enjoy sharing your time with? Could we be more than friends? I already feel myself falling — but then there is Lord Byron, who I still am getting to know, whose age remains a mystery, but is rather handsome in the photo I managed to peek at from his book. For all I know, he and Seabiscuit could be the same age.

I have written another poem while thinking about him; it’s titled “Thoughts of You”, but I keep this one, and its inspiration a secret. He will hear the poem eventually, provided I finish this poetry-CD project and send him one… will he know? Will he suspect it was written with him in my mind?

The verdict is in

I suppose you are wondering, How’d that date go?

My Reaction: NOPE NOPE NOPITY NOPE NOPE!

Did I mention NOPE yet?

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via GIPHY

So the verdict is in: RUN AWAY.

He forgot to mention the photo he sent is about 20 years old. Which is extraordinarily substantial when you are 60 years old.

And the missing teeth. And how little hair is left compared to that photo he sent.

I realized that his brashness at the restaurant (not downright rude, but more assertive and bold than I care to have company with) reminds me too much of my father (who can be downright rude). I’m also not sure he left an appropriate tip, given how demanding he was. Having worked in customer service for many years, I pay attention to these things.

He does have a pleasant voice. The kind you’d expect on NPR, and that’s the first thing he talked about, listening to Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! and Car Talk. It’s got that Minnesota Nice quality to it.

But…still nope. It got worse.

He wanted to drive down to the marina for a nice walk with the sunset. He made the assumption that I drive and could follow him down there. Nope! No driver’s license here, and I felt much better about not having a reason to go down with him to the marina.

If things had ended right after dinner, that would have been fine. I would have thought, well, we can be friends. Interesting friends. Why not?

But nope!We took a quick walk around a block before he headed out. We talked along the way. Politics came up. He said something that was unforgiveable. Heartless. Unkind. It was so terrible, it tore apart every precious moment, bit of laughter, and pleasantry with him that I had.

I don’t think he realized what a grave mistake he was making–or perhaps he did, because after delivering that line that made my heart drop, he immediately said, “Well we’ve come this far without talking about politics, sex, or religion, so I suppose we should keep it that way.”

He was dismissive of Bernie, but at least he wasn’t a Trump supporter. It was clear he was going to vote for Hillary but didn’t think she would change anything. “I like Bernie’s ideas,” he said, “but he could never accomplish any of that in 4 years.”

“How can you say that?” I said. “I never thought I would see gay marriage legalized in this country, but that happened. Sometimes the amount of progress that can be made in a short amount of time is surprising.”

“That’s no big deal. How many gay people are there in this country? 1%?”

“No, it is much higher. I think it is closer to 8%?”

“Well you might be right,” he said. And then came the line the tore it all asunder: “Anyway, what’s more important is a minimum wage of $15 an hour. That affects way more people.”

My thoughts went to Orlando. My thoughts went to the number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer people in this country who have been disowned and rejected from their families and live homeless. My thoughts went to the many of them who have suffered insults, injury, or death because of who they are and who they love.

You don’t know what it’s like to have someone hate you because you’re different. You don’t know what it’s like to be scared that you are not safe to walk down the street because people may be irrational and want to hurt or kill you for who you are and what you cannot change. You don’t know what it’s like to wear a mask at work and hide yourself because you need to our of survival. Real, physical survival.

By the numbers, sure, income inequality does impact more people and would be a significant change that probably would greatly benefit minorities who suffer the brunt of income inequality. But to put down any form of progress towards equality as not as important, to put down gay rights as not important, especially when the mass-shooting at Orlando was not so long ago, I can’t forgive that. In that one line, he immediately became the perfect image of an old, white, privileged male.