Saturday, February 28, 2009

Chapter 5 - Not Average

In the months following the break up, I really had no idea where to turn. Talking about it was just too painful and required me reliving the experience over and over, and truthfully what was talking about it going to really accomplish? I mean, what's done is done and I knew then that talking wasn't going to change I buried it. I took the hurt and the pain and torment I felt in my heart and buried it deep inside. I pretended it never happened, that HE never happened and just tried to focus on the good things in my life. I had work. I had tons of new friends and a new life starting at 'BCN. I was going out, to concerts, to parties, to bars and clubs. I was doing tons of new things. I had my girlfriends from Norwich who were there for me.
Things were good and dwelling on the heartbreak of August was not going to help, so rather than cry, deal and heal...I just forgot about it, or told myself I did and that process of "forgetting" would ruin most of the real relationships I would have for the next 4 years, but I had no way of knowing that then. I thought I was doing what was best. And at the time it worked.
It was during this time of personal discovery that I met the first man who started to wake my heart up. He was also the first in the long string of men that I dated in my various workplaces. We met when I was doing work for the WBCN Patriots Rock Radio Network.
At first, we would see each other in the station on Saturdays and Sundays as he was producing some weekend programming. It began with stolen glances, smiles and light conversation, but quickly grew into this budding romance that took me completely by surprise. I would look forward to seeing him on the weekend. I would stay later than I needed to just so we could have conversations. I found myself trying to find reasons to go into the studio while he was working or into use the copy machine while he was in the copy room. Looking back at it now, it was the first time in my life that I was actively pursuing someone. I mean, at college I had crushes and would talk to guys, but really I didn't have to do much to get them to be interested. But in this case I wanted to make my interest known. That was new for me.
Once he took a job during the week, things began to accelerate more quickly between us. I'd see him everyday and the flirting got more intense and ultimately led to us hanging out outside of work and "dating," though it was hard for me to admit that we were really seeing each other.
I can see that buried broken heart thing made me unavailable, even if I didn't know it then. He was patient and kind to me and gave me chance after chance to be with him. Chances, that looking back, I don't think I deserved. In some ways, I was lost in my own personal grief. I buried that grief in my work, my friends and a lot of nights out that were full of drinking, dancing, and sleeping on the 'BCN couch.
Regardless of my somewhat wild girl behavior, I did want to give this new guy a chance. Part of me knew that he was worth knowing. Part of me wanted to move forward. Thanks to that part I agreed to go on a date with him. We had flirted, talked online and on the phone, and it was time to make it real.
We went to Not Your Average Joe's for dinner. All the tables were taken so we ate at the bar. It was nice, intimate and real. We talked, drank and laughed. He listened to me, I listened to him. It was the beginning of something new for me.
Since the break up, my interaction with men had been brief and meaningless - a dance at a nightclub or kissing in a dark corner of a bar, which inevitably led to the exchanging numbers though we knew we'd never speak again. Those interactions over the 4 months since my fiance left me had left me feeling empty. I had fun, don't get me wrong, but there was no substance behind it.
I knew this date was different, it was the start of something. I remember walking out of the restaurant after dinner thinking how wonderful it felt to be treated like I mattered, like who I was meant something to someone. We were walking down the hallway toward the door and he silently took my hand and led me toward the exit. Butterflies fluttered in my stomach, my face flushed. It was nice to be admired. Nice to be seen by him. That night was the first time we kissed.
On a boat in New Hampshire, just a few months before, a Fred Savage look a-like had shown me that my heart could be open to possibility. This was the first time that I felt that possibility stir within me. It was time to move forward and with this kiss I was propelled toward something bigger than me. Something that was going to help my heart heal.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Chapter 4 - Is that Fred Savage?

Just a few drinks and it will all feel better. That's the philosophy right? That's the thought process. The idea that if I have a few drinks, mix and mingle with other single people, and perhaps go dance on a crowded dance floor that I will forget my life for the moment. For that moment it will feel better, almost ideal even. So that is what I did.

After agonizing over the drive to New Hampshire, I got in the car. I drove the nearly 1 hour to my friend's house. I was greeted at her door by her mother, who rivals my mother in true coolness. The fact that I had called her home looking for her daughter at 1:30am the night before didn't bother her, she knew what I was going through. She heard the anguish in my voice and knew. She woke up her daughter, my best friend and gave her the phone. That phone call had led me through the darkness to this moment. It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon in August. I was a 21 year old woman who in less than just 24 hours had gone from somebody's something to absolutely no-one's anything, or so I thought at least and she knew I needed to find that distraction. She knew that a night out with give me a renewed sense of who I am, who I could be, and who deserved to know me...too bad I wasn't ready to accept that last one, not yet anyway.

My friend and I spent the afternoon talking about the situation, discussing it, dissecting it, analyzing it as only young women can do. Looking back at that day, I can't remember the specifics of our conversation, but I do guess we probably just spun our wheels. It was easier to talk about it with her, to let her in. We had been through a lot that last year at Norwich. We had talked about a lot, been through a lot and to have her really understand where I was coming from meant the world to me.

After the talking was over, we put on our "party pants" as I liked to call them, and headed out downtown. It was a warm night, the kind of night that you felt alive. There was a warm breeze blowing off of the land and as it met with the cooler air hanging over the ocean, it gave you goose bumps. The air around me caressed my skin with a sense of possibility. The feel of the night gave me hope, hope that no one could look at me and see the scar on my heart.

Just a few drinks I told myself. A few drinks and I would forget, I would feel better, I'd fade into the crowd. And after a few drinks I did forget, I did feel better. I felt this strange courage, a liquid induced courage I'd guess. It led my friend and I on an adventure late into the night. An adventure that changed my life.

We talked to a group of guys at the bar. Now, I can't for the life of me remember their names, their faces, or really anything about them, except that one of them looked strikingly like Fred Savage. Now not older sort of unattractive Fred Savage, but the younger, hopeful version of Fred Savage that all girls my age were naturally attracted to. I do believe that anyway, I remember him looking that way. I remember wanting to talk to him, believing that the hopefulness would rub onto me. That sense of hopeful romanticism I believed that Fred Savage embodied. That being said...we ended up on a boat, in Portsmouth Harbor, with Fred and his friends.

I don't think we were on the boat for much longer than an hour. We sat there, talked to Fred and his friends in the cool night. The bars had closed at this point so there wasn't much going on. It was late and the air was still. Fred and I sat looking out at the ocean. It was lit dimly as I remember, by the lights from the boats in the harbor and the half moon that hung over us in the clear night sky. Though I am sure Fred said something to me that was meant to be cool, calm and most likely somewhat implying his interest in me, I have no idea what he said. All I know is I let him kiss me. I let myself fall prey to that moment in the moonlight. I let my heart bleed and break as his lips touched mine.

I felt weird being so close to someone other than the man who a little over 24 hours ago had left me sitting on my parents front porch. It was awfully hard to kiss Fred Savage back, but I did. I had too. If I didn't, it was like I was admitting I was broken, and even though I was broken, I had to push through.

In the depths of my soul, I knew that my heart was going to have to heal on it's own. The same way I knew he was going to end it, I knew that the man who broke my heart was not going to come back and fix it. I knew I had to move on. I was going to have to cancel the reception hall order, return my wedding dress and essentially become a better more independent version of myself.

That night on the boat with Fred Savage changed me. I saw possibility in his hopeful eyes. I felt the future in his kiss and I knew when I got off of that boat that I was going forward into a moonlit future of unlimited opportunities. Opportunities that were going to lead me on an adventure that I had never imagined possible.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Chapter 3 - Drive Away

Just turn the key, turn the key and drive I told myself. I was sitting in my car in my parents driveway. It was just about 11am. I knew that I needed to go. I needed to get myself out of my life for a while. I needed a distraction, a distraction that Portsmouth was surely going to provide.

After all that had happened just a few short hours ago, I needed to leave. I knew that I had to go, but I was so afraid to leave. What if he calls? He said he'd call when he got home...and he HAS to be home by now. What if I miss the call and he wants to get back together and I'm off galivanting around Portsmouth with my friend? I was so torn on what to do. I just sat there. Hands on the steering wheel, looking straight ahead at my parents fence. It was a beautiful sunny Saturday in August too. One of those days where you just feel good because the weather is nice. I should feel good I kept trying to convince myself. I should just go. But instead I got out of the car and went back into the house.

I picked up the phone and called her again. My college roommate, my best friend, she was the one person who knew what had happened the night before...and luckily for me she was one of the only people I knew who at that point could really get how I felt. Though she was never engaged to her former boyfriend, he had similarly just decided to hit the road one day too, so she got it. And after my call last night, she definitely knew that I wasn't really ok with what had happened.

"I can't do it. What if he calls?" I asked, in a nervous voice as soon as she answered the phone. I knew I had to go, but I was so torn...honestly I did not want to miss that call, I didn't want to miss out on the chance to hear his voice again, to know that he was ok and was thinking about me...that he still cared...that he wanted to know how I was doing.

"Umm...ok, let's think about this," she responded. Always rational and cool, my friend had a way of calming me down. "If you stay home today, and sit at your parent's house are you going to be ok? You are going to wait for a call and if it doesn't come, and you don't hear from him today you are seriously going to be more upset than you are now."

"Oh, I know," I responded. "But if I miss the call and I'm not here won't he think I don't care and I don't want to get back together with him and then it could be all over. I know he still loves me, how do you just shut that off - we were engaged for God's sake!"

"Yeah you were engaged," my friend stated. "But honestly Jenn, it is over. For right now, it's done. Would you want to be with someone who would just leave you in the middle of the night with some lame ass explanation?"

"No, I guess I wouldn't," I said in response. I knew she was right. She was so right that I had to go up to her house. "Besides, if he does call it's probably better I'm not home. That way he can wonder where I am."

"Exactly," she agreed. Now she knew she had me starting to believe I should get in the car and drive up to her house. "So stop making excuses, stop worrying that he will call, and get your ass in the car and get up here, Portsmouth is waiting."

"Ok, you are right." I picked up my keys off of the table in the kitchen where I was sitting. I held them in my hand for a moment. I could feel the weight of them weighing on my heart. It was weird but at that moment I knew that I was about to take a HUGE step forward in my life.