2013 hasn’t been a banner year in the love department* for little ol’ Dara. It’s been sucky for other reasons to, but lately I’ve been thinking about the love part. Being confronted with the fourth guy-with-a-secret-girlfriend may have been what kicked it off. Maybe.

Fact of the matter is, looking back to the past (2012), considering the curiosities of my last relationship, things weren’t much better. I’ve avoided writing about these stories because I didn’t want to hurt the other person involved. I’ve realized though, if I do an honest telling of the situation (and keep the him anonymish), I’m on pretty good moral standing here. So on we go!

We’re at brunch. Pleasant conversation drifted. We were having a perfectly Bay Area Brunch, where you’re required to discuss digital media strategies and ‘next gen tech’ over the meal or else the waiter will give you a full ten minute rundown on the origins of your organic food choices or something worse, like they won’t give you mimosas.

I bring up the fact that his sister is set for a visit. She’s decided to come on a week that encompasses both my birthday and our first** anniversary. In my opinion, that isn’t stellar timing, and I tell him so. He says that she’s family, and that means he can’t possibly ask her to change her plans. I argue that the people who love you are supposed to be the ones most sensitive to you and your needs, not the other way around. “My parents would never plan for a visit without asking me if it was a good time- that way they’re respectful of me, as I am of them, and make sure that we have time to spend together when they arrive,” I offer.

He balks. “That’s not how family works. Not my family, at least. And I could never ask my sister especially. She’d know I was asking because of you, and the fact that I have a girlfriend is a sore subject.”

Pause (for the cause). This was the girl that I’d worked with to secretly fly her to San Francisco to surprise him on her way back from Asia. This was the girl I’d had many friendly gChats with. This was a near 30-year old. She wouldn’t be that unreasonable! Surely this was a problem on the BF’s side.

“She’s never had a boyfriend,” he explains. “I think she resents me because I was allowed to date at an age and she wasn’t. I got to do so many things earlier than she was… so we have to be sensitive to that.”

This is a strange and fairly illogical explanation, but I let it go. He promises we’ll have a great time, all three of us, and that he may be able to swing it such that we spend our anniversary alone without setting her off. OK. Um. OK.***

My birthday rolls around. I spend the first half of the day working, and then meet up with the boy, his sis, and a guy friend she’s brought along for lunch. We walk to the baseball stadium to take touristy pictures, finally make our way to a restaurant and have a lovely meal peppered with jokes at the boy’s expense and other such lighthearted banter. We’re sitting out in the sunshine and our waitress is hitting on the boy. It’s such a nice day though, so I ignore it. All is well.

Sis and the boy have plans for the day, so we depart and I take off to do some shopping for an upcoming trip. I’m going to a marketing program in Philadelphia and have to dress in business casual. I work in SF, though, where most of my coworkers’ style of dress is more ‘free t-shirt from the last launch we did,’ so I haven’t had to look fancy in ages. I score a few pencil skirts that make me feel like That Girl, and make my way home to snuggle with my doggy before I meet the boy and sis (and whoever that guy friend of hers is, who even remembers) for my birthday dinner.

We’ve decided to go the restaurant of her suggesting. It’s a place that I’ve been before, and I know it’s good, so I don’t make a fuss. I’m excited, even. It’s dusk, and we go to Dolores Park to swing and slide and climb like children. This was my request. I love a good playground, and I wanted to do something just for me on my birthday. Parents eye us suspiciously, but I ignore them and play with the music makers that have been installed. I take my play seriously, and I can’t be bothered by adults who don’t value an injection of whimsy as much as I do!

Time at the restaurant is unremarkable. Food is good, company is amiable. I’m on a sort of running-around-with-my-arms-spread-wide-and-then-doing-cartwheels high from our time at the park. Meal finished, we clamber into a cab, me with a sleepy grin.

We all arrive at the boy’s apartment. It’s late, so it’s time to figure out sleeping arrangements. There’s a two part sectional couch in the living room, the boy’s bedroom, and the air mattress he’s looking for. I wasn’t even aware of the existence of the air mattress, so I’d assumed sis and her platonic guy were going to share the massive couch. I’ve had many a sleep there, especially on the “I love you but you radiate heat like a dying sun so I am going to sleep on the couch for the sake of the preservation of this relationship” nights. It’s ten minutes into his digging into the deep living room closet that things start to get tense. He’s racking his brain to figure out where the mattress might be. The waves of growing rage begin to roll off of sis, and fill the living room.

I retreat to the bedroom to have a chat with the boy. “What is happening here? I feel like she’s angry at me. Do I need to leave??” I ask him in hushed tones. “No! Of course not! I’ll figure something out.” He exits the room and goes to talk to sis, who’s been out on the balcony talking to their mommy.

I’m going to go ahead and throw another pause in here. Because. It was at least midnight by this time. Mom lives on the east coast. So sis’ first thought is to call her and wake her, at three o’clock in the morning to help get resolution to this issue? But. OK. But… I mean can we talk about this in the here and now? Can we have an adult conversation about this? She’s not willing to sleep on the couch. Her guy friend isn’t willing to go on the floor, and I’m in the way. But instead of talking to the boy, or me, at all, you talk to moms? Oh. OK.

The boy crosses paths with sis who hands him the phone as she runs into the bathroom, sobbing. I watch, mouth agape, as she locks herself inside, and he goes out onto the balcony to continue to the conversation with mommy. Finally, he returns to the bedroom, apparently chided by mother for not having planned properly, which is clearly the only issue with this situation.

OK.

“I’m sorry- I have to take you home.”

I don’t even protest, because after this display, there’s no where else I’d rather be. Yes, I enjoy a little return to childhood in the park every now and then (and yes, I do have an emergency hula hoop sitting in my closet right now), but this was beyond anything I’d experienced in my life. When faced with the choice between having his girl in his bed, or having his sis in his bed, he chose sis. And sis had demanded that choice.

My  mind is in too much of a tailspin to do anything with that information at the moment, but I am not sad to be leaving that apartment.

~paz,

dara.

*I’m sorry for saying ‘love department’, guys. That was a pretty 70’s revolving bed, hairy dude, shag rug thing to say. Also I’m sorry for saying shag rug just now. Haha. Shag rug. Hahahahahaha. Ahem… Sorry.

** Also, last anniversary. Duh, probably.

*** Don’t lecture me about how I was crazy to go along with this. I’ve already done it, thanks.

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