Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I guess she (I) is (am) not done with me (her) yet

So I have had an unusual weekend and have been wrestling with it. I have tried to wake up a little and open my eyes, to slip out of my little cocoon of the familiar and be out and about. I needed to see what was out there.

I have been avoiding just being home because it's sucking me in and I am afraid I will just shut down, but...

I tend to go to extremes in my life. This weekend was no different. I went to a coffee shop/wine spot on the way home and saw a pretty woman smiling at me from across the place. I ordered my glass and went and sat near her, wondering why she seemed familiar.

I could know her from my time at another publication, before The Star-News. Or not, as I try to remember more clearly. She had attended a massage school that I handled ads in CityBeat for. It didn't matter, really.

She was nice, we chatted a bit and I eventually got uncomfortable, then told on myself. "I lost Marcie in October," I blurted out. She had asked when I became a widower, I had been direct. The conversation changed, to my rather mixed relief.

I guess that I was intimidated, or chickening out a little. More honestly, I am just not ready, knew it, and I wanted to not go there yet, as she gave me signals that we might. Whatever it was, I went home and left half a glass of wine at the restaurant after she made her exit. Leaving me her card, that is.

But that was not the end of my strange weekend. I went to the Chula Vista Chamber of Commerce installation dinner with my former editor and we were seated with a nice group of bankers from Mission Federal. I took a card from one, a woman named Michelle, and was told to give her a call.

I was surprised when she handed it to me. We were just passing time as I worked on ambushing the politicos and saying hello to old pals. I did, since she gave me a card, ask her to dance, but she was off to pick up her son's girlfriend at the airport. I am definitely not ready to call anyone, though.

I may have given a sigh of relief, or perhaps not. It didn't matter. I did dance, though, with a group of women from Sweetwater Union High School District, to a few really good Latin dance hall favorites. It was fun, it was relaxing, and I was pretty amazed that only two other guys danced in a crowd of a couple dozen women (some very cute) on the little dance floor.

I ducked out on drinks afterward when I was asked by a couple of ad representatives from the Union-Tribune. They seemed nice, but I was almost immediately uncomfortable and had that same feeling I had gotten in the coffee shop. This time, I didn't blurt anything but said I had to feed Seamus (I did have to), and went home.

I ran into the woman from the coffee/wine bar on Saturday while I updated the blog over a nice drink of strong coffee. I gave her my cards. One has the blog on it, the other is from the school district. There's nothing like full disclosure and time to chew on things to scare people off.

The uncomfortable feelings weren't done with me.

I went to Hot Monkey Love Sunday for salsa classes, which I am taking with a specific friend in mind. They're free and the venue is an alcohol-free club. It was fun, I learned a few new steps and some basic but salsa-specific spins. I enjoyed the whole thing.

We kept rotating partners as a group until the dance lesson ended and the floor was turned over to the DJ. I was about to go when one of my partners, a pretty brunette, pulled me back out. We danced, some of it probably legitimate salsa, the rest just rhythm. I took my leave after some time. She could not have been more than 25.

I was complemented when she said she hoped I would be back. I said, smiling, "Maybe." But I may go get lessons somewhere else. I could not shake the feeling that I was definitely doing something bad behind Marcie's back as we talked.

I dreamed Sunday of Marcie scolding me. It was very French, and I only caught bits of it, but the word "salope" was uttered often. That I understood. Whatever else was said, I know I was behaving badly. I needed to be home and grieving a bit more, not running from it and certainly not flirting.

I ran into the woman at the coffee/wine shop again on Monday and pretended not to notice her. I couldn't figure out if that was because I had seen her three times in one short weekend and did not want to freak her out, or if I was just hoping not to talk to her again yet.

It worked out. She left the coffee shop. I felt a good mix of regret and relief. I had a rough night last night, and it included a dream with Marcie. I broke down in it and she stroked my back as I held her, comforting me.

"Oh, honey," she said. "Oh, baby. It's okay, honey. It's okay."

She is not through with me yet, even if there had been so long without dreams of her. Waking up this morning, that was comforting enough to make it hard to stay awake and not seek more sleep, to get up and go to work.

It sure was nice to know that I am not limited to dancing with my baby's also-mourning girlfriends, though there is the added bonus of not feeling any guilt (so far) in that case...

But I wish Marcie would/could/will dance with me again.