I Am Not Your Consolation Prize


I ran into a gentleman this past weekend whom I had not seen in some time.

The last time I saw him he pulled over to say hello.  I was still working as a nanny, walking with the girls in the  flats at the bottom of Potrero Hill by the Jackson Rec Center.  He was with the daughter of his girlfriend.

It was nice to see him, although, I was a little remiss to discover he was dating someone with a child.  I had aspirations once, or a crush once.

Really, I had a fantasy once, and it involved him and making a family.

Seeing him Saturday brought it up again.  Then I saw a little pattern.  Whether it’s his or mine does not matter, I know what my side of the situation is and I saw it very distinctly.  Something to the effect of, patient Carmen waiting in the wings for the man to realize what he’s missing, get some sense in his brain and ask me out.

Does not happen that way.  In fact, after seeing him and saying hello, I took myself away to another area.  He still made an effort to see me before he left and I hugged him and listened with a sympathetic ear to his story and some of the break up details.

Truth be told, he looked pretty shell-shocked and I had some compassion for him.  Little else, honestly.  I don’t want rebounds thank you.

Then I totally forgot about him.

Totally.

How refreshing.

Except he called me and left a message and wanted to talk.  I let the message sit for a day without responding.  There was a time when I would have dropped everything and called him right back.  There was a time.  That time has long passed.  I did not call him until this evening.

I almost forgot to do it at all.  I was checking a text and saw the number, which I had not saved and thought, who’s number is that?  Then I remembered, oh, that’s right he called.  I should leave him a lone. Then, I thought, wait, he is a friend, he is going through it, I’ll return the call.

He picked right up.  Little breathless, which was sweet, and almost immediately launched into break up woes and what he’s doing to process.  I just listened.  I did not have to do anything else.

Then he said the big stupid.

How come guys say the stupid?

He said, “I shouldn’t say this but, after we [his ex-girlfriend] broke up, I thought to myself…”

Long pause.

NO.

Oh NO, do not go there.

Too late.

Oh, yeah, let’s fill in the blank with all the what ifs and if I had only, and what would it have been like, and ooh, is he finally going to acknowledge…

“I need to get back to my routine, and to my Carmen.”

Well.

That’s nice to hear, but you just broke up with someone.  You are not ready for anything.  The other part of me said, yippee!  Now he’ll finally ask me out.

Nice try, I don’t think so brain.

I did not angle for a date.  Instead I said it sounded like he needed to focus on himself and his own needs and cultivate a relationship with himself.  I said these things out loud to him, but truly I was speaking to myself, re-iterating the work that I have done for myself.

And that ultimately what I want for myself is not some one to complete me, but some one to compliment me.

I could almost see the light bulb lighting up over his head, “yes!” he exclaimed.

Note to gentleman, you had your chance, now move on.  In fact, you had more than one chance.

The first was almost seven years ago.

You almost had me again two years after that-asking me to go out to the opera, but then never confirming it.

You could have had me even two years ago, I think it was the symphony this time, after we had not seen each other in a while having run into you and going for a coffee, and a ride in your vintage Mustang Charger.  But you never followed through.

I am not the problem here, I am also not your Carmen.

Your Carmen is a fantasy.  A sweet, understanding ear, some one non-judgemental, and nice, and that has absolutely nothing to do with me or who I am.

Ok, perhaps I am a bit harsh.  I am those things, but those are just ideals and ideas, there’s not something behind it.  You actually don’t know me very well.  You have an idea of who I am and what I represent.

There was a time when I wanted you to know me, to know the true me, but again, that time has passed.

I don’t like to live in the past, there is nothing there for me.  I can only sustain my happiness in the moment.

I had a good talk with John Ater recently and I think I got the go ahead to try something different again.

I was explaining how I had a mild, hahahaha, interest in a customer that had come into the shop, whom felt was flirting with me, and how to proceed to getting a possible date.  Was it appropriate to?   He’s a customer.

Then John told me I was a lot like him.

Gay, Texan, 6’5″?

Not really.

What he meant is that we are both big personalities.  I know this, and I know this to be intimidating.  I have worked on dialing it back, not losing my personality, but not standing behind it so much.  It really is a facade that keeps others out.  If they see how big and brash and bold I am they may not see through to the real me and then I don’t have to worry about getting intimate.

He gave me some suggestions, then said, “honey, you might just have to do the asking out.”

Well, alright then.  I may just do that.

I will wait until he comes to pick up his bike.  No need to facecrack stalk him or google him, oogle him, either.  I stand, or sit here, if you want to be literal, as a complete person. I am not going to step back and be some one’s consolation prize however, or runner-up, or the person that the guy turns to when he needs emotional support and to process.

We all know how that romantic comedy ends.

And I am not the exception to the rule, he’s not all that into me and I’m not all that into waiting around for him to figure that out for the fourth time.

Sorry Charlie, I have plans and they don’t involve asking you out on a date.

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