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Be careful what you pray for, you just might get it
Be careful what you pray for, you might regret it
You get your hands on the glittering prize
Now everybody’s coming at you from every side
Be Careful what you pray for – Paul Kelly
Once upon a time, in down town Melbourne, as I, the Good Girl, professed to the universe that I was ready for the right guy to come along… my phone buzzed. I had seriously spoken out loud to the universe, verbalising a wish list of the qualities I want the perfect guy to possess in some attempt to perhaps manifest him. It seemed like a lame thing to do, sure, but in saying it out loud, perhaps I was also clarifying things in my own mind. And it’s not like I was baying at the moon!
Seriously, spookily, thirty seconds after actually verbalising what I wanted, a text message was delivered from a guy I hadn’t heard from in over a year. The very first man I had chatted to after things finished with the Producer. Was this a sign?!
On paper, this was the guy. On paper, he had all the qualities I hoped to find in a man. Single, intelligent, creative, thoughtful, articulate, generous of spirit, affectionate, humorous, left wing, ….and a writer. A published author to be precise, and the host of a popular podcast where he interviewed famous, well-to-do writers. He was the chair of a writer’s association and guest speaker at many literary events.
When I first started speaking with him a year ago, there was definitely a spark, with banter that flowed easily. He was both interesting and interested in what I had to say. He made me laugh, such a welcome relief after a break up.
Although we talked on the phone often, we never actually met face to face. One night he called me to say he had an opportunity to get back with his ex-girlfriend and me being me, I encouraged it.
Leave no stone unturned, have no regrets, I advised. I wished him well and that was that. I had felt that tiny sting of disappointment, at a missed opportunity. We seemed to have so much in common, but timing is everything.
So a year later, a lovely message had popped up on my phone from the Author. Clearly he was single again. He had been separated from his ex-wife for over two years, and the relationship in between hadn’t worked. He reached out on the off chance I might too be single…it’s all about timing.
As expected, it felt like we just picked up where we had left off. He handed me a gift, which was a copy of the Tex Perkins biography, remembering that in my conversations from 12 months before, I’d mentioned that I had selfies with Tex at a country music festival, along with James Young, music promoter. He managed to make me smile in the first few seconds. It was very thoughtful. After drinks, he walked me to the tram stop and kissed me gently. Lovely. Easy.
So here I was again, with another Northern suburbs, inner-city, left wing creative. He was an ex punk rocker with a killer vinyl collection, an athiest Jew formerly of Sydney, and 56 years old. Yes voter in the ridiculous Marriage Equality survey here in Australia.
Vote yes, just get it done.
The Author pursued me, and was driving every catch up. At each date, he was already suggesting the next. He planned them all. He took me to many literary events and introduced me to people within his writer’s world. He invited me to come and watch him work on his podcast, where I met the producers and fan-girled while meeting one very famous Australian writer, whose books had been adapted for film by the likes of Spielberg. I got first hand wonderful advice from the famous writer…It was like a dream come true.
Watching him work was lovely, in the sense that he was so openly happy to allow me into his world, something that had taken such a long time for the Producer to do. Everything about this just felt easy and okay. What is this strangeness? Where is the hard work part, I questioned.
On one particular night he invited me to stay in town and booked a hotel room. We had dinner, and then went to a cosey wine bar for drinks. He’s a tactile guy, lots of lovely hugs, and kisses and holding hands, and quite comfortable with public displays of affection. Romantic, clever and funny, this guy was starting to win me over. In the wake of my mum’s sudden departure from the earth, he was caring, sweet and lovely.
Like a fairy tale…
As we all know, fairy tales don’t really exist. Most of them cleverly are moralistic tales of foreboding outcomes…And so it was with the Author. For six lovely weeks, he made me feel like I was the only woman in existence, wining and dining me, hanging out, watching films, laughing a lot. On the last weekend we spent together, he opened up, admitting that his marriage had failed when he’d had an affair on his wife of twenty years.
Worse, the “girlfriend” he went back to a year before was the woman he’d had the affair with.
And, he admitted, he had previously had a gambling addiction. He liked to flutter on the ponies.
I kept an open mind. I listened to what he had to say. He didn’t try to justify his behaviour. So, on the tail end of his confessions, I explained how my marriage had ended to the Taurus, and the devastation of his financial betrayal. The next day, as we untangled limbs and he climbed out of bed, he confirmed our dinner plans for Tuesday night and confirmed our attendance at an event the following Saturday. He lingered in my kitchen over coffee, kissing my neck, telling me I was amazing…and then he left.
Not three hours later, he was phoning me. My openness and my ability to articulate my pain at what my ex-husband had done, and the truth of the aftermath apparently was like an epiphany for him that what he had done to his ex-wife must have been devastating. Didn’t he get that in the past two years?!
He felt he owed it to her to throw himself on her mercy. To go to counselling with her and ask if she might take him back and forgive him.
You fucking what now?!
Wow. Didn’t you just climb out of my bed only hours ago?! I listened. I took a deep breathe. Tears betrayed me, though I’m sure it was just the shock of his words and their consequent meaning. That he had gleefully fed me hope, How dare he, I asked, use my pain to somehow garnish some redemption from his ex-wife? He spewed forth a sea of “I’m sorries”…So very sorry. Sorry. Oh god, very sorry…
“Perhaps, “ I pondered to him, “The best course of action might be to live your life in such a way that apologies aren’t required to the women you leave in your wake. Try being single and working out your issues.”
He sent me a message the day after explaining that his ex-wife wasn’t keen on taking him back. No? Really? Gee, I wonder why?
Especially when he was still friends on social media with the woman he’d had the affair with. Oh, and you just climbed out of my bed to boot! Or was it all just an elaborate excuse to get out of yet another relationship? Who can say for sure? The Author was a teller of tales, a weaver of deceit.
The Author was no Prince Charming. He was however, a Wolf in Sheep’s clothing.
I have no doubt there will be a happy ending for me, but in this case I definitely dodged a bullet. This won’t dull my optimism! I’ll just need to stay a few more dragons to arrive at the prize.