I'm climbing up the steep canyon road in Topanga to Dick's* house with a couple of friends when we look up and see a twister wavering atop the mountain, looking for a good place to land. Not sure what to do or where to go on the open mountain side, we just observe in awe. The tornado finally touches down right in the middle of the recreation center at the Top of Topanga community, which looks to me like a smaller version of the Getty Museum. Once it tears through the building and into the mountain, we see the onslaught of rocks and debris flying through the sky directly toward us. With no shelter to be had, we all duck and cover and let fate decide whether we live or die. I peek a couple of times and see some large, jagged boulders flying through the air and brace myself for the crushing blow. I get pelted a few times in the back by smaller rocks but not hard enough to break any bones.
Once the boulder shower stops, we all look around in amazement that none of us are seriously injured. I take out my phone and call Dick*, who does not know that I am in Topanga, but who lives just a mile or two away from where I am standing. When he answers the phone, he sounds seriously irritated and just starts talking before I can say a word.
"Listen, Kat, this is exasperating. I said I was willing to be your friend, but you're wearing me out. I can't have contact with you every day. I've always been into you, I've been into you since I first met you, but now you've ruined it and I just can't..."
As he speaks, I feel the knife twisting. I don't even hear the rest of what he is saying as reality sinks in. I have just survived something incredible and now I feel like I'm dying. Then I wake up.
In the past few posts, I've censored myself a bit for the sake of appearing more balanced than I was feeling and just out of a general feeling of confusion. I won't do that now. This dream is a culmination of my experiences for the last couple of months. Something about my interaction with Dick* brought out some really dark parts of me that are of no use but for destruction.
It happened about three years ago when I ran into Dick* at a summer festival in town. We had been acquaintances and when we bumped into each other, he told me about his recent break up and that's about all I remember. After that he started showing up in my life and somehow we just started hanging out. I saw the red flags back then when all he did was talk about his ex and the breakup. I was at his house several times watching movies, he came over to my place and sat all the way across the room, we watched the sunset and the fireworks from above at stone mountain and never once did he make a move on me, which I found frustrating, but understood.
I was a good listener and maybe a little too nice and compassionate for my own good. I liked being around him, so I ignored the red flags and began carrying a dim torch for him. Then one day I got the phone call. Dick* told me he was getting back together with his ex and that we couldn't spend time together anymore. While I understood and appreciated his forthrightness, I was still let down and kinda pissed. It was around that time that Easy Tiger had come out. Ryan Adams always has lyrics relative to my experience; "..so if I'm being honest with you and you think that I'm being cruel, at least you didn't get a rip off..." and that was true. At least he was straightforward with me, which allowed me to get over it pretty quickly and easily.
Then several months ago I got a random facebook message from Dick* out of the blue, just saying hi and sort of apologizing for flaking on me way back when and asking to be friends again. He had since moved to Los Angeles. I had completely forgotten being upset over him in the first place and was happy to hear from him. Then a couple of months ago, he happened to be visiting Atlanta and we spent a little time together that turned out to be quite intense. There was a lot of "I wonder what could've been if I'd made a different choice" and even an "I would fall in love with you". You tell me what girl doesn't want to hear someone say that? Then he flew back to LA.
For a solid month, we skyped every night for hours, the days were filled with hundreds of texts, most of them telling me how lovely I am, how I have his favorite face, how he thinks I'm the prettiest girl ever, how that night was the night he knew he could fall in love with me.. Again, I ask you, what girl doesn't want to hear that, particularly on the heels of a break up? Just before he flew me out to visit him, he suggested I come live with him in LA. I didn't really consider it until he brought it up again after my return. I had been ready to make a grand gesture of change for some time and this just seemed like the perfect thing. I swallowed the fairy tale hook, line and sinker.
The first visit was great in a lot of ways, but he seemed a little foggy and distant. When I asked him about it, he assured me that he was happy to have me out there and was just a little shy. It's easy to be forward with technology, but in person, it takes a little longer to feel comfortable. I bought it. Once I returned to Atlanta, he brought up me moving there again and somehow we started talking seriously about it. At that point, it seemed so certain that I told my landlord, my family and several of my friends. He had even announced 'our little plan' to his parents and close friends as well and I was excited for a big change in scenery to help pull me out of the rut I've been in.
When the difficulty with logistics started to surface, things got hard and I got in a panic about how I was going to support myself in a place with an even higher cost of living than I'm used to. I started to feel pressure to figure my life out before I could move, but felt I needed to move before I could figure out my life. At that point, he pulled back like the genitals of a polar bear club member taking the plunge in January. That's when all of my crazy got triggered. I felt him pulling back but tried to hang on to the fragments of affection that he had displayed in the beginning. I didn't want to believe what I instinctively knew to be true and that's what got me into trouble.
What pisses me off about the whole thing is that I could tell and I just wanted him to be straightforward with me, but he kept making excuses and I accepted them. I don't know what happened to the balls he had when he called to tell me about getting back with his ex, but apparently he decided he could just fade away and I wouldn't question it. Now he 'wants to be friends' and I am struggling with whether I can do that or not. I hate to delete him from my life, but I don't want it to keep me from being open to someone who is a better match for me. It pains my ego to know that he can go on about his life without a second thought of me and here I am filled with thoughts of him, even in my dreams.
This time I definitely feel like I got a rip off. Part of me feels like I sabotaged it because I knew it was too good to be true. Part of me thinks he found someone else to be excited about and I became beige slacks to her leopard print tights. Part of me thinks he idealized me and once I became real, he lost interest. Part of me thinks he felt too much pressure to be all of these things to me and shut down. Part of me has no fucking clue what went wrong but still aches to know why so I can learn from it and not let it happen again. Whether intentionally or not, he strung me along and I allowed myself to be. This time, it has been a lot harder to get over. Your guess is as good as mine at this point and with this post I intend to let it go.
The truth is, I was okay with the possibility that I would move out to California and eventually the relationship might not have worked out. I knew this was a catalyst for change and I was not banking on it lasting forever. It's clear to me now though that I did think it would last at least a little while and develop into something more substantial. All I got out of this was a short, extremely intense high and the ensuing huge let down, but nothing nourishing inbetween. I didn't get the intimacy that one usually gets in a relationship before having their heart and pride stomped on. It seems like it would be easier to reconcile if there had been an actual relationship, but to be so hurt and disappointed by someone who never truly knew you sucks, plain and simple. "I climbed so high the sky dropped down to teach me how to lay low and keep my ear to the ground."
* The name has been changed to protect the not so innocent and also for humor.