Real Men

If I have to ask what a “real man” is, I guess I’m not one.

Vegas was a bust. Pretty close to what I expected it to be, perhaps even a little less. Wasn’t even going to bother writing about it. Now, a week past freshness, I’ve already mentally erased most of the details.

Arrived before her, checked in, unpacked, answered the phone. “We” are here. She brought her little chaperone again. Sigh. After last time, I thought she said she wasn’t bringing him again. Kid doesn’t like the PBR (event), Vegas, or anything it seems beyond his video games. Never leaves the room unless he has to. Prefers room service over going to a restaurant. I would say he doesn’t like me, but how can I tell, he doesn’t seem to like anybody. Abject apathy. Hope he grows out of it.

So, separate sleeping arrangements, no public displays of affection, full decorum mode, as she tries to “protect his innocence” (her words) in a convoluted game of make-believe for the sake of a “happy” childhood. She has even moved the ex-husband back in her home, calls him “daddy,” boosts both their egos every chance she gets. Really no room for me in her life, in her head, in her heart.

She did drag her son out to one meet-and-greet, and took great pains to introduce him to each cowboy. No introductions for me, persona non gratis. It’s not like I’m jealous of a kid and whining about lack of attention, I’m only trying to illustrate how it was. As I usually do, I chose to make the best of a lousy situation, let it be all about her, and have fun playing personal assistant/staff photographer. Bobby Submissive.

Two of her PBR girlfriends (fellow fans) must’ve asked her about me being with her. I imagine she told them something dismissive, because one acted like she felt sorry for me, and the other seemed mocking.

Thank God I make my own friends and can fend for myself. I had fun with and without her. I really enjoyed the World Finals as J.B. Mauney went 6 for 6 and overtook the defending champ Silvano Alves in dramatic fashion and clinched the championship on the last day. The personal stuff didn’t live up to my daydreams, but what ever does?

I suffer from separation anxiety. Whenever parting from somebody I care about, especially with the possibility of never seeing them again, I feel like crying. And believe me, I’ve cried over CDG more than once. This time, no tears. I felt oddly buoyant.

Before parting, I did take the time to ask about “us.” Her response was rather noncommittal and impersonal, mostly about how complicated her life is.

We did follow up later with a few texts:
Me: For me, it was love at first sight. A love which grew during the winter I spent with you. But we didn’t quite click and went our separate ways. My California dreams faded over time, and now we are merely old friends who see each once or twice a year.
But every time I see you my heart aches all over again and I feel compelled to ask what yet may be possible. Trust me, I hear your discouragement and take it to heart.
I’ve led a good life with more than my share of big love. I am content, but It would’ve been nice to finish with a happily ever after.
Her: I see happily ever after in my/our future(s). I too trust our friendship and value it. I appreciate what you have to offer and look forward to seeing you out here soon. Someday, some man will take the time to prove himself to me. I don’t ask anything of friendships but definitely appreciate your offer of friendship and support.
Me: Thanks for including the “/our future” option. Maybe things aren’t quite as bleak as they seem. It’s the “prove himself to me” premise which trips me up. I still don’t grasp what this entails, nor do I believe I measure up.
Her: “Just do your part dude”

A real man would get what she expects, and just do it. I feel like I’m missing a secret decoder ring.

As I get back to my own life, I’m leaving hers in the rear view, this time for good. I swear.

And I am doing my part. But not for her. For me. My family. The future.

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