Dazed and Confused

Whenever I’m caught in the middle of a predicament like this, or whenever I really needed some alone time; time to think and sort out my thoughts, I used to go to the gym. I mean, I pay for it every 2 weeks so might as well use it. This particular gym, more specifically the classes it runs, was the place I went to after Corporate and I ended our engagement – it kept me moving when my world fell apart and gave me a sense of purpose, enough to get me out of bed and to work. And now, 3 years later, I am a fully fledged addict. I’ve met many of my friends and acquaintances through the gym, and I’ve brought along and addicted many of my friends to the exercise classes and ambiance of the gym-going world. Basically, it was home away from the hospital.

However with the arrival of The American… I’m finding it difficult to go. Since the last time we spoke, conveniently at the gym, it seems as if every single word that rolls out of his mouth makes it so hard for me to step inside a once familiar and welcoming environment – like entering your childhood home after it’s been sold and remodeled by perfect strangers. A part of you knows that it is the same building; the same structure, the same memories; but a part of you knows that something is missing.

Let me explain; last night I saw The American – saw, not spoke – briefly in between my classes. I had left for the evening and spent a little time meandering around the mall until I realized that I had left my necklace somewhere in the change room. Now this particular necklace, although picked out by Brunswick and purchased by my mother, has significant sentimental value to me. It is a teardrop moonstone and both the shape and particular stone is very difficult to find; it truly is one of a kind. The problem is I had managed to avoid speaking to The American that evening, only because I was still in shock and awe to his very existence – and the fact that I had spoken to Corporate not 2 hours ago about my impending visit. Perhaps I felt guilty, or nervous, or both, however the outcome was still the same: I didn’t know what to say or how to act. But knowing that my necklace had mere hours to sit before someone with a keen eye and fabulous taste in jewellery decided to make it their own I had no other choice but to go back. So with a deep breath and cautious step, I re-entered my gym to retrieve my necklace.

The American was sitting at a table outside of the yoga studio – which just so happens to be right beside the entrance to the ladies locker room. Out of the corner of my eye I saw him watch me walk down the stairs, so an all-out avoidance tactic was completely out of the question. He was surprised to see me back – he didn’t expect me to return, although I instantaneously clarified that it was for my necklace. I asked him why he was seemingly waiting, as he was neither jumping rope nor lifting weights, and he said that he was going to dinner with my instructor friend after yoga. He asked if I would stay for a chat after retrieving my necklace, and under the impression that he was waiting for my friend, I agreed to sit with him for the remainder of the class.

I wish I hadn’t.

The American started the conversation by asking me how my day was. Fine, I thought, as small talk between strangers that is usually a good place to start. He began to drop hints as to what he actually does as a job – not that I can explain what he does. (I’m not being coy. Honestly I have no idea what he does). He mentioned that, at 31 and in the service since 19, he was beginning to get the urge to settle down as so many of his colleagues were doing. The work he does is dangerous, at least from the bits and pieces he’s told me, and as much as it is his ‘honour’ to serve his country, if he found the right woman he would stop. He would give up the service, the one thing he loved in the world for a woman… And apparently that woman is me.

I turned away at that point and took a deep and audible breath. After meeting some men in the military I could somewhat understand his eagerness to remove himself from the dangers of service and the anonymity of his existence. I can only guess that living an extraordinary life for so long, the urge of normalcy when presented is too much to dismiss so quickly. However it was still rash; I mean, The American had just just met me, and now he was willing to give up his career and life for a girl he scarcely knows? To me it just didn’t make any sense: I mean, what would he do? And more importantly, and I had to ask this question, what makes him think I want that?

To that he responded “Picture this” and as I closed my eyes The American started to tell me a story… about how he’d take care of me from the second I walked in the door after a long day at work. How I’d walk in the door, tired beyond belief, and drop my purse to the floor, but before it even touched the ground he would catch and carry it, and me, and bring me to the living room. On the way I’d see the dinner table – perfectly laid out for a meal he’s prepared; The American would remove my shoes and socks and proceed to rub my feet as I talk about my day. Knowing that I was hungry but exhausted he would give me a strawberry smoothie to satisfy me before carrying and putting me in a milk bath to relax away the tension in my body. After dinner we’d then go for a walk before going to bed, only for him to wake up before me to prepare my breakfast and coffee and have it ready for me to go. He finished the story, or I guess I should say fairy tale, by proclaiming that he would do that for me every single day.

At this point I can barely open my eyes in fear that at any moment tears would begin to fall… so instead with my eyes closed I asked him “Won’t you get tired of it?”. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had boyfriends in the past who would make me dinner and breakfast and sit with me and talk about my day – but that usually ends once the honeymoon phase is over and the reality of fights and priorities seep into the time once occupied by romance. Also it was those very same boyfriends who seemed to only do those things for me as a way to ‘bank’ favours back in return, or hold it against me when I was unwilling to give in to their demands. Perhaps I am extra cynical after my ordeal with Brunswick, but when it comes to relationships I’d rather have nothing if something is demanded in return. When I give to the one I love – no matter what – I don’t ever expect anything in return. But every man I’ve been with, I guess with the exception of Corporate, had an ulterior motive to giving me something, be it gifts, dinner, or otherwise… so I learned to live with nothing to avoid having a previous deed or favour given to me held over my head.

The American, however, proved me wrong. “No” he said, shaking his head while looking at me with sad eyes, not out of pity, but true sadness. “You never get tired of treating the one you love right.”

As I sat there in silence he continued to speak – “Listen Carrie; I know you just got back with this guy and you haven’t even been with him for a second, so I won’t come between you two. It’s just that… as my grandfather said, you will think that you are so cool, but then along comes that one woman who will make your body shake and your soul nervous… and you do that to me. But it’s like that song, ‘Hey Lover’. I’m not going to do anything… I’ll let you be – but I’ll be waiting. If he doesn’t treat you right, give me the chance to show you how good it could be.”

The class ended right on time. My instructor friend stepped out of the room, surprised to see me and The American there. After helping me with my coat and chatting with some friends, all three of us together exited the gym. My friend invited me to grab a bite afterwards, but I shook my head no, still unable to speak – my mind still processing what I had heard and imagined courtesy of The American. So I watched the two of them walk to the food court as I climbed the escalator I shook my head in wonder, moving in slow motion towards the bridge to walk home, asking myself if this was indeed my reality.

And then in my pocket I felt a vibration. Startled out of my dreams I reached into the pocket of my pink coat to retrieve my now loudly-ringing phone, wondering who could be calling me so late in the evening.

It was then when the tears finally fell from my eyes, for the person who was calling me was Corporate.

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~ by Carrie on April 14, 2007.

14 Responses to “Dazed and Confused”

  1. Romantic fantasies of being carried away aside, The American seems like a serious manipulator. If he was honest to God in love with you and wanted to “settle down” he would be taking it slow with you, and letting you get to know him by his actions.

    I’m sure your body shakes and your soul gets nervous (who is his grandfather, Prince?) when he’s around- he’s saying things that are fairly alarming! It sounds like he has established a formula of what women should want, as he’s never asked you about what you want in a relationship, and speaks to that until he gets his way. What you need or want isn’t part of his equation- how is that loving in the least?

    Speaking like a gentleman isn’t the same thing as being one. I’m going to go back through you archives to read up on Vegas, but if you’re anything it is of sound mind, I’m sure you wouldn’t have let Vegas in if not for a good reason. Don’t let this guy try to get under your skin, don’t take him seriously when you see him, and don’t let him take over the gym for you. Trust your judgement about Vegas. Take your time in figuring this guy’s motives out, but be careful!

  2. I agree the American sounds like a manipulator, I can only judge from your post but I don’t get a good vibe from this guy. Sounded to me like you needed a shovel to make your way out of his crap

    again I have never meet him or you for that matter but that’s my blogging opinion 🙂

  3. Ohhhh Carrie … please be careful with this guy. Sometimes when things seems too good to be true, they typically are…

  4. I like your site very much. Thanks for your interest. Have a good day

  5. I’m with them Carrie. Be careful….this whole thing sounds like trouble.

  6. Publish this.

  7. Dude. I agree with everyone else, proceed with caution. He sounds too good to be true. And his job makes him sound like he’s the hero of a Tom Clancy novel, when he might just be the manager of the local blockbuster. Not that there is anything wrong with being a local manager, I’m just saying. Proceed with caution.

  8. Going so fast!

    He may very well be fabulous, he may very well be…but guys that mnove that quickly on me always scare me.

  9. Go with your intuition. Trust that little voice inside that isn’t trying to over analyze or fall for the fairy tale. We definitely do not know the details and feelings that you are experiencing, so… just trust and listen to yourself. If there is a little red light in your head… show him the door. What I love about men is that they aren’t perfect…and this guy sounds like he is. (and tell that part of you that likes the fairy tale that… the fairy tale in also about all the things that you want for you… not just what the prince wants and believes you would like as well!… the prince isn’t actually all he is cracked up to be!)

  10. I hate to go against the blog grain but I read this, I was like, “Swoooon!” Haha. You’ll know if Vegas is doing enough for you that you can let this American pass. Otherwise…you only live once, carpe diem.

  11. Wow! He’s definitely a smooth talker and knows exactly what to say. I agree with Jessica. Guys that move too fast scare me as well. Just be careful with this one. All that glitters isn’t gold.

  12. i agree about going with your inituition. follow what your heart is telling you (my problem is i often dont know what the hell the right thing IS to really do)… but hang in there. and keep blogging. your story-telling is amazing and perhaps blogging it all out will help you to begin to sort through it some.

  13. @ kyla bea – HAHA Prince. That is fantastic. But seriously you’re right – romantic fantasies aside I really have to take a good look at what he’s saying and what he’s trying to do… And yeah, I didn’t let Vegas back in to my life without good reason or a good fight (2.5 years is a long time) and I shouldn’t throw that all away for sugary-sweet words from a stranger… And yeah – I don’t even know if I want what he’s saying; I admit it sounds lovely, but I think I’d tire from all that attention, or spend all my time wondering what I have to do in return. And time? Well he’s gone on the 30th so either way …

    @ B – I definitely got a vibe from the American – but I didn’t know what exactly. And I’m glad that I was able to convey what I was feeling, even if it’s through a blog!

    @ brr… – I will!! You’re right – often things that seem too good to be true most certainly are; Philippe was like this in the beginning and now I have a restraining order against him. Live and learn I guess.

    @ Mr. WriteNow – I will, especially coming from a guy (therefore you know exactly what men are thinking and what they mean).

    @ brandy – When he was telling me bits and pieces of what he does I actually did think (not out-loud, of course) “uh this sounds a lot like Mission Impossible” except that he doesn’t look anything like Tom Cruise. But who knows, if I get to know him more he might start acting like Tom Cruise cerca Katie Homes love fiasco, and I really don’t need another altercation.

    @ Jessica – It’s beginning to scare me too… All empathy aside for soldiers and whatnot, that is still no excuse to rush into forever-and-a-day when I don’t think he’s even seen me when I’ve showered. And that is pretty scary, not to mention gross!

    @ The Exception – You’re right, men aren’t perfect, and this one sounds like it, or at least has the speech down-pact to make it seem as if he is perfect. Sure the first few months after meeting someone you are on your very best behaviour, but this is a little excessive, no? And yeah, who ever said that I wanted what he described to me? Yes it’s beautiful but the fairy tale has to end at some point… and what then?

    @ Beth – Silky smooth; imagine those words coming from a dark and handsome stranger with a deep voice and big soulful eyes… which is why I had to close mine. It really does seem too good to be true.

    @ Another Twenty-something – haha you sound like my friend Nicole! There is his story, my story, and somewhere in between lies the truth. He may very well be the person he is claiming to be, but I don’t know for sure and I don’t know if I want to find out.

    @ brookem – I’m beginning to follow my intuition… so far it hasn’t lead me astray. I too don’t know what the ‘right’ thing is to do; remember those do it yourself adventure books? Yeah, I totally flipped to the back to scour all my options. I was never good at making decisions without having an idea of what the outcome would be like. Except this time it’s not a book I can put down or re-shelf when the librarian isn’t looking – it’s real life. Oh well… at least it makes for a hell of a story!

  14. Hi all!

    I am really excited. Keep up the great work. Good resources here.


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