To The Mentor That I Mistakenly Fucked.
The last time we connected I swore would be the last. You asked me, as usual, to contact you when I’d be in town again. When I called you to make the plan, as usual, it was never the right time. Despite having a nice enough chat, I felt stupid, desperate even, chasing you like a infatuated teenager. What was not usual was my decision to not engage with you anymore. I deleted all our past correspondence and vowed that the next time you emailed me I would not respond, figuring if you really wanted to connect you would. It’s been over a month now since you emailed. I’ve kept my promise to myself, but for some reason it didn’t feel as good or virtuous as I’d anticipated.
We met about 6 years ago now. There was an instant and easy connection between us that never struck me as inappropriate, despite my co-worker insisting you were interested in me. You’re crazy, I told her. He has a girlfriend, he’s going to live with her in Israel. We would chat at length about Israel, and once when we needed to send documents to you there, I wrote in Hebrew, which amused you both. Before you left, you gave me an assortment of things, for my boys. A punching bag. Other sports related stuff. The move abroad was not as long as you’d hoped; you were back within 18 months. You would come in for regular appointments. We chittered and chattered, and I looked forward to our encounters. Then the day came where you told me you were moving away, and gifted my kids with a laptop. I felt gratitude, as usual, yet also felt the need to reciprocate to show my appreciation. A date was set, you would have a “friend” with you, and I was coming to give you a short intro session on bodywork. I arrived to find you and what I assumed was your girlfriend. I didn’t ask. Together we worked on her, and then she left. You showed me around your house, which was beautiful and impressive, from the layout and art to the furniture you designed yourself. I could understand why you wanted to leave this town — your vision was too big for what it could offer. We talked then too, really talked. We shared deeper, personal information. You had a great attitude and were a good listener. You said something that proved to be a catalyst for my long awaited change, which was: “I’d hate to come back here in two years and see you in the same place you are now”. Well, that statement hit me like a ton of bricks. I’d been wanting to leave my marriage for the past seven years, and kept finding excuses not to. We parted with a hug, and a promise to catch up in your new city, and I left that day determined not to be that person who was waiting it out.
Our relationship grew after that day. We had exchanged emails previously, although mainly through my work (where you used to be a client), and now we did so on my personal email. Your responses were always thoughtful and encouraging — unlike some of my closer friends, you weren’t concerned about hurting my feelings by saying something derogatory about my ex, or the position that I was keeping myself in. I felt that we had more than a friendship, and that you were guiding me through this process.
I was soon separated, although it was almost a year before he moved out. During that time I saw you infrequently. Each time was empowering and enlightening. I began to see what my future could be from another set of eyes. I started to understand more about what I wanted, and what heights I might set for the quality of my life. You were a positive and welcome addition to the intensive therapy I was doing for most of that year — saying all the things I needed to hear to create change, and I am still so grateful.
And then I slipped. I let sex enter into our conversation. I shared how scared shitless I was at the idea of ever having sex again. Not only the actual, mechanical act of it, but the idea of being naked, with another person. We discussed that, and then you nonchalantly offered to help me with that. I left that day feeling stunned, and baffled. What the fuck did you say? Why do you want to have sex with me? Was what’s-her-name from the office right? Did you really want to be with me? All this swirled around and around, it was all I could think about, regardless of the fact that I wasn’t sure I was even turned on at the idea. Excited? Possibly. Freaked out and anxious? Definitely.
So the next time I came to see you, I asked you to make good on your offer. In less time than it is taking me to write this sentence you were up off the couch, extending your hand to me, and leading me upstairs to your bedroom. There were some high points. You told me I had a beautiful body, that you like my youthful style, and how high I could reach if I decided to. Telling me how I needed to maximize my assets. And I did feel pretty good about myself after. But the actual act…? I couldn’t tell if it was the extreme nervousness that was inhibiting actual feelings of desire, the lack of alcohol (!), or the mid-afternoon no build-up let’s get this done attitude. Seriously, I was shaking like a leaf. The most memorable point? When I got up to leave, I hit my pinkie finger on the platform bed frame — resulting in a fractured finger for weeks (as if I needed a physically painful reminder of what I had done). Not that it was horrible, if anything it encouraged me to develop a deeper solo practice. The least memorable point? You telling me now that I was “primed” for my next visit to the big city — and how I should get out there and have plenty of experience in order to figure out what I wanted. Afterwards I stopped to get takeout (Thai) on the way home, which delighted my family, and felt rather proud of myself that I had not performed as badly as I feared, and that I was so evolved that we could do something like this while preserving the integrity of the relationship.
Pretty much every time after that, I’d call or email to connect, and get turned down. Or you would reach out to connect, always careful to put the onus of making a specific time and date with me, before shutting me down. You always had valid excuses; a prior commitment, you’d be out of the country that week, a tennis tournament. Instead of feeling empowered and bold, I began feeling like a needy, chasing woman who wasn’t quite getting the hint. Not once did you invite me over specifically, not once did you ask me to join you at an event or class. Ugh. Talk about not getting it.
Going back to our last contact; you had emailed me and I called. In all fairness, I did call you the day I was heading your way, so not much thought given to someone who has their days organized the way you do. I can’t remember if you were free that day or not, only that I wasn’t. We did have a brief chat, where you made some allusion to me teasing you by calling but not coming over. You asked about my kids, but didn’t really talk about yourself. Maybe I didn’t do a good enough job of asking. And it was left there. Until last month, when you reached out yet again, ten months later. I kept seeing an image of a fisherman, throwing his line in again and again, continuing to throw back what he thought was too little, or too easy to catch. It took me a few minutes to realize that maybe I was the one thinking I was too little. And to finally tell myself, with confidence, that as much as I enjoyed your company it wasn’t worth sacrificing my dignity, again. And that if you wanted to see me, you’d find a way to do that. And until such a time, or not, I wouldn’t have to take up my mental space with it.
Does this mean I’m growing? Shit, I hope so! Does this mean I want to hear from you again?