Sunday, June 03, 2012

The Story I Started in Bed

So you and I were groggy, lying in bed, waking, touching one another. My thoughts were sleepily wandering from one topic to the next. I started telling you a story from my past that I never finished.

It was about a necklace and my old boyfriend Robert.

Robert, a tricky and wild sort. Compulsive liar. Addictive personality. Suffered from PTSD from his time in war zones. Former Navy Seal. So he says. (Turns out that was a lie.) Good-natured but with a definite dark side.

He's the type who should be immediately removed from the life of anyone with a modicum of common sense but like that gum stuck to your shoe, he stuck on and we've strangely morphed into friends. Or family. Or something in-between.

Even amidst all of our "issues" (and my god, do we have them), I guess we care about each other on a very basic level that can't be that easily undone. Trust me, I've tried.

Anyway, I got that far into the story. And maybe you started touching me in just the right places. Or maybe the wine and the stars from the previous night still held me captive. But the story was lost, somewhere, lost in soft kisses and warm, inviting arms.

So now that you're not here to distract me so pleasantly, I'll finish my story:

I asked Robert to give me a gift several months ago. In the years that we were together, I don't recall him ever buying me so much as flowers. Not that I live for that stuff, but it's still welcome, of course. And while we're not together anymore, a romantic gesture from any guy in my life would be appreciated.
I told him I wanted a silver necklace with a pendant. Nothing fancy. Something I could wear and feel protected by. Connected to. Something I could touch to feel loved.

Last month, Robert sent me a text telling me he got me a gift. When I asked him what it was, he replied a bracelet. Hmmm...I don't really wear bracelets, but hell, I guess I should be appreciative anyway, right? 

When we finally saw each other in person, he handed me my "gift" wrapped in brown tissue paper. I opened it and there it was: a pair of men's aviator sunglasses...what?!
I mean, it was a good pair (and strangely reminiscent of the kind he normally sports)...but still.
" What happened to the bracelet? Or for that matter, the necklace?"
"I just thought you needed something more practical. You'll get more use out of these anyway. You probably don't have any real sunglasses."

Living at the Jersey shore, I wear real glasses all the time. I have to, being an outdoors sort. But I didn't bother telling him that. I said thank you and tried to be happy with the gesture, not the gift itself.

So happy that the next day, the following item was placed on Ebay. 
As the days went by, my mood darkened when I thought about it. I remembered Robert picking up a broken, cheap bracelet on the sidewalk prior to giving me the glasses and saying, "Here's your bracelet." He had been joking but I didn't laugh.

Over the phone, I told my dear friend Amanda in California about my necklace that turned into a bracelet that turned into a pair of men's aviator sunglasses on eBay. We laughed and sighed.

"Amanda, why would it be so hard for him to give me something, even now? I just wanted a simple gift. It's not like I get a ton of things from the men in my life. This turned into a...mockery."

"Aw, honey. I'm so sorry that happened."
Tears rose in my eyes, thinking of how I easily and readily I give myself to others. Why I can't be the recipient more often? Am I just a romantic workhorse that others perpetually ride?
Of course, I could be oversimplifying. Robert frequently takes me out to lavish dinners (even now, as friends) and more than that, he adores me, even amidst his profound limitations.
But like other men (and I suppose women as well), he has great difficulty in professing his feelings. And a gift, (perhaps jewelry in particular), is that kind of pronouncement.

So what comes in the mail a week later? A necklace. With a key on it. "A key to my heart" a hand-written note reads.

Surrounding the box were romantic little notes detailing my wonder, beauty and ravaging sexiness. And how worthy I am of the most magnificent gifts in the world. Hearts and kisses drawn all over it. It was a gift of love, wrapped in love.
And it was sent by?
(Scroll please.)

My friend Amanda.

That's the story I was going to tell you. It was a story about friendship and kind gestures. And women taking care of each other, even romantically sometimes. That was the story I was going to tell you before we made love in the dancing daylight.

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