"Doubt is not a pleasant condition ..." -- Voltaire
Is this week over yet? Not to be Debbie Downer or anything, guess I'm just in a little funk and I've been trying to pinpoint the source. The lines are blurry, but I keep tracing it back to last Saturday night.
After much stalling from J, we met at my friend Minxy's casa in Uptown for drinks before heading out to Gilley's, a poor excuse for a country bar but great for people watching and making fools of ourselves. My old boss Jim* and his wife Pam joined us too. It was a little awkward at first because, even though Minxy, Jim and I were inseparable when we worked together, I was always on my best behavior.
So, I was a little worried about how the night would go, but the more I drank (and the more he drank) the less awkward it became and the more Pam threw dirty looks at everyone involved*. But Minxy and I played nice, involving Pam everywhere we went, spinning her around the dance floor, getting our pictures taken on the mechanical bull while J, Jim and Pabs (Minxy's fiance) threw back beers and look relieved to get some time away from us.
After the band finished, the "country" bar turned into a "white people can't dance" smorgasbord and Minxy and I got our groove on. Jim and Pam were even dancing, while J and Pabs stood at the edge of the wooden dance floor, shuffling their feet and looking for the exit. After much beckoning on our parts, they shuffled to the middle of the dance floor, where Minxy and I made our best attempt at involving them in our charades.
Pabs gave in, but J did not. I pleaded with him, did my irresistible booty shake, had Minxy do her booty shake, but to no avail. J stood there watching me for awhile, and I made one last attempt to get him to loosen up. He shoved his hands in his pockets, took a step back, and simply said in a tone I haven't heard in a long time, "I can't dance with you." It broke my heart. Not because he can't dance, but because he wouldn't try. I looked around at Jim and Pam, who were doing a strange variation of the robot and laughing. I glanced at Minxy, who had convinced Pabs to twirl her around the now nearly empty dance floor. And then I looked at J, his hands in his pockets, just staring at me like we were in two separate worlds. With a dagger in my heart, I danced by myself.
It's in moments like those where I realize just how different we are. And beyond that, it's moments like that where darkness from the past comes flooding back like a tidal wave of emotion.
Before we were married, J and I were broken up for awhile. And before we broke up, we were in a strange place for months. Not quite broken up, not quite separated. Not dating anyone, but not sure we could make it work. It was a weird time, full of strange emotions. Both of us probably said things to others that we shouldn't have.
After J and I got back together and engaged, I ran across an e-mail from him to one of his co-workers in a different town. Apparently, they had met at a business meeting in Dallas and had kept in touch. In this e-mail, it was evident that there was something between them. And, the one line that popped into my head Saturday night, was a line J had responded to her e-mail with: "Thanks for the dance -- there's no one worth dancing with back home."
I remember sitting there that night I found it, trying to make sense of it in my mind, at first thinking this was something that happened after we had split, which would be none of my business. But the e-mail was dated May, and we had split at the end of June of that year. I remember feeling my heart race, I remember the tears splashing down my hot cheeks. I remember J waking up and wondering why I hadn't come to bed yet. I remember being so sick to my stomach, shaking, not wanting him to touch me. J had tried to explain that it was nothing, that it was the night he and his co-workers had gone to a local bar. I remember that night, because he had called me from the cab asking me to meet him there. It was late, I was in my pjs, and he was with all of his co-workers so I declined, not wanting to be the spouse that stalks him at business meetings. At the time he seemed fine with it. But, the night I found the e-mail, J admitted that he had been mad that I didn't go. Which infuriated me even more. Because you're mad, you flirted with another woman? He promised nothing else had happened, and I believe him. The e-mails alone were piercing enough.
It just never made sense to me, but at some point I got over it, placing the past back in the past. I actually hadn't even thought about it until Saturday night. And now I can't get away from it. I know J and I aren't always on the same page, or even the same planet. But it seems to be happening more frequently lately. I just wish I could forget the little things like that e-mail, or ignore the odd sense of feeling like strangers. I know we come from different backgrounds. Most of the time I enjoy that, because I've been able to learn and experience new things. I just wish he felt the same way.
I haven't talked to him about it and not sure that I should. But he knows something's wrong -- I just keep blaming it on the stress at work. Even Minxy sensed something that night, but I didn't feel like ruining the moment. I know this post is long and may not even make sense, but it has just been whirling through my mind for a week now. I'm just afraid if I mention it to J, he'll feel like I'm insecure about our future or something.
I'm not. But is he?
*He reminds me of Jim from The Office -- Adorable, funny and strangely magnetic.
*Jim and Minxy still work in the same office, and Pam is a little (read: enormously) intimidated by their friendship.