This opening chapter for book 3 in my vintage diary series, has a trigger warning for having bad experiences with non-consensual sex.
Thursday January 13, 1997
I’m thirteen days into the new year and the sickening feeling something went wrong last December, has not left.
I’m not talking about all things I wanted to accomplish last year, among which publishing my diaries 1994-1995 and 1995-1996. I m not talking about starting my career as an independent self-published author in many other ways either.
I wish it was that!
That looking back on how I did not build a career for a whole year made me so sick, it would automatically become the sole thing on my mind this year.
As always when I feel badly, this is about Bear.
We saw each other twice in December. Which is a lot, because he’s living with his girlfriend and I assume there is more guilt associated with having an affair, or still seeing the mistress from your college days. But I seemed to be in luck, which was and still is a happy surprise.
But 13 days into the new year, I am still processing it.
It is as if I missed very important clues, or worse: That I understood them, but did not act on them. I did not respond to something I felt was going on, and although rationally I understood my choice, and still stand by it;
Emotionally, I wished I had done otherwise.
I wish I had said: “I have the feeling something is going on. What is it?”
But I didn’t and I was left with the feeling I had disappointed him. That I had failed an audition or a test. A situation where I could have proven myself a worthy partner, so that he could have chosen for me.
But again: I did it for a reason. Although this is all putting words to something I felt on an emotional level, so it’s guess work at best, I felt that if I would reach out to him, I would be reaching out for the rest of my life.
I would set myself up for decades of reaching out, whenever he was grumpy, disappointed, hurt, and could not express himself, and there I would go again opening conversation with my boyfriend or husband:
“What is it? Is something wrong?”
And as fickle and intangible the moment was, where I must have decided on instinct not to go that route, it still seems to haunt me.
We could be moving his stuff out either into an apartment of his own or perhaps we’d live together for a while in my house. If only I had acted differently.
And by not doing that I probably made his decision to choose for his girlfriend final.
Maybe final as in trying for a baby or marrying her.
Maybe final as in no longer fooling around with other women, including me.
All this is guessing, maybe there is even another woman at play. But regardless of what was at stake for his girlfriend or other women, I think what I felt mostly, was what was at stake for me.
That I was the one who was weighed, or who was on audition, for being the girlfriend he sees in the good times. A part I’ve played for 7 years.
And it’s not that I m restless because I think I made the wrong decision, but because I feel uncertain about where we’re at now. Did I lose him? Should I be mourning? Are we still on, and can I start working on some other very disturbing things that I have been carrying into our relationship from the start, and seem to be roaring their ugly head?
Can I reflect on those, or am I thereby ruining the chance of fixing this in the way I think thinks can always be fixed, which is:
Nothing is final.
There is always room to play.
Final is when you start fighting it, acting angry, and throwing accusations. Final is when you amplify what was just a meagerest of attempts, a moment of doubt or a desire for simplicity, by the other person.
And then you take that on and wear it around like your personal cloak of sorrow.
That, is when things get final.
And sometimes that is a good thing. I mean when you’re done with someone, using their lack of interest, their vices, as well as their lazy attempts to break up, and to interpret them as them breaking up with you.
But I am not done with Bear. How could I be? How could the man who has been my lover for so long, and with whom we’ve always kept the spark, the physical attraction, and with whom every time we’re naked and have sex feels like a first time, how could I possibly ever have enough of him?
If I would see him again, would I make a leap forward, so that he knows I am serious?
Or do I explain why I didn’t last time?
Do I leave the playing board wide open, and wait for him to make the first move? Which I m going to do anyway, because since he has a girlfriend I never initiate contact unless I have to, and then I keep it business like.
But what is my strategy, if I see how we left off?
And there are two things worth mentioning.
One was how good we were doing, on the first date.
The other is all the old fears and issues, my mental bagage, that shitstormed into our second date in December.
I think they might even have been related: That because the first date went so well, he was keeping his eye out on the second, to see if we should not become more. If he had made the right choice.
And that, in turn, may have triggered old fears in me, that I had not seen in years.
So. The first date of December. The thing I remember was an intense love for him physically. A deep desire to appreciate his body, and appreciate him, and to express it in all non-verbal ways I could think of. I don’t think I ve ever felt a deeper urge to let every move I made be one of unconditional love. I wanted to drown him in love, as far as such a thing is ethical.
And not just physically.
I wanted to express that I loved him now, being the other woman, and not having a clue of how long we’d still have or how important I was to him;
That I loved him now, as I would love him always.
I also remembered the date was light, and we laughed a lot. Even the painful or awkward things, or worries that shot to mind; They were all met with lightheartedness and a sense of humor.
The second date was intense, deep, intoxicating, dangerous. Both physical, but in particular mentally. So the sex we had was not physically dangerous, for instance we did not have anal sex, but the way we did it was rough. And for the first time ever it didn’t “work”.
Instead of the excitement I have been feeling for 7 years, for example I am always the one who puts his hands on my head when I am giving head – I initiate and ask – instead of that I felt fear.
It was as if we had missed something infinitely small, that came at the price of ruining a dynamic we thought we had mastered. I still could not tell you what it was.
And the fear was not so much that I was afraid of Bear, but a deeply rooted fear of men washed over me. All the occasions where I had feared being with a man alone, even when I assume it should have been safe; They all washed over me.
I think I will never find out if on those occasions my response was justified in terms of other women who have had bad experiences with those men, or if my choices to stay outside, to not invite someone to my room or now my flat, or to not sleep over with someone who was a platonic friend, if those choices were “only” justified by my fear.
But that they had been subjective.
All I knew was that they were suddenly there, in my bed with us. And that they were ruining it all. Because Bear of course, was afraid he had done something wrong. That I was having a response to him. He wanted to know what he had done wrong so that he could make it right.
But there was nothing to say.
It left me alone with my fears, and him alone with his, as he is very sensitive to only doing the things I want. By including the rougher part of sex, he also had to trust me. Right from the get go, first months of 1990.
When after all my first times, I started sharing my fantasies, and he responded, it required trust from him as much as it did from me.
And now, on our final date of 1996, it was as if it was broken. But broken not by a person, but broken like someone had dropped it like a vase.
I had been having nightmares about friends violating me. The journalist guy from the hardrock cafe, who never contacted me even though we would be going on a date. And a man I used to run into when I still worked at the publisher’s with whom I never flirted. Although I had never paid much attention to it, the dream made me see I had felt threatened by him.
I had been suffering from nightmares about being violated, and in that same bed the sex me and Bear had on that intense, dark, but also fascinatingly intimate last date of the year, turned into something neither one of us could handle.
It was too much, and I think we were both overwhelmed by it.
I remember being in each other’s arms, looking in each other’s eyes. I was crying. This was before our date had turned to something I could not handle sexually. I was crying because I was absolutely overwhelmed with emotions, because I felt so close to him. He was really there. We had a whole afternoon and night together, which has been rare this year. But it seemed to pay off in him being more relaxed, and more accepting to sinking into those moments together.
Tears were streaming down my face, and all I said was:
“You’re so close.”
I didn’t say: “Will you be mine?”. Not: “Don’t you want this forever?” And definitely not: “Why can’t you stay?”
Not because I was afraid that I would have to play that role forever. Not because I feared our love would ever turn sour, and he would hold me accountable because I had lured him in. I didn’t keep myself from asking those questions because they would make me Chief Romance, if he would have said yes to me.
I didn’t ask them, because I didn’t want him to say no.
An unexamined life is not worth living
I can’t allow myself to care about you (NSFW) | 1997 diary
is the first chapter to book 3, diary 1997
Book 1, A Letter From A Stranger and book 2 Dear Nikki, in this series will be published in 2022, probably in one bind (one title)