B was my rebound. I’m not sure I loved him, but he taught me a lot about love, life and just generally being okay with myself. Just 6 days after my indiscretion with my mechanic, I met B at a bar in my favorite college town about 40 minutes away. He was tall, tattooed, pierced, and everything I’d never experienced. We stared at each other all night, but he didn’t approach me until the bar was closing. We exchanged names, but not phone numbers. He had lost his phone, or so he said, and told me I could give my number to his friend. I declined and we parted ways. Three days later, my friend came across a Craigslist Missed Connections that mentioned my first name, my red hair and my new wrist tattoos, so it had to be me. It was, quite possibly, the most flattered I’ve ever felt. I had made such an impression on this fellow that he basically posted a love note on a public forum. I promptly printed the post and presently keep it in my journal. In his post, he asked me to meet him at the same bar Tuesday night for a drink, but I didn’t see the post until Wednesday. I replied to the random Craigslist post number with his name, writing I was sorry I missed his post but still wanted to get a drink. We e-mailed for 2-3 weeks before we met again in person. It was very… 90s romantic. He was so much more handsome than I’d remembered. He stood 6’4″, 14 inches taller than me and he had beautiful hazel eyes that saw into my soul. He was very loud and boisterous and told me stories that you only tell a person you’ve known for great lengths of time. I was instantly attracted. The night we became re-acquainted, it was pouring down rain. We swung at the park and walked around town, getting soaked. We landed back at the place where he was staying. He told me he was staying with his friends on the couch until he could save a deposit to get a place of his own. I would later come to find that B was not only good at stretching the truth, but telling outright lies. He was sleeping on a futon mattress stuffed into a storage closet next to the stairs. We spent the night cuddling on the couch, where I was sure I would get lung cancer from his chain smoking “roommates,” or the Plague from the Hoarders-like disaster they called home. I was physically ill for two days.
B’s saving grace was that he was ridiculously romantic. He really wanted to make our first intimate night together magical, so he put glow in the dark stars on the ceiling of his closet and played some really cheesy lovey-dovey music on his iPod. I’ve always been able to look past material things to fall in love with a personality and charm. I say this because B had no car, no cell phone, and rarely had internet access. He was off the grid. If I wanted to see him, I had to call his various friends until I found him. He would occasionally call me but, more often than not, I was the one tracking him down. I visited him almost every weekend. I was still living with J, but was rarely home. Between finding reasons to work late, going to the gym and just busying myself in general, B became my escape. One weekend, I brought B back to the house I shared with my soon-to-be ex-husband. We watched television and had wild, crazy sex until I was almost certain J was going to come home. B had been kicked out of the Hoarders’ place, and had nowhere to go. We drove out to the lake, had a quickie in my car (the first time I’d had sex in a car – at the age of 29), and slept on the dock. That was just the tip of the iceberg of wild, teenage-ish things we did together. We would sit on the rooftops of buildings downtown and look at the stars. I don’t know how we didn’t get caught by security guards almost completely naked on the top of a parking garage on Halloween… B’s friend was in a business that I didn’t ask about and he didn’t tell, though I decided I was in over my head when they gave me a code word just in case someone came up behind me with a weapon and forced me to call up to his apartment. After that, I only picked up B and dropped him off but never stepped outside my car.
I invited B to my Holiday Party at work. He was a hit. He was such a child discovering everything for the first time. Not that we have the fanciest of parties, but I had to purchase clothing for B to wear, as I was not going to take him in the jeans he had made into shorts then sewn back together when the weather turned cold. That weekend was my last to inhabit the house with J, but luckily B had recently moved into an apartment with another fellow and we had somewhere to spend the night – in a bedroom that was all his.
The next weekend I moved to my own place. I asked B to stay with me the first night as I was scared to be living alone for the first time in my life. I was not planning on asking him to help me move – I was merely going to pick him up after my family had gone. However, B wanted to spend the entire weekend with me. I stayed with him Friday night and he rode back with me Saturday to help me move. He met my parents, my brother, my friend from work. It was beyond awkward. He wasn’t my boyfriend and it’s not a comfortable situation when your dad is having a deep discussion with a guy who is basically a long-term friend with benefits. He stayed with me that weekend, and every weekend after. It really was a symbiotic relationship. I got attention and sex while he got shelter and to watch Netflix while I slept. This went on for the entire month of December before B started talking to me A LOT about his lady friend H. They had known each other since high school, and he was helping H with her sick mother. I knew B wasn’t my boyfriend and I pretty much assumed he was banging her. I was freshly divorced, tried to act like I didn’t care and we played “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Then B asked me if he could move in with me. He was being kicked out of his apartment and needed somewhere to go. I lived 40 miles away and asked why he would want to live with me when his work opportunities and friends were so far away. He became angered and stopped answering my e-mails and Facebook messages. At first, I was desperate and would send multiple messages, asking if I did something wrong or if he was okay. He would respond with short little messages like “I’m fine, thanks” or “been busy.”
I tried to focus my attention on other things. Toward the end of January, I chatted up a fellow that worked at my gym. Let’s call him BM. Yeah, that’s appropriate. BM and I always had long chats but, during this particular conversation, I mentioned I was single. He asked me out, and two weeks later we went to the movies and back to his place to watch the Walking Dead. Four days later was Valentine’s Day. BM brought me flowers. B messaged me “Happy VDay!” then I didn’t hear from him for a solid month. I messaged him to ask why he hadn’t tried to contact me. He said I had met him at a vulnerable time in his life and he wasn’t the person I knew any longer. He said incredibly hurtful things like I was immature (coming from someone who was kicked out of THREE apartments in 5 months, I knew who really had the issues) and I needed to grow up. I told him I was glad to have known him in his vulnerable state, but if he had changed this way, I had no further desire to have him in my life (NOW who’s immature?).
To my shock, B sent me a Facebook message in August apologizing for “being such a cunt.” I thanked him, asked him how he was and let it go. B taught me how to live in the moment and not care what other people thought of me. He also taught me that my 401(k) is pretty cool and it’s great to have a steady job, a place to live and good health insurance.