Saturday, June 7, 2008

When You Want What He Can’t Give, Take Something Else

What if what you came for was something totally different than what you thought it would be?

I thought I was coming to Chicago for a little hand holding and nurturing. I thought Mr. Beer Man was going to wrap his arms around me and kiss my earlobes, telling me it was all going to be okay.

Instead, I got cold dinner alone in a very hot studio apartment. I got him two hours late with no explanation. I got thrown about on the bed with little to no eye contact or words. I got angry.

“You want to do anything tonight?” he asked.

“Yes, I want to listen to some jazz.”

We set out for Clark Street, when he realized he didn’t have enough cash for the cover charge. We spent thirty minutes walking around looking for a bank, which gave us some time to talk. I asked him how he would describe himself as a man.

“How would you describe me?” he asked.

“Overly confident,” I said. “Self involved and driven.”

“You’ve got me pegged,” he said.

How anyone would consider him a prize with those descriptors is beyond me.

I told him it hurt that he came home late and didn’t call. He told me his job is like that and he never knows when he’ll be done.

“If you knew me, you’d know I’m not the type of person who calls.”

“Yes you are,” I said. “You are that person.”

We got into a tiff about how who he really was is different than who I thought he was, but I wasn’t buying it. I see him for the overly confident, self-involved jerk he can be, but beneath that, there’s a ton of heart. He doesn’t show it to everyone, but he shows it to me.

“I consider you one of my best friends,” he said, “and I will do whatever it takes to support you. I want to help you get through this rough patch, but I can’t give you what you need. So don’t try and think there will come a time when that changes. It won’t.”

All I really needed was for him to make me feel human. I just wanted a little tenderness and connection.

“I don’t do that,” he said, point blank. “One day when I’m ready, but only when I decide I’m ready. And that time is not now.”

Beer Man is a very focused person. When he sets his sights on a goal, it will be his, come hell or high water. And when something else just happens to be in the way of all that goal-getting, rest assured it will get trampled.

Like hearts.

He says it happens all the time. Tons of girls want things from him that he can’t or won’t give, and they end up disappointed.

I wasn’t really one of those girls, except in this situation. I had come to Chicago for a little bit of care taking. And he was the one who invited me, after all, under the auspices of being my savior.

“I want you to come here and heal,” he said. “I know you’re going to be so great one day, and I want to help you see that. Just don’t fall in love with me and you’ll be okay.”

That's where the overly confident part of him comes out. I’m not in love with Mr. Beer Man. There was a time, long ago, when I could have been, but we went in different directions with our lives and our hearts. Now, we’re just friends, but every time we meet, the friendship really grows. He frustrates me so much sometimes, but I have to realize that’s who he is.

“I don’t hide what I’m about,” he said.

It’s true. Sometimes we see what we want to see because we want something to be what it isn’t. We want something someone can’t give us, so we try hard to create it anyway.

But tonight I learned that when you don’t get what you thought it was you wanted, take something else. After all, there are always two choices in every situation — to do something or nothing.

“You’re something,” he said.

I’ll take it.

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