Ok – now I’m…well, I don’t know. I got a reaction, but definitely NOT what I’d expect. That is all I can say.
So, we now round out MY DENVER EXPERIENCE.
Part 3: HOMEWARD BOUND
It’s early morning, and I’m packed and ready to leave.
This super duper hotel offers not only their fantastic boozing experience, but a potential hangover help as well! (Thank goodness I’m not actually hung over, though it’s definitely a possibility when one tries to swallow their stress and anxiety). A complementary made-to-order pancake breakfast is DEFINITELY welcome, Embassy Suites! Thank you, very much!!! A hearty breakfast, though not necessarily tummy-friendly at this point, is probably a good idea.
I eat, return to my room for my OCD corner-checks for my belongings, and pack up the car. I’m gassed up, tickets and ID are accessible & I have my trusty directions.
But, I’m not ready to go. Seriously. I don’t know if my friend has had his surgery, if it was successful, if he’s alive.
I feel sick.
But, I can’t stay for someone who may not want me there, and without any word otherwise, I may just be wasting more time and money. And, who knows, I may never hear from him again.
I feel sicker.
But, I’ve got my tickets and confirmed my flight, so off I go, of course making sure my cell phone is on vibrate and loud settings.
I need to drop off my car first. I didn’t know what to do with the 2 gallons of water I had in the trunk. I’d bought them in case we went to Pike’s Peak, and, honestly, should have been drinking them throughout my trip. I figure that I could be put on a terrorist alert if I left them in the car when I turned it in. So, along with my suitcase & bulging backpack, I schlep both gallons on the shuttle to the airport.
Lest it be a complete waste of money, I start chugging from one of them. This hydration seriously would’ve been helpful when I was acclimating to the weather. Even as I’m dousing myself, I realize that this is NOT a good idea just before I board a flight. But, dammit, I started, so compulsion takes over.
Of course, I’m the last stop, so I get through a helluva lot of the gallon. When I disembark, I leave the bottles on a trash receptical & head on in. Southwest checkin is easy, as usual. Now, to head to security. Again, it’s a relatively early flight on a weekday, so I don’t really expect too many problems.
I get on the escalator, ready to descend to the security queue. During the journey, the last remaining button on my stylish winter coat decides it’s had enough of my nonsense, and randomly pops off. It takes a tumble down the escalator, to the curiousity of the travelers in front of me. Finally landing at the bottom of the conveyor, it waits patiently for me to alight and surreptitiously reach down to pick it up. Yes, I’m completely cool & nonchalant…and thankful my coat doesn’t decide to catch in the damned belt!
The line is really building up, and I’m glad I always get to the airport early. I’m wearing extra layers since my bag won’t fit any more crap. And, it’s a waiting game, shuffle, shuffle toward the front of the line. It’s one of those situations where you rue choosing the line you’re in, as you see people who were behind you on pass on their jolly way. I’m in my pjs – and a few fellow travelers admit jealousy of my comfortable attire. See mom – there’s no need for shame at my fashion choices!!! Of course, I don’t admit that I’m sweating like a marathon runner. Gross. But true.
FINALLY, I get to the belongings conveyor belt – just one step away from the metal detector. I need so many damned trays for my crap – coat, sweatshirt, sneakers, laptop, backpack….ridiculous! I also usually forewarn that I’m carrying insulin and needles. The facilitator asks if I have any juice or water – of course not – they’re not allowed (thank you stupid terrorists!). Actually, he informs me that diabetics ARE allowed to have liquids because of the condition. Whoo-hoo! Fun fact, mental note for next time. Hooray for the diabeetus!
I’m ready, just get me through the detector. Shuffle, shuffle. Stop. STOP!?! I’m being taken aside. The guy at the station is calling for a female associate. WTF?!?
I’m standing to the side, waiting for the woman to get to me. What’s going on, am I being flagged for wearing pajama bottoms? Was it my 65 bins? Is this random?
Nope – the guy happened to notice my insulin pump. The woman swabs my pump & my hands for explosives. Nopers, I’m not kidding. Apparently we get a pass if we have consumable liquids, no problem, ma’am. But, apparently the teeny bit of insulin that fits in a reservoir is suspect!
Damn you, diabeetus!
Bemused with an extra helping of stress, I continue on to my gate. And, now it’s time for the waiting game till my flight. I keep checking my phone & trying to figure out how to connect with the damned airport internet. I seem to not grasp this concept, though there are quite a few around me happily tip-tapping away at their laptops.
Flight boards, and we make the puddle jump to Chicago. I’m SO CLOSE to being home. Just one more flight and a short drive, and I can just crawl into bed. I don’t want to think any more, I don’t want to wonder, worry, or have the fight or flight readiness to react if and when I hear from Mr. MIA. I just want to be home, and everything to be ok. That’s not too much to ask, right?
So, let me see where my connecting flight is gated. Providence #113…delayed.
You have GOT to be shitting me. No, seriously, where the hell is Candid Camera? ASHTON, I’m NOT signing a release waiver! Delayed how long?!? WHAT TIME WILL I FINALLY BE OUT OF THIS NIGHTMARE?!?
The flight gets tentative board times twice. There was a plane availability issue, then a gas, or maybe it was needing to be cleaned. Whatever the drama, I feel like crap, surrounded by grumbling passengers who are all just agitating the atmosphere. Between bathroom breaks, stretching, and semi-rude people saving seats – while having their bags on others – I’m definitely feeling cagey. Let’s get this show on the road!
Finally, I decide to get some food. Ooh! This restaurant has a local favorite. What? You sold out of it? Seriously? Wait, no, that’s par for the course. I move on to another place. Ooh, shrimp skewers. Oh, you’re not sure you have any left? I’ll wait.
Oh, good, you have some & are cooking them up. I’ll wait. And wait… And, hell, why don’t I wait some more, as EVERY OTHER customer gets their stuff & moves along.
Finally, food in hand, I head back to the gate. Oh, wait, you’ve changed it since I went on my food excursion? I won’t actually realize this till later – and luckily it was right next to where I was sitting before.
I plop on the floor and give my body some sustenance. I feel a little better, but the wrap-up of this hellish trip is definitely battling whatever good feelings comfort food would normally provide.
I call home, explaining the situation. I am a wreck. Completely and utterly exhausted, and pretty near a breaking point. I tell my mom I’d love to have my favorite adult slushie waiting for me when I got home. She says she wouldn’t know how to make it, but finally agrees to go out and buy the necessary booze.
Yeah, I’m not in a good place.
At last, everything is ready and we board. Apologies from the captain and crew are small comfort. But, we’re boarded, and lift off. Actually, with a strong tail wind, we’ll make it home in good time. For fear I’d be mixing up this flight with another, I’ll just have to assume for the most part it passed without incident. We land in Providence, and after the obligatory pee break, I call my dad to get me & head to the carousel and get my bag.
I wait on the curb, and watch every other person get picked up. I’m so not in the mood to wait, and the spiral I’ve been trying to avoid starts catching up again.
Finally, I see the familiar red truck and am relieved for a moment. Ending the trip with abandonment & rejection issues should NOT have continued this far.
I get home, unload, and am thankful to see the bottles on the table. I may have made myself a small drink, or just headed up to bed. At this point I can’t remember. Either way, I collapsed….after checking my phone and internet sites one last time.
G’night John Boy.
Ah, morning. I’m thankful I took extra days off before returning to work. OF COURSE the personal time authorization I’d put in my boss’s box did NOT make it to payroll. So, my pay will be delayed a week.
I spend the next few days on and off the internet (which, as we all know is my norm). Friends ask if there is any word – a few had been following my saga and wanted to know if things were ok. But, of course, there’s nothing to report, just my growing anxiety and guilt.
Yes, I said guilt.
Over the course of a week, all these thoughts cascade through my head.
Is he ok? Alive?
Is this about me? A convenient excuse to just ignore me? Could he just not deal with me, or not know how to say he just wasn’t interested?
Why would he admit liking me & basically draw me out to admit the same? Was there interest at one point at all? Was I just a big lonely dope?
He told me things about himself & his life that seemed fantastical (including this whole scenario). Were they real? Was I treated to stories? Am I part of a story for later telling/laughing/shaming?
Should I have put out? Would THAT have made a difference? Or was the make-out session a turnoff in itself?
Should I have stayed? Was there more I could’ve done to try to find him? Should I have called ALL the hospitals in the area? Just shown up at all of them & asked what room he was in?
Did I just completely waste my precious vacation time on a cruel joke? It’s bad enough what I was going through at work, but did bad mojo spill over into my personal life?
WHAT ELSE COULD I HAVE DONE?!?
I was completely engulfed and haunted by these thoughts. Even friends’ suggestions to try to contact his friends (of which I only had the hospital pic text) was a terrifying idea. I DIDN’T want to have to hear about his status from anyone other than him – in my mind that meant ONLY bad news. If he wasn’t able/well enough to let me know he was ok, then he must not have been. Right? Either that, or it was a purposeful silence, and this was just about me personally. It was a slap in the face, stab in the gut rejection.
I really didn’t want to deal with either scenario.
Ok, fine – I didn’t want to deal with ANY scenario. But, eventually, something’s got to give, and whoa Nelly! when it does, there’s no stopping the torrent.
It was probably Friday or Saturday, and the last word I’d gotten was Tuesday – saying surgery in the cranium was necessary. Ugh, that still turns my stomach. I was literally in knots all week – hell, for a week and a half. Not hungry, not sleeping well, worried, anxious, confused, suspicious, most likely sugars to shit – but I didn’t care. I just wanted to know what the hell was going on!
I went downstairs, and prepared to make myself a slushie. Equal parts Midori & Triple Sec, with lots of ice. Mom has been worried about me all week in general, but for the most part has held her tongue. However, she can’t resist this one. I try to explain I’m not sliding down a slippery slope, that I’m only having like one drink a day. She points out that my ‘one drink’ has the equivalent of 3!! I know she’s right & she has every right to be scared and concerned for my welfare – she’s been a sober alcoholic for more than 2 decades. But, she’s BEEN THERE.
I state that it’s not the time – meaning, her lecture, my not drinking, etc. She gives a bitter laugh, and that stings more than anything. I know I’m not completely in the abyss, but she could be right about me being close. But, I just can’t deal with it. I don’t WANT to deal with it.
I get myself more ice, tears already streaming down my face. I’m lost, or losing, and I know I’m not going down a healthy or helpful path. I don’t have the energy to claw myself out, and my head is a swirl of what-ifs, whys, why me, what should I do’s. And on top of all the emotions I went through just getting to Denver, and the rollercoaster of being there with no idea what was really going on – I am now stricken with unintentionally hurting someone who really loves me and is probably empathizing far more than I can fathom with what I’m going through at this moment. At least with Tim, I didn’t KNOW, didn’t SEE, and could only IMAGINE what he may be going through. Sitting in the same room, living in the same house, hearing my own words and thoughts, and concerns, and questions, seeing the distress, distraught and dismay on my face, well my parents aren’t nearly so fortunate.
I really suck. On all fronts. Maybe I deserve all this.
I dump the ice in the blender, and go to the sink to refill the tray. I barely start to stretch my hand to the tap when I finally break. What starts as sobbing, quickly progresses to hyperventilating. Turned toward the sink, I feel my mom’s arms around me as the full-on panic attack begins. (Hot damn, I’m crying writing this). She tries to get my arms up, calm me down, but I’m finding it really hard to breathe. Can’t get a full breath, can’t calm down. Can’t stop thinking, can’t stop crying.
Days and days of… well… EVERYTHING swirl back with a full force impact. Every emotion I’ve felt, overanalyzed, ignored, or just ‘dealt with’ attacks with renewed vigor. Every question, every insecurity, every thought that I did something WRONG, didn’t do ENOUGH, just DIDN’T….
It all comes back for one last fuck you, fuck your life, and, oh, yeah – Sanity – fuck you.
And hell yeah, it’s stronger than me.
Finally after what feels like several minutes of body-wracking emotional vomiting, I slowly begin to calm down enough to sit down. Mom’s comforting words make me feel better and worse all at the same time. She asks really what else could I have done – I wheeze/sob/cry out that there must have been SOMETHING. And, many of the ideas and fears I’ve had are finally voiced…out loud…where they have more power than secrets in one’s head.
She reemphasizes the idea of trying to contact his friends. I really don’t want to, but if I don’t get any resolution I fear I will implode. I grab my drink and head upstairs to my sheltering, comforting bed.
So, full circle to my arrival – I text everyone who received the “Tim’s in the hospital” pic. I’m more clear about who I am, and that I just want to know if he’s ok, if anyone’s heard from him. I hit send, completely overcome with exhaustion and filled with trepidation. Last time I sent word all I got was a ‘please don’t contact me’ reply. This time I fear much worse.
Waiting game, my old friend, undeserved we meet again.
I don’t really have long to wait. My phone buzzes shortly after I send the message. I can’t put off possibly knowing, so I immediately open the text (ok, fine, I took a few deep breaths first).
The message reassures me that he’s ok, I can stop worrying.
My breathing quickens at this good news. I’m immensely relieved, and for the moment I let that feeling overtake me.
But, my cyclone mind doesn’t let that last long.
I send a thank you text to this respondent with my deepest appreciations. Honestly, I am amazed and grateful that a perfect stranger took the time out to ease my weary mind.
But, it’s not enough information.
I ask his name – which I program in my phone with the addendum “Tim’s Friend”, and try not to be a pest as I attempt to get more information.
He can’t speak to Tim’s state of mind, but lets me know that he is doing ok, hasn’t actually had the surgery yet, and isn’t in the hospital at the moment. I again thank this sanity savior, and respond that I suppose if Tim wants to contact me he will. Friend sympathizes with me, and wishes me luck. I won’t bother him anymore, as he really has gone above and beyond. And, if you happen to come across this in cyberland somehow, I thank you again.
I go downstairs to share this latest development, then trudge back up. It’s been a long f’ing journey – and it’s not quite over yet.
Almost immediately after the initial relief wears off, I’m deluged with every other emotion that’s been on standby. Foremost is confusion, doubt, and, making a grand come-back, my old ally anger. I like anger – you can’t have two pure emotions directing you at once, and it immediately quells the abyss of depression. And, you know what – I PREFER anger to depression or sadness. Anger is a stimulus to action, a powerful hand-up from guilt and melancholy.
And, dammit – part of me IS angry!
If he’s ok – why hasn’t he contacted me? Did he FORGET about my existence? Did he just DELETE all my queries and messages IMPLORING him just to let me know he was ok? Was it all one big fucking GAME? Was I played? Flamboozled? Conned?
For fuck’s sake – there’s no reason to con me! I don’t have money, influential friends, access to government secrets! I’m just a gal from the east coast who was looking for a potential match! SOMEONE special in her life who she felt a connection with and wouldn’t just FUCK WITH HER!
Yes, goddammit, I’m FUCKING RIPPED!
Then, that goes away in a heartbeat as I remember all the health stuff could be totally legitimate. He COULD have been having serious issues, illness, and just need the time and space to cope with it.
How selfish of me to just be thinking of my experience in this scenario.
Of course, I don’t KNOW which of the infinitesimal possibilities is true.
And, that’s what’s killing me.
Everyone I’ve talked to about this kit & kaboodle has sympathized, but many have pointed out the very dodgy vibe of the overall shebang. And, quite honestly, I agree. But, I also know that the truth of the world is rarely so black & white. The bad guys don’t always don the dark attire w/mustachios intact, and the good guys don’t all have their white stallions and gleaming smiles. Good guys do bad and bad sometimes do good. Everything in this world is a shade of grey, and no matter how hard you try to squint your eyes, you will never see the whole truth.
So, here I remain, in the realm of confusion, doubt, self-doubt, angst and anger. There is no one to take it out on, and no one to mollify me.
I figured writing this out would be cathartic, maybe eye-opening. At the very least, a way for someone else to pass the time, and possibly get a glimpse into my world. When I first thought of publishing, I knew I would end with more wonder. I’d planned to open my profile to the public & send Tim an e-mail, inviting him to view my experience – and everything that went along with it, without having to actually re-friend me or pretend to establish any connection if it didn’t exist. Would he respond? Bother to read it? Send comfort and (eternal optimistic I am), possibly a reestablishment of friendship? An explanation? His side of the story to fill in the gaping holes, the very blackness that engulfed me for weeks/months? Would anything I wrote really matter? Would it change anything?
Would I ever get any closure?!?
I get this weird procrastination ADD when it comes to creative endeavors – especially ones I’m especially emotionally attached to. It’s now 5 months later, and all the emotions resurface from time to time. I want to believe the best of people, and that circumstances really DO wreak havoc, regardless of their natures and intentions. Writing the 3 (well, 4) parts of this journey has brought everything back – not necessarily in crystal clear detail, but as you can tell from the length of each one, pretty damned near-perfect recall. I don’t forget much; it’s a blessing and a curse. I have not made up any bit of this narrative, as difficult as it may seem to believe – this is exactly what I went through, and, good and bad, it was all my actual (mis)adventure.
As planned, I did open my profile and send that email after I’d sent parts 2a & b, as I found Tim was back on facebook. Will he actually read, understand, process, respect, and respond to what I wrote? Maybe, maybe not. I did receive a response this morning, which included an attempt at intimidation for sharing my story. Luckily I rarely delete messages, which I will now be sure to keep in case legal matters are necessary. I can only believe he has NOT read the actual blogs since there was nothing but my side of the experience and all the questions, emotions, and benefit of the doubt I gave him within.
I continue to give the benefit of doubt that misunderstandings occurred (and continue to occur), and that situations shifted sense & perspective. But, regardless of what the reality is, that may in fact be the only closure I get, and I have to be ok with that.
***Update – since, apparently there was a girlfriend in the picture (who contacted me AFTER READING MY POST) – at the very least he was a douchebag attempting to fool around on his girlfriend. Whether the hospital stuff was all BS (remember – I have pictures), I may never know. But, we can see why he tried to bully me into retracting my story w/threat of litigation.*****
It REALLY would’ve been nice to have one of the OTHER possible endings to this story.
But, as always, it is what it is & I am left to deal with it.
And, with that, we end this chapter. I hope for a more positive resolution, but even that glimmer is fading.
On the bright side, I got through my story & you came along for the ride.
As always, thanks for reading!!!