Half Empty, Since 1998

It was the kind of email you dream about – at first. Then I woke up. Reality sunk in as the true identity of the emailer was enough to turn things inside out.

Another Shot at My Best

Johnathan Drake. January 10th, 1999

Man, it seemed like a dream come true. Got this email, the kinda email you dream about. The subject simply said, “Is It You,” so needless to say, my curiosity was piqued (what can I say, I was looking for an excuse, any excuse, to coast at work). The message said, “are you same guy that went to Out West State University (collegiate name changed to protect the innocence and reputation of our fine educational system) from 1989-91?”

Of course the answer was yes, but I couldn’t help but wonder who the hell would be trying to contact me after seven years. I went out there right after high school to try something different. And, frankly, I just drank for two years, came stumbling back after “not taking my academic growth seriously,” and decided to finish up closer to home. I just kinda left; no big send off, no tearful good-byes. That was it, a chapter of my life forever closed. So I thought.

From the convoluted email address, I couldn’t tell who sent the damn thing. So I thought about it, trying to come up with the wittiest response imaginable, to show whoever sent it I was still the same fun-loving guy, but now with a stellar vocabulary and a fantastic writing style. “Yes it is, who the hell is this?” Ok, so it wasn’t poetry; the pressure got to me.

Well, believe it or not, it was . . . . . the FORMER GIRLFRIEND. Wow, I couldn’t believe it. During those drunken years (not that anything has really changed), I happened to meet a girl. And not just any girl, mind you, but the girl. No, not the first girl, but the girl: the best-sex-I-ever-had-girl. Man, the memories came pouring in.

Side thought: So why is it the girl/guy who treated us like shit is the one we remember as the best? Our relationship was awful, but the sex was unbelievable. And it’s funny, over time the awful relationship is forgotten, and all you focus on is the great sex. But who are we kidding? Great sex is all we really want anyway.

Back to the story. We exchange emails for a few days, a few phone calls, and it seems we’re right back in the swing of things. Turns out we’re both going through divorces, both are successful in our chosen careers (ok, she’s a up-and-coming lawyer in the northwest; I’m not. I’ll let you judge success), and we both think about the past. She even tells me a day doesn’t go by that she hasn’t thought about me — in seven years. Talk about an ego boost. And I think I responded to that with another poetic statement like, “that’s cool.”

Next thing I know, she plans the trip to see me. Of course I’m leery about it, but what the hell? I haven’t really dated anyone since the split, she’s just going through the process, so why not? Let’s just spend a weekend together and relive the past. Well, she had other plans (surprise! surprise!).

She decided on a trip to the Midwest a few months down the road, so that would give us enough time to “get to know each other again.” We talked constantly, by email, at work, at home — all the time. She even mentioned the possibility of maybe moving out next year.

OK, THAT FREAKED ME OUT.

Now it’s all coming back to me, why we broke up, how she reacted. To put it bluntly, she’s a psycho. Forever overcommitting, suffocating, hounding. She locks on to her target and doesn’t let go.

Side thought 2: Why can’t people just have sex for sex’s sake, without having it mean something? To steal a line from When Harry Met Sally, “I’m not saying it doesn’t mean anything, but why does it have to mean everything?” Someone, guy or girl, always seems to have expectations of an event of this magnitude. And it comes down to lack of communication. Both parties need to be on the same playing field for a “hit it and quit it” episode to really work. Maybe that’s why it never does.

Now I’m getting ahead of myself a little bit. She was subtle at first, dropping hints that she may be “falling” for me. And, for one of the first times in my life, I tried to be as honest and up front with her as possible. I explained my side of the deal, that sure this is fun, but, come on, I have to see her first before I can fall. And I don’t even know if I want to fall. I don’t think I’m ready for anything serious yet (so, I’m not using new material here — I work with what’s gotten me here).

Then I get the line I’ve been waiting for: “I’m afraid that when I come out there all it’s going to be about is sex.” Well, uh, you’re right, ’cause I’ve been in a serious drought, and who better to end that drought with than you? (Ok, I didn’t say that; used some mumbo-jumbo about testing the waters, clichés like that, blah, blah, blah. But I’m sure she could read write through me).

So as each day passes, she’s becoming more infatuated with the idea of us, and I’m becoming more standoffish. It’s to the point where she doesn’t even want to go a day without talking, while for me another day of talking will make me ill.

Side thought 3: Desperation. What’s that story all about? We’ve all been on the wrong side of the fence. The more we’re not liked, the more we push to be liked. Why? We know how much of a turn off that is, but when you’re desperate . . . . . As they say, desperate times call for drastic measures.

So that’s the story, and I’ve emailed myself into a corner. She’s still coming, and will be here in less than three weeks. What turned out to be a fantasy come true, in reality might be a nightmare waiting to happen.

I just hope I don’t come home and find a bunny rabbit boiling on my stove.