When dating starts out so promising, it’s hard to contain the exhilaration. It’s that shout-from-the-rooftops feeling. Only if I climbed the ladder, I just know I’d slip and break my leg. And hobbling around on crutches again would have quickly lost its endearing quality. Even with a compassionate hot guy. So I stayed on the ground. I didn’t even strain my vocal cords. But I told people.
“It’s good,” I’d say. “Really good.” My face would redden. I’d beam while looking at the ground. (I can be Bashful even amongst friends. I’m not used to openly gushing.)
The closer friends know about April. That’s what we call it now. It’s so much softer than My Hospitalization or When I Was Suicidal. Yep, “April”. Showers, indeed. There was a direct chain of events from “April” to dating Tim. Immediately after being released from St. Paul’s, I went to the central branch of the Vancouver Public Library. And there I ran into my first Vancouver friend whom I met twenty-two years ago on my first visit to the city. We hadn’t had a falling out, but our lives hadn’t intersected much in the last decade. He asked the standard, “How are you?” and I skipped the “Fine.” I gave him the real answer. I’d been through hell. F*#k the façade.
We connected and reconnected over the next two months before he headed out to spend the next year seeing the world. We commiserated on being single and old(er). (He’s hitting sixty, me fifty.) I showed him Tim’s profile and mentioned wanting to send a message. “Do it. He’s single, too. I see him wandering around the West End on his own all the time.” I shook my head. Too risky. “Stop stopping yourself. F*#k that.”
Profanity has its place. And so I f*#cked that. Message sent. Cue exhilaration.
From “April” to Tim. So good to feel again. And not just anything—joy. Astonishing.
My friends gathered up their pompoms. “Wow! It’s meant to be!”
True enough. At the time, I was thinking—they were thinking—true love. A Destiny sort of thing.
But we know how that turned out. Meant to be turned out to be bigger than Tim. It was all about me. I am meant to be. And I didn’t feel an ounce of that back in April. I was done. I was desperately trying to hang on, trying to buy some time to find something. Anything.
I needed that temporary glee. It affirmed there were positive things out there. It filled that tenuous period between April and L.A. I always knew if I could last until Los Angeles (aka “July”), I’d be all right. At least for the summer. I’m not at the point where I can look too far ahead.
I reached out to friends. I had things to share—and not all doom and gloom. We smiled, we laughed. I thought I’d lost that mindset. The glee helped me bulldoze through the darkness. I allowed positive thought. And not just with safe, familiar long-established friends. I was a magnet of sorts in Los Angeles. People I’d just met wanted to hang with me. Again and again. They said, “You’re such a sweet man.” Again and again. I’d stopped containing myself. F*#k that.
Even the dumping seems to have been necessary. Once I’d pulled myself through, I needed a big test. Was it all just Tim? Would I crash? Would “April” return? That was certainly the fear. It reflected back to me in friends’ faces and in family emails. I wallowed, sure, but it was the garden variety going-to-the-garden-to-eat-worms sort. When someone you really really like rejects you, it stings. But it never got darker. And that is empowering. I felt it this week as I went for my counselling session—a remnant from April. I felt strong. I tried not to beam. (My employer-covered sessions are about to end again and I need more in order to work through some bigger issues. That only happens if my psychologist makes a case for an acute need. Goofy smiles and epiphanies negate the acuteness.)
We were not meant to be. Okay. Got it.
I am meant to be. For the next while, at least. Still can’t look too far ahead. That is as good as it gets—and far better than I’d have imagined.