Sublimation. Or the Gray Area I Call Home.

When you’re younger, the answer is always easy.

Second grade math problems are just like all others: there is only one answer.
You’re either right.
Or you’re wrong.
You learn the opposites. Hot. Cold. High. Low. But you never really learn about the states in between.
Adulthood is a great languishing.
Of course, there are highs and lows and hots and colds. But mostly, there’s a lot of nothingness. It’s the kind of nothingness that stems from the fact that you thought it would be all hots or colds. Or highs or lows. It’s not always a bad nothingness, not at all. It just is. There’s certainly room for debate, for argument, for decision making (steak or chicken? reply today or tomorrow?), for progressive thought. All of these are followed by fits and starts of manic activity (sometimes solely contained within the still hopeful mind).
The melancholic side of the nothingness brings about the inevitable introspection, which leads to planning, which leads….back. And sometimes, a little change is enacted and you’ve suddenly reverted from melancholic nothingness to that blissful nothingness, where everything is calm and smooth and beautiful.
For a time.
Alas, we’ve arrived back in the gray area.
There are no answers.
There exists no right, no wrong. We’re all waging war against opinions.
After pining and creating this odd little relationship (that isn’t one, he’ll be quick to add), everything has fallen into place.
Or out of place, perfectly.
Whichever is a more apt statement.
He came this weekend.
He met Mom and Dad and Mike and G and AJ.
I met his friends.
He stayed at my house five nights (all except for Friday) – which was something I definitely did not expect and something that wildly pleased me.
He told me he wasn’t going to be with any other girls.
I smiled.
We began to think ahead (a bit), based on the thought that he may end up back in Denver as soon as January. Would I be his girlfriend then?
The cracks appeared, began to show and spread.
With my detective hat on, I began putting clues together.
It’s a minor incident, but it may very well be the deal breaker that ends it all.
It’s seriously little better than an episode of the children’s show Blue’s Clues.
Clue #1 was a chance glance, a peek. Too bad I’m an incredibly quick reader.
Intrigued but not irate, I put it aside.
Clues #2 and #3 were more tangible. A story of a meeting, an incorrect name. There it was again, my brain flagged it. And three pushed me over the edge.
What’s wrong? he asked me as I sat slumped, nauseous from the ill-advised blood donation without any food. I guess he gets points for discerning anger through nausea.
We talked. He told me she was a girl he knew in college.
I’m no moron.
Our night continued with his promise of some modern form of long-distance fidelity.
After he left, I spoke to one of my co-workers, a woman I have mad respect for, who told me, “Honey, let me tell you something. They never grow up. Trust me.” Great.
I spoke to one of my dear friends in Chicago. “You need someone who impresses you. Who gets you. Who respects every single inch of you.” I asked her why it is that I have such terrible taste in men. She laughed. “Daddy issues. You can totally blame it all on him. I certainly do.” We commiserated over the fact that there are so few intelligent, mature, responsible, fun, adventurous, adorable, assertive-yet-not-an-asshole men.
I called him on it last night. I told him that it wasn’t the other woman (but it is, and we all know that) but it was the lie (that’s a serious violation for me. I don’t lie, cheat, or steal, and I expect the people I associate with to do the same). The words “trust” “respect” and “honesty” dominated my appeal. I remained calm, collected and clear (odd, right?). I laid out the situation. I laid out why I was angry. I listened to his responses, called him on his bullshit, and told him I didn’t know how I wanted him to fix it. I told him I was too angry with him to cry. I pushed him. I’m glad I did.

Frustrated and tired, I told him I had to sleep. Of course I didn’t. I stared at the dim screen of my laptop while it played reruns of 30 Rock.
Today, I woke up numb and even more exhausted, if that’s at all possible.
Dragging through the morning, doing my very first support bit – eek! I’m going to have to start handling technical issues with our product, and as exciting as it is, it’s really scary, too! – and then it came. The buzzing of my phone. I didn’t look. Three more buzzes lead me to believe something catastrophic may have happened or that I’d just received a novella.
It was in fact that latter.
A novella of contrition. Of admission. Of (his) understanding (of the situation). A little bit of my anger melted away when he admitted that he’s been taking me for granted, and that last night made him realize how much he stands to lose if I bail. (duh, I’m Katie Barry)
I’m still hurt, still annoyed, still frustrated. But it’s salvageable, I think. We spoke again at lunch today, a soft, quiet conversation. But positive. Communication is not a bad thing. But my bullshit meter is on high alert (threat level orange).
And while I am well aware that this may be one of my more fantastic mistakes, I also think it’s a fantastic adventure. Sorry, Mom, I know you’ve tried tactfully to hide your disapproval, but it’s going to be awhile before this is over.
Welcome to life in the Gray Area (I’m imagining that it must be something like the Twilight Zone, although I’m not entirely certain).

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