This post is a continuation of ”Angel in My Life: Connecting“
Feb 17, 4:42 pm: Good bye beautiful
It’s been just a few minutes since I’ve dropped Allen at his friend’s house. I’m surprised to hear from him so soon. It makes me feel good. I wonder what “good bye” might mean. I don’t feel like texting. I do it anyhow, so that he knows I’m still connected.
Feb 17, 4:43 pm: kiss kiss
Feb 17, 4:44 pm: Kiss kiss u won
I don’t respond right away this time.
I’m shopping for my mom. I’m thinking of him. I’m smiling. I want to text him. I feel vulnerable. Usually I’m busy reassuring others. This time I leave the ball in my court.
I am at the airport, waiting for my flight to be called. I am still smiling. I still want to be the last one to have received a text. I feel scared, vulnerable. He matters.
He’s been totally present and open. I can be present and open.
Feb 17, 8:33 pm: thinking of u and it makes me smile
On the plane ride over, I’m figuring out logistics – how to balance my work, finances, caretaking my mother, and flying Allen out to spend a weekend with me.
By midnight, I’m at home, and I still haven’t heard back from him. I feel exposed, foolish, stupid — for caring, trusting, believing. I remember he said he’d been feeling sick. I allow for the possibility he went to sleep early. I go to sleep myself.
Feb 18, 8:47 am: Hi sweetheart sorry i didn’t get your text till this morning i fell asleep early last night! That’s so sweet i smile wen I think of u2! i’ve been smilin’ a lot lately, you no i really enjoyed bein w u. something about u feels so right & i knew i liked u wen i first saw u.
I am happy. He is still there. This is still real.
My mind is focused on work. I need to hit it non-stop for the remainder of the week. I have a major presentation on Sunday. There is no room to fuck it up. I am not in the headspace to text him. I do it anyhow- again, so that he knows I’m still connected.
Feb 18, 10:51 am: ditto babe. Call me at home this eve. [phone #]
I leave my cell phone off. At home, it is for emergencies only. I know the voicemail is full. I do not have the energy or time to erase the messages, which I first want to record.
I lift my head up from work. It has been 13 hours since my text. He has not called me at home. I check my cell phone. No message. I hesitate about sending another text. The “smart” thing would be to wait. Or wait till I can call the next day.
Feb 19, 1:43 am: hello dear, how was ur day? i just finished work! I hope u got my msg w my home #. luv 2 hear ur voice. nighty night.
Four days go by. Allen’s silence is now the mirror for my insecurities: Everything was a lie/He was playing me/He looked me up on the internet and got intimidated/He doesn’t think I’m pretty/He’s decided it’s crazy to date someone my age/He’s sleeping with someone else.
My friend Melissa becomes my confidante, keeps me in check. I have no idea what’s going on. Give it time. Calm the fuck down. Don’t write one of my emotional letters.
My mother is very sick – vomiting and diarrhea all day long. She has not drunk any water because it makes her throw up. I ask the nursing facility what they are doing to prevent dehydration. They’re trying to make her drink water. I point out she can’t drink it because she is nauseous. I ask the nurse to give her a hydration tablet. She says she will need medical authorization for it. I tell her to get it.
I do not trust them. My mother has just come back from a traumatic few days at the hospital, where she was treated for pneumonia. The pneumonia was the fault of the nursing facility — for refusing to administer a medical exam for two weeks straight, despite my mom’s severe cough.
I overcome my anxieties and call Allen. The nursing facility is near his home but hours away from my friends and my mom’s friends. Allen promised to visit my mom while I was gone. I want him to bring my mom hydration tablets.
He picks up the phone. “Hi it’s Loolwa.” “Who?” Not reassuring. “Loolwa.” “Oh, hi, what’s up.” He is not enthusiastic. My heart is broken. I hold it all inside. This is for my mother.
He sounds asleep. He is. I ask if I should call back. I don’t recognize my voice, and I can’t change it. I border on cold. He says he will call me back in 20 minutes. I don’t believe him. I say OK. “I miss you,” he says intimately. My heart melts. I am still cold. If he misses me, why hasn’t he called. “OK,” I say and hang up the phone.
I am not OK. I have not been sleeping. I have been working non-stop. I have been terribly anxious about my mom’s survival. I have been hurt by Allen’s withdrawal.
The nursing facility calls. We make arrangements for my mom to be put on an IV.
I turn on my cell phone and leave it in a room on the other side of my apartment, to avoid radiation and headaches. It rings an hour later. I do not answer it. I wonder if it is Allen. I know he cannot leave a message. I am a mess from everything I’m dealing with. I do not have the energy to get out of bed.
The call was from Allen. He left a text.
Feb 22, 5:14 pm: Hi Loolwa how hav u ben? Im so sorry i haven’t had my phone 4 a few days. I left it at my bros a few days ago & jus got it back 2 day how is your mama? I haven’t had a chance to c her but 2moro i might. Let me no watsup i miss u
I think about calling him that night. I am not in a good space. I decide to wait. Besides, let him wonder whether I’ll call. A little bit of games can be good, my confidante says.
The next evening, I call while driving to my massage appointment. He seems like some random guy, distant. There is no connection. I feel my own tension. He tells me he’s been working 17 hour shifts at the café and restaurant, because everyone has been calling in sick. He apologizes for not having visited my mom yet and asks how she’s doing. His friend’s mother just died, and he feels bad because he hasn’t been able to visit his friend yet. I make sympathetic noises. I cannot hear about someone’s mother dying.
My mother calls. I tell him who it is and ask him to hold on for a minute. “I gotta go,” he says brusquely. I am taken aback. “OK,” I say. We hang up.
I tell my massage therapist about Allen. She loves the story of our connection and reminds me that he’s young and may not have the whole communication thing down yet. I leave feeling very healed and open. I forgive his brusqueness and the conversation’s awkwardness. I want to connect with him, to reach past the awkwardness, to be bold. It is late, and I know he wakes up early.
Feb 23, 10:12 pm: thinking of yr eyes. and yr tongue. Want 2 c u this weeknd.
I obsess all day. I am on the phone with Melissa when I turn on my cell again to check my messages.
Feb 24, 7:43 pm: Aww ur so sweet i jus now read ur tex u sent last night. I let my dad borrow the phone bcuz my stepmom isn’t feeln good and has to hav surgery. How’s [your mom]?
Something has shifted. There is no engaging of my sexual reference or suggestion for the coming wekeend. There is no reassurance of his feelings for me. Maybe I am overreacting. Maybe he is stressed about his stepmom. She had been in a horrible accident some time back, and her leg had been amputated. There must have been complications.
Again it is late.
Feb 24, 11:34 pm: whats yr moms name? i’ll say a prayer. what kind of surgery? stay strong, have faith, and call if u need an ear. xx
Feb 24, 11:37 pm: ps: i leave my cell off most of the time when i’m not traveling. if u want 2 call, best 2 call my home [phone #]
I am unable to fly up north that weekend. I postpone my trip to the following Thursday night. Ten days later, I still have not heard from Allen.
Story continues with “Angel in My Life: Processing.”