She cried some more, and let him hold her. She had no idea what he was thinking…only that he was listening. He asked how long had passed between these things. She could barely keep it straight, but she tried to tell him. It was hard to look him in the eye.
(Excerpted from Chapter Five. I've got to leave something for you folks to buy!---Cease)http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=995210395573738136#editor/target=post;postID=1417792027091669763;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=9;src=postnameis where it all began.
“So I knew I hadn’t really been in love with those guys. I had just hoped to share a loving experience, and maybe from there, something more could develop. But I felt like a fool. I just kept getting used!” He listened with a tightness in his stomach. It was a surreal experience.
“Finally, there was this guy Richie who met me at work. He came in with his uncle, dressed really nicely…he asked me for a date. I took him up on it and he took me around to see his family’s different construction sites! Some date! But he suggested we keep seeing each other. I gave him a chance with me, and hoped maybe this time things would be different, that he would really be my boyfriend. My parents thought he was pretty together when they met. But he had this pretend Mafia-thing going, just because he was Italian and macho. In this case, he wanted someone who would jump when he called the shots; he wanted me to be ready on little notice to get dressed and meet him where he wanted, and was really bossy about it. I couldn’t take too much of that. I realized I was better off with no one, than to be under that guy’s thumb.”
Her tears dried up, and she looked up at the cardinals that rested on the bare branches outside. “I thought we’d have a chance, you know. Maybe this time it would be love. But every time I tried to be a big girl about all these things, I just got treated crappily. I was just going to let go and keep my head down and work and keep my problems to myself from then on. Funny thing is, when I met your roommate, we hit it off great as friends, and he used to tickle me and flirt with me. But there wasn’t really anything there. I had him down to the house one night to watch Jurassic Park after he said he was single, but there was no chemistry there.”
Lewis picked up her chin and looked her in the eyes for a minute.
“I really don’t know what you think of me, now,” she said, “but I had to get it all off of my chest. I felt like I betrayed who I used to be and can’t go back to that…but I don’t know how to go on without breaking my heart again. And I never realized how empty I would feel from giving myself to find love.”
“Look, I don’t think anything bad of you,” he replied, stroking her chin as the sun rose. “I didn’t find love, exactly, either. It seems like I could never get sex and romance together, and romance always burned out for some reason or another…just bit the dust in depression. I eventually learned to take better care of myself. But what I did wasn’t really so different from you, and what you did…is just part of life. It’s part of the process of trying to find love…trying to discover yourself. Once you believed in the rules, and when you broke them, you found there was no going back. I’ve been there. But you mustn’t blame yourself. These experiences are just part of life. You have to believe that. You can’t be so hard on yourself for your disappointments. You weren’t trying to hurt anyone when you got hurt.”
She sniffled and hugged him. Then, she kissed him. She managed a bare smile for him, for his kindness. “It means a lot to have you listen, Lewis.”
“You know,” he said, “I’m not really sure where this friendship of ours is going. I know I really like you and feel like you’re this really great person inside.”
“Here’s what I believe we should do,” he said, taking her up in his arms again, then holding her out at arm’s length there on the couch. “Let’s just take things one day at a time. Day by day, let’s see how we feel, and let’s always do things that way. Let’s see how we feel on each day, and feel free to act on how we feel, based on the present. If there’s something more, it won’t need to survive on a promise from before. Oh, that rhymed! Heh. It will come to life based on a real feeling, then and there. I won’t lie to you. I certainly don’t know exactly where I’m headed next, but I have to tell you I’m really glad we met.”
“We’ll always have this wonderful night we shared, walking, talking, me meeting your family. I really felt a part of something. And you were really brave to open up like that.”
“Most people just play so many games at first,” she said. “I didn’t want anything from my past to hurt whatever might be, one day. I don’t feel so alone anymore, anyway, and I have you to thank for that. I know you have to do whatever you have to do now…” She remembered he was, after all, planning to leave town when they first met. Had it just been a couple of weeks ago?
“I guess whatever I have to do next is go pee,” he admitted, “and while I can go home and sleep after y’all drop me off, I know you will need some rest before work today.”
“Oh, I’ll manage,” she said. “I’ll sleep better now than I probably have in a very long time. I only have to work lunch. Heh, here, let me show you to the bathroom down the hallway. Got to warn you, it can be a real disaster area with all of us living here. It can be a housekeeping victim. Worse than the kitchen.”
“Well, not to worry, I’m not here inspecting for the health department.”
When he was alone, he noticed he’d gotten a little excited, sitting here alone listening to this woman. He thought briefly about how he didn’t want to simply take advantage of her. How many women waited down the road, that needed a friend, a kiss, a little kindness? He relished the strange adventures he’d experienced since moving out from his parents, since he’d begun driving, the places he’d awakened, the people he’d met.
But there was something so sweet and gentle about Gina…her fragility attracted him. Whether or not it would bring out the best in him was really for him to consciously decide.
When he came out, he sat back beside her on the couch, and held her hand again. “Say, Gina…if you’re not busy after work…why don’t you come over to the apartment to visit with me? If you want, we can go for another walk or something. I liked talking with you.”
“I don’t see why not,” she replied. “Okay, I’ll come over about two, maybe a little later if it’s very busy. We’ll be up to give you a ride in a couple of hours, basically. Let me get you a blanket from the closet.”
“Aw, righteous,” he acceded. “I guess this is a good time for you to sneak off to your room. I don’t want to make things too weird here in the living room, if your parents get up.”
“Hahah, well, they trust us implicitly,” she said, rolling out a comforter to drape over him. “We’ve had friends stay over before. Not anybody I kissed though.”
“I’ll take your word,” Lewis said, yawning. He laughed with her when he heard a huge snore come out of her parents’ room, next to the living room. “Sleep tight, pumpkin.”
“You too, handsome,” she said. She lingered at the hallway frame and gave him a tiny wave. Before her eyes ever closed, she felt like she was dreaming.