Saturday, August 02, 2008

Losing It

It's 10:11 pm and my mind has been racing to think of what my sophomore post would be--

Relax. I say to myself. Tell me about your day. Anything "thematic" happen?

Well, yeah -- I've lost all kinds of shit today!

I can't find my house and car keys -- and they're on a big college neckband so I can feel it in my purse or hang it on the key cabinet (yes, I actually bought and painted a key cabinet, just for this purpose).

I can't find my headset to my cell phone, so of course I can't drive and talk at the same time -- one of my favorite things to do.

I can't find a photo album of 1998 photos I'm supposed to scan for a web group's commemorative 10th anniversary newsletter about our favorite Olympian.

Good god, yes... I AM LOSING MY MIND. No, I've already lost it...

Hey, don't be a drama queen... just tell the truth.

All right -- I lost a MAN this week! And I just didn't want to admit it.

Okay. That's better, right?

Yes. (Cue: Ann-Margret singing theme to Bye Bye Birdie)

"Brad" had a big crush on me in high school... I actually played his mom, Mrs. MacAfee to his Randolph in Bye Bye Birdie. He was a freshman to my junior, a scrawny squirt who loved hanging with us band/drama geeks as a respite from an ugly and volatile home life. Brad remembers me as being so nice and sweet, and that I paid a lot attention to him, but I, of course, don't remember any of this. I wanted to continue making out with the senior actor/quarterback playing Conrad Birdie!

One promise Brad always made was that someday he would grow up and be as big as a football player, and then I would want to be with him and kiss him again. Again? Sorry Brad, I don't remember that either (but you all already know I have pretty a selective memory anyhoo).

I saw him once 3-4 years later when he was in the service -- and wow, he did grow up to be 6'1" and 230 pounds big... and we did make out! But I was away living the college dorm life and he was "experiencing" Westpac as a U.S. sailor (and I use that term loosely... ahem). There couldn't have been two more different lives.

Fall 2007 and Brad finds a slew of us on and follows me and my name change on MySpace. How strange to be talking to this man after 30 years, especially when his memory of me is so sharp and affectionate. He was still a shrimpy punk in my head...

But he liked to talk -- and shockingly enough nowadays, on the phone, as he wasn't the typing type. How refreshing that was. He and his wife of 19 years were "having trouble" and Brad, who stayed in town, never met someone like "me" who was so wise, mature and empathetic to his situation.

A few months later there's huge blow-up between the two of them, and by law he has to move out of the house. So we talk... and talk. Every night we talk, like clock work since March. I was just closing in on the last month of my stressful senior recital, as well embarking on a new adventure on the "man" front... which Brad would counsel me on, kindly and gently, as a strong male voice of reason and experience.

We always joked that we were each other's "Number #2" and would flirt endlessly too. And I never felt more "heard" and "cared for" and appreciated because he really knew the essence of me... from high school to today. I LOVED MY DAILY CALLS, while relishing the fact that I didn't really have to commit to a "real relationship" with Brad. You know, that "don't really have him so can't really lose him" syndrome? And he was working on getting back with his wife anyway... as much as she would let him.

But guess what? I unexpectedly "fell" anyway, and fell for him hard. Went up north for a week in June, stayed with my parents but spent any evening time I could with Brad. After months of being so close "in the heart" it was hard to not want to be as close in the flesh! It all culminated one night in a high school-type "makeout session" in a parking lot -- imagine that, two almost 50-year olds! LOL. Thank goodness the Newark P.D. were otherwise detained :)

However, "it didn't feel right" and Brad knew he needed to go back to Sally and figure it all out, at least for the kids. (Yeah, it was nice to be THAT catalyst, huh?)

So I had a few good heavy duty cries and emails and said goodbye, just like Babs did with Nick Nolte. I came back to L.A. thinking it would now all be different.

And it wasn't. It got better... and my heart opened wider! My loving friends were so nervous that I would get hurt by this whole situation, but like Star Trek's Enterprise, I was boldly going where I'd never been before: I told them I'd rather practice being open and work a stronger heart muscle than to keep it closed and not ever care for this man!

It also seemed that his heart was closing when it came to Sally at the same time. He was throwing up his hands, surrendering to it never being good again, to the end being near.

Now if anything I learned from Brad, is that I don't deserve to think of myself the way I used to in high school... a gal with not quite the "most pristine" of reps. He told me how I should be treated because of how wonderful I was ... and for the first time in a long time I KNEW I WAS WANTED and worthy of a good, good life.

Whether or not that would be with Brad, we would see.

"Don't put us in a box, Madley," he'd say. "No one knows what's between us but us... and we don't know the future either. We just gotta tell the truth, NOW. I care for you... a lot. You will always be special to me. Remember that."


"And I know I have to be very careful with you..."

"Uh, okay."

"Now -- so how's your fella today?"

Isn't that weird that we could still talk about our Number #1's so freely?

One month later is this past Saturday. After a half-month of not seeing her, Brad finds out that Sally has broken her leg and is now Absolutely Helpless. And on MySpace his update read: "Going back to rescue the day. Mood: Gallant."


The Savior Knight can now bring deliverance and he has his old job back. All is copacetic in their world again, roles return intact. And there isn't any room in there for me.

Thursday, after missing him three days on the phone and getting no peep online... I called Brad after a class. I like to think I bowed out graciously. He just sounded... so happy, joyous to be able to go back to his home and "fix it all up" again and take care of "his business"... how could I do anything otherwise?

"I'll understand if we won't be able to see each other next week when I'm there."

"Oh. You're very sweet, Madley." (Ooh. Two steps back and it sounds like a bad movie now.)

"I keep thinking 'grace and dignity' and I can do that. So we're okay, really."

"This open communication thing is hard, isn't it?"

"Yup. But no regrets! 100% eyes wide open, Brad, so I'm all right."

"I wish I had a more than one life to spend with you women!"


"I love you, Madley. You know I do."

"I know -- I know."

I told him I'd be sad for a bit, and that I would really regret not ever being able to "lie prone" with him to watch a bunch of really cool movies (since he's quite the movie buff for not being here in L.A.)! And that, as they say, was that.

Fortunately, I told myself, if ever he wants me, he knows where to get me -- and then he'll have to jump through the hoops he taught me to put up for myself! (Again... we'll see.)

I cried in the car, driving myself to three faux tacos from Jack-in-the-Box. Bleech. But like I said, I'll live.

"Guy A" is gone (I still have Guy B and Guy C left, but that's another day) and now our relationship will be memorialized here in one August blog post. And a bunch of emails, MySpace conversations and photos. Soon I'll lose the memory of this too...

But maybe now I can find my keys.