Don’t be mad…

I spent the week with Gary. It turns out he did want to see me and take me out to dinner; so he did. I must admit that when he brought this up on the phone a while ago I wasn’t too sure he’d follow through. Then the time approached and he told me what his plans were and that he’d like to spend his last week in Australia, in Melbourne, with me.

I was incredibly nervous and unsure if I should. I didn’t know how I’d respond to seeing him, how I’d feel, how we’d be around each other and how I’d be when he left. But I agreed to not only seeing him, but also having him stay with me for the week.

He said he’d like to do the Great Ocean Road and I asked if he’d like me to go with him and he said yes. So, after only being at work for three months, I asked for two days annual leave and had myself a long weekend. I checked with Jess and Rachael if they were okay with me taking a long weekend and they were. Rachael did however ask if I was taking it off to go up and visit Gary. I told her that no, I was not going up [to Sydney] to visit Gary.

I didn’t lie when I told her that. I didn’t go and visit Gary. He came to stay with me. I felt a little cheeky, knowing really that maybe it wasn’t the best plan and perhaps I shouldn’t do it. But I liked the little tweak of the truth and having the secret.

I’d mentioned to Alison that Gary had been planning to come to Melbourne by end of October for a visit before heading to New Zealand. She just told me that he wouldn’t be welcome at our girl’s night out (tonight). I told no one else of Gary’s impending visit; when he first brought it up awhile ago, Emma simply told me to meet him in a neutral place in the city, out in the open. In principle I agreed with her.

The week was my little secret and when the Wednesday arrived for him getting here, I was so nervous. My drive home from work was excruciatingly long, yet far too short. I’d not experienced butterflies in my belly to that extent since we’d started going out. I felt like a little girl again, nervous yet excited about seeing a boy.

I painstakingly waited the hour or so after I got home for him to arrive. I started panicking, thinking he’d changed his mind when he wasn’t here by 6; I told him I’d be home about 5.45. And then the front door buzzed. He was here. I let him in and paced the apartment until he made it up to my floor and to my door.

I opened the door and we just hugged. He walked in and dumped his bag then held me; held me tight like he had months ago. We stood for I don’t know how long, but it felt right, just standing and holding each other. I did feel myself holding back, I didn’t know how strong I’d be. But it did feel good in his arms.

I’d deliberately worn a top that day that had a little split at my chest; appropriate for work (just) but also to give off a hint of what lay beneath. I felt Gary’s eyes drop there a few times. It made me feel good; I was appreciated, even if for perhaps the wrong reasons at the time. It was confidence boosting. On top of that, I had also lost a further 6 kilos since we saw each other last. Nine kilos lost in total since we split up – in the last two weeks I’ve really noticed the difference.

We did share the bed that night; it was so nice to be held again. We spooned like we hadn’t before. We were both nervous, yet also quite honest with each other in terms of what we liked and what we wanted. I didn’t sleep much that night; it takes me time to adjust to sharing my bed. But when I did toss and turn, he was there and we took turns holding each other. Of course, his snoring didn’t help.

I again felt cheeky at work the next two days; I had this secret that no one knew of and certainly wouldn’t approve of. But I also had a four-day weekend to look forward to; a long weekend with Gary. A long weekend that would honestly either make or break me further.

We talked about going out for a drink Friday night, but in the end just stayed in and talked, caught up. We had our usual Saturday breakfast of bacon and eggs – he still made the usual mess and I sadly over cooked the eggs. But we had fun. I did find myself frustrated at the lack of activity – weekends are for doing things and I’m not usually one to sleep in. But the weather was terrible and we did have a fancy dinner planned. I found myself questioning some of Gary’s choices and values and felt that perhaps it had been for the best. He did ask me a couple of times about us being married. He asked what I would say if he asked me to marry him now; did I see us getting married in the future.

I struggled to answer; I didn’t want to hurt him and I also didn’t want to get my hopes raised. Right now, getting married or planning to get married is not right. We are both in different places and want different things in the immediacy. I’m ready and wanting to settle down and have a family. He still wants to travel and see more. He is hopeful of getting his Irish passport which should allow him to get a visa for Australia again, but that could be years away. And he still wants to do New Zealand and Canada and then even SE Asia. I’m not sure where I fit into that.

I told him that right now, I would say no; we’re not in the same place and he still doesn’t know what he wants. I didn’t shut him down completely but I did say that both of us might meet someone. He said that he was still scared of marriage and commitment; he’s convinced he has gamophobia. I don’t believe he has that as such, I still think he’s just struggling to figure out what he wants.

I told him that when you’re with someone and you think you have a phobia of marriage, if you truly want to be with that person, you get counseling, you work on that phobia and whatever else is holding you back. You don’t regret the things that you’ll miss out on; you look forward to the things that you’ll do together.

Dinner Saturday night was at Eureka 89. It was a 7-course degustation menu and we were able to go to the sky deck for the best views of Melbourne. It was absolutely stunning. We had a couple of cocktails before dinner and then a wine with dinner. We truly enjoyed each other’s company.

Gary had told me a couple of times that he loved me and I’d not really responded; I think once I told him of course he did, I was awesome. We did have a moment at dinner and I did finally put the words out there. I told him that I did still love him. It felt right and the truth is, I do still love him. I’m not as in love with him as I was; I can’t be if I want to go on. But I do still love him and most likely always will.

After dinner we went to watch his beloved Spurs play. I did try to get involved, but I just can’t get into soccer. It was a nil all game – so boring! I need the excitement of action and scoring. We got chatting with a Dutch guy who was into the soccer but didn’t like AFL – they ganged up on me a little, but I felt I was able to hold my own. Don’t knock AFL – they don’t fall over and beg for a penalty, they get up and keep on playing!

We then made our way back to Young and Jackson – the scene of the crime. It was where we’d first met and spent many a Saturday evening having a drink and a boogie. It wasn’t the same; the usual band was back, but the crowd was drunker and dirtier. He went to the toilet at one stage and a guy offered to buy me a beer; he wouldn’t leave me alone. He was harmless but I was left uncomfortable. Finally Gary returned and I felt safe, comfortable again. Gary asked the guy to buy him a beer; the bar apparently turned him away.

I slept really well that night; my body adjusted to having him there again and I actually fell asleep in his arms. Again, it felt right. When we did go to bed at the same time in the past, I’d start off in his arms, but never fell asleep in them – we tossed and turned until we pulled apart. I’m not sure why it was different this time.

Don’t be mad, but I do still love him. I spent an entire week with him and I’ve come out in one piece. I can’t be mad anymore.

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Author: Laura

In my 30s, simply working my way or travelling my way through it.

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