Wednesday, April 27, 2011

something in the air

is it spring? Something in the air? Yesterday I exchanged eye contact and smiles with a handsome man at the coffee shop where matt and I met. I had such an intense reaction to my own reaction, I needed to drive around until the panic stopped. Back there again today, same man came in, talked with an acquaintance of matt's and mine, and we shared a couple of cross-the-room smiles. I didn't feel the panic, so I figured yesterday was a fluke. Honestly, it felt like one of those times Matt "borrowed" a body to check up on me, to use someone else's eyes to look at me.

However, said handsome man came over to my table today and asked if he could join me. Um. I thought he meant because I was sitting at a big table and maybe he just needed a place to sit. Yes. I know. I am not so quick on the uptake. Anyway. He introduced himself. Have I mentioned before how much I hate small talk? Loathe it. Bad at it. Don't do it. But I did answer - evade - those 20 questions style questions someone asks when they want to get to know you. It was Immensely Awkward. Immensely.     Immensely.

There were huge awkward lags while I made decisions about whether to answer certain questions. The truth is, there is no small talk question that does not have "matt died" as an answer. What I do for work, if I have kids, do I come to this cafe often.... I had to keep censoring myself, cut myself off from answering things. My path is intensely personal to me. So here's this random person asking me innocent, inquisitive questions (which is an odd experience for me, widowhood notwithstanding), and I feel like I am a nervous ticking time-bomb, like I should come with warning signs: tread carefully here friend, you may think you are getting to know her, but you are mistaken. And, she could start crying at any time.

Now - imagine the scene here, my people:  the man is nervous. I am nervous. Underneath the understandable meeting new person nerves, there is a whole other freak out going on. I am freaking out on so many levels all at once, while trying to avoid mentioning anything that would lead directly into "my husband..." anything, which would then lead to a question about my husband, which would then lead to very personal information shared, and any number of reactions. I think Jackie wrote in a post awhile ago about the weirdness of leaving out whole chunks of existence - I can either make myself uncomfortable, or I can make them uncomfortable, or I can make all of us uncomfortable. Great.

It was bizarre. He left, amicably. I had a friend sitting next to me, next table over, and as soon as handsome man left, I looked at my friend and burst into tears. We both said "that was awkward" at the same time. He handed me a glass of water and a napkin, because I was already crying hard. Wow. Awkward on so very many levels. Like - why am I even giving this so much energy? Why is there any response in me at all? Who the heck is this person using my face to smile at some man built like the man I still love? And WHY did I have such a visceral reaction to this person yesterday? Seriously folks - had the man simply walked up to me and held out his hand and said "we are going on an adventure," in my mind at least, I would have gone. Instantly. Realizing that some part of my being responded that way upset me so intensely. It was made worse today, in that I "followed through" with - talking. This widowhood shit sucks.

It took me a good couple of hours to calm down from the internal panic and insane mind loop I went into about weird new lives, what just happened, what that meant about matt and I that I could actually flirt with someone else, and you know - general insane panic. Insane panic.

So, coming home, I open up the computer to find that Janine has written about this very thing today, and I can see from the title of Dan's post that something is going on over there too. So maybe it is just something in the air. I don't have any place to put it yet, for me, so I am going with "awkward" and "feeling very uncomfortable."


(if you don't know this movie already, the reference will be quite lost on you.
I can't encourage you to see it; it is definitely on the Not For Widows movie list.)



  1. gaw, I am freaking out all anxious and awkward just reading about it here alone in my living room with the sleeping dog.
    I was lurking at this chat-room kinda thing the other day where wids/widowers were talking about dating, etc. and I thought just what IS this thingie so I went there. Made up a name so I could see how it works. You can see what the site is like without actually signing up. I was never the slightest bit curious before but these people were all talking about it like it's some kind of given, like that's how you meet people - not at a coffee shop the way I would expect it might happen. Ugh, meeting people, how horrible. I suck at it.

    And all these menfolk photos popped up. Like hundreds. And choosing someone from a photo is just so foreign to me. So weird. Not really how it's done. IMHO. (It's quite likely I would never have chosen Jeff from a photo lineup. Or him, me, I suppose. ' Cause that's not really what it was all about. At least in the beginning.)
    PLUS, the hilarious thing is that one of the guys that popped up is someone I know fairly well, and while he is a "friend", I suppose, the idea of him being in my dating pool is enough to make me just stay in my house forever. Then, also, these men who had actually signed up for, had done the work of writing what it is they're looking for, and what they have to offer, and so on, and the idea of doing that skeeves me so much that I can see I am nowhere near ready for this.
    It's not a guilt thing or a "he's watching" thing or anything like that, I just cannot imagine having to start over making room for some guy in this life I seem to have, empty as it is. Or explaining who I am to anyone. Especially since, I don't know.

    However, flirting with someone cute at a coffee shop could work. Or maybe not.

  2. My butterflys were as nervous as your butterflys! Wow, what an experience, I mean maybe you're the super model type who has men dropping at her feet everyday, but for my own nothing-out-of-the ordinary persona, this would have been way out in the red zone!
    I'm guessing you will have to figure this out and once you do, there will be a line drawn in your life, and maybe that's why it's so horrible. Yea, I'm full of happy thoughts . . . sorry. Did you and Matt ever talk about What if one of you were left to start over? If you don't mind my asking . . .

  3. "A line drawn in your life."
    Yes. So that is why I'm crying now. I was wondering.

  4. When I opened your post today, I too thought, wow that's three of you with those thoughts running across your hearts ... and I know that very strong tug o war thing going on in your heart and mind. That "how COULD I think that" self-admonishment vs "oh, am I alive again?" feeling. It hurts and it heals. What a paradox.

    Above all, I am so thankful to read that a friend was there to provide tissues.

    You are a private person, but a very very caring one and I feel fortunate to have you in my life x

  5. thank you boo.

    Yes - very fortunate to have a friend there. He's like my own personal Woody Allen.