BittersweetBy Emma Pearson
May 28, 2023
Photo by Bannon Morrissy on Unsplash
24 April 2020
More stories of dates. And Dates.
Sometimes I count a year as 52 weeks. Sometimes I count a year as 365 days. Or 366 days as the case may be. Sometimes I remember the day something happened. Sometimes the date is more important. And sometimes the Date.
It’s all so messy. So bittersweet. Time. Events. Befores. Afters.
I think one of the reasons I have become so exceptionally good with dates is because I have had so many crushing events crashing into me, my life. Time in a crisis is slowed down, speeded up, unreal, amplified. I am in and out of “reality”, in a dream-state, existing, 1/3 present, living multiple and parallel (three, four, five dimensional) versions of myself, versions of life. It’s all exaggerated, impossible, magnified.
One day in the (I hope) far distant future, someone might dissect my brain and identify the unique-to-me lobe that contains date-remembering-capacity, and perhaps notice that it is way more interconnected, more node-y than the date section of other people’s brains. Perhaps I will end up with my brain lolling in formaldehyde in the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia. (I hope not).
I don’t know why it is but I just remember dates. I do have a few reminder systems – and Facebook “helps” with others. But more significantly I realise I must have some kind of a time sensor in my body that jiggles and wiggles and clatters and clangs and sets itself off saying, “hey Emma, you know it’s almost exactly x days/months/years since y happened?”
This week my jangly system clamoured, “Hey Emma, you know it’s about a year, almost exactly precisely, since you first communicated with Medjool. Since you first went out and met him face to face”. A quick check of the diary confirmed the jangling’s veracity.
And then, only days after that one meeting, I thought, “oh shit – I really like this guy”, and wrote him what can only be called a Love Letter, which I gave to him to read on our second date. 8h30 am on a Thursday morning (his birthday), me all chloriney and goggle-baggy-eyed from a 90 min pre-dawn swim in the pool. Oh yes, and in that second date, the breakfast date on his birthday, he told me transparently and cleanly and honestly and straightforwardly and barely even hesitatingly, that he was seeing another woman. Who he was very fond of.
I was practically a fully-fledged practising Zen Buddhist Monk for the following 5 weeks, such was my brilliance at not getting too caught up in anxiety about whether or not Medjool would choose moi ou elle. Yes, another “love letter” (“love and respect myself letter”) was composed and exchanged at fairly high altitude in the French Alps in the intervening time. Yes, I wanted him, but I also wanted my sanity. And given what was going on with Julia at the time, my focus on sanity – and hers – prevailed.
And he chose me. (I still think of the Meredith-Dr. McDreamy scene when I write this).
No. History in progress.
Yes. Messy Present.
So my body clanging system told me this week, “a year ago today – a year as in 52 weeks, not exactly the date thing because what is a date anyway – it was a Friday night and you know it and your body and your heart knows it – you met this Date guy. Medjool. A big, juicy, scrumptious date”.
I remember planning for, scheduling, booking that date. It had to be “secret”. Apart from Nelly my pet-sitter who knew where I was and why, just in case the date turned out to be an axe-murderer. It had to be kept from Julia. Just for a bit at least. Julia had to be otherwise busy. She had her own party to go to. All good.
I had a reprieve for a few hours.
So Julia was safely out at her party. It was going to last until 1h00 and she told me she wanted to stay till the end. I took her there. She was going to spend the night at a friend’s who lived closer to the party and I would be brave and go and meet a medjool (theoretically one of many medjools but as it happened the only medjool who was interested in me and has since become Medjool).
The evening – my experience of it – was lovely.
I met an interesting man.
I learned a lot about him.
I didn’t fancy the pants off him that night, as I had with Mike the first time I saw him.
I did wonder, “hmm – should I fancy the pants off him? If I don’t, then what does that mean?”
The following days and weeks, the communications on WhatsApp text and audio is when I fell in love with him. But not that first night. I did really really like him, but I didn’t want to get in his knickers as I had with Mike. At least not right there, in the Indian restaurant. That wanting came later. Walking down a mountain, as it happened.
My diary says that it was 52 weeks ago today I met Medjool.
Julia had a party. I thought she was safe. She’d seemed so keen to go. She was with a bestie, a BFF.
I got home after a 3 ½ hour dinner with medjool-who-would-become-Medjool.
I looked at my phone and saw 12 messages from Julia. “Please come and get me. I don’t feel well. I don’t want to be here”.
The BFF’s mum had also written and called, and the final message said, “Julia didn’t feel good. I took her back home”. (Yes – I do feel guilt, regardless of what I may say about “not doing guilt”).
I don’t know if I want to go through this evening. This evening that so many weeks ago, 52 to be precise, opened a most stunning door of second soul-mate-quality love. And began to close the door on Julia trying to be the teenager she so wanted to be, at a loud, teenage party, away from home, with lots of people.
For the two experiences will always be forever intertwined. Meeting Medjool and Julia’s increasing fear.
The jangly body alarm bells go off so often. Every year. Every month. Every week. Every day.
This new love. This horrendous loss.