So, I met this fellow online. Richard. I hate that name Richard. He was interesting, intelligent, funny, witty… it’s the wit that usually attracts me the most. He was crazy funny, and corny as hell. I’d use the word eccentric, but he’s way too much fun for the images conjured up by that word. Class clown maybe? He had an excellent vocabulary. He used words that I hadn’t heard before. I gauged him to be at least as intelligent as me and probably more so. That doesn’t happen very often. I was delighted.
I liked Richard. I spent a lot of time thinking about Richard. He was married, still, to a woman that had left him five years previous. He stayed married, he explained, so his oldest son could stay on his health insurance. That didn’t make a lot of sense to me, but so be it. It didn’t matter much to me because Richard wasn’t a “keeper”. I occasionally thought he might be a keeper; he would occasionally surprise me with something he said that was exceptionally witty or profound. But, for the most part, Richard was a fun guy to talk to. A fun guy to spend time with. I knew we’d be friends for a long time. We had that chemistry for certain. We were kindred spirits in many ways.
A couple of weeks after connecting online, we met for our first liaison. That day, I must have been thinking Richard might just be a keeper, which always made me very anxious. I started with the Klonipin a couple of hours before he arrived at the hotel. Klonipin is an anti-anxiety drug. So, after the first Klonipin, I thought maybe I should take another, and so I did. Once you have two Klonipin in you, if it seems like a good idea to take another, then another, then another. And after about three Klonipin, you don’t remember how many Klonipin you’ve taken, so it seems like a good idea to take another Klonipin. Before you know it, you’ve taken who knows how many Klonipin. And you are very relaxed. The good thing about Klonipin is it takes away all your inhibitions. So even if you’re self-conscious about your body, you are a wild woman in the sack. The bad thing about Klonipin is that you don’t remember much. Just bits and pieces, and usually only when someone recounts the events for you.
I remember when he got to the hotel, I opened the door and just hugged him for a long time. I remember squeezing him tight. The next thing I remember, and this could be majorly out of sequence, but I remember he came to bed wearing sweatpants. I don’t know what he had on top, a hoodie maybe? Or a t-shirt? But good lord, sweatpants. I told him to take off his clothes, that I wanted to feel his skin against mine. He did. Under extreme protest I might add, but he did.
He snuggled up against me spoon style, and I felt him rise against me. I reached back and held him and felt him come fully erect in my hand. I scrambled down to take him into my mouth. I pushed my mouth as far down his shaft as I could, then slowly drew my mouth up. He moaned. At that moment, I knew I had control. I was impatient for him to enter me, so I moved into position and pulled him inside. I wish I could remember more. I remember he went slow, and then I remember he went fast. When he went fast, the bed slammed against the wall. I wondered if there was anyone in the next room. Then I thought, “I don’t care!”
The next thing I remember, he was at the door saying goodbye. I didn’t remember him kissing me goodbye. He says he did. I wish I could remember. That was our first time together. It should have been magical and special and memorable. But instead, it was all a haze.
Richard continued to take the lead in communicating with me. We’d text a couple of times a day, he’d call, and we’d talk every couple of days. Then, about a week after we’d had sex, I didn’t hear from Richard for a day, then two days. I had become accustomed to him paying attention to me, seeking me out for conversation, liking me, complimenting me, telling me he loved my body, flirting with me, telling me what an excellent lover I am. I crave that. Once I have it from a man, I want it consistently.
I texted him a terse message: “Richard, I never figured you for the type of guy that would ghost me.”
Within a short period, I received a voice mail from Richard. He explained work had been very busy and he was not ghosting me at all. I was still miffed. Me, thinking I deserved to be worshipped by Richard. How incredibly arrogant I was!
Then he called. In a very accusatory tone, I told him that he didn’t have time to date, and he shouldn’t have a profile on a dating site. I told him that I knew he had warned me that he had kids and his life was busy and full, but now that I was experienced the impact of that, I didn’t like it. Richard asked if I wanted to go back to being “just friends”. Now that I remember how I felt at just that moment, I remember I didn’t agree to any such thing. I let the question go unanswered. Then we got into a conversation about classic literature, and he was able to delight and charm me into a better mood. That is his gift.
For the next few days, Richard was back to his consistently attentive self. I was pleased. He was back under my control. Or so I thought.
I was talking to Richard on a Friday night. He was in the backyard, drinking his beer and smoking his cigar, talking to me on his flip phone. Ludicrous. Who doesn’t have a smart phone in 2017? That is what I call eccentric. I digress.
His five-year-old neighbor, Auggie, came walking up to Richard.
“What have you got there Auggie? A firefly? Do you need a jar for him? Let me get you a jar.”
I waited while Richard went into the house and got a jar for Auggie’s firefly. I heard them talking. I heard Richard saying, “Be careful, get him in there, there you go!”
Richard got back on the phone with me. He talked about how Auggie was a special kid, that he enjoyed spending time with him. But that he didn’t tell many folks he liked hanging out with the five-year-old neighbor kid because that was creepy. Once again, I was charmed beyond charmed. In fact, right at that very moment, the balance of power shifted. I was no longer in control. Richard was now in control.
To compound the moment and effectively seal the deal, Auggie approached Richard having caught yet another firefly. For a second time, Richard went into the house to get a jar for Auggie’s firefly. Who does that? Who does that? Who does that? I could not believe my good fortune. I could not believe my good fortune. I had happened upon this crazy man that had the kindest heart of any man I’d ever met.
I realized I loved Richard. But love does not demand its own way. Love is a gift. To intentionally love is to expect nothing in return. I said that to Richard, and it shut him up. One of the two times I’ve rendered him speechless. The second time was during the same conversation when he said, “You’re a giver and I’m a giver and…” and I interrupted with, “Aren’t we blessed to have crossed paths?” Silence. From Richard. Unheard of. The man talks more than I do.
He came to visit in Louisville a couple times when I was having a really bad go of it. He took me grocery shopping, to pick up my meds. We’d have sex. It was familiar and tender.
My feelings for Richard have deepened over the handful of years we’ve known one another. We’ve never synched romantically. And now that I'm back in Washington State and he's in Ohio, it's unlikely that will change in the near future.
I still tease him about my being the one that got away, and that he should get off the dime and propose. It used to catch him a bit off guard, but he’s gotten to know me. I think he enjoys it now. I know he does.
Last time we talked, he sent me a picture of him holding his new granddaughter.
“I really hope you slow down a bit,” I said. “Your work is demanding, and I know you love it. But Richard, that baby needs you in her life. You’ll never get this time back. I love you so very much. Please take care of yourself.”
“You’re right,” he said. “And know that I love you too, Coco.”