Sunday, November 30, 2003
quote du jour:
"You must be very careful and think when you whittle or carve... Always remember that a knife is a tool, not a toy. Use it with care so that you don't hurt yourself or spoil what you are carving." -- "Knife Safety," Pack 114

From my paper journal.
21 October 2003 - 04:02 a.m.

The days of me wanting a relationship with Alex are pretty much over. However, I still long for some way to exercise the demons that still lurk. She kissed me on my last trip to Oakdale... just to prove that I would kiss back. I did. She still has some weird power over me... and I don't know why.

With Alex, the romance has been spread out over [five] years. It came in spurts and all too often, left me hanging and wanting more. I think if we'd ever "finished" something... I wouldn't feel as I do today.

She wanted to go to sleep. She had to leave Franklin before sunrise the next morning to make the three hour drive to Oakdale for work. Everything we've done in the last month has been built on the premise that we don't know what the future holds. With that in mind, sleep wasn't really an acceptable option for me.

The lights were out and she was buried under the covers when I pulled out the handful of votives I'd hidden in my room earlier in the night. The night before, she had given me a burned CD of music appropriate to our situation. I popped it in the player.

   Alex:  "What are you doing?"
   Me:  "Nothing."
   Alex:  "Are you trying to romance me?"

Needless to say, I managed to postpone sleep for just a while. 200 miles and two busy schedules make spending time together a difficult proposition. That night, we weren't sure when we'd see each other again. We're still not sure. I just wanted to lay there with her... and soak her up. I wanted to lock away in my mind the way she looked, the way she smelled and the way her skin felt to the tips of my fingers and on my lips.

The details of her trip aren't really remarkable, I guess. She got to town about mid-day Monday and stayed until the wee hours of Wednesday morning. As could be rated by the general public, nothing we did would score high on an excitement scale.

Monday afternoon, she went with me to pay bills & run errands. We had a nice dinner that night and then made laps around Franklin. For the most part, we stuck to the city's growing suburban sprawl. It's easy to get lost there. Rich people in new subdivisions are obviously not big fans of straight streets. That area is good for exploration. We'd drive for miles along freshly paved streets complete with curbs & street lights without seeing a single house. And then, out of the blue, a new development of 3,000+ square foot homes would pop up. We drove around the ones that weren't gated and acted as though we could move in to one at any time.

During our travels Monday night, Alex popped a CD that she'd burned into my player. The first song was one that we'd been talking about in general conversation... it's unrelated to anything, so I didn't give the CD much thought at first. But, as the night continued, the songs started having a theme.

     "I know I come across a little hard-headed sometimes. 'Cause I
     hate to admit it when I'm not right. You never dreamed you'd
     live to see this day. You want to hear what I'm about to say. I
     learned something tonight that I can't deny. Yeah, I loved you
     so much before. Never thought my love could grow even more
     and get stronger as we went along. Baby, I was wrong."
- "Baby,
     I Was Wrong," Jennifer Hanson.

     "Open the door and show me your face tonight. I know it's true.
     No one heals me like you... and you hold the key. Never again
     would I turn away from you. I'm so heavy tonight but your love
     is all right and I do believe."
- "I Shall Believe," Sheryl Crow

      "Been running from these feelings for so long... Telling my heart
      I didn't need you. Pretending I was better off alone. But I know
      that it's just a lie. So afraid to take a chance again. So afraid of
      what I feel inside."
- "Need To Be Next To You," Sara Evans

     "What I need more than anything right now is... Time with you...
     more time with you. To laugh and talk and play and make more
     love to you. Oh, there's nothing in this world I'd rather do...
     than spend time with you."
- "Time With You," Billy Currington

     "I'm here without you baby, but you're still on my lonely mind.
     I think about you baby and I dream about you all the time. Ii'm
     here without you baby, but you're still with me in my dreams.
     And tonight it's only you and me."
- "Without You," 3 Doors Down

I told her that I loved the CD and I was going to have to own a copy. When we got back to my apartment, I put it in the computer to rip the tracks when she walked in from the bedroom with something. It was a copy of the CD. She had planned to leave it behind when she left Wednesday morning.

"Cinq ans après, ici nous encore... ne savons pas ce que le futur tient..." are the only words on the front of the jewel case. I believe it's a Babelfish translation of "five years later, here we are again... now knowing what the future holds..." into French. How true.

Tuesday, we did more of nothing. Okay, so actually, we tackled a few holiday gift missions and did some daylight exploration. Tuesday afternoon, Alex joined an exclusive club of folks that have been given a personal tour of the station at Lakeland. She also joined a growing and not so exclusive list of people who are amazed that Lakeland trusts me to drive a very large & expensive truck.

It was dark when we got in from the station and we were tired. I think a little nap action would have done me some good. Yet, we knew that we had to be in bed early if Alex was going to be able to get up on time and with adequate sleep. So, we headed to dinner at the Olive Garden just a bit sleepy. After dinner, we came home and resumed the "worn out and sleepy" position on the couch.

Although my body was legitimately worn out from sleep deprivation that had begun several days before Alex's visit, I knew I couldn't waste a night alone with her. Granted, it had been just the two of us for most of her visit. Yet, I needed some of that one-on-one time... when we're not just together but are the only things that seem to exist. I needed some time where the rest of the planet just seemed to fade away.

As far as nights of candles & music go, ours was fairly uneventful. We didn't wake the neighbors. We didn't make passionate love. We just were... and that was exactly what I wanted.

I told her that she wasn't there with me because of something from the past. I didn't want her to visit because of anything from the last five years. I hope I was telling the truth when I suggested that whatever is happening is happening because two people right here and right now dig on each other -- not because two old flames are trying to start a new fire. We both admitted to having a strong emotions toward each other... but stopped short of defining them. I think we know the emotions we share, but I know that we don't know to what extent the exist. Time will only reveal that.

I'm usually pretty good at bad analogies, but I'm at a loss right now. I need some silly way to say that when Alex & I are together... we're really, really good. Together, it seems as though we are in our element. It's always been that way throughout the years. However, when we return to reality, things don't flow so smoothly. Something happens and I'm not sure what. When we're together, I think our personalities bend slightly to meet the other's half-way. But out in the general population, our everyday normal selves don't always fit together as well.

We joked about our differences while she was in Franklin. I'm a seek button type of guy. She's loyal to scan. For me, it is required that you open your presents on Christmas Day. She swears that they must be opened Christmas Eve. I think mashed potatoes & gravy should be a staple at every holiday meal. She thinks that potatoes clash with dressing. These are the silly debates, of course, but they represent bigger things.

One night, we talked about how whatever connection we have works on the very basic level... but sort of falls apart around the details. That's what worries me about this. I know we love each other in some way that only Alex & I could manage... We each fill a spot with the other than no one else could fill... And when we're together, everything is wonderful. But we're not always together. It can't always be just the two of us. And then there are those details and the falling apart that add an extra layer of uncertainty to this all. Perhaps that's why we're enjoying this as much as we are... For we aren't taking anything for granted. There could be no tomorrow. This could all end later today. So, we... Or, at least, I soak up what we have and hold onto it. The fact that we've had whatever it is we've had is a great thing in and of itself.

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