Then there was his infected hand right before his July 1st trip to New York. He was cranky and annoyed that his body would let a little scratch get so nasty. I called, checking in during the visit with Jefferson, getting the reports from both boys on his doctor's orders and the state of The Hand.
Mostly, I just wished that marcus could have stayed home that week, and taken care of himself. I had the feeling that the boy was more stressed than he was letting on, and had been spreading himself (so to speak) thin lately. I wanted cheerful, ebullient marcus to come back.
I didn't hear from either of them for much of the visit; understandably, they were busy with Todd and Meg and Lucy and the kids' impromptu visit...
But I worried a little. I'd had a really shitty day on Wednesday. I was annoyed that I couldn't reach Jefferson or marcus. I left messages for both and went to bed.
At 10:30 the phone rang. It was marcus. Jefferson had sleepover plans and marcus wasn't invited, so he was making a house call before going back to Jefferson's place to sleep.
"Hey, beautiful. How's your day? I got your message; what's happening?"
"Jack's teacher called me in for a conference because he is being disrespectful and not listening and I am lonely and I didn't hear from either one of you about the party and I feel like a terrible mother and what if he gets kicked out of preschool..."
"Wait, sweetheart...didn't Jack just move up into an older classroom?"
"So, isn't this to be expected? I mean, it's natural that he'll need to act out his frustrations a little bit, right?"
"I guess so. It's just so hard. And I feel so guilty. And then I just really needed to talk to another parent and no one was around except my mother. And the last couple weeks I haven't heard from you very much...and it just seems like...I just need to ask you, marcus, are you trying to distance yourself from me?"
"God, baby, no--absolutely not. I've been thinking about you so much, and especially being here, with Jefferson, I really miss you. I wish I was there with you, right now, instead of standing outside this building where I'm going to go do a job in five minutes. I really do...I love you, Maddie."
"I know. I love you, too."
Things had gotten complicated.
About a week later, I was visiting Jefferson. I stayed for nearly a week, during which we spoke with marcus very occasionally. Mostly we just left messages on his voicemail because, as it turned out, he was booking himself fairly solidly during that period.
A couple days after I returned, I got an Instant Message from marcus. Strange, I thought, since he really favors the telephone. We started out talking about his visit to Jefferson the next day, will he or won't he have sex with this person or that person, and so on. This was a fairly normal exchange.
Then the tone changed, and marcus and I went into the familiar area of 'how do we define our relationship,' and 'how do we sustain a relationship separated by so much geography?'
marcus broke up with me.
Jefferson checked in during the thick of it. I told him what was going on and he was bewildered and concerned but kindly excused himself so I could deal with our boyfriend and my impending status as a cast-off.
I misunderstood marcus's intentions, assuming he wanted nothing to do with me, that it would be too hard to continue any type of friendship, given the way he wants our relationship to be. I accused him of being mean and selfish and childish and I couldn't pick up and move east immediately to be with him and what am I supposed to say to the kids now when they ask about him?
"are you totally ending our relationship?" he asked me.
"i thought you were," i said.
No, he still wants to see me. He still wants to fuck me. And to his chagrin, he is still in love with me. marcus just wants to withdraw my 'girlfriend' status. And he doesn't want me to call him my 'boyfriend.'
"i realize this means you'll have to stop wearing the shirt," he joked.
My brow was furrowed, frowning. I wanted to laugh, to keep this light. The problem is that I felt conflicted. On the surface, I was angry with him and annoyed because he moved so quickly after our first meeting. Deeper down I thought that this was my own fault.
I wanted to meet marcus. I'm the one who put my hand over his as it rested on my shoulder. I could have told him I wasn't interested in seeing him again. But in the week following our first meeting in April there was a lot of stuff to process. I really needed to talk with both of them. Jefferson was on the other side of the world and out of direct contact. marcus was very available.
So I wondered, was my own selfishness to blame? Why was this happening now? What makes him so impatient to see me, and hurt that I'm not flying out to see him every few weeks when we've talked about that?
The biggest problem is geography. For all of us.
Have I thought about moving to be closer? Of course I have.
Then I wonder, if I moved, would things be easier? Or would the fact that we live that much closer just fuel the frustration of not being able to spend more time together?
The conversation lasted a long time. There were highs and lows, bitter and sweet. I love this person. He is sweet and kind and generous and impulsive and loads of fun. I didn't want to think about not being able to satisfy his needs for a girlfriend. Does that diminish my status? Would he still put work aside if I came for a visit?
I said goodnight, still confused.
That was July. We haven't seen each other since Memorial Day. We haven't stopped talking. He wants me to come to DC. I want to see him.
He calls me his ex-girlfriend. It makes me smile.
If marcus wants things to be more or less the same, what does it matter how we define it? I can't stop him from calling me his ex-girlfriend (though, if we accept his definition of girlfriend , i never was one to begin with), but I will still call him my boyfriend.
And if he's got a problem with that, he'll have to take it up with me in person.
Maybe while I'm tied up.
Gagged with the t-shirt.
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