This is part eighteen of the Homey and Me Love Story. It is when I was living life as a divorced mom – a while before I met Homey, but an important part of the story, nonetheless.
In late October, Tiger and Panda went to Utah to visit Rusty and the rest of his family. In some ways it was hard to let them go. Obviously, I’m a protective mother, and Rusty really hadn’t shown much interest in them since leaving (few phone calls, little child-support). However, I grew up without knowing my biological father, so I felt it best for them to visit him. They stayed in Utah for about a month.
A month! An entire, long month!
The first few days I felt like I was catching my breath. I could work, work-out, then come home and do things like get caught up on laundry. However, I can’t say that I longed for this break. Each time I took a second to recognize the absence of the girls, every wound seemed to feel fresh again. I decided that I needed a serious distraction, so I started going out more.
I went out with friends from work. Halloween was coming up, so suddenly I had a good amount of social engagements that would keep me busy.
Just so you know. I love Halloween. It might say something about me (psychologically) to know that I love dressing up and acting like something/one else. And when I dress up, I go all out. I don’t want anyone to recognize me. And it is best if I’m able to scare children. Seriously, I love Halloween.
Since I was new to the singles scene, I wanted to make sure to be as awesome as possible. 😉 I thought of the perfect costume – Robot. I called up my friend, Wintur, and she agreed to be my crazy-robot-scientist-maker-person. (In other words, I dressed up as a robot, and she dressed up as some kind of mad scientist. The story was, she was my inventor).
My little brother and I started constructing the Robot costume. I procured a few boxes from my work and created a breast-plate of sorts (not sure how else to describe it). I spray painted it silver, and punched holes in it so that I could string christmas lights through (creating a switch-board). The christmas lights were battery operated, so I simply used duct tape to attach the battery pack to the inside of the cardboard. I wish I had a picture. It was awesome.
I found a bright, neon pink wig, silver body paint, I made a skirt out of silver lamé fabric, I wore silver fishnet stockings, and I found the most amazing white and silver snow/moon boots from wal-mart to complete the look.
Seriously…I know that this really has nothing to do with meeting Homey, but my costume was amazing. I went out, and no one recognized me.
After picking up Wintur, we stopped at a work-friend’s party. It was fun enough, but we also had another party to go to. The batteries for my “control panel” lights started to dim, so Wintur and I used that as an excuse to leave the party and go to our other engagement. Before the next party, we stopped at Wawa so we could get more Batteries, and basically it led to one my most favorite moments of life: Wintur, as my inventor grabbed some batteries and took them to the attendant.
“Hello, nice costumes,” The attendant stated, a little entertained.
Nerdily, she explained, “This isn’t a costume. My robot is beginning to malfunction.” Then, to me she said, “Are you still functioning? How are your systems?”
I waited a second before responding in my best robot voice, “Does not compute. Does not compute. System will shut down in five minutes.” My lights were flickering. The attendant either stared at us, annoyed, or laughed. I can’t really remember.
What’s not to love about Halloween?
We got to the other party (batteries refreshed) which was being hosted by some church friends. I have to admit, I was so incredibly disappointed. All the girls were using Halloween as an excuse to eschew their supposed beliefs/morals and instead dress slutty. Wintur and I spent most of our time doing the robot on the dance floor. Despite the slight disappointment, we had fun, and all in all, it was a great night.
I have to admit, I was hoping to meet more people. The people I did meet didn’t recognize me later (as I was no longer dressed like a robot). However, one of the people I met, again, was Markus.
I can’t remember how it came about (okay, I went up to him, and said, “So…are you going to ask me out on a date, or what?”), but he asked me out on a date. I could tell that he was surprised that I was so forward. But, inwardly, I knew that I was on a strict timeline. My kids would be back soon. I’d rather get out and be social now–helping me to forget the loneliness of having my kids gone, and getting it all in before I had to hire babysitters to do anything.
So, because of my demand, Markus agreed to take me out. I honestly can’t remember where we went, but I’m pretty sure we had fun – because that date led to another one. And another one. Soon we were talking all the time, and I was really beginning to like him. Markus worked in the same business complex/park that I did (but with another company), so we’d go out to lunch together. After work, we’d meet up and go out. My days and nights were filled with fun with Markus. Before we knew it, we had inside jokes, we had shared secrets, and we had…kissed.
I had never dated anyone like Markus before. He was from Germany. He spoke German, French, and English fluently. He had so many distinctly European traits. He popped his collar and had the coolest sneakers. He wore the most amazingly scrumptious cologne. He wasn’t afraid to say what he thought-He was so direct. When he spoke, he spoke with seriousness and intensity-always looking directly into my eyes. I loved it. He was hopelessly romantic (buying me roses and chocolates for no reason at all), and I have to admit that I was enamored by the fact that he had been different than pretty much every guy I had ever known.
Oh…and he looked like Daniel Craig’s German doppleganger…not too shabby.
The best part about Markus (and I know that I’m going to sound horrible here) was that he was obsessed with me. This was exactly what I needed. He loved that I wore heels with jeans (which I obviously did to impress him! 😉 He loved that I ran. He loved my hair, my eyes, my skin, my nose. He loved that I was taking French classes at work. He thought everything I said was genius, and that everything I did was pretty much perfect. He liked dancing with me, he liked talking to me, he liked watching movies with me.
It’s safe to say that, at some point through all of this, we fell in love.
At Thanksgiving, I went to North Carolina to visit my friend Freckles. I spent most of my time there texting Markus and, when I wasn’t texting him, I’d gush on and on to Freckles about him. I felt a little guilty because in some ways it seemed that I missed him more than I missed my own kids.
“So…are you guys getting pretty serious?” Freckles asked.
“Yeah. I guess we are.”
“What do you think it means? Doesn’t he go back to Germany after Christmas?”
“After Valentine’s day.”
“What do you think will happen then?”
“I really don’t know.”
“Have you thought about it?”
I had thought about this question before–of course I had! But I didn’t know. I didn’t even know if I wanted to know, either.
“You know…right now I’m just enjoying it. I mean, Markus really likes me. I feel like everything that Rusty did to destroy my self-esteem in six and half years was repaired after six and a half days with Markus. I don’t know what I want with the relationship, and I’m not sure that I need to know. I’m just going to enjoy it and see where it goes for now.”
She nodded in agreement. I really didn’t know. And I didn’t want to ruin anything by over-thinking the whole relationship.
One thing I did need to consider was how to approach the subject with my kids. When the date of their arrival neared, I explained to him that I’d probably be dating less, but we could still do lunch. We agreed to scale back for a little bit before I really figured out what I wanted to do.
“Scaling back” lasted about a week.
Now, I don’t claim to be an expert, and if you are reading this I don’t propose that others should make the same choices that I have made. Neither do I want to be judged. So…you can read and think I was a horrible mother. Or not. Either way, this is what happened, and you should know that I was both mindful and prayerful as I proceeded. So…yeah.
Markus understood that I needed to attend to my children. So, he would come over to my place. At first, he came over after I had put the kids down to bed. We were able to watch movies, talk, eat, or whatever at my place without my having to hire a babysitter. I found this to be an extremely generous gesture on Markus’s part, and that made me like him even more. After a few more weeks of dating, and more serious discussions, I decided that it would be fine for the kids to meet him. They were open immediately (they were only 4 and 3). So you understand, they were babysat by my mother. They had a lot of involvement from my brother (who was 14 at the time) and my step-dad. So, another man in their life wasn’t a particular necessity or shock.
Pretty soon, we were all doing things together often. We went to Manhattan for Panda’s birthday, Markus came to Boston to meet my dad and the rest of my family. I guess you could say that we were getting serious.
One day, Markus whispered to me, “Ich liebe dich.”
“Uh…” I had no idea what he had said–by his words, but based on the tone, I knew exactly what he had whispered.
He gazed into my eyes, it was just like a movie. Most women would destroy me to be in this position.I wasn’t sure what to say. Half of me wanted to scream the same thing back to him. Another half of me didn’t want to take the next step, but just wanted to go on-with him adoring me but without real commitment.
I relented, “Teach me how to say it in German, so you will understand.”
And in an instant, two months before he would depart back to Germany, our relationship escalated…