Monday, July 14, 2014

Meg/Tasha: Visitation

At least a couple of times per week, when Wade's out of the house and I don't have any responsibilities, I have Tyler over for lunch or coffee. Maybe watch a movie or TV and try to forget how insane our lives are. This is easier said than done. While I can sit still and try to ignore the differences in my body, Tyler is living much more up close and personal with the changes.

We settled the argument of "who has it worse" overall, but I think I won some points by re-framing the question of "would you rather be you right now, or me?" He looks over my body, notices the men's running shoes by the door, and admits that the life of a somewhat solitary teenage girl is preferable to that of a grown woman with a love life.

I said, "You broke up with Lauren's boyfriend, no questions asked. And that's fine, that works. If I had come in here and told Wade I had to leave, it becomes a question of who gets the apartment, where do I go, how do I face the real Tasha..."

"I would've--" he said, pausing to carefully consider his words, "I would've still dumped the guy, sorry. Not that I object to how you're playing this, but for me, it would be too much."

"Trust me, it's a lot for me to handle, too," I sigh. "And I wonder if you're right, but I don't have the guts to wreck someone else's situation. And I wonder if maybe I'm being a little selfish. Like, it was so hard for me to find a boyfriend, part of me doesn't mind co-opting someone else's."

"I remember at least one guy who was pretty into you," he offers, implying himself.

"Don't even," I say, mock-sternly. "This situation is weird enough, I can't even deal with that notion."

I saw him grit his teeth at that, but he knows.

"So..." he said after a lengthy silence, "How... did you handle all that?"

"Do you really want to know this?"

"I'm your friend. You can confide in me. Serious."

"Okay," I said, "At first it was like having a new roommate. I felt like I had to tiptoe around and avoid seeing him, just make myself invisible and not get in the way. Of course, that wasn't going to work. He thinks he knows me, and has a level of comfort around me that I simply can't match. It's off-putting. You know I like to take my time to get to know someone."

"I'm aware," he muttered sarcastically.

"I'm sorry," I said, although I don't know why, "So there were these uncomfortable weeks where if I wanted to watch a movie, and he was around, we'd have to discuss it, and then he'd be right next to me on the couch with his arms around me, and I would have this intense mental discussion with myself about how I felt about this. This is a man that I just met, but he feels like he has the right... and of course from his perspective he does. I started thinking about undergrad, about those girls who would go to parties and get drunk and nuzzle up to some guy they just met and hope he was good. It always made me sick, but I also kind of wanted to be able to do that."

"Okay," he nodded along.

"And eventually..." I said, almost trailing off again, "...I got to the point where I could trick myself and make believe it was just another relationship. My own. Just one that was going a lot faster than I normally did. The guilt is still there, but no matter what, it feels nice to be held, to be looked at. If I just met him as myself, I can think of a hundred reasons, hundred ways it wouldn't work, whether it was him or me or both of us. But coming in... in medias res... skipping the bullshit and just being comfortable. I like that. I'm okay with it, weirdly... for now."

At this point, Ty bolted up and did what I can only describe as an "angry lap." I could see him warring with himself inside, audibly grumbling, but unable or unwilling to express it, possibly because he feels I'm in the right, or because of his own personal feelings, or because he's gotten such a raw deal out of this.

He looked out the window of a minute or so before he asked, "And the sex?"

"That, you don't want to know."

I could almost feel the hurt that response laid on him. There was a heavy silence, and then he looked at the clock and decided he had to go.

For what it's worth, I didn't exactly dive into this... I treated it like a real relationship, where I would hold a guy to at least a three date rule, to make sure I was comfortable, but I think under the circumstances the goalposts for "comfortable" had to be moved.

Call it a guilty pleasure, call it making the best of a bad situation, call it doing the real Tasha a favor by pinch-hitting for her. I've pilloried myself enough over the past month for even looking at Wade. And having him look at me, not knowing what's really behind my eyes, is scary and upsetting and wrong in a way I can't even properly verbalize. But if I do or don't do this, the wrongness isn't going to go away, and maybe it's a flaw in my personality that I want to do it the easiest way possible, to just erase myself and pretend I am Tasha for a while, but guess what, despite years of this blog's existence, there's no handbook for how, exactly, to be someone else.

I just don't want to lose the only meaningful friendship I currently have over it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You're doing fantastic... And the right thing. Tyler's just getting used to truly feeling like a girl.