Monday, May 29, 2017

Tyler/Judith: Aftermath

While it felt like a big deal at the time, I don't think I could have reckoned exactly how much the pregnancy scare would rattle me. As a man, I had never experienced anything like it. Now, there have been one or two occasions where a girlfriend of mine had to use a pee-stick, but in those cases it was always so distant. That was probably why I was able to be so confident we would get through at those times, compared to this. It would be nice if things were equal between the sexes, but it's the woman whose body is on the line, so it's so much more real for her, more scary if things don't go how she's hoping.

When I did tell Kit, he as pretty understanding about it, said all the right things: "I hope you're okay, I'm glad we dodged that bullet," et cetera.

Things didn't really go back to "normal" after.

It feels like a shame to basically quit our sex life just as it was getting momentum but... how could I go back and do that again? I feel so paranoid that even if we take every available precaution, it's just not worth the risk. I was coming to enjoy the experience, and yet...I can go without. I don't know if that's my male psyche or Judith's body being kinda cold or what, but there you have it. Kit was... not thrilled about that declaration.

Things got tense.

We started having regular conversations about the future. Things like... how would I feel about having kids? Settling down, if possible? Sure, now wasn't the right time, but when will it be? Where "are" we in our relationship?

One came on Mother's Day. What a confusing dang time to be me. I'm being lauded for something I never particularly wanted, and while I do my best I still often feel like a failure. Like I'm seriously not cut out for this. A lot of the time Mother's day is to assure the mom that she is appreciated but it my case it was as much about reassuring me that I'm doing okay and I haven't screwed up. Emotions were running high after the kid crashed for the night. We were feeling good, but then the conversation started up again.

My line is always... we can't. We can't plan the future because we don't know what's next. We're at the mercy of luck, as far as whether we'll ever be in a position to have kids, so I don't want to think about it.

Kit scowls at that. He goes on and on about how many years he wasted with a husband who didn't want kids, and now, is a second chance ever going to come?

Probably, I say.

With me? Maybe not.

It just sort of fell out of my mouth without meaning to. I've sort of towed the line during this relationship that, yes, I'm trying to turn over a new leaf and not make the kind of rash decisions that led me to the Inn and to many other troubles. I claim to want stability and, I don't know, a "normal" life but...I could see it not happening. I have to acknowledge that it's a possibility.

That hurt him.

I think it's entirely possible that I never get to settle down because I don't have it in me to take another person's life for my own.

"That's so convenient for you," he hisses. "You get to make the grand sacrifice of never living a full life because someone else will need theirs back."

I tried to backpedal. You never know - someday, the stars might align and I get my happy ending.

"And by then I'm long in the past, huh?" Kit sniffs.

"I don't want to do that to you..." I say, taking him by the shoulders. "I have really loved our time together. And part of my 'new leaf' is not bolting at the first sign of trouble. I want this to work." I mentally try to forget every stupid minor spat we've ever had and every reason I might have left in the past, and remember that this is the person I am with and this is the person who is my chance to prove I have what it takes to make it work.

He grew quiet. He averted his eyes. I had no idea what was going to happen next.

He got down on one knee and took my hand in his. My stomach sank.

Oh no.

"Tyler Blake," he said, "Will you marry me?"

I froze. This was the last thing I wanted. I had just said I would want to make "us" work, basically promising more commitment than I had any right to, given the circumstances. I was not prepared to be called on it.

My mind raced. Married? What would marriage even mean to us?

All I could say was, "I don't know."

"You... you don't know?"

"Who knows what the future holds? We could get stuck somewhere where we can't be true to each other, and... I don't know! Anything could happen!"

He stood up and walked away. He left the house and didn't come back all night.

I cried myself to sleep, I don't even know why. I was mad - at myself for being the same commitment-phobe I always was, but also at him for pushing too hard when things were going well. We had... equilibrium until I wrecked it. But I couldn't help my honesty. That's just how I see things.

When I saw him the next evening, he apologized for walking out like that, and explained that he had spent the night at Adrian's brother's place and done a lot of thinking.

"I fooled myself into thinking this was real," he sighed, "You, me, Livy, playing house. You're a good wife and a good mom, and that made me love you, but it's not real."

"Kit, I'm real," I insisted, "You just... shocked me, that's all."

"I thought I saw a future here, but you're right, we don't know what's coming, and honestly I think I'll be happier if I make a clean break."

His eyes were starting to well up with tears. I could tell he didn't really want to be doing this, but somehow he felt he had no choice.

"Kit, don't..." I said, "We can... we can work this out." I had my doubts, but I genuinely had wanted to make things work, for Kit to be the person I actually became better for.

"I used to think that you just hated being a woman," he sniffed, "But I realized, you hate being stuck. You're afraid of not knowing where the exits are. You'll probably go back to that Inn every year of your life whether it makes sense to or not."

"Hey..." I said, trying to ease things. That remark had wounded me though.

"You let it ruin things between you and Meghan, and you loved her more than you'll ever love me."

Ouch.

And that's how it ended. Eventually we cooled down - it pained me, a bit, to try to remember all the details considering we're on better terms now - but yeah, the Kitty-Tyler relationship has ended. I've even modified our Inn reservation so that we are sure not to become a couple again (don't worry, I straightened it out with Judith, too.)

As far as breakups go... I wouldn't say it was good, but... maybe it had to happen. He's pretty right about my fear of commitment, and if what we had was real, it would have been a great opportunity to prove to myself, and Kit, I'm capable of being serious. But as much affection as I had for him, he's just... not the one. And I'm not doing either of us any favours if I married him (whatever version of marriage he had in mind) just to prove I could.

I'm a different person from when I first went to the Inn, years ago. I'm a different person, even, from when I woke up as Judith. That guy was scared and thought there was no way he could be a "wife" and raise a kid.

Now, when the time comes, when it's real... I'm ready. And I'll know.

The search continues...

-Tyler/Judith

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