Friday, August 8, 2008

Screwball Part 2

So you met Ariel yesterday. Interesting right? You have no idea…

Now for those of you in the crowd with sensitivities I will say this now, stop reading! What I’m about to share is going to rub certain people in a very raw fashion and I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up losing some readers to it but there’s things in life you can’t avoid doing, there’s things in life that you have to finish once you start. If you catch my drift and are already getting upset, stop reading.

You have been warned.

The conversation drifted from just catching up to me being told she could play with other people while she was married; her husband was okay with this. They have what’s considered an open relationship. Now I was raised old school and personally I don’t usually share. Still, I put my cards on the table with you guys about what I felt about her when I first met her, would you say no if someone you had felt something for called you up? Think about that hard before you answer.

So I answer her question honestly. “Yes, I definitely felt something for you. I felt a lot for you actually.”

For the first time in a long time that was greeted with a good answer. It was a greeted with her laughter. Her laugh is intoxicating. It’s what you expect a pixie to sound like when they tease you about something. It’s like hearing the best song you remember from your life and having it played just for you. I haven’t met anyone that has a laugh like that except her.

The conversation turns to the rules. The rule is that she can have playmates but she’s married to him. So I can be her boyfriend but he’s still her husband. Does that make sense? I know it sounds weird, it sounds weird SAYING it, but it makes sense.

To understand it, you’d have to know us. You’d have to know what it feels like to talk to her and there’s no way for me to convey that with my words, it’s a feeling in your heart, your soul and you mind. It makes you feel weak and strong at the same time.

The rest of it is a blur. I know that my admittance of what I felt led to hers. It led to us figuring out how long we’d felt that way about each other and the missed signals that we had both not taken up. We talk about instances in our past that we could remember with clear and precise clarity. Things that most other people would take for granted we etched into our memories to go back over again and again.

By the time we’re done it’s been two hours. We’ve talked to each other about things that we never thought we’d get a chance to and I need to go to bed.

Yesterday yesterday was more of an eye opener. It was a wake up call to your dear Shaman in a way that I won’t soon forget.

I slept like shit the night before. What ifs ran through my mind like little kids in a playground.

The first thing I get a chance to do is drop her a message on myspace and thank her for calling. How happy I was to hear from her and how we fell right back into step with each other, like no time has passed.

Then we talked some more and things got more, serious. See the thing with us is that we’re silly, together or apart, it’s part of who we are. Moreover we enjoy the time with each other so much we don’t want it to end.

“Were you in love with me?”

Deep breath.

“Yes, I was and still am. It’s been a constant.”

Ok wait, don’t go getting all messed up about this. Look you guys can judge all you want but how am I going to say no? She would be able to tell, she’d read it on me. It’s the God’s honest truth that she would sniff out the truth in no time flat. We might suck at signals but can read each other well otherwise and I’m telling you now that if I said no at that moment and she asked me again when we saw each other, she’d know I’d had lied.

This door is smaller.

The conversation that we had yesterday lasted all day except for a few breaks, we bared our souls to each other in a candid way. I know that some of you are upset, she’s married and here I am doing this with her but sometimes, sometimes the heart speaks louder than ethics, morals or anything else. I’m sorry.

At one point she tells me:
You know that if I wasn't married, I would be yours, right?I think I could honestly say that I love you. Even in love with you a little bit.


After that, we pretty much let loose with each other. How can I not say something to that? Honestly, would you stop yourself? Would you keep your head? If you answered yes, then you need to check your heart.

I pour my soul out to her in a way that I haven’t done in years. I hadn’t even done it with my wife for years, this woman, Ariel, is reaching me in a way that I can’t say I’ve been reached in a while and she does it with her soft voice, her quiet giggle and her heart. She wraps herself around me completely and even with this description I’m not doing it justice. She makes me remember what it’s like to feel alive.

She’s my maiden fair, I’m her knight. That’s what I see in my mind. You want to get really obnoxious about it call me Lancelot cause she’s my Guinevere.

After knowing that it stops being a thing about ‘when we see each other again, whenever that may be’ it’s “I need to see you this weekend”.

Then we have the last bombshell of the conversation. She’s gifted. For those of you who believe, she’s got sight. She’s able to see things sometimes, given the right circumstance and being allowed to.

What starts it off is my retelling of the first time that I saw her, for the purposes of the rest of the story I’m going to recite it to you guys.

“I remember the first time that I saw you. I had come in late for some such reason, mainly because I was IT and the Assistant Supervisor, Caroline, bee-lined it straight for me. She explained to me that there was a girl in this first group that has told her that if she would just be allowed to bring her keyboard from home she could be more efficient with taking the calls. She said she had told the girl that IT would be in later and discuss it with her.

“So here I go out in the work area, it’s the first batch of operators that we’re training. You’re all huddled right in the middle of the room, row of cubicles on either side of you. I’m looking at the faces in the crowd, looking at the motley crew of workers that the temp agency sent us and then I see you.

“You were sitting near one of the computers to the right of you. You had short black hair that ended in a shade of red. You had on a pair of cute glasses and you were beautiful. I remember that my heart started beating a little bit faster when I saw you. I got this feeling in my gut, like butterflies and then Caroline came up behind me. She knew me best out of all of the people that I worked with. We’d worked together for a long time at this point and I’d watched girls through the glass that passed by and knew my looks and what they meant. She came up behind me, touched my arm and told me to not even think about it. Then you looked at me and smile and I just lost it. Right then and there I knew there was more to you and that I needed to find it out. I knew that whatever I was feeling was only going to get more intense. Then Caroline cut through again and told me to be cool. So I was cool.”

And that moment is always going to be in my head, that first moment will be something I’ll never forget. It was a breath of fresh air and in the same moment, the remembrance of something better and bigger and stronger that I had forgotten about. It was kismet, it was fate, it was love, it was light, it was everything that you could hope to find in life and it was sitting right there in front of me, giving me a smile that could have easily cause Troy to go to war as much as Helen. It was a moment captured in time that is always going to be mine.

That confession led to some more from her. Like I said some people won’t really understand the rest of this, the rest will nod in understanding and realize that there is something more to all of this.

“I have to tell you something. I thought that maybe it was just wishful thinking, at least that’s what I chalked it up to when it happened but now that you’ve said I know better and I wish one of us would have spoken up sooner. That moment that I saw you for the first time, I saw something. I have some sight, clairvoyance, but I didn’t think that’s what it was. I just thought it was the crush of a girl on a handsome man.

“I had a vision the moment I saw you. In it we were happy, we were together and we were expecting.”

Even typing this it jolts me. She tells me this and I break a little and cry a little more. Here’s the woman that I’ve felt something for for I don’t know how long and she’s telling me that she saw exactly what I’ve searched for my whole life and it was with her.

“How long into the future was this?”

“It was ten years. We had three other kids, Gabriel Jr., Jesse and Matthew. We looked happy.”

There was some more detail but that’s detail that I’m going to keep for me. If there was ever any doubt in my heart, soul or mind that I was in love with her, it was gone at that moment. There was all of it; we had bared something to one another that no one else could truly be a part of. Did I cry? Yes. I’ve been lost in a sea of loneliness for so long and here was a woman that could literally see a future with me. She had been made happy by being with me of all people and she was sad because it was a road not taken and she wished she had just like I did.

So my travel bag is packed and I’m ready to roll. I’m driving out to see her as soon as my shift is done. I don’t have expectations, I lost the right to those and I know it but even a stolen moment with her will last me a lifetime. Knowing that there was a moment in time where the rest of the world melted away and that my love for her was enough to sustain her will let me die in peace because I will feel like my love matters.

You’ll hear from me, you always do. Just if you get a chance, wish me luck, wish me strength and wish me love because when she’s in the picture, it’s all my heart can see.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Screwball part 1

Funny thing about life, sometimes it throws you a screwball


From August of 2002 to March of 2007 I work for an interpretation company. When I started I was just an interpreter, as time went on I because Lead Interpreter, Assistant Supervisor and ended with IT tech when they closed down the branch and laid us all off. During my time as IT guy I helped set up all of the computers that we would eventually end up using. Part of the reason we set up computers is when I started at the office we only staffed interpreters. That meant that we had cubicles filled with people that spoke two languages, they would wait for their phone to ring, translate a call over the phone and then do it all over again.

For the last year that the branch was open we stepped it up and had operators. So a client would be given a special number to call when they needed an interpreter and when they called they would get an operator. The operator’s job was to connect the client with one of the interpreters that were able to handle the type of call they were going to be given.

It was a great time for me work wise since I was being trusted with more responsibilities which would eventually lead to me going overseas for the better part of two months to set up call centers in Peru and Dominican Republic…story for a different time.

In any event, we got the operators through a temp agency. We didn’t have many requirements except they be outgoing, pass a drug screen and be able to type. That was it. We got some bad eggs, some good eggs and some great people.

Two of those people were Anthony and Ariel. Anthony, at the time, was a recent transplant from Rhode Island, how he got to be in Oregon is an interesting story. He’s a gamer, they both are, and his guild leader at the time lived in Oregon. He wanted a change of pace, she had an extra room and bam, Anthony was in Oregon. While their relationship was interesting…to say the least, the point was that he and I hit it off right away because we both played WOW. This was before the expansion had come out, we were racing to get our characters to 60 to chomp at the bit for Outlands and level 70. It was great.

Ariel was a different story. She was native to Oregon and had known the area forever obviously. She was also a gamer, WOW natch, and had many of the same likes and dislikes that Anthony and I had. She was kinda one of the guys. We would all sit outside during break, smoke, talk shit about work, laugh and then go back into the little cubicle hell that we called work.

So the first day of basic training I come in a little later than everyone else, because I’m IT, and I start looking over the group that we have assembled. Now you have to understand that I put together the curriculum to train these new operators on how to use the computers. It wasn’t rocket science but I broke it down into digestible little fractions that would be better suited for them. I’m standing there taking in the faces of these new people when Ariel’s face just pops out at me. She’s sitting down; I remember this clearly, in front of one of the work stations in the middle of the office. She’s got black roots that lighten into a bright red in a pixie cut, cut little cat’s eye glasses and she’s wearing normal gamer attire for the NW. She feels me watching her, turns to look at me and smiles. I’m fucked.

I find out that she is, Ariel, she’s 19, and she’s living less than a mile from my house. I’m seriously fucked. At the time I’m married. I’m not going to say happily because things had been going downhill at that point, still having an affair is nothing I would ever contemplate and at that time even leaving my wife was nothing but smoke and mirrors in my head. So why am I standing there with dry mouth? She smiled at me and my heart just went a little faster…what the fuck?

Yea, so that was the little group…

The three amigos….

One day Anthony comes to me. Now Anthony’s about twenty two at this point. He’s got this Pointdexter thing going on with the striped shirts, real short hair cut, messenger bag on at all times and just innocent little baby face. He’s a cool guy don’t get me wrong, but he’s still a kid. Know what I mean? So looking at him I know that there’s still a lot for him to learn and while I’m not the ‘wise man’ I still feel like if there’s something I can do to help him I’m going to try.

So I’m sitting in the break room, my office was in the back with all the hardware and for the moment things were running smoothly, drinking a Mountain Dew and reading the paper when he walks in.

“Hey Gabe!”

“Sup Tony.”

“Listen can I ask you something?”

From there it spiraled into the usual boy meets girl, boy wants to date girl routine. The problem for Anthony was that he felt that Ariel was unapproachable; he felt that she was way above what he should be shooting for. And at that moment I made the decision to help him win her over. My thinking, my logic as it were, was this, if I can’t be with her because of my circumstance, I should be sure to hook her up with someone that I felt could not only take care of her but make her happy. When the three of us were together we all laughed at our stupid jokes. Cause they were our stupid jokes, you know? Did she laugh at mine a little more? I don’t know. I know that we all had a good time.

So for Tony’s sake and for Ariel’s sake I become Cyrano and give this kid all of the things that I would have done to win her over.

Learn what she likes to drink and then just bring it for her, show her you care. Listen to her stories; say the right things at the right time. Like what? Well if she’s pouring out her soul, put an arm around her, tell her how bad you feel. Be honest, be true and be the man that she needs. It’s not that hard if you put your mind to it. You guys know what I’m talking about.

Unfortunately this kid was like a deer in headlights when it came to women. We’d all be sitting there talking and a PERFECT opening for him to say something would come up and he’d miss it. I’d nudge him to do something and he’d do the opposite. From what I understand at one point SHE was the one that showed interest in him but he backed off.

It was like watching that bad joke about Adam and Eve where God is trying to get Adam to sleep with Eve but Adam can’t figure out where his thing goes. Truly a sad sight.

During this time of course my branch is getting word that we may be closing and every week all of the operators that we hired on are under the guillotine at the possibility of being cut, since they’re temps. So the Supervisor, Assistant Supervisor and myself are having these meetings every morning, cutting people. We all have says and we all make the decision. Each and every single week Ariel’s name gets brought up by the assistant and every week I fight to keep her and every week the supervisor cuts it down the middle and keeps her. Tony’s always safe because of all of them; he’s the quickest and can learn more.

This goes on for about three months and for three months I’m giving this girl rides home cause she’s less than a mile from me and doesn’t own a car.

And I still get that feeling around her.

I still get all light headed when she’s near me.

I’m still married.

I don’t even consider breaking my vow but she’s still a good friend.

When the job ended for all of us we went our separate ways. Ariel and I found each other on myspace not long after and added each other as friends. We didn’t talk much, mainly due to schedules and what not, plus I wanted to keep some distance. It was just the way that it was.

She moved two hours away to a place called Eugene and recently got married, about a week ago.

Then she called me last night.

I’m going to be honest in the last year she’s called me a few times and each time I’ve found a reason NOT to answer the phone. She’s away with some dude, she’s happy and she’s not near me.

So when the phone rings last night I’m thinking to myself, Self, it’s okay to answer the phone, she’s going to tell you the good news that she’s now happily married. You can do the whole, I’m happy for you thing, hang up and feel good knowing you did the right thing. Chat for a bit, go to bed and move on.

The conversation went nothing like I expected it to…at all.

When someone gets married you want to hear about the ceremony or at least pretend to and the after party. She didn’t go into any of that. She did tell me she was happy, she did say that he was a wonderful man. (Two points, I’m good) Then she told me something that I didn’t really want to know, she’d always had feelings for me and wanted to know if I ever felt the same.


I don’t know about you guys but to me it’s too late. What are you going to do, tell them the truth after they got married? How fair is that?

“I’m asking because I love my husband but he is okay with my having a boyfriend.”


To be continued.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Lady in Shadows

The hardest part about dating is that you’re putting yourself out there. Never mind the whole monetary this because I find that you can’t take it with you so might as well spend it while you’re here. The most difficult aspect of this is trying to figure out when you’re giving up too much of yourself and when you’re only being moderate enough to cover your bases.

In some circles people dating are divided into two different categories. The first is a ‘player’, this is someone who just barely covers the bases. They don’t really want to get invested into any one person for an extended period of time, they want to have several who they can enjoy moments of happiness with and then forgo the rest of it without any remorse. This is something I’ve never been able to master personally. I’ve always been the time to devote myself to one person until it’s played all the way out. Which leads me to the second category, to use a 90s term, a “Shy Guy”.

That being said we come to Amy.

I told you we had been seeing each other for a period of time. You’ve also read my whole camping experience. (if you haven’t and want to cringe, laugh and feel sorry for me, this is the time to do it.)

The first thing that I have heard recently is, “Is it too soon?”

The thing is, that each person has a different time frame that they feel they’ll need to be able to move on from what’s gone on in their past. I’ve known guys who have their heart broken one day and literally the next have a new girl on their arm, while I’ve know guys who take years to overcome the grief that they felt over the loss.

Personally? It was a weight lifted. Consider this; I only started talking about my situation in March. This had been going on for over two years. In that time I felt like I was already alone. I learned about myself, I learned about my limits, thresholds and desires, things that I couldn’t share with the one person I wanted to do that with.

Is it too soon? No, if anything it’s too late.

I’ve told you enough about Amy for you to get an idea of the personality she has. We play many word games with each other; do a lot of talking and asking questions about life and the like. We’re both counselors are heart so we like to listen to others and try to resolve the problems. Honestly, a pretty good team overall.

Then you start looking at the little things: In the time we’ve spent together, about a month give or take, most of our outings include someone else or going to someone’s house. We’ve had perhaps 5 dates total in this time where it’s just her and I and one of them we cut short for Yeti. (Remember that?) In public I’m more like a buddy but in private she acts like a lover. Then the camping trip she tried to do a little of both, for her sake and mine and it was nice. I enjoyed it and she did too.

I spent the night at her place on Sunday since I didn’t go into work on Monday (Nothing happened, get your mind out of the gutter) and then Tuesday we’d both be busy. So we figured we’d see each other on Wednesday. This has been the routine. While we both have lives, we’ve tried to see each other at night, if only to watch a movie.

She lives 45 minutes away.

She doesn’t drive.

That’s fine. I’m okay with doing that, its part of the woo-ing process.

Then this is the conversation we had that Wednesday:

“So what time do you want me to come up today?” Me

Amy, “you know I was thinking, you don’t spend a lot of time with Jen and Travis anymore. It feels like you’re always here.”

To note, I haven’t been spending time with J and T, this is true but it’s because they’re trying to set up their lives together. Having a third wheel while doing that, not the best in my opinion.

“Is that a complaint?”

“No no, just an observation. Don’t you miss them?”

“Sure I do but I feel like I’ve got better things to do now and they’re happy and I’m happy with what we’re building. I figure there will be time enough for them eventually.”

“Yea but they’re your friends.”

Notice a pattern?

Me, “Hold on. This is starting to sound less like you’re worried about my friendship and more like you’re afraid I’m taking over your life or something. Is that what’s going on?”

“Kinda, yea. I mean you’ve been up here six days out of the week for two weeks straight.”

“Yea, because I was under the impression that I was wanted up there.”

Amy, “You are. I just want to make sure you’re still your own person, you know?”

Alright, enough is enough.

Me, “Look, I wanted to talk to you tonight because I wanted to figure out what we’re doing here. I like you, I think you’re cool and enjoy my time with you but what is this that we’re doing exactly? We don’t use labels cause you don’t like them, fine. Still, one minute you treat me like a buddy and the next like your lover. I enjoyed camping but when started planning that it was going to be something small and intimate, it ended up being a clusterfuck. What you’re doing feels like you’re pushing, is that what it is? It’s like we’re building this house, and all we have is the framework and we’re throwing shit in, see if it looks good and then throwing it back out cause it clashes. What kind of house are we building Aim?”


More Silence.

Finally, “You’re right. Those are good points. I need time to think. Let’s talk about this tomorrow night instead okay?”

“Sounds good.”


Wednesday bleeds into Thursday. The one thing neither of us thought about was that she gets the boys on Thursdays. Talking in front of them, not going to happen, we’ll handle it on Friday.

Friday and she’s not feeling good. We postpone til Saturday.

Saturday comes and goes, still not well. We’ll do this Sunday.


Mind you during this time period we’re hardly talking to each other, we don’t pick up the phone we only use texts and the texts are short, sporadic and to the point.

I have a key to her place. I go to her house and I knock instead. She looks surprised but I don’t know where I stand and I’m not overstepping my bounds with anyone.

She is getting out of a marriage too, similar to mine in many ways. It’s been over 8 months for her since she left him. She’s built a life for herself in the meantime. We sit across from each other and talk about the inane things that people talk about when skirting the true meat of a meeting. Then we go quiet.

“So?” I nudge.

She looks up at me unsure of what I mean, “So?”

“So, we were going to talk?”

“Ah, yes that’s right. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. And I just don’t think I’m ready but I want you in my life, you’re an awesome man and don’t want you to go away. That’s why I kept putting it off.”

There you have it folks. I’m not heartless, of course I’ll still be her friend. She is a great person but it just shows that sometimes even people out of relationships for a long time, just aren’t ready.

Life moves on.

I'm not dead...yet (part 4)

Last time the Park Ranger had become involved in what was basically a domestic situation with K locked in the bathroom and Nicky talking to him through the door.

Larry, “Okay son, I’m going to unlock the door now.”

Key goes into the lock, lock won’t turn.

Larry, “This is government property, you can’t be holding onto the lock like that. If it breaks your parents have to pay for it.”

Once again, key goes into lock, this time door opens.

I expected the kid to come out kicking and screaming, cursing profanities and hoping everyone would die. What I got instead was a kid in tears with hurt, hate and anger in his eyes. He wouldn’t look at any of us. I hung back while Nicky and Larry got in front of him and started talking about the situation. The kid was non-responsive for the most part until Child Protective Services was mentioned, then he got REALLY animated and asked to talk to Larry alone.

Please keep in mind, this is my vacation! This is the stuff that I’m dealing with for four days!

I’m fuming. How could I not be? I went and did something I never do, Camping, I went out and spent money I didn’t have and what have I gotten for it? A campsite with two adults who should know better, four kids, and Amy who sends out more mixed signals that the President while talking about weapons of mass destruction.

::Deep Breath::

Once Larry is done talking to K, he feels that K and his mom should have some alone time to talk. Yes, this is a good idea…

I go back to my tent and just lay on my air mattress, I’ve got nothing left.

Amy comes in and asks to go for a walk with me, totally cool. So we start walking.

“You okay? You seem upset.” Amy

Folks, how do you answer that?

“A bit. This weekend has gone nothing like I expected, in the slightest. Nevermind following Mel to some place that was prohibited, or the fact that this went from a small camp out to a huge group thing, I’m trying to figure out why we got stuck with Mel and Tanner in our camp cause with them there, there’s never any privacy.”

I think I handled that well.

“I know, I’m sorry. I just felt that because we both have counseling backgrounds that we would be able to handle them better and we have. I know I’ve asked a lot of you but I think you’re handling it great. We’re almost done with the weekend, tomorrow we head back.”


Having gone to bed early the night before and just sitting up and talking to Amy the whole time, it was nice to sleep in.

“Amy?” Tanner, outside my tent.

I hear him in the back of my mind and pay no heed to it.

“Amy? Gabriel?” Tanner.

He called me…shit.


“We’re going to the store, do you need anything?”

We are in the boonies. We are someplace beyond the boonies. It takes about 45 minutes to get to the nearest store, which will charge you $4 for a Snickers bar because they’re the ONLY show in town.

I think about it for a second, “Pack of Camel lights.” Yea I smoke… what?

The kids heard me talk, now they’re up and about.

It’s Mel’s turn to make breakfast. The night before he had mentioned French Toast. I start looking around, we have all of the needed ingredients for that, and eggs to make as a side order…what are they going to the store for?

I head 30 feet away toward the second camp site and I’m greeted with the image of their site, almost totally broken down. They’ve been up for a couple of hours, made their own breakfast and have had enough of Mel and his antics.

These are the people that I enjoyed camping with and they’re ready to leave, Great.

I start saying my goodbyes. Our goodbyes are long and we end up talking for another hour and a half, which is just enough time for Mel to come back.

Remember, running total of this trip: approx $300…

They pull into the campsite and Tanner tosses me a pack of Camel lights.

“Thanks.” Me

“Sure no problem, you owe us five bucks.” Tanner.

Wait, what?

“Dee and Doo, start breaking down the tents we need to pack up and leave.” Me

Amy looks at me at pulls me aside, “Don’t you want to have breakfast first?”


“You want to leave now?”


“Okay then, boys you heard him, let’s break this down.”

As you can obviously see I’m an INCREDIBLY patient person but that last little thing really just nailed it for me. There’s a difference between generous and stupid, I’m falling into that second category incredibly quick.

When we got to camp some of our things were in Mel’s car. Before Joseph and his crew leave I ask them to let me store some stuff in their car instead. I would rather not deal with Mel, period. We break camp in about an hour and head out.

I get lost, spend an hour driving toward the coast instead of toward the city.

Double back.

At the end of it all I learned a valuable lesson, if you’re going to go camping, go dutch.

Since then some other stuff has happened with Amy, but that’s a story for another time.


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