One reason I broke up with College Boyfriend is because I met someone else. This someone was a photographer at work (hereafter referred to as PB). PB got a mutual friend to take me over to his apartment after work one night for a beer and a joint. I loved the apartment. It was full of plants and funky stuff. And I liked PB. He was funny. The mutual friend left me there alone with PB. PB kept leaving the room and walking back in. He told me later he was really nervous. I spent the night and discovered that we had a sexual chemistry I had never experienced before or since.
PB was no Adonis. In fact he was the opposite. Maybe 5'9'', with a pot belly and scrawny legs, a beard (remember, I was still into facial hair), and braces (yep!). He was nine years older than me. But I was besotted. And he seemed to be with me.
The next morning he gave me his bathrobe to wear as he cooked us an omelette for breakfast. Then the phone rang. He took it into his bedroom, shut the door, and was in there for about 45 minutes. I would have left but my clothes were in there and I didn't want to disturb him. I should have. It was his ex-girlfriend wanting to get back together. So he drove me home and that was the end of that.
I started to see a guy from the composing room. Then on a visit to my dad's, I got bold and called someone I knew from the college newspaper. He'd been the editor, and I was totally in awe of him. But he had a girlfriend, and I had a boyfriend. I didn't know if he'd be interested in me anyway. But I took a chance. He was now a reporter at one of the Tampa papers and destined for really big things. We met for a drink. He was still seeing his girlfriend. A week later, he wasn't. He started to visit me every other weekend. And I started to visit my dad a lot more and of course go out with Reporter Boyfriend. He was gorgeous. Tall, blonde, blue eyes. Intelligent. Ambitious. And he liked ME!
But. There's always a but. It was magical with RB. I still think of him every time I hear the Police song "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic." RB didn't seem interested in meeting my family. He'd pick me up from my dad's, but got out of there as quickly as possible. And I never met his mother. Our relationship was kept on one level. I was happy with that for a while. We were young, starting out in our careers. We were having a really good time. But I always wondered why he liked me.
Then PB broke up again with the ex/not-ex girlfriend. He was about to go to Guatemala for a couple of months. When he got back, we resumed our relationship. It was a strange relationship, also only on one level. We only went out once on a date, to see "Chariots of Fire." The rest of the time we met up after work or at parties or when mutual friends invited us both to their house. I was always in arguments with myself about why I was with him. He seemed obsessive about his privacy. But sexual chemistry can be a strong thing.
I kept seeing both RB and PB, RB more regularly because PB kept finding other women to go out with. I wanted to fall in love with one of them and wanted one of them to fall in love with me. Because PB was playing hard to get, I think I overvalued the relationship. It brought out the competitive streak in me. PB knew about RB, but I didn't think RB knew about PB. I moved to a condo with a roommate. PB actually helped me move, but RB spent my first weekend there with me. In retrospect I should have known something was up. RB was distant all weekend. Then the phone rang. It was a girl we'd both known at the college newspaper. Why was she calling me? How did she get my number? She boldly asked me if I was seeing PB, and I stupidly said yes. Even more stupidly, I let RB talk to her after that. She obviously told him, though he never said a word about it. In fact he didn't really talk to me at all after that. He left the next morning. I knew I'd hurt him. I felt terrible about it. But I thought he'd call. He never did. And I didn't call him.
Instead, I decided to concentrate on PB. We did seem to grow closer. When someone tried to break into the condo one night, I fled to PB's. And stayed. I only went back to the condo to collect the cats and pack my things. I didn't feel safe there anymore. Someone had forced open a window and cut the screen on the porch. To this day I believe it was my roommate's weirdo boyfriend.
PB was wonderful. He emptied some drawers for my things. He gave me a key. He waited up for me to get home from work. But he was moving on to bigger and better things too. He was about to go to Washington to work on the start-up newspaper, USA Today. He didn't know if he'd be there permanently or not. In the meantime I could look after his apartment. It rained the day he left, and I cried. But he seemed to be dedicated to me. He called frequently, even when I was on deadline one night to tell me not to get upset if I called him and a woman answered. She was only a friend. That was a Thursday. I called him on Sunday. Have you ever called a man and got the distinct impression you'd interrupted something intimate? I did and I had.
I was furious. I shouted "Fuck you," then slammed the phone down. Then I disconnected it and left it that way for about a week. If anyone needed to get in touch with me, they could call me at work or come see me. PB had only been away for 4 or 6 weeks max. I'd made plans to visit him a few weeks later. I couldn't get a refund on my ticket so contacted a former teacher and asked if I could stay with him if necessary. PB sweettalked me into staying with him, then went off on an assignment while I was there and left me with no food or money. He did leave behind a stale bottle of champagne (left over from the other woman?) in his roach-ridden Stay-Free-Mini-Pad. Some colleagues of his took pity on me and took me out one night. I met up with my former teacher the next night. Then PB returned. I was angry still but it had turned into a cold, hard anger.
I flew back to Fort Myers and proceeded to pick up and bring back to PB's apartment an array of men. I slept with them in PB's antique bed. I let them shower in PB's bathroom and wear his bathrobe. I cooked for them in PB's kitchen. I knew there was no future with PB and was just biding my time. I never called him again. He got very nervous about his possessions and asked a neighbour to check in on me. Then he made a very big mistake. He helped me get another job. I moved to Tallahassee and broke up with him. For I had met my next boyfriend. PB actually cried when I broke up with him. He told me he loved me. I told him he was too late.
PB was not yet out of my life completely. But there was a new man on the horizon, also a reporter. And if I'd made mistakes with men in the past, they were nothing compared to this one. I married this one. PB called me repeatedly before the wedding urging me not to go through with it. Well, why should I listen to PB? Why indeed. These two men shared a birthday, Nov. 8. And RB's birthday was Nov. 6. My dad's is Nov. 10. Get the picture?
I have Googled both RB and PB. RB did go on to bigger and better things. He's married and has children. I wish him well and I am still very sorry I hurt him, though he probably got over it long ago. PB married a psychiatrist he met at the LA Olympics in 1984. They had a daughter. They went through a rocky patch at the same time my first marriage fell apart. One friend thought we should get in contact again. Another cautioned against revisiting the past. I don't know if PB is still married. I do know he lives in San Francisco now. I have considered emailing him, but to what purpose? I think he would wonder if I wanted to get back together with him. So I observe from afar. And remember.