It Can Never Be Real If They Never See Your Face

I'm in a funk. I need to vent, but there's no one to talk to, no one I can dump it all on, yet I feel perfectly comfortable baring my soul to the entirety of the innerwebs.. so here goes:

So, there was this man. It always starts that way doesn't it?


I met him a few years ago, sort of, in Second Life, a virtual world where I was beautiful and brave. He sang in pixelated nightclubs, mimicking Sinatra, Buble, rat packy cool with snapping fingers and witty chatter between songs, all broadcast from his tiny home office in a spare bedroom in his Dallas home.

We got to know each other over time and eventually became a "thing." He sent me an email every morning, we talked about his kids, his wife (yes, wife,) our jobs, our moms.. everything. At night, we'd meet in that other world, he'd call me his kitten and make me feel loved.

It went on for three years. His was the shoulder I'd cry on when Ma would go nuts, when Bossholio was being a jerk face, when the truck ran out of gas and when I had horrible revelations in therapy. I'd send him a text and he was there, even though we never really met. As long as I had my phone, I knew I wasn't alone. He vented to me when his daughter moved back home, bringing his new grandson with her, when they called from his mother's nursing home and when his sweet little dog passed away.

That first winter, we had a horrible snow storm in the holler. The power was out for days. When it really started getting to me, being cut off from everyone, all the batteries going dead, running out of lamp oil and Ma having a crazy spell, he sent me texts that night, making up a story as he went, keeping my mind occupied until I fell asleep. No one had ever treated me like he did.

I told myself that it was okay that he was married, I was providing something in his life that she couldn't. I knew, with my warped and broken past, I could never be everything to anyone. This was all I could provide.   Which, looking back, I realize is the same bullshit I've fed myself over the years whenever I get involved with someone who belongs to someone else.

I'm never The One. I've always been The Other One.

My therapist pointed out that it probably goes back to my childhood. I associated relationships with men with secrets, lies.. don't tell anyone, they wouldn't understand.. blah blah blah.

Our second Christmas, I made him a card with my picture. My real picture. I was over confident, thought everything else would over ride my hideous face. I spent an entire Saturday in the RV taking pictures of myself, something I never do, trying to get an angle that didn't make me look like a nasty old hag. I nearly had a full blown anxiety attack when he accepted it.

He was kind about it, but things changed. The following year was spent with my trying desperately to hang on to something that wasn't there anymore. He started acting distant, our conversations got weird, a result of his trying to keep up a conversation with someone else at the same time. He'd type in the wrong window, answering someone else's questions when he was talking to me.

It was Santino (without the Mafia bullshit) all over again.

I looked the other way, pretended not to notice. Deep down I knew what did it. The picture. The face. It happens every time.

Maybe it was his insecurity that made him back away. Maybe it was his fear that I'd insist he share the same. He didn't know I have mad stalking skills (if you knew me back in the dolphie days, you understand.) He didn't know that just a couple of months after we met, I'd found his daughter's MySpace page, I'd seen pictures of his whole family, including his much-prettier-than-me wife, taken at his beautiful girl's wedding. I'd seen his twinkling eyes, his smile, his receding hairline and his pudgy tummy. I'd already seen him in a kilt and combat boots, taken at an Irish fest and shoving a piece of cake in his mouth.

It was then that I really fell for him.

The last time I heard from him was December 29th. I never answered the email. I figured.. he'll think about it and he'll miss me. He'll realize that behind my hideous face, my disgusting body, was still the person he'd said he loved.

But I've not heard a world. I thought maybe he'd wonder how I was, visit hiddenmahala. I watched my Statcounter for hits from his isp.


I don't know why now, nearly five months later, it's finally hit me. It's the first time I've cried. I feel stupid, embarrassed and ridiculous. I miss listening to him sing, turning the computer speakers up all the way, catterwallin' along while I work on jewelry. Maybe it's because it seems like everything keeps breaking, the sewer line messing up, the tv cut off.. you know.. life.. and there's no one to tell.

I dunno.

I haven't been back to the virtual world. I've considered deleting my account.

I know what some of ya'll are thinking. I should have known. Shouldn't have been chasing a married man to begin with. It's wrong. I got what I deserve. And maybe you're right.

Later Taters.


kenju said...

I won't judge you, lest I be judged. I have never been in a relationship like that, but I can see how easy it would be to get into one. Everything happens for a reason, and there is always a lesson to be learned. I hope you can find the lesson here.

tiff said...

Oh, Mahala - that hurts.

Significant Snail said...

Oh I'm so sorry. You blame yourself but it takes two to tango, Mahala. He encouraged this emotional relationship too. You both provided and received something you each needed and I'm glad he was there for you for as long as he was. That said, it's a new page in the book of your life. Some hurts take a while to sink in and a longer while to get over. Have a good cry... have several. Each one will get you a bit further past this.

Anonymous said...

what you deserved was someone with the balls to tell you how he felt up front. Someone that after knowing you didn't let something as unimportant as how you look become a problem. You deserve to be loved and cared about for who you are. sorry that he wasn't that person.

b.fez said...

Mahala, everyone has already said what I would like to have said, had I thought of it first. The only thing I can add is, everyone makes mistakes. Everyone. You are a good person who deserves to be The One. Don't forget that! ((hugs))

Anonymous said...

hi I hope you meet someone in the real world that deserves you. And I,m betting you=are not ugly! I to suffer from feeling ugly and that I,m the only one who ever screwed up in life. We all screw up I, 63 now and finally like myself and the face and body I see in the mirror isn,t ugly at all You have alot of humor and try and useally deal with the every day crap in life. hang in there from a regual reader Deb

BetteJo said...

Oh my. If this doesn't bring out the insecurities in us all. You were both living on a fantasy, unfortunately. Why? Why do any of us do the things we do? I'm all - well if my daddy couldn't love me then .. yeah. I keep men at an arm's length and may never put my whole, real self out there again. Many of us have those chinks in our armor. I just hope you can pick up and move on from this. No judging Mahala, I'd hate to be judged for some of the things I've done - oh Lord. Take care of yourself, kay?

Teressa Welch said...

If seeing the real you made him disappear, he's not worth crying over anyway, but I know, all too well, that it's hard not to.