Sorry I haven’t written in forever. I’ve been spending most of my nights at Jim’s place so I haven’t had a chance to write anything. Funny how I started this journal to talk about being single and how great it is, then immediately I met the greatest guy ever. Good thing, because it honestly wasn't so great being single.
Anyway, the reason I’m home now is that Jim’s parents are visiting and staying at his place, and we thought it would be kind of inappropriate for them to see me spending the night, considering we just met. Oh yeah, I met his parents. Isn’t that awesome? It made me feel like Jim is really taking this relationship seriously.
Jim’s parents are great. I know all women hate their in-laws, but I will definitely not have that problem if we end up together. I can see why Jim is such a good guy now that I’ve met his mom and dad. Especially his dad, who is exactly like Jim in both looks and personality. The two of them could have formed a comedy team together. I was actually jealous that Jim had such a great relationship with his parents and they hadn’t screwed him up like mine did.
And yes, I did feel guilty that I’ve now already met Jim’s parents and I haven’t even TOLD my mother that I’m seeing someone seriously. I think my mother is beginning to suspect something, but she doesn’t even have a name. Also, I’m a dirty liar, because I told Jim that my mother knows about him. This will probably all explode in my face pretty soon.
Jim’s parents, Peter and Dana, took us out to dinner. (Actually, it ended up nearly being a fight to the death between Jim and his dad over who would pay, but Peter won out.) His parents were so interested in me and so nice, I could tell that they thought Jim really liked me. I think they saw me as potential daughter-in-law material. Luckily, I have nice childbearing hips.
Dana Matchett was a stay at home mom to Jim and his two brothers (one older, one younger) and it was obvious she doted on them a lot. She was very affectionate, and Jim said that she was probably the clingiest to him of all his siblings, because she almost lost him fifteen years ago. And also because he wasn’t married yet, which both of his brothers were. “She wants me to get married, like, five years ago,” Jim said.
Over dinner, Dana asked me a lot of questions about my job and made all sorts of noises like she thought my work was really interesting. It isn’t, trust me. But the fact that she gasped no less than three times while I described actuarial analysis is a tribute to how nice she was being to me. “I always wished I had a great job like that,” she told me. “Not that it wasn’t wonderful staying home with Jim and his brothers. But I think it’s nice to have a life outside the home too.”
“That’s not what you said twenty years ago!” Peter snorted.
Dana ignored her husband. “And it just shows how responsible you are,” she said. “Unlike that awful Molly, who could never hold down a job. She was always borrowing money from Jim.”
“Mom, I don’t think Tessie wants to hear about Molly,” Jim said. He was sort of right. It was probably better I didn’t hear about her, but part of me desperately did. Especially any way that I was better than she was. Because in looks, there was no competition.
“Well, I’m just saying,” Dana went on, “Molly was so wrong for you. We all knew it.” She looked at me and said conspiratorially, “We all knew it. Jim wouldn’t listen.”
Jim sighed. “Mom…”
“How did you meet her anyway?” Dana asked. “Wasn’t she the waitress in some sleezy bar you went to?”
“She was the waitress at a diner, not a bar.” I didn’t see Jim get angry often, but he looked really close right now.
“And then didn’t she go to beauty school?” Dana said. “Which you paid for, didn’t you? Until she dropped out. Did she ever pay you back?”
“No.” I could see the red creeping into Jim’s cheeks. God, he looked pissed.
“You’re lucky, you know that?” Dana said. “You’re so lucky you got Tessie. I mean, what if Molly had agreed to marry you? Then where would you be?”
Jim looked as horrified as I felt. “Mom!”
Dana got quiet, realizing she had said something wrong. “Oh, you didn’t tell Tessie that you asked Molly to…?”
Jim kept shaking his head with a glazed look in his eyes. Dana tried to play it down, like it wasn’t a big deal, but clearly it was. Jim had asked Molly to marry him, not just move in with him. He had wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. Clearly, he had really loved her.
I was dying to say something to him, but I couldn’t until his parents excused themselves to go to the bathroom, finally leaving us alone. I think Jim had been waiting for this opportunity too, because the first thing he said when they were gone was, “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you I asked Molly to marry me.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?” I asked, even though I sort of knew the answer.
He sighed. “You seemed insecure and I just… thought it would upset you. I should have been honest. I’m sorry.”
“So you were really in love with her, huh?”
“Yeah, I was,” he admitted.
“Do you still love her?”
There was a long pause. Too long. “I don’t know,” he finally said. “I guess I still have some feelings for her, we were together so long.”
“Would you consider getting back together with her?”
“No, never,” Jim said. He rubbed my cheek with the back of his hand. “I love you, Tessie. You know that.”
I keep thinking about that conversation. I guess I wish that Jim and I could have just met and become each other’s first loves. Instead, I’m dating a guy who had his heart ripped out of him less than a year ago. I’m beginning to suspect that as much as he plays it down, Jim really adored Molly. And if she wants him back bad enough, I don’t know if there’s much I can do to stop it. I can’t compete with someone like Molly.
I wish I could talk to Jim about it but his parents are there and I don’t want them to think I’m so clingy that I have to call him during the night. I just have to try not to think about it.
Okay, I just went insane and called Jim on his cell phone at 2AM.
I couldn’t sleep and I kept thinking about him and Molly and it was driving me totally crazy. And then I reasoned that it was Jim’s fault that I couldn’t sleep because he had kept this secret from me. So I called him.
Amazingly, he wasn’t angry. He sounded tired, but not angry. He said that he had been sleeping badly too and he felt really guilty about what happened that night. He said he should have told me the truth from the start.
Then he reassured me that he felt nothing for Molly and that he loved me. And tomorrow, when his parents were gone, he was going to show me how much he loved me.
He was so sweet that I feel kind of ridiculous for how upset I got. I have no reason to ever doubt that Jim loves me. He’s been nothing but wonderful to me.
On that note, I’m exhausted and am going to sleep.
Okay: funny story.
I was cooking dinner last night at Jim's apartment, just as a way to earn my keep. I brought over a bag of groceries because his fridge is generally not very well stocked, except for TV dinners. Jim was messing around with his computer while I was cooking and I approached him from behind. I ran my hands over his shoulders and he sighed contentedly. He actually has pretty nice, tight muscles in his shoulders. “Maybe we could listen to some music?” I suggested.
“Oh,” he said. “You want to hear music?”
“Why don't you put on something from the Beatles?” I suggested. I figured since he had Rubber Soul, my favorite album, in his car on our first date, he must have had some other Beatles albums.
“Er,” he said, scratching his chin.
“Do you have any other Beatles albums?”
“Um, not really.”
I crossed my arms. “Do you actually even like the Beatles?”
He grinned sheepishly. “Busted. Sandra told me you liked them so I bought the album in a foolish attempt to impress you.”
I had to laugh. “Okay, so what sort of music do you like?”
“I don't really like music.”
I stared at him. “Seriously? You're so weird.”
He laughed. “Well, you know, when I was in high school I sort of liked the alterna-grunge music, but it seems sort of loser-y to be listening to Nirvana when you're 32. So all I've got is some classical stuff, so I seem cultured. I think I have Bach, if you're interested. I've heard listening to it makes you perform better on exams.”
“Are you planning on giving me a pop quiz?” I teased him.
He wheeled closer to me and slid his hands under my skirt, up the inside of my thighs. I gasped and totally forgot about dinner or Bach or any of that. Jim can get me wet in like five seconds. “I'm planning on giving you something...”
So, um, cooking dinner didn't end up happening yet again. But man, we sure worked up an appetite for pizza.
It’s the three month anniversary of our first date. Jim is taking me out to a fancy dinner and a show.
I’m so lucky. I love him so much. I feel blessed.
Jim and I got into a fight today. It was like our first fight ever and it was completely my fault.
Stupid Thanksgiving is coming up. My parents live down in Southern California and they expect me to come visit them for the holiday every year. When I was a kid, I was grateful that we celebrated Thanksgiving like everyone else, even though we’re the only Greek people on the west coast. Now that I’m an adult, it’s become this horrible obligation and THERE’S NO WAY TO GET OUT OF IT. I’ve tried, believe me. If I dropped dead, I swear to god, they’d ship me out to Thanksgiving dinner in my coffin.
Anyway, Jim invited me to his parents’ house for Thanksgiving. It was a casual invitation, while we were lying in bed after having had some very satisfying sex. His parents live out in Ohio, as does one of his brothers, but he moved here because he said he can’t deal with snow in his wheelchair. He used to live there and any moderate storm would completely trap him in his house. Silicon Valley doesn’t get snow ever. Sometimes it gets cold though. Like, forty degrees. It’s brutal.
When Jim invited me, without thinking I told him that I had to go to my parents’ house for the holiday. I should have told him I had to work or something. “Do you want me to come?” he asked.
“Um, that’s okay,” I said. “I’m sure your parents want to see you and I don’t want you to miss out.”
“No, it’s fine,” he assured me. “They’d understand.”
I was sure the Matchetts would understand, but I wasn’t feeling quite so sure that the Manousakises would understand that I had a boyfriend who was disabled. “No, it’s really okay,” I said. “I know you miss your brothers. Really, go see your parents.”
“But I’d like to meet your parents,” he said. He touched me in this really tender, loving way.
“It really isn’t a big deal,” I mumbled. “You’ll meet them next time.”
I think that was when Jim figured it out. “Tessie, did you tell them that I’m in a wheelchair?”
I stammered something that sounded like a cross between yes, maybe, and no.
“You didn’t tell them.” He frowned. “Well, what DID you tell them about me?”
I didn’t say anything.
“You told them about me, didn’t you?” Jim’s voice rose in volume.
“Oh my god, Tessie, I don’t believe this.” He sounded as angry as I’d ever heard him. “We’re practically living together. How could you not tell them?”
I hung my head.
“Are you ashamed of me?” He looked really hurt when he said it.
“Then why won’t you tell your parents about me?”
I took a deep breath and tried my best to explain to him about how nothing I do is ever good enough for my mother. And that if I tell her about him, she’ll say he isn’t good enough and I just can’t deal with that. “I’m sorry,” I said.
“You need to learn to deal with your mother,” Jim said. “I’m coming with you to Thanksgiving.”
“She’ll love me,” Jim said. “Don’t worry. I’m super charming, right?”
Jim is so confident that my mother will like him. I don’t get that. I think she’s going to freak out when she sees him. I’m used to it by now, but I know that objectively Jim looks very disabled, with his hands and all. My mother has made derogatory remarks before about “the crippled” and I know there’s no chance she’s going to accept him as a potential son-in-law. The only difference is now I’m going to have to hear about it all the time.
To be continued...