Like Lady Liberty

In the summer of 2003, I had just moved into a new house full of roommates, and was already packing for a trip.  The last couple of months had involved me being fired from a job I had thought was secure, allowing a friend who turned out not to be such a good friend to talk me into moving to a town I wouldn’t otherwise have considered living in, and emptying out my embryoinc retirement account to cover the move and any time I might spend looking for a new job.  Not the best time to travel, but I remember clearly why I did it and I’d probably do it again today.

When I moved, it was mostly because I’d been talked into it, but what had made me open to the suggestion was the youthful desire for a fresh start.  The town I’d been living in was the same one I’d grown up in, and that tends to get stale.  Also, I had romantic issues.  I had been trying to meet someone worth my time, but just had more bad dates and dead ends.  The one person I was really interested in was Joe, but I was just too nervous to actually make any kind of moves.  We’d known each other for maybe a year and half or two years, and had gotten right into a physical relationship of sorts, but based on my experience I was pretty sure that was all it was.  Emma, the mutual friend who’d introduced us kept nudging me toward it being more, but I suspected that she was just being romantic or something.  Sometime around the whole moving and unpacking project, she told me that after I’d lost my job Joe was maybe going to suggest that I move in with him but then I’d left so quickly and seemed so sure of it that it never got mentioned.  How much of this was ever true I don’t know.  Maybe it was just the impression she’d gotten, but it does stick in my mind.  In any case, after getting the idea that I had seriously misjudged things, I called Joe up and asked if I could drop by for a visit.  (“dropping by” involving many hours of driving . . . )

So then I was packing.  My old job had paid me well enough to allow me to stock up on clothing and things, so I was going through a pile of lacy underwear that I hadn’t even worn yet trying to pick out the best things to wear.  As I was starting to pull tags off knickers, one of the roommates stuck her head in my room to talk to me about something.  Seeing what I was up to, she said, “You bought underwear just for this trip?!”  Well . . . not really . . . but . . . I realised I was possibly about to Try Too Hard.

The trip itself didn’t work out so well.  Instead of laying it all on the table like the current wiser version of myself would, I nervously asked if he was happy with how things were.  When he said yes, I assumed I really was just a warm body and should move on if I wanted anything more, and (as I know from comparing notes later) he thought he was agreeing to long-distance dating and not pressuring me into more commitment than I wanted at the time.

What reminded me of this old story today was shopping for more underwear.  Also a bedframe, and some “adult” books.  But mostly underwear.  When I was still in my last relationship, I would dress up in sexy nighties and not get any kind of response at all.  I eventually gave up on all that, and my lingerie collection got more and more sparse and worn.  Now that I’m single, I like wearing pretty underthings even when I’m just going to work or the grocery store.  As I was browsing online earlier, I found myself thinking of how I used to save the “fancy” underwear for someone truly important to see.  Now I want to wear it all the time, since it’s more to make me feel good than to show off.

Still, it creeps into my mind.  We’re  “just friends” at this point, but I can admit now that I have been carrying that torch for years.  I enjoy my life for what it is, but every time I put on an especially nice pair, knowing no one else can see them, I really just want to make that long drive again and do it right this time.


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