28 August 2009

Blast from my Past

In telling this story and especially in hindsight, I realize that it is pretty pathetic. Or rather, I acted rather pathetically. I present this now just as a rumination not so much therapy or disclosure for closure. I don't know why I'm sharing it. Perhaps it'll occur to me by the end.

A few years ago I was in a semi-good place: I had been in my new role at the bank for a year or so, I had been in my house since 2001 and all seemed "OK." The only area of my life that wasn't quite spectacular was my love life. Enter DG.I met him online - I forget where exactly - and we began chatting. He was going through a divorce, had three children and one grandchild, and he finally accepted he was gay. He sounded so lonely and so lost that I tried my best to just give advice and listen when he needed to vent. As we exchanged emails and phone calls we learned more about each other as these type of situations usually yield. Soon I found myself looking forward to his messages and calls and he even told his ex-wife about me. Well...he said he did. He even introduced me to his daughter via Myspace and she and I exchanged a few messages. She said I sounded like a fantastic guy who was making her dad happy.
He left his temporary home (due to Katrina) and started heading west, toward Las Vegas I believe, to stay with a friend. He landed in Albuquerque NM and found a job as a chef at a hotel. Things were looking up for him.
We decided that we needed to meet because - based on the common interests and mutual "like." He said a lot of things to me. I don't need to share them all but he did say he thought he could fall in love with me. Having come out of a relationship the year before with a completely shattered heart and self-esteem, such words were a soothing balm to my tortured being. Melodramatic sounding, isn't it? But that's how it felt.
He was struggling in NM: he owed money and wasn't making enough to finish the trip to NV and - in my weakness - I offered to loan him money. Not a lot. But a few hundred is what I sent. Shortly after this foolish act (although I believed at the time he needed it more than I did) he told me that he'd hooked up with a guy. And he was moving in with this guy. And he was in love with the guy. Needless to say I felt he had taken advantage of me and we exchanged a lot of heated words. I asked him to repay the loan and he said he'd think about it. Pretty much that was the end of it.
About a week ago I found the Western Union paperwork for the money I'd sent him. Oddly enough, I again thought that I had acted in good faith and trust albeit foolishly. (I actually do this a lot - loaning money to people I don't know very well. I must have SUCKER written on my forehead.) I shredded the paperwork and didn't think about it again.
Until this morning. I had an IM from him saying he wanted to make things right. He admitted that he behaved badly and wanted my address so he could send me the money. I was dumbfounded.
I thought about it and finally responded. I told him that I had let go of that situation a long time ago. I also told him that I wasn't going to be emailing him and yelling at him and telling him to fuck off as he thought I would. (Sorry, being honest here.) My final bit was to say that it wasn't necessary for him to repay the loan, that it was an expensive lesson but one I needed to learn.
He replied and thanked me. He's not found the happiness that he once gloated about. That actually makes me feel sad. And perhaps I feel a little vindicated too.
So what did I learn today? I learned that, despite any heartbreak - real or imaginary - that I did the right thing. Both back then and now. If he had insisted on sending the money I would have told him to donate it to a charity, such as an AIDS hospice or food service. And I don't say that to make myself sound righteous or generous; it's honestly what I thought this morning.
I also learned that despite the absence of a significant other in my life I'm not that unhappy. Oh sure I have my days but who doesn't? I also learned that taking the high road does bring personal satisfaction.
So that's my story. And I'm sticking to it! BEHR HUGS!!


David Dust said...

Excellent story! And I believe you did the absolute right thing.

And honey, I could tell you stories about the guys I "helped" back when I had more cash flow...


Mark in DE said...

Thanks for sharing this. It makes you feel more 'real' to me. I find little use for regret. If you act from your heart, tempered by your head, you usually have little to regret anyway. I'm happy that you feel you learned a lesson from the situation, and I wish you much love and happiness.