I had a bar breakup. Did you know that?
I'm trying to remember if I've ever had a bar breakup before the one I'm about to tell you about. Hmmm... nope. There was the one the day after Valentine's Day, and the one on the phone (16 year old boys are such buttheads), but only one bar breakup. I feel sort of qualified now in some way. For what, I couldn't tell you.
What the hell was I saying?
Oh yes, the Viking. Mmm-hmm. I ran into him in the days leading up to Thanksgiving this year, at the small grocery store in the little town where we work (and I used to live). I smiled and said 'hello', and then thanked my stars the whole way home.
So, the very tall, very bald, and very plaid Viking and I dated for only a few months. Long enough to start the swoony, but there was never any depth there. Sure I liked that he was tall and he had nice eyes, and he certainly could be debonair, but the dude wasn't IT. I tried for him to be IT, you know. Kissing Wednesday - the day I just dropped in to kiss him hello. Just because. I was just being myself but he thought it was a little weird. I prayed about him and for him, and I was always just a little disturbed about a couple of things that I won't mention because it would be impolite. But, in the spirit of moving on, moving forward, and taking chances on a different "type" of man, I was patient.
Meanwhile I was busy at work with office moving projects and just having moved into my first house. And by my first house I do not mean my first ever house - hello - I have lived lots of places, including our first ever house when we moved to Da Plains. No, I mean I was busy with my first house that I bought by myself, for myself, and with myself. There was so much to do and I was very occupied by it.
I was also occupied by this new guy at work who was assigned the same office moving project as I was. We became very fast friends because I gave him shit and he let me. He didn't hide. He laughed at my sense of humor and gave me shit right back. He was a maintenance planner back then and SO cute, this guy. He was flirty and smart. Looked fantastic in plaid. He was a MANLY man with strong bone structure (geez, Russian much?) and green eyes. Not that I was really looking because I was dating the viking and yo, I can't concentrate on more than one dude at a time. But I do have eyeballs and a heart - and both of those items became sort of, accidentally occupied with said Russian plaid boy. So, we were friendly and both of us found ourselves making excuses to see each other all the time for a signature, for a measurement of a room, or for an agreement to install blinds (that's a fun story I'll have to share with your another time). Soon enough I couldn't stop thinking about him and when I did, I felt really, really happy on the inside. So I prayed about my new friend.
"He likes you," my friends would say when they'd watch us together in a meeting. I didn't believe them because that would be too easy and things in my life were NOT easy. Plus, viking.
Only a couple of months in, the viking and I were struggling. Actually I will reword. Viking didn't notice anything was amiss; I, on the other hand, most definitely did. There were lots of reasons, all of which seem very obvious to me right now but were cloudier back then. I still placed so much blame on myself for my previous marriage (and have mercy, the completely stupidity of the first post-divorce boyfriend, Mr. Rugby Player didn't help much) - that I kept quiet then and wondered what *I* was contributing. Maybe I was being too uptight. Maybe I was being too boisterous. Maybe I wasn't giving the viking enough room to be HIMself. Maybe him not being perfect was okay and my expectations were too high. [Not saying I think any of that was correct - in fact, it's all BULLSHIT - but that is what was swirling through my brains.] There was also this strange nervousness whenever I'd go visit the viking. Anxious as all get out. It was WEIRD because one of my strongest qualities is this "suck it up, balls to the wall, direct" nature I have on life. I found myself having to talk... myself... into stopping to see him.
And I couldn't stop thinking of the Russian plaid boy at work. I was so distracted. Ridiculously so. Giggly. He made me so happy to just be near him. I started considering the fact that I might like him back. We did our office move project right after Christmas and my heart palpitated all sorts of silly that day.
I remember being out for New Year's Eve with the viking. He did not kiss me at midnight. He kissed me later and all, but where was the swoop at midnight? Where was the HAZZAH? He was a fuddy-duddy. Not overly moved to do... anything. Including lay a smacker on me at the stroke of midnight. Well, that honked me off, I've gotta tell ya.
Still couldn't stop thinking of Bryon with an O. A Russian with an O. Hmmm. Way cute. Strong eyebrows. Nice hands. He seemed perfectly comfortable with me just as I am. I am a little uptight. I am very boisterous. And I need a platform to not only be myself, but to swing from the freaking rafters as ME. He gave me a platform. He invited it. He wasn't afraid to argue something out with me (see above mention of installing blinds) in the middle of his shop and still kept on liking me.
It is here where I need to lengthen my own story by telling you that I had to drive past the very large and green house on the corner where the viking lived EVERY MORNING on my way to work to see Russian plaid boy. I had to think of one on my way to see the other. And every morning I would play music to get myself in the right mood for the day. During that time of my life it was The Killers. Irony there because I had no idea that Mr. Brightside was sung by the Killers until the viking (who used to be a DJ) told me so. It's just the price I pay, destiny is calling me; open up my eager eyes...
On January 25, I walked to a local spot with girlyfriends. The ground was freshly powdered with sugary, white, all ill-resolving snow, and I met up with the viking. We hadn't gone to the place together, but he was there and I was there and we were both there in some sort of half-assed vortex of a relationship. The music was cranked and I was bouncing around, dancing. He was sulking over in the corner, against the wood-paneled walls. Right then some switch flipped in my head and I had a choice to make between the very tall, bald, and plaid viking and the very MANLY, Russian, plaid coworker.
Am I the only one who thinks this might be turning into a very long story about PLAID? Jeez.
It took .2 seconds to make the decision that I was done.
I had to act. I had to move NOW. I walked to where Viking Dan was sitting on a black bar stool in front of the slot machine in the corner. He put out his cigarette. He smiled when he saw me and stood up. Lawsy mercy he was TALL. We walked together toward the steps to the basement and his black cowboy boots echoed across the wooden floor, louder than the song was playing. I switched my red Solo cup to the other hand and took a deep breath to steady myself. I wasn't sure how he was going to take his introduction to the curb and quite honestly, I'd never really broken up with anyone in a bar before. Is there protocol for that?
I looked up at him and as he smiled down at me, a thunderbolt in my belly told me what I already knew in my heart: it would never work. I was a bird and he was a fish. I tried to think of what to say to him when he reached out for my arm. In his very deep voice he began to say words that I was not expecting. "It's not working out," Dan said.
I blinked and made a face. Was this really happening? Part of me probably should have been upset (that's the girl response, regardless of whether or not we were already planning to dump the boy in the first place), but all of me was very, very excited instead.
"I don't ever want to get married. I don't want more kids to worry about. I'd be happy just living alone in the woods. I'm not good at feelings." Blah blah blah. Poor Viking Dan. God has so much more for him but I don't think he will ever know it.
I smiled at him. "I came down here to break it off," I said. He was beyond shocked. I gave him some crap for not being honest with me about his intentions to begin with. And then I gave myself some crap for not listening to my guts and to doubting for one single second that my God above wanted me to be full of JOY instead of settling.
Then I LEAPT up the steps two at a time to the dance floor, sloshing just a little malibu on the knee of my jeans.
I was free and happy, and Viking Dan? He was left leaning against the wooden wall beneath the neon Budweiser sign, sulking. Just then I heard my mantra blare through the bar.
I came undone with happiness. Excitement at what I knew was about to happen. I bounced and giggled and told my friend what had happened. She immediately asked me about Russian plaid boy. "Are you going to ask him out? I still say he likes you," she said.
I was finally ready to find out, I guess. It was quite late by the time I got in that night. I paid the sitter, kissed 3 sleeping foreheads, and then settled down in front of my laptop in the living room of my first house. With a slice of oven pizza beside me, I logged on to Facebook, searched, and found Russian plaid boy. It was time to up the ante and make sure he knew I was available for pursuit. Well, that was my logical thought at 3-something a.m. anyway.
Did I want to Friend Bryon Krutsch? Oh hell yes.
He accepted the next morning and that night I logged in and said, "Yo" to my favorite new person. Who also gave me butterflies. Yup yup.
A week or so later, he drove down to see me and we met up at the same small town bar with the wood floors and the red Solo cups. Again, a fresh and full snowfall laid on the streets as I walked to the bar out of my mind with excitement. Hours later a friend of mine snapped this [very grainy] photo, right before I drug Bryon out onto the dance floor with me. Guess what song was on? Right. The Killers were playing and I needed to bounce. He was giving me the platform after all.
And that, my friends, is exactly how I was truly the one who made the first move.