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July 01, 2005 - Friday, 11:45 p.m.

I'll be okay...

Monday night I came home from work and crawled into bed. I was exhausted and some sleep sounded good. I slept for a couple hours and then was awakened by a phone call. It was a call from my friend in Virginia, Mark who now lives in Indiana.

Mark has been drifting in and out of my life for almost 10 years. I was an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on. Iíve never actually met him heís just been a voice on the phone and word on the screen for all of our friendship. Heís gone through a lot of tough times in his life and Iíve always been here if he came looking for me. Iíd hear from him for a period of time and then heíd disappear, usually for years.

After years of talking to people online and meeting a number of them in person, I have a tendency to hold judgment on what I really think and feel about the person until we have actually met. No more Ďfalling in loveí with someone Iíve only talked to and never met. Mark is sure that he loves me and told me as much when he called. He wants to meet, but it looks to be some time down the road until we meet. I told him there actually was someone in my life right now and that I am waiting to see it play out. I know in my heart that I am in this with Phil for good or bad. Iíll wait to see it unfold.

Mark and I talked in emails back and forth on Tuesday. Iíd already decided to give Phil some space so just spent my day working and talking to L and Mark. Mark was laying out his heart to me. Telling me how heís been thinking about me for years but had never gotten to a place where he could tell me before. That day for lunch I went out to the picnic table to read at lunch. As I headed back into the building I stopped to talk to a lady I know. I sat on a bench and visited with her. Phil arrived back from the gym. He waved but didnít stop as I was visiting. Later that afternoon I got an email from him asking if he could borrow my book for his trip. I was surprised. Heíd written me first. I told him sure, and that Iíd bring it to work for him the next day. We visited back and forth about his upcoming trip and things that he was worrying about.

That night Mark talked to me more. Almost too much to think about, I was trying to think hard about my relationship with Phil and Mark was talking about his feelings for me. Mark called me before I went to sleep and then again in the morning before I got up. He was very sweet to me and telling me a lot of the things I wanted to hear. Wednesday Phil came by in the morning to get the book. I told him I was almost done and wanted to read at lunch time. He sat and visited with me for a while and said heíd come back in the afternoon. Again at lunch I went outside to read. This time two different guys stopped to talk to me. One about music, it was Jim the bass player friend of Philís. Then a little later another die designer, Tim stopped and asked what I was reading, and we talked about books, religion, his daughter and movies. Both were fun conversations and left me feeling good. Phil came by in the afternoon and got the book. He asked if I was done and I said, ďClose enough.Ē I gave him the book and he visited for a while. I am pretty sure he wanted a hug, but there were so many people around that I just couldnít jump up and do that, no matter how much I wanted to. He told me that he might have some access to the internet and that if he did heíd send me an email while he was on his trip; maybe even send me some pictures.

The afternoon passed and it bothered me more and more that I hadnít given him a hug and as the evening progressed I somehow wished for that hug to happen, not that it would. I knew that his son and daughter were at his house and that he was packing for a very early morning flight on Thursday.

That evening Mark and I talked about things. I tried to explain to him my feeling for Phil and that I was committed to seeing where the relationship might go. Mark talked about his perceptions of Philís actions and as the evening wore on I got more and more depressed. Again Mark called me in the evening and again in the morning. We talked about lots of different things. But the conversation seemed to always go back to Phil. By Thursday evening I was feeling very sad and pulled into too many directions with too much input from everyone. I felt hopeless and sad.

Today Mark was again back on Phil, pointing out how he doesnít deserve me and making me feel like it was hopeless. But I know he doesnít know Phil, heís basing things on what Iíve told him, what he thinks that means, or what it would mean if he was acting that way. By this morning I was completely numb. I couldnít cry, I could hardly think and I was beyond tired and so sad I could hardly function. I then had an IM conversation with L. She told me that she hadnít want to raise my hopes about Phil, but felt that I was far too depressed and that she would tell me her perception. The book, which heíd asked to borrow, it meant something. He was very clear to point out to me that usually he takes things with him on trips and trades them and gives them away. That he almost never takes things that heís going to have to carry back, but that heíd bring back my book for me. L said he didnítí need to ask to borrow that book, he could have bought it or just taken other books, but that it was a way to keep linked to me. How could he look at that book every day and not think about me? Itís a little piece of me.

I sat in my chair at my computer and wept. I hadnít cried at all over the last week. Iíd taken myself to a numb place, trying desperately not to be hurt, trying to sort things out. But when L told me I knew Iíd be okay. As I sat there weeping I knew that Iíd bought that book for Phil. Iíd wished I could give him a gift, but knew I couldnít. I knew that I wanted him to read the illustrated version of the book (The Da Vinci Code), so the week before Iíd bought it. I knew I was going to loan him that book eventually. I just didnít know heíd want to take it on vacation with him. I realized in that moment, that somewhere along the line no matter how hard I tried to keep myself detached that some how Iíve fallen in love with him. It gave me great peace. I crawled back into bed and slept a couple more hours.

There is still a very good chance that I am going to get hurt, that after Phil has thought about things for 18 days that heís going to pull back, but Iíll see it through. Iím not going anywhere.

Iím exhausted. I am still pulled down by the sadness, but I know Iíll be okay. I just need more sleep. I wish Phil was here so I could wrap my arms around him and be held in return and then stay that way for as long as possible. Sweet dreams. M.

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