Fishing On Facebook, Chapter Two: Farmer and the Cook

“Forget about sex,” my eighty-year-old friend Ruth told me. “You’ll feel so free.” Well, I did forget about it… but still sex found me. — from my journal.

From my Journal, Friday, November 19th, 2010, I woke up at 4 am. My lunch “visit” at Farmer and the Cook with Adam was at 11:30 am. Five and a half hours to go.

Made my morning carrot and ginger root cocktail. I decided I better clean my writing hut in case Adam ended up stopping by. I made my bed, cleaned the toilet and sink…swept the patio…My daughter made fun of me. “Mom, are you trying to give the impression you are some sort of domestic goddess? ” Took Honey for a hike out back so I wouldn’t feel guilty about leaving her…fed my cats…10 am, took a shower…shaved my legs and arm pits..dried off… lavished the coconut skin trip all over my body, including neck and face….put on my make up… waited till 11 am to put on my crisp white shirt so Honey wouldn’t get it dirty…took off my glasses… put on my new contact lenses… reapplied my black eye liner… tweezed a few tiny hairs …reapplied my new berry lipstick…a few more dabs of make up… if you were spying on me you would think I was Cinderella getting ready for the ball to meet her prince. Locked Honey up in the hut…11:15 put on my helmet, hopped on my E bike and pedaled up hill…the weather was perfect …not too hot…I would arrive at Farmer and the Cook right on time.

Riding my bicycle put me at ease. I was 61—not 16. There was nothing to be nervous about. I’ve been married three times — first time when pregnant at age 18. I’ve basically been living on my own for eighteen years. This is just a bit of background so you get a glimpse of my psyche as I optimistically pedaled over to my fate at the Farmer.

I hopped off my bicycle a block away from the Farmer to remove my helmet, blow my nose and fluff up my hair. I straightened out my white shirt and black yoga pants. I checked my earings to make sure I hadn’t lost one. As I confidently walked my bike over to the bike rack in front of the Farmer I saw the door open and Adam headed in my direction. I liked that he was already here and that he came out to meet me. I was prepared for the reality of him having aged since I last saw him in the 70’s but, I told myself, what really mattered was his personality and character. Plus, as was clear from his Facebook messages and emails, he already really liked and appreciated me.

Adam had a big smile on his face as he looked me up and down. The first words out of his mouth were music to my feminine ears. “You look great. You look like I remember you…..” I smiled back at him and noticed how tall he was. Not overweight. He looked rugged — outdoorsy–and had a nice full head of hair.

“Heck, “ He said, “I’m five years younger than you but you look much younger than me. People will think I’m robbing the cradle!”

“Man, “ I thought, “What a charming fellow.”

I gave him a little hug by way of greeting and felt totally open and relaxed. After all that e-mailing back and forth, Adam already felt like an old friend.

Adam steadied my bike as I locked it and took the giant bag I’m in the habit of carrying. He held open the door and acted every bit the perfect gentleman. He right away made it clear that he was treating me to lunch which made me feel like maybe this was a real date.  This was a self-serve restaurant and,  fter he placed his order, he followed me to the salad and soup bar. When I was done he took my tray to the cashier and paid.

Before he sat down he made sure we had water, condiments  and utensils. Totally attentive and considerate. All the while smiling at me appreciatively. Already it felt great to finally have some male attention.

We made some light prattle and then I cut to the chase. I heard myself say, “ I want to tell you up front that there is one thing I require. And that is, complete honesty.”

(I thought to myself, “If you are married or in a relationship with another woman, do me a favor and tell me now so that I can bolt out the door soon as I finish my salad, before I fall in love with you…”)

Just to be sure I made myself clear I laughingly added, “Look, I haven’t seen you in thirty years. For all I know you’re married and have three kids.”

“Nope,” he assured me, “Never been married. No kids. How about you?”

“Married three times, “ I replied, “Two children. A son and a daughter…”

I quickly picked up that Adam was a talker. Not one of those stone faced guys where you have to dig in and try to extract a few words out of them. Just the opposite. Adam was unedited. He proceeded to tell me one of the most riveting childhood stories I’ve ever heard. He was raised in Ojai. Home schooled. His family owned hundreds of acres. He grew up riding horses and exploring nature. As he talked nonstop I felt like he was letting me in on all his family secrets. He explained how a few years ago he found out he had a sister….and, to make a long story short, after he met this sister who had the same biological mother and father  he had, he found out that many things he had been told, or rather not told while growing up, were  lies.

All the while that Adam was describing the saga of his birth parents,  the father who adopted him, his unusual childhood and all the adventures he’d had traveling the world, I was finding the sound of his male voice increasingly pleasant. I liked the way his eyes danced when he looked at me. I was dazzled to have the full attention of a man sitting two feet across from me.

When it came time to leave I suggested we go for a walk. We headed up the street and every few steps Adam paused to tell me the names of trees, flowers and birds…I was impressed and enchanted. And all the while he kept complimenting me. Telling me how pretty I was. I soaked it up.

Late afternoon we said good bye. It was clear that we hit it off and we parted with the implicit understanding we would see each other again soon. Or so I thought.

On the ride back to the riverbottom I stopped by to check on  my ninety year old parents. When I arrived home an hour later I checked my email and saw that Adam had already sent me a message. I scrolled down and clicked Adam1@gmail.com, smiling inwardly with anticipation. We’d had such a great time. He was obviously smitten with me. I imagined this would be an invitation to go out for dinner on Saturday night or maybe brunch or a hike on Sunday…

The subject line said, “Thanks for the meeting.”

Meeting? What meeting? I thought we’d been on a date. It seemed like a date… I opened the email:

Dear Suza:

Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to visit with me this afternoon. You have a wonderful spirit…you are a sensitive caring person and a beautiful woman. What a great combination.

I will be off of your radar screen for a few days. I need time to sort out my feelings about you. I am afraid the feelings I have developed towards you may be headed in the wrong direction.   — Adam

My heart sank.

Oh my God. What the hell did I do or say to make him think “the feelings I have developed towards you may be headed in the wrong direction.” My mind went into a spin.

I hit Reply. I typed fast:

From: sfrancina@aol.com

To: Adam1@gmail.com

Sent: Fri, Nov 19, 2010 5:54 pm

Subject: Re: Thanks for meeting

Adam, I will call you soon as find your number

I hit Send Now.

When I called his cell I got a recording. It wasn’t even his voice. Just an automated system. I hoped I had the right number and left a message for him to call. No one called back. A few minutes later I went through the phone book. A zillion Johnsons. I emailed again:

Dear Adam,

I called your cell phone twice and also called some other A. Johnson but got a wrong number. Please call me, even if it’s late.  — Suza

*******************

I called Adam’s cell once more and, to my great relief, he answered.
His voice sounded casual and relaxed. I could hear water running in the back ground.

Suddenly I felt self conscious. Maybe I shouldn’t have called. Maybe I was overreacting.

“Uh,” I said, “It’s me, Suza.”

“ Hi, what’s up?”

” I got your email. I just want to be sure I didn’t do anything…uh…or say anything…wrong…”

“Oh no. I had a great time.”

“What’s all that water running in the background?”

“Oh, I’m cleaning the fountain.”

I imagined him all alone in his garden, scooping leaves out of the water.  I gathered my wits. If I didn’t clear things up now I might not get another chance. So I blurted, “What did you mean by what you wrote in that email you sent me –about how you’re afraid your feelings are running in the wrong direction?”

There was static on his cell. The sound of water got louder. I could hear him doing something while he was talking. I was wishing he’d turn off the water, move away from the fountain and give me his full attention.

“Oh … You know…”

I can’t remember exactly what all Adam said plus he kept walking while talking and was hard to understand. But I remember feeling frantic to clear up any misunderstanding.

And here he was – totally nonchalant.

I felt confused. I doubted myself. I switched gears and kept the conversation light as I waited for him to say something about getting together on the weekend.

Nothing.

“We’ll talk soon, “ he said. “Bye…”

He sounded far away. Click.

I showed Ann his latest email. “Good Lord – what’s his problem? Is he a monk?” she asked. “And did you feel attracted to him? What an odd duck!”

*************

That night I had a hard time sleeping. It was raining. The kind of night where it would be cozy to have someone snuggle under the covers with you.

In the back of my mind was a vague awareness that my image of Adam was mostly based on what I’d seen on Facebook. I liked that image and grasped for things in real life to support it. Him not asking me for a second date after all that email anticipation and the buzz at our lunch didn’t compute.

Already I was obsessing.

Ann had given me strict orders not to call him again. “Do NOT call him. Let him call you. “

So after a restless night I turned on my laptop. I opened his last email and hit Reply. In my most cheerful, least desperate voice I wrote:

Good morning, Adam,  The rain is pounding on the roof. I woke up thinking about you and all the things you shared about yourself yesterday.

As I typed the lights started flickering. I clicked Save in case the power went out.   I don’t think you’re headed in the wrong direction . The way you reacted to me is great! It’s how a woman wants a man she likes to feel.

I thought to myself, all this time he’s been saying all this nice stuff about me. Maybe I better make sure that he knows I like him too. So I wrote:  I love how you are so deeply connected to nature and that you are also a force of nature, with strong feelings and currents running through you. I love that you are a passionate person, about the environment, the earth, and also passionate in your response to someone you are attracted to.

I paused.  Thank you for reassuring me last night when we spoke that I did nothing wrong.

Already I was groveling. Why didn’t I quit while I was ahead?  I enjoyed my time with you and want to see you again.

I thought it might be good to build his confidence. So I added:

You are a wonderfully intelligent person very knowledgeable about the outer world so I hope you can apply that beautiful intelligence that you have to yourself.

And then I really went out on a limb.  From my perspective…even though it was not your intention, you went from hot to cold with no middle ground.

I softened this by adding:  There is one thing I have learned in Life and that is that the unconscious is much more powerful than the conscious mind. And the unconscious is like this sponge of childhood impressions.

Big mistake. Already I was letting him off the hook due to his childhood. But I did not know that then and I continued full speed ahead:

Within the first few minutes of our meeting you revealed some deep things about yourself. You told me the story of your family — about how your mother married your father’s best friend and how they never told you that you had an older sister.

I believe that at some level we are all psychic, especially children…at some level growing up you must have sensed that the grown ups around you were not telling the truth. That they were hiding things from you. You grew up not knowing the truth. From what you told me I gather you had loving, caring parents but you were denied your birthright to know the truth.

You even mentioned that your mother probably continued her affair with your father after she married his friend.

I try to imagine your mother’s life. All the secrets she kept from you. How did she feel giving up her daughter to your father and his wife?

You told me the story of how you met your sister fifteen years ago, after your mother died. How she looked at you for the first time and said that you looked just like her/your father.

And how you looked at her and told her that she looked just like your/her mother.

And then I put on my therapist hat. I wrote:

My sense is that on a deep level this cover up is playing out over and over again in your relationships with women. The fact that all those years your biological father never acknowledged you when he visited your mom and the man who raised you is huge!

Next time we meet, if you are willing, I hope we can talk about all this some more.

And then I took off my therapist hat but I just didn’t know when to quit. I added.

I’ve have been to hell and back in my relationships. I was so unconscious and reckless! I had no self-love, no self-esteem. In my last marriage I put up with years of being lied to.

I wanted to make sure he got how wise and understanding I was. So I threw in: It has taken many years of reflection and digging deep to come to the place where I am now.

The human condition is complex and most people go to the grave never understanding what makes them tick.

Finally I was done with Round One of trying to save him:

That’s all I have to say, for now. The rain is so wonderful…I have all the doors and windows open. This morning Honey, Nubio (her black wolf husband who lives next door) and I will go to the river.  — Suza

I waited till 7 am to hit Send Now.

*************

Twelve hours later Adam sent the following reply:

My Dear Suza,  Yes, you are so right. This rain has been wonderful…cleansing, refreshing and renewing.

Suza, thank you so much for your helpful and thoughtful words in this mornings email. You said some powerful things for me to think about (as if i don’t have enough already).

To me you are “Ojai” and so many feelings and memories pour into me now that I have reconnected with you. I would like to take you to the hill my home sat on because you care and relate to the natural world and all my memories of growing up in Ojai.

I want to return to Ojai… I want to restart the business I had for so many years in the valley. I want to walk around the streets where people I knew once lived. I want to relive (or at least visualize) my 40 years of living in the valley.

All of my feelings about the Ojai Valley have been pouring out of me since I reconnected with you. Others tell me they understand my “Ojai” connection and feelings..but you have the depth and passion that we both share about the Ojai.  —Adam

Now that sounded more like the man I met on Facebook.

From my journal on April 10, 2011:  The more I write, the more the story loosens its grip on me… I can feel how writing, like yoga, frees me up. Someone asked me the other day, “Don’t you believe in moving forward?” There is no such thing as moving forward if the past has a death grip on our psyche…

In case you are wondering, “Was there a second date?” Yes, and many more. Without giving away the plot, dating Adam forced me to face what’s going on behind the scenes, in order to survive. The beginning stages of dating are a hallucination… but no one wants to believe it, least of all die-hard romantics like me!”
*************

A synchronous universe recruits just the person to make us fall hook, line and sinker if that is the only way we will go on the journey.

— David Richo, How to Be an Adult in Relationships.

To read  the next chapter, click the title of Chapter Three at top of the page, above the title of Chapter Two.

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4 Responses to “Fishing On Facebook, Chapter Two: Farmer and the Cook”

  1. Tom Erickson Says:

    Hey, Wow! Absolutely Love This!

    Like

  2. David Moody Says:

    yikes!

    Like

  3. nancy Says:

    Suza, I gobbled up Part 2, and you still have me transfixed waiting for the next installment! Thank you again for this great work of yours.

    Like

  4. maggie Phelps Says:

    Yep Suza, you’ve got me…. hook line and sinker as well.
    I commend you on your story telling, your insights , your honesty and your humor! Enjoying.

    Like

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