Fishing On Facebook, Chapter Thirteen: Garden Terrace Restaurant

We feel the pain most severely when we uselessly fight against a necessary ending. Holding on is the painful element of letting go. What do we let go of? What we thought the relationship was and found out it was not, what we tried to make it into and could not, what we hoped it would become and saw that it did not, what we believed was there and was not there at all.

David Richo, Jungian/Buddhist author of How to Be an Adult in Relationships

This is Chapter Thirteen, the next to last chapter of a true story.All of the names except the author’s have been changed to protect the innocent, or not so innocent, depending on your perspective.

On Thursday, March 10, I met Adam at the Garden Terrace Restaurant at 1:00 pm, as noted on my week at-a-glance day timer. When I arrived he was waiting in the parking lot.

When Diane first contacted me only five days ago, I was recovering from the flu. This made it easy to not let the cat out of the bag that we were doing a reality check behind Adam’s back. I’m a terrible liar but under the circumstances I could cough up the half-truth that I was too sick to see him. But now the day of reckoning had arrived.

For a moment it was like old-times. I was happy to see him. We walked into the restaurant together just like on a previous lunch date, looking for all the world like a happy couple. The weather was warm and the sun was shining. He told me how much he liked the lacy blouse I was wearing and that he could see that my hair had grown longer since the last time we met.

We sat down at a table near the window. I ordered my favorite Baby Greens salad, the one with sliced pippin apples and walnuts, and the vegetarian squash soup. He ordered a Tuna Melt. After the waitress took our order, we chatted about light things.

The atmosphere was so lovely and pleasant, the waitress was so friendly, it was a shame to have to bring up anything unpleasant and ruin a nice lunch date.

I decided to wait until after the food arrived to tell him I was conspiring with the enemy. Once I got started I did not want to be interrupted.

Adam asked how my parents were, how my daughter was doing and if Honey missed him. He brought me up to date on various environmental causes. The usual familiar prattle that I so enjoyed.

The difference was that I no longer wore rose-colored glasses. I saw him as a predator. I also saw him as the innocent child of God he was.

As he sat across the table from me, sipping iced tea, I remembered the things about his childhood that he told me on our first date at Farmer and the Cook.

Adam knew that the man who raised him was not his biological father.  But, what he didn’t know was that a man who often visited his family’s ranch and watched Adam grow up, was his true birth father. 

How strange it must have been to find this out at the age of forty-five, and how unsettling to realize that everyone knew but him – his mother, his mother’s husband (the man who raised him and who Adam considers his real father) his grandparents, even his aunts and uncles. 

His biological father had watched him grow up  but never revealed his true identity.

He also found out that his birth father and birth mother had one other child,  a daughter, born two years before Adam.  He had a full-blooded biological sister. That had been kept from him, too.

Adam’s sister didn’t know that the woman who raised her (the wife of her birth father) was not her birth mother, until after she died.  A  relative told her at the funeral that her mother was not her real biological mother.

It was during her search for her birth mother that she learned that she had a brother — Adam — with the same biological mother and father.

It’s not an excuse for lying, but I can’t help but wonder how all this affected Adam’s state of mind. There is ample evidence that children sense the truth of a situation and if it is denied by the adults around them it does influence their perception of Life.

All this was in my head as I looked at Adam and wondered how a person with so many good qualities could look me in the eye and say he and Diane led completely separate lives while they shared a bed together.

When I caught his eye he winked at me but it seemed so phony.

About half way through the soup and salad I could not postpone fate any longer.

We have some serious things to talk about,” I said, very calmly.

He did not look surprised. Or worried.

I reached deep inside and spoke to him from my heart. I never raised my voice or got mad.

I tried not to sound like a schoolmarm lecturing a delinquent boy when I asked if he remembered what I told him that first date at Farmer & the Cook. I’d said, “I demand complete honesty…”

He said, “Yes.”

We’d already been through this twice before. He knew the routine. Acknowledge what was said. Apologize profusely and sincerely. Promise to do better.

I was wasting my breath but habit has a death grip on me as well.

I revisited our conversation at Meditation Mount where I asked him if his lying to me was a one time thing. How he swore he just told those tall tales about his house so that I would go out with him. But other than that he was honest as the day is long.

He acknowledged this interchange too.

I told him that I think his main task in life is to stop lying.

He agreed with that!

Then I cut to the chase and told him that I had made contact with Diane.

I did not reveal that we just had breakfast together. Or that we talked over two hours on the phone and exchanged twenty emails in five days. I made it sound casual.

He said he suspected that we had been talking.

Dang! I should know that a predator stays ahead of his prey.

I felt compelled to justify my sneakiness by reminding him that I’d said all along that if everything was above board he should have no problem with Diane and I talking.

He agreed.

He even acted like he seemed to think it was good that Diane and I talked!

 

I told him that in the course of my communicating with Diane the subject of Christmas and New Years came up. I said, “Diane tells me you were home for Christmas eating a steak dinner.”

Adam shook his head. “Nope,” he said, “I was out of town both weekends.”

I sat taller in my chair and glanced around to be sure no one was eavesdropping.

Diane said that her son will come to my house and personally testify that he sat next to you at Christmas eve dinner.”

Adam adamantly denied all charges.

And then he pulled out the “She’s Just Trying to Get Me Back” card.

She’s just saying all that stuff to try to push you away, ” he said, mockingly.

He basically spun everything I said into a scenario where we girls were fighting over him!

 

When I tried backing him into a corner, he cleverly tried to turn the tables on me.

He said, and I paraphrase here, “You and Diane are just playing games. He said. She said. He said. She said…” insinuating that all this talk behind his back was some kind of a joke where no one really knows the truth.

Then he took the high road and rose above the two females fighting over him and said, “I’m not going to play this game. If you and Diane want to talk and do this ‘he said—she said stuff’–fine. But leave me out of it.”

When I came back with, “Look, either you were at home for Christmas and New Year’s or you were out of town, “ he stuck to his story.

In the midst of this inane exchange Adam struck another low blow.

He tried to lump all three of us into the same lying pot.

He allude that Diane and I were lying to each other about him.

I said, my voice indignant with great dignity, “Adam, you know very well that I have not told Diane any lies about you!”

He must have felt desperate to save face because then he had the  unmitigated gal to say to my face, “But I don’t know that. How can I be sure the two of you aren’t telling lies about me?”

Still flattering himself that we were fighting over him!

Yeah, right. As in “You take him –no –you take him!”

He said that Diane and I were just acting like we were some sort of saints.

I’m surprised he didn’t think to quote the bible: “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

I have to say that man is fast on his feet – but now that the rose-colored glasses were off everything sounded so ludicrous .

It hit me that I wasn’t going to pull a confession out of him anytime soon .

Maybe I should have taken the coward’s way out and broken up by email. Or better yet, left him a vengeful message on Facebook.

I still had one more thing to get off my chest.

I said, “I searched your name on People Finder. And the names Priscilla Johnson and Janet Johnson came up with yours, with your same address.”

He looked at me as if to say, “So what?” and neither denied nor confirmed any significance to this.

When I asked why he lied about being married he said he felt ashamed about these marriages.

OK. The shame part I understand.

I said, “ All you have to do when someone asks if you’ve been married before is say, ‘Yes.” You don’t have to give details if you don’t want to. Just tell the truth.

It’s not a problem for me that you’ve been married before but it’s a huge problem that you told me all these stories about why you’ve never been married..”

 

He just shook his head and said something like, “Diane is my spokesperson in the marriage department. She can tell you anything you want to know.”

Wow! Suddenly this woman he never spoke with was his spokesperson!

We finished our lunch.

Adam said,  “What’s done is done. The past is the past. I can’t change the past. Time to move on.”

He showed no emotion or remorse.  

This time, unlike the other two times at the Basin and Meditation Mount where I was merciful and gave him another chance, I was clear that the time for making promises was over.

Adam did not say, “Look, I am truly sorry for all the grief I’ve caused you. I know it was wrong for me to start dating you while I am still living with Diane. I am moving out tomorrow and getting counseling …”

He said. “I’m not going to say anything to Diane about this.”

Why not?” I naturally asked.

“What’s the point of talking to her about this?” Diane does not like to discuss things.”

I did not tell him that the person he refers to as “Diane Does Not Like To Discuss Things,” was quite the talker.

At the very end, as we were preparing to leave, he asked, “So does this mean we are no longer boyfriend and girlfriend?”

I couldn’t just simple say, “Yes, that is what it means.”

I honestly didn’t know which answer he would have liked better, seeing as I was so much trouble.

So I said, softly, ” I told you from the very beginning that I cannot date a man who is involved with another woman. The way you portrayed your relationship with Diane is not really how it is.”

He politely thanked me for meeting with him.

When he got up I walked out to the parking lot to say goodbye.

 

He thanked me for having lunch with him. And for seeing him in person. 

I reached out to give him a goodbye hug…but he stepped away.

After he drove off I sat stone still on the curb of the parking lot, hugging myself and staring at the distant mountains. The warm sunlight felt good.

It was only 2pm. Still early in the day.

I went home to Honey, my cats and my yoga bolsters.

I was exhausted.

I fell asleep on a big green yoga bolster in the Goddess Pose.

Then I got up and opened a bottle of organic red Casa Barranca Syrah wine.

A vivid wine manifesting eminent purity…”

I sat at a table under tree with my journal and glass of wine. The phone rang. It was yours truly. I sipped wine while he talked.

When we hung up I opened my notebook and wrote at the top of the page in big bold Letters: Suza to the Universe

The Adam I love just called. He was so sorry for the pain he caused me. Said I looked so sad and so hurt when he left, sitting there on the curb. He said, “That’s understandable.” – understandable that I am in pain. He told me again how beautiful I looked at lunch with my hair growing longer and that he hoped we could stay in touch.

He thanked me for all I taught him. He said I was miles ahead of him.

He said he was going to talk to some counselor at a church or a Rabbi at a Jewish Center near where he lives.

And he invited me to an event in May. He said he would make sure I got an invitation. That’s eight weeks from now.

I left the door ajar and said I might go.

After we hung up I slowly sipped a second glass of wine. My writing projects could wait.

Under the circumstances I deserved a break.

The wine was a sacrament that quieted my mind and uplifted me into the present moment.

I took a few more sips and looked up at the vast blue sky. I saw the tops of the tall Eucalyptus trees, not far away, gently swaying in the breeze. All the leaves  sparkled in the sunlight.

After a while, maybe it was the wine,  the conversation with Adam hit me.  

Man that man is smooth!

I recorded this insight in my journal.

 How ironic that Adam was so proud of the fact that he never drank. His parents taught him not to smoke or drink or do drugs. But what happened to telling the truth?

Then I called my loyal friend Michael and asked him to meet me at the basin with his dogs. I said, “I’ve had two glasses of wine. I need someone to keep an eye on me because I am in an altered state.”

And then I went on the most magical walk with Honey.

I cut through a field of weeds and wildflowers to get to the trail that leads to the basin. Honey ran ahead, overjoyed that her mistress cut loose in the middle of the afternoon.

I clambered up a hill of rocks and giant boulders to get to the top of the basin, Honey leaping from rock to rock like a mountain goat.

Michael and his dogs were waiting at the top of the basin.

I was in high spirits! I didn’t even want to talk about my talk with Diane and Adam. In my altered state that seemed like a million years ago.

I was aware this chemically altered consciousness wouldn’t last long but for now I was happy to enjoy the eternal present.

I took off my shoes. Just for fun, I wanted to test my balance. First I stood stone still on both feet, anchoring myself to the earth and stretching my arms up towards the sky. Then I focused my gaze on a spot in the distance and lifted one leg straight up, holding my big toe.

I stood steady on one leg, like a crane, and felt my inner balance returning, albeit in an altered state.

Our little pack of humans and canines slowly circled the basin and walked a ways up Pratt Trail. The earth, the dirt, felt so soft under my bare feet and everything smelled so good.

I had my own sweet life still. Nature all around, my dogs, my yoga practice and my loyal, lifelong friends.

* * * * * * * *

Early the next morning I called Adam to wish him well at his new job.

That afternoon he called me to report how happy he was at work. We kept the conversation light. He again mentioned about going to a counselor or speaking with a Rabbi about his problem with lying. He said he realized he needed help.

A month later, when my real anger surfaced, I would remember this.

That evening Adam called again. This time I did not answer.

My old relationship with Adam ended.

My new friendship with Diane began.

Three days after I broke up with Adam, Diane wrote:

Suza, he really does not like the fact that we are communicating.  He brings it up often. Today I again asked him if he had lied about anything he feels that we discussed in the past few days.  He resounded, “No. “

But we know he lied to me about you about a lot of things.

Again he reiterated that you didn’t seem to mind at all that he was in a relationship with me. 

I told him going to a therapist isn’t going to work if he lies  It is a waste of money. 

His attitude about relationships is that it is water under the bridge. Just move on to the next one. Plenty of fish in the sea.

I asked him to lend me the book you had purchased for him (How to Be an Adult in Relationships).  I read the chapter on ending relationships.  

Suza, you don’t know how lucky you are that it ended before you became more involved.  He thinks he has an answer for everything.  He tells me, “You and Suza are just wasting your time talking about me”. 

“Oh, really?”  I told him, “That is what women do and we don’t feel we are wasting our time at all.” 

When I told him we were going to share a bottle of wine he wanted to know if you were coming here.  I told him I was going to Ojai. 

My reply

Hi Diane,

 

From my viewpoint, Adam owes us both a huge apology for his disrespectful, dishonest and hurtful behavior. 

 

This whole episode with Adam has shaken me to the core. I am questioning how I could be so duped and fooled by someone.

 

While I find his behavior toward women completely unacceptable, I do not want to say things I may regret.  I was kind to him when I said goodbye the other day, because I honestly hope he will stop lying and do something positive with his life.

 

I hope that after all is said and done that by some miracle something positive comes out of all this.

 I sincerely hope for the best for both of you. I hope Adam makes amends  for the pain and trouble he has caused you and starts being a truly kind, helpful and supportive friend!

She wrote back:

 When I asked him what he wanted out of life, he never said a life long partner. 

 He will be like all the other old goats, wanting a woman to take care of them when they are old and need help.  Who wants a man then?

Basically Adam does not like women.  I am telling you, the next time I date a man the first question I am going to ask is, “Did you like your mother?”

To be continued, Chapter Fourteen, the last chapter.

Afterword.

All relationships end—some with separation, some with divorce, some with death. This means that in entering a relationship we implicitly accept that the other will leave us or we will leave him. Grieving is therefore included in what we sign on for. But grief is built into all of life because of life’s painful events, changes, transitions, and losses.

David Richo,Jungian/Buddhist author ofHow to Be an Adult in Relationships

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10 Responses to “Fishing On Facebook, Chapter Thirteen: Garden Terrace Restaurant”

  1. rosejean goddard Says:

    Why are you friends with someone you know doesn’t tell the truth?
    You stay for more and then point out that he lies.
    Doesn’t make sense.
    Makes for a good story, I guess.
    People who lie have been doing it for years, usually, and they are very good at it.
    Is that how you want to spend your time?
    To thine ownself be true!

    Like

    • Suza Francina Says:

      Hi Rosejean,

      In case it’s not clear, I broke up with Adam when I realized the true nature of the problem. It was not until I met Diane that I realized what you say above, that “People who lie have been doing it for years.”

      I stayed very quiet and said nothing the weeks following this chapter. The next chapter I hope will explain why I decided to share my experience.

      Like

  2. Sarah Says:

    Format: They reel you in when you still believe, in the hope that when you find out the truth you will be too hooked to wriggle away.
    A leopard never changes his spots.
    Better luck next time, but just watch actions, don’t listen to words.

    Like

  3. Tom Erickson Says:

    Thanks for sharing all this with us, Suza. May your writing Yoga continue past chapter 14 on to a “higher” plane, transending the need for “evil” as a dramatic device. If anybody can do that, you can. I’m looking forward!

    Like

    • Suza Francina Says:

      My Writing Yoga will definitely continue…I still have a little ways to go with Chapter Fourteen and the Afterword…the next project is probably …well…I better not say…yet…oh heck…I want to write the year 1967 — in Ojai and San Francisco… thank you again, Tom, so much for cheering me on to the finish line. I appreciate it with all my heart…see you Chapter Fourteen…

      Like

  4. Nancy Says:

    After I read this chapter I went back to the quote at the top. It is another way of saying something I was told when letting go of a sort of relationship that wasn’t working. I was told the hardest place to be is when you are in between fantasy and reality. When in fantasy, the blinders are on. It might even be an honest place for you where you don’t know you are being lied to or you have rationalized about something that is missing. Then the truth hits and you vacillate back and forth in and out of fantasy trying to make the situation fit what you thought and hoped it was. That part is so painful. When acceptance finally comes it is less painful, actually. We often need someone outside us to help us see when we’re being manipulated by this kind of lying person. Otherwise, in spite of everything not adding up, the fact that the liar keeps twisting things can really crush a person’s confidence in their own ability to discern anything. I’m so glad Diane stepped in! I’m curious about the next chapter….

    Like

  5. Christine Says:

    I too have found myself caught up with someone who surprised me by turning to be a master manipulator, He fits the ‘truth’ to whatever suits him at the moment. I have asked myself – and a very wise Shaman – what opportunity presents itself and what lesson can be learned? The Shaman said: Don’t give away your power.

    Like

  6. Suza Francina Says:

    I’m deep into writing Chapter Fourteen and the Afterword. If you think you are a pathological liar or are involved with one, I highly recommend this website. And if you think you’d never fall for one, think again!

    http://thelastpsychiatrist.com/2007/03/pathological_liars.html

    The Last Psychiatrist: Pathological Liars

    Like

  7. irmgard james Says:

    OK….I am finding myself right with you, on this rollercoaster ride of Deception, DESIRE and Dissappointments…!!! I admire your willingness to make this part of your life experiences and, your psychological profile, so visible to me.
    There are parts to my own story, where I have empathy for “Adam”.
    The amount of deception during his formative years, for example. I too, spent the first 15 years of my life traumatized with, by and through such LYING!!! Decades later and years into counselling with and through Ellie Pope…I have been working on TRUTH!!!!
    There truly is so much clarity around Adam’s lack of consciousness in regard to his use of “TOOLS”.
    Many years ago I had a conversation with Dr. David Boehm about
    this. My sense of the Universe is that, universally, LYING is a accepted behaviour.
    As K. stated..that truth is a pathless land….indeed.
    For people like me, I must committ myself to pausing..ongoing…because my desire to be “PERFECT”..clouds
    EVERYTHING!!!!
    The committment to HONESTY however, is not something that I can ever EXPECT..from an other. I can invite this, state/Communicate this need……and FREE MYSELF from hoping for it..outside of me.
    So much of what I read is so honestly about what you, Suza needs.
    I say this without any kind of value attachment.
    I experience this thus: Adam was/is a Buddha to you. You needed
    to learn about yourself! In this light..this learning is a GIFT!!!

    Like

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