Archive for the ‘dating after midlife’ Category

Fishing On Facebook, Chapter Thirteen: Garden Terrace Restaurant

May 14, 2011

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

Fishing on Facebook, Chapter Twelve: Ojai Cafe Emporium

May 11, 2011

Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.

–Sir Walter Scott

Don’t confuse intelligence with honesty. Just because someone has an articulate, respectable appearance doesn’t mean they are trustworthy.

From the website, Out of the Fog

Just because you meet someone at a Full Moon Meditation at Meditation Mount or a talk at Krotona, a yoga class, a Green Coalition meeting, a booth on Earth Day or any one of dozens of other “spiritual” “conscious” “green” scenarios, does not mean you should not scrutinize that person the same as if you met them at a party, a bar, or any other setting. We tend to give people a pass when we meet them in settings that we assume attract people who are honest.

–Excerpt from a conversation I had with a reader who called me after reading this story.

 This is Chapter Twelve 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.[Please note that in a few places bold and italic formatting are unintentional. The blog  program put them there and I can’t remove.]

Now we come to the part of the story where I finally meet Diane, the woman Adam lives with.

The fact that Diane had sent me an email the night before, made it a thousand times easier to call her.

 I waited till mid morning to be sure Adam was out of the vicinity. I got her answering machine but decided not to risk leaving a message. He might be home when she played it back.

 I felt a teeny twinge of guilt. Like I was being disloyal to Adam (which I was) and doing something behind his back (which I was) and like I was breaking some sort of taboo (which I was) .

 I called again an hour later. This time Diane answered.

 In my calmest, clearest voice I said, “Hello, this is Suza. Is this Diane?”

 Hi,” she said.

 Pause.

 To get past the initial awkwardness and establish friendship, I said, “Thanks for contacting me.”

 I’m sorry to ruin your day,” Diane replied, in a half-joking voice.

 You did not ruin my day. I’m grateful that you reached out to me. “

 It’s too bad we have to meet under these circumstances.  I understand that you are a very nice person, but I think you are lucky that I finally decided to  contact you.”  

 I silently agreed. 

 Soon Diane and I were talking like old friends – about our mutual old friend, you might say.

 Even though Diane had already communicated that she harbored no ill feelings toward me, I wanted to be sure to set the record straight.

 I hope you know that I would never knowingly date a man in a relationship with another woman, “ I told her.

 I moved from my kitchen into the yoga room and sat down on the floor. I could tell this was going to be a long conversation.

When I first realized he was seeing someone I could not bear to tell my son.  He has not liked Adam from the get-go, but tolerated him for my sake.  

” Adam and I dated in 2000 for about a year, she continued. Then we dated again four years ago and Adam moved in with me.  

“He can be very charming when he wants to be, and very cold and cutting when he doesn’t care. 

“I would hope that our four years together has had a positive impact on him.  Our four years together has had a very negative impact on me. 

“I try to take the good out of a relationship and dump the bad. But, to quote Adam, “He has gotten everything out of this relationship and I have gotten nothing.”

“I hate to say this because it makes me look like an idiot, but he is right!

“I am 100% happier knowing we are no longer a couple.  I have not been happy for a long time, but I felt responsible for him and didn’t know what to do.  I knew he was having a relationship with someone, but didn’t care enough to find out.  I figured it would surface eventually. 

“On Thanksgiving Day my son told me he thought Adam was having an affair with someone.  I suspected as much.

It was pretty obvious. When a man starts taking more showers, washing his hair, caring about his appearance, you know something’s going on.

“After Liz told me that she saw Adam waiting outside after your yoga class,   I was very pissed at him because he made me look like such a fool in front of all of my friends.”

I interrupted her and said, “Diane, I cannot tell you how angry it makes me that he started a relationship with me while still in a relationship with  you.

 

After I found out he was living with you, Adam assured me when I questioned him that the two of you led completely separate lives. That you hardly ever saw each other. He said that he might see you in passing in the hallway.

And,” I made sure to add, “He said he had his own room.”

Own room?

When she explained that Adam did not move into the guest room till well after Liz’s outburst in the yoga room I felt sick to my stomach.

Hadn’t I told him at our first lunch date back in November at Farmer & the Cook that I don’t date married men (any idiot understands that includes “living together”) and that the one thing I demand is complete honesty?

Diane went on, “The first morning we slept in separate rooms he asked me if I missed having him in bed. 

I said, “Do I miss having the covers pulled off of me all night and having to fight for covers? Do I miss someone hanging over on my side of the bed with his pillow, breathing in my face? Do I miss someone snoring all night? Hell  no!”

Then she added, “You should not let the fact that Adam is living here bother you.  Even though we shared the same bed we have not had any type of romance in our life for way over a year

The day we decided to no longer be a couple I asked him if there was someone else in his life.  I knew there was.   He said “No.” Then a couple of days later this whole thing blew up.  After he spilled his guts he came over to give me a hug.  I told him, ‘Don’t even think of touching me,’ and he left the room.” 

Suddenly I felt very content sleeping with Honey and my three cozy cats.

I am a serial monogamist. I didn’t care how celibate their bed was. After Adam told me those tall tales about how he and Diane hardly ever see each other, the idea of them in the same bed fighting over the covers felt like a kick in the gut.

 

Then Diane said, “He told me that when you found out about me that it bothered you for half day and then you were back to usual.”

That made my blood boil.

I told her, “Adam conveniently forgot to mention that when I first found out about you he fabricated an elaborate story about how you were an ex girlfriend that was having a hard time and he was helping you get back on your feet. He described to me how he hardly ever even saw you. It sounded like he had a huge house and you lived in one end and he occasionally saw you in the hallway.

 

 He also told me how your mother had Alzheimer’s and that’s why you  needed a temporary place to stay. So you could take care of your mom. And not put her in a nursing home

 

 Well that got her dander up. “He told you he was letting me stay in my house!? I own this house –not Adam,” she reminded me.

 

But the biggest bomb was when Diane started talking about Adam’s ex wife.

When I heard her say “ex wife” I actually thought, “she must be making this part up.”

I flashed back to our romantic date at Casitas Lake. How we sat close together on the hill overlooking the lake, talking about nature and the nature of love. I had asked him again why it was that he’d never been married. Adam adamantly stated that marriage was always something “just out of reach,” extending his arm as he said this, and that he had “never walked through that door,” (the matrimonial door).

 But that wasn’t what totally blew my circuits.

While sorting out how Adam was talking out of both sides of his mouth, I started telling Diane about his trips at Christmas and New Years.

Trips?”she said, “What trips? He was home for Christmas. He was home for New Years. I swear he was here. I’ll have my son come over and tell you himself that he sat right next to Adam during Christmas dinner.”

“We broke up just before Christmas. I even asked him, “Why aren’t you with Suza for Christmas? He said you were out of town with your family.”

I told Diane, “That’s a lie. I was home. He said he was spending Christmas with his niece and her live-in boyfriend.

Suza,” she said, lest I doubted her word, “I swear that Adam did not go away at Christmas.  He had Christmas dinner with us.  I had made a prime rib and my son Bob, Adam and I sat at the table.  He would never go out and spend time at Jean and Sam’s house during the holidays. They both work.  Christmas is one of their busiest times of the year. 

I swore to Diane that I would keep our communication confidential. But in my heart I knew from the get-go that the best thing for all concerned was to let Adam in on the fact that the two of us were talking – and confront him.

Diane and I made plans to meet on Thursday, 9 am, at Ojai Cafe Emporium.

 

After I hung up and absorbed it all, the first thing I began obsessing over was how Adam had lied to me about going on trips at Christmas and New Years. I reread his emails.

My Dearest Suza: Had a very enriching and rewarding stay at a cabin along the mighty Kern River north of Bakersfield. The Kern was really roaring. The conifer forest trees were covered with snow on their branches. Brrrrrrrrr was it cold. Saw several robins and six young weasels out and about in places where there was no snow. I have always thought that the Kern River Canyon was one of the most beautiful spots in all of the Southern Sierras…

It sounded so sincere and real. I re-read the parts about nature and felt so duped, betrayed and manipulated. He knew those images of him alone in a mountain cabin would get to me.

And when I saw him after the trip he continued to describe his fictitious saga.

In my heart of hearts I still hoped Diane had it wrong. In fact, I wrote four emails asking if she was sure.

I just couldn’t wrap my head around it.

I googled “liars,“ and found a website, Out of the Fog, that described exactly how I felt.

When you discover that you have been lied to, it can make you feel as though you have been taken advantage of, made to look foolish, had something stolen from you. You may feel anger, disappointment and fear all at the same time. You may feel the urge to get even, get justice, settle the score, clear your name.

I emailed Ann:

Ann, Adam is in LA and Diane and I were on phone for two hours. Found out so many things. Alas, he is a pathological liar. He has been married before, possibly twice. She told me everything. I will do a background check these next few days and sort things out.

 

Am exhausted — both sad and  relieved to find all this out.

 

He has no spell over me any more. At this point I want to gather facts –sort out fact from fiction. It is hard because the whole thing is mixed up with nature and politics.

 

Saturday night, March 5, Ann wrote:

Wow, Suza. I’ve just read all of today’s emails. Wow.

What the hell do you do now? Can you really break the spell Adam has cast?

 I wrote back the next day:

Ann, there is still a part of me that wants to give Adam the benefit of a doubt. Am gonna try to type up everything Diane told me.

 

 I wrote in my journal:

Nothing is as it seems.

Of all the things Diane told me the thing that struck me the most is that he went home to her bed.

That just gives me the creeps.

I mean the creeps!

The bizarreness of the whole situation is just beyond the pale.

All the loving words (as I type this I think of the cliché, “all the loving lies.”)

It sounded so sweet and sincere when he said, “Please be patient with me. I am really trying with the tools I have.”

On Monday, March 7, I emailed Diane:

 

Diane, are you sure that Adam did not go away for Christmas? 

 

Below is a copy of the note he sent me on 12/26, when he came home from his trip to visit Jean and Sam.

 

Sunday, December 26,  adam1@gmail.com  writes:

My Dear Suza,

I am home. Wonderful to visit the high desert. A real adventure to visit Jean and Sam (my cousin and her lifelong boyfriend). No rain up there. Got to see all the snow though in the high country above the Antelope Valley. Took a hike in Saddleback Butte State Park. Played with Jean’s  two cats and they took me out to dinner at Wendy’s (big event for them).

Good to be home. Had one inch of rain in my rain gauge. Saw the snow on top of Topa Topa… beautiful.

Will call you in the AM…plan to come up to Ojai midday on Monday or Tuesday.

Give Honey a hug for me.

Love,

Adam

Diane’s reply:

I can’t believe he would lie to you like that.   Why did he have to tell you he had to go away.  He broke our relationship two days before Christmas.  We were invited to an open house Christmas eve and I went alone.  My friend asked me where Adam was and I remember telling her we were no longer a couple. He could of seen you at that time. I don’t know why he lied. 

 

After that I sprung into action.

I went to People Finder and did a record search.

A search for Adam Francis Johnson along with his date of birth and current city brought up a list of addresses from 1980 through 2008. He uses a PO Box so perhaps that was the reason his current address at Diane’s house was not listed. This same list included two women who lived at different points in time at the same address with him.

I know these searches are not always accurate so I asked Diane for more background details.

She said, I asked Adam about Janet Johnson three years ago and he said she was just an older woman with the same last name. 

 

  It is so odd why Adam has repeatedly told me that he has never been married. He went out of his way to explain to me that he and his last relationship a were never legally married. And that they did not live together

I decided I had to find out if this other woman was his first wife.

I googled, “How to find out if someone has been married before,” and wasted $19.95 on a phony website that claimed to deliver marriage and divorce records within minutes. They charged my credit card but no records showed up.

While I was searching the Ventura County Courthouse marriage records I got another email from Diane.

I’m telling you, truth is stranger than fiction.

Diane wrote:

Suza, you won’t believe this! I just came back from the gym and the gardener next door leaned over the fence and yelled, “Hey Diane, did Adam tell you I dated his ex wife?” 

I said, “You mean Priscilla? (The one I already knew about.)

  He said ,“No, Janet Johnson.”

  I said, “Oh my God so he has been married twice! “

Three years ago when my son looked Adam up on People Finder her name popped up with his. I asked Adam about her and he said she was just someone with the same last name .”

Suza, I’m not making this up! The gardener told me all about Adam’s marriage to Janet. So now we know for sure that Adam has been married twice.

Don’t you dare mention this to him!  He is sleeping now, but when he wakes up I am going to tell him what I found out.  I can’t wait to hear the lie about this one. 

Suza, I hope your eyes are wide open and you are taking all this in.  You cannot make excuses for this man and think that things will be different with you.  

I know that you are very much in love with him. Take off the rosy glasses. Discuss this with one of your closest friends.  I know it is difficult for you to believe me 100% as I am the ex-girl friend. 

Maybe tomorrow at breakfast when we meet you will see that I am a completely honest person.  I have never lied to Adam. As a matter of fact, I am beginning to feel like a creep going behind his back like this  I wonder how many more lies he has he told that we don’t even know about. 

 

I immediately wrote back:

 

Dear Diane,

 

Tomorrow we will have a heart to heart talk!  Coming from the gardener next door this latest revelation about Adam’s first wife is just to much! Am looking forward to meeting you in person. I have as long as we need to visit–I do not teach tomorrow. 

 

Please let me know what Adam says about his first marriage!

 

Suza

Diane wrote back a little later:

Of course I am not one to mince words or beat around the bush.  When I got off the computer Adam was in the kitchen eating some grapes.  I started in with the gardener story and asked if it was true that there was another ex wife.  He said “Yes.”, Then I reminded him that I had asked him who this woman was and he said an older woman with the same last name. 

 This time he said the marriage was such a long time ago it didn’t count!

Supposedly he was forty when they married and it only lasted two .years.  I asked why it lasted such a short period of time and he said he got bored. 

Then I asked him about the second marriage since that was also only for about two years. He said they had some kind of agreement.

So there you have it in a nutshell.  The first one was a long time ago and the second one was an agreement marriage, so neither one counts. 

So I was married in 1968, that was a long time ago, so basically I was never married either.  Not to mention I divorced in 1982 and that was a long time ago also. 

I am telling you, Suza, who would have thought I would have heard this news from the next door gardener. ! You never know.  The whole time I am hearing this news I couldn’t believe it myself. 

Adam acted very unconcerned about the whole thing. No big deal. It’s not a big deal to me either because I am no longer involved with the man, but I am stunned at how he lies and at the things he has told you. 

Did you get your running shoes out of the closet yet?

Wednesday evening, March 9, 2011:

Diane, this is unbelievable! I was married in 1968 at age eighteen for about nine months. I guess that doesn’t count either. And in the mid 1970’s through 1986. I guess that does not count either. Then I got married a third time. And to think I believed Adam when he assured me he had never ever been married. I must have asked him at least four times when the subject came up. And he teased me about my three failed marriages. Of all the nerve!

It shows a total lack of conscience that he is unconcerned about lying about this!

  

Amazing you heard this from gardener next door. Reminds me of that Sunday when Liz stepped out of the yoga room and I heard her say, “That’s Adam. Diane’s boyfriend!”

 

Half hour later another email from Diane:

Suza, I cannot believe the timing of this whole thing.  First Liz in the yoga room and now the gardener next door.  How quirky is that?  Kinda gives you the chills when you think of it.

 

Have you thought how you are going to handle this whole thing when you meet up with him?

I emailed back:

Diane, it is an amazing coincidence how the gardener next door told you about the first wife right at this point in time!

I think after we meet tomorrow I will have a better sense how to handle this. See you in the morning.

I had already decided that we needed to tell Adam we were talking but I wanted to negotiate this with Diane in person.

I shared all this with Ann, who was out of town visiting her grandchildren.

She wrote:

Wow, Suza. I’ve just read all of today’s emails. Wow.

What the hell do you do now? Can you really break the spell Adam has cast?

On Thursday March 9, 2011, I wrote Ann:

Adam called just now and left a sweet message. His voice tugs at my heart.

 

But when I feel sad and sorry for him I think about his lies. And all the times I missed him so much.

 

Ann, I have a clear conscience sharing all this with you since Diane suggested that I talk about this with a friend. It’s a dilemma for me because Adam does so many good things. I don’t like saying anything negative about him.


He’s coming to Ojai today. He said he was having lunch at the Garden Terrace and  wished I could join him. So I called back and said I would meet him there at 1pm.

 

I am going to have to tell him what I know. I had planned to have this conversation Sunday but looks like it’s today.

 

Ann wrote back:

And you’re meeting Diane this morning, yes? What a day!

 

Thursday, March 9, 2011,

Diane was waiting for me when I arrived at Ojai Cafe Emporium. . We sat outside. The waitress was a friend I went to Nordhoff High School with back in the 1960’s. When she took our order I clued her in.

I joked, “You’ll want to hear this conversation. About a man.”

The three of us laughed – just like teenagers. Because on one level it’s all so funny!

Diane was much more attractive than Adam had described her. She had a smiling, friendly, pretty face and nice figure.

We had already talked so much on the phone and emailed back and forth that we could enjoy meeting each other face-to-face and having breakfast together.

I ordered my favorite tofu scramble. She had a vegetable omelet.

I right away told her that I was meeting Adam for lunch at Garden Terrace. And that I planned to break up with him. But I waited till later for a good time broach the subject of telling Adam up front that we (Diane and I) were talking.

Diane revealed more about her life with Adam.

I couldn’t help but laugh as she described how much he eats. Sounded like she has this big kid eating her out of house and home.

 

Two hours into the conversation I said, “Diane, let’s talk about what I’m going to tell Adam.

“We’re going to have to tell him sooner or later that you and I are talking. I can’t just tell him I found out all this stuff on People Finder.

“I know I agreed to keep all this confidential but now I’d like your permission to tell him that I met with you this morning. It’s much cleaner that way.”

I was relieved when Diane saw the wisdom of this course of action.

However, she was still a bit worried Adam would sway me in the wrong direction.

She said,   “Something tells me that even with all this information you have, you still love him and would still want to have a relationship.  You think you are different from other women and things would be different with you.   All he has to do is confess his lies and promise not to lie again.  Yes or no?”

No.”

 

Then she hit hard to be sure I got the message:

I worried about you falling into his trap.  Remember he told me he gets into trouble with his mouth and gets out of trouble with his mouth.  This has been going on for a long time now, he will never change.  It is an ego booster to think he can get women back after they found him out.

 

I am so glad you found out now and not three or four years later what kind of guy this is.   No woman deserves to be hurt by him in this fashion. 

It just doesn’t phase him. He just moves on to the next woman. Lord help us all.  You just wonder when he is going to get his due.”

As we prepared to leave, Ann said something that really struck a chord

You know what is so sickening about this whole thing is that Adam is really a soft and gentle person.  I don’t know why he has to lie.  And not just to build himself up but about stuff that makes no sense, like going out of town on that Christmas trip.  I just don’t get it.

I said, “Has he ever seen a psychiatrist about this lying? It makes no sense to me either. It’s very sad! “

By the time I got home it was almost noon. Time to rest in the Goddess Pose and get ready for lunch with Adam.

To be continued, Chapter Thirteen: Garden Terrace

Chapter Fourteen

Afterword on Writing Yoga

Fishing on Facebook, Chapter Eleven: Ojai Valley Inn

May 5, 2011

The pain I feel now is the happiness I had before. That’s the deal. –C.S. Lewis

Go about your own sweet life and recover your serenity. The only remedy for recovering your equilibrium is to get some distance. 

–Advice from a friend when I told him how much emotional pain I was in.

Dating when you’re sixty is absolutely identical to dating when you’re fifteen.

Comment made by same friend.

This is Chapter Eleven 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.

Now we come to the most pathetic part of my all too common experience. My journal entries for the weeks following our soul baring at Meditation Mount are so pitiful that I’m tempted to sum them up in a few paragraphs and leap right into the next chapter.

What I write here is the condensed version, believe it or not.

Liars leave you in an impossible dilemma.

As I read Adam’s love letters and the notes in my journal describing what he said and did, even in retrospect I can’t say for sure what was sincere and what was a lie.

The two copies I ordered of How to Be an Adult in Relationships, by David Richo, arrived soon after the revelations on the Mount.

Adam kept his copy in his car and read it when he came to visit. He read it while he waited for me at the doctor’s office during my thermography appointment. He said he was reading it at home and while waiting at meetings.

Ann called my attention to page 85, “Qualified Candidates.”

 “A person is a qualified candidate for a relationship if he is able and willing to give and receive love, to handle feelings, to make a commitment and to keep agreements.”

I hoped Adam grasped the second item in the list of suitable candidate criteria: “Has no distracting ties that make true commitment impossible such as another relationship in progress, an old relationship unfinished…”

A few days later I wrote in my journal:

It confuses me why he won’t take the baby step of moving out of Diane’s house and rent a room.

Part of me wants to believe he is really trying but part of me doesn’t quite trust how he portrays the situation. 

 I know it’s irrational but those sweet letters he wrote make it harder to let go of the dream.

It is so painful and sad. I am still hoping. Looking for glimmers of hope.

Am trying hard to be quiet. Just go about my own life and let him work it out.

* * * * * * *

 I told my friend Macy the whole story on the phone.

She advised me in no uncertain terms to get out!

I told her that I wanted to give it more time, that I was not ready to give up, and that I wanted her to meet Adam. She invited us to her house Saturday afternoon.

Macy tells me now that she tried telling me that Adam was a pathological liar but I was too infatuated to listen. “You just were not ready to hear it. It was like talking to a wall. You were gazing at him with such adoration…you had gone off the deep end…”

From my journal, Saturday, January 15 :

He looked so sweet and relaxed lying on the yoga room floor today with Honey.

I also forgot to mention how on our walk with Honey as I sat on a rock he got on his knees, like a man proposing marriage, and asked me to be his girl friend. “I know I asked you on the phone….but I want to ask in real-life,”  he said.

 I want so much to think only good things about him.

But need to write all this down to help my eyes be wide open. I cannot afford to sink deeper into illusion.

It was over powering and irrational how in love with him I felt while visiting Macy. At Macy’s house he was in his element, identifying all the plants, advising her about her garden…

Sunday, January 16,  in an email to Ann, I wrote:

Hi Ann,

 Last night when Adam left at 9 pm I felt at peace. But this morning I feel so sad thinking back on how the range of feelings I experienced was based on him assuring me he lived alone in his own house.

 We decided to have lunch at the Ojai Valley Inn before visiting Macy.

Walking toward the restaurant we shared memories of Ojai. There is a strong bond because we have all these same memories of old Ojai. We are the new old-timers now.

 At the Ojai Valley Inn the hostess was a friend from school that I had not seen in decades. When we recognized each other we hugged and she introduced me to the other hostess as the former mayor. Interesting how that ceremonial hat seems to carry the most clout.

 At first it was very romantic sitting with Adam at an elegant table, outside, on this beautiful warm sunny day with the sweeping views of the green golf course, the Oak trees, the mountains…

 Reality settled in as the conversation turned to our relationship.

 I must have been optimistic to start with because I heard myself say,”We are on the other side of hell. We can now move forward.”

David Richo in his book talks about how hard it is for people to live with uncertainty. I see how I want to push things in the direction of my feminine fantasies but then I do back off.

Sitting there at the table I questioned Adam more closely about the situation with Diane.

What he told me is disturbing enough but also I don’t know what to think when he says things like, “If I called her and told her I was spending the night in Ojai she’d probably kick me out…” And then he proceeded to explain why he needed to report in to her and why he needed the safety and security of living there.

 I felt kind of sick to my stomach even though the seared tofu dish was delicious.

Knowing what I know now, I swear there is no way I will have sex with him while he goes home to the security of his big king size bed in his beautiful room that he loves.

 He describes Diane as “someone totally not wanting to talk about personal stuff .” As “someone who does not want to know.”

 I pointed out how absurd this going home at night thing is. We could be in bed all day–him coming home like a child by 10 pm means nothing, really.

I could choke the lying out of him when I look back on the ways he aroused me. Especially his letters. The dates in Nature. And all along he was going home to Diane.

Look, I know his Life is difficult, especially with his health issues. I just wish it wasn’t me that fell for him hook, line and sinker when he was fishing on Facebook.

I know I have to reach high and see the part I played in wanting to believe he was a free, available man.

 It is all so incredibly ironic. I just shake my head at the irony and absurdity of it all!

He says he has lived with Diane about three years. At one point he even said, “I am the light of her life.” It made me wonder about the true nature of their relationship.

He loves the beautiful garden they created together. He appears very attached.

I think back on how hopeful I felt when he came over the Friday before New Years with the garden plan for my house. Putting that in my hands made me feel he cared.

 Ann, when we were at the Ojai Valley Inn, I told him I no longer know what to believe.

Even as I write this I see the craziness of it. That is why I need  to spell it out so the craziness does not get pushed aside. So I do not latch onto the hopeful signs and ignore the rest.

 I heard him say he does not want to go from one codependent situation to another.

And I heard myself say, “Do you know the difference between codependence and co operation–working together?”

I pointed at the houses we were walking past, “Are all these couples living together codependent or are they working together to create a life?”

  I heard myself say several times that “If you had your head on straight you would take do-able steps to extricate yourself out of Diane’s house.”

 My fear is not just that he is living at Diane’s house. My fear is that even though he wants to be my boyfriend and even talks about our future that he will do something  worse to make me dump him.

That is how the shadow side works.

I think he still expects me to dump him even as he says, “ I hope you will be patient and not dump me.”

He knows very well that if I dump him he can retreat to his comfort zone and blame me. He can then tell the next fish, “She dumped me.” Or he’ll say it was a “mutual decision,” which sounds so civil and agreeable.

I hear myself telling him, “These are not insurmountable problems.  We are not talking about a long distance relationship where you live in another country. You do not have a wife and three young children that need you.”

I tell him that we need to keep these complications and challenges of the present moment in perspective.

On January 20 I emailed Ann again:

 Woke up at 1 am with the full moon beaming through my window… My unconscious pulls me by the hair, kicks me out of bed and makes me write, write, write in my journal…now I will do yoga work..get some distance…then I will type it up like any other writing project…and send to you to be sure I remain accountable …

 Ann, when I write down the things he says I still do not know what to believe so my mission is not to believe anything…just watch and see.

That night I also wrote in my journal:

January 20, 2 am

By the light of the moon the landscape looks so stark –I feel the utter loneliness and impermanence of it all.

The moonlight shines straight through the window. No wonder I cannot sleep—full moon right over my head.

For a second I find myself thinking, why, if he felt what he wrote, why did he not act?

 I wrote Ann another letter:

 The David Richo book and the pain I feel when Adam goes back to Diane’s house is forcing me to look at how the past and present are converging. I am reading and rereading many parts of Richo’s book. In truth, this is more important to my spiritual growth and yoga teaching than anything else.

My unconscious will not let me sleep (both literally and figuratively). I must keep writing down what he says vs what he actually does.

Ann, I am truly afraid Adam will break my heart, even more than he already has. He is a charming,  seductive man but (and I hope I’m wrong) I just do not feel any urgency on his part to move out of Diane’s house.

Last Sunday morning he surprised me by saying he was looking at ads for apartments for rent.

But then he hurt his back working in their garden and couldn’t go looking.

I have to remember that he did not have the urge to move out when he began dating and “falling in love,” with me. And that I only know about the situation because of Liz’s outburst after the yoga class.

 And now my foolish tender heart said “yes,” when he asked me last week to be his girlfriend.  Even as I write that I shake my head because I should have said ” I can’t be your girlfriend untill you move out…”

 Ann, I cut him a lot of slack and accept him as a flawed, vulnerable human being,  but I fear that he uses women.

 I don’t know if he ever thinks what he can do to make their life (my life) better. I think if I had a big comfortable house he might already be living with me. He does little things that make me think he wants to be a real boyfriend. He even says he wants to be the best boyfriend I ever had. I want so much to believe but have to keep doing reality checks.

 I think he really is trying… but old habit have a death grip on him!  Plus if he is unconsciously sabotaging our relationship he needs back up “friendships” to catch him when I give him the boot (that’s what my mind thinks).

 He read me the beginning of David Richo’s book while I cleaned the house. I have to say I liked his company while I washed the dishes.

 * * * * *

I lit a few tea candles and we relaxed together. I felt strangely at peace and not at all interested in sex (just felt right to hold hands, be close and a few affectionate kisses because knowing he has to go home to Diane is like  throwing a bucket of ice on my sexual fire.

Adam left at 9pm as usual.

The bottom line is that Adam’s actions and words reveal that he is a conflicted, ambivalent man.

 Definition of Ambivalent

  • Simultaneously feeling opposing or contradictory feelings.

  • Having two opposite or conflicting feelings simultaneously

 Yes, I think that sums it up!

 In an email to Ann, January 29:

 Adam arrived Saturday afternoon with the curtain rods I had asked him to pick up at one of those big stores (Lowe’s, the receipt says) near his house in Ventura.

He did not have to pick me up to go to a friend’s birthday party till 5 pm. Says he likes to come over early.

 He willingly runs errands like a dutiful husband. He is totally comfortable and fine with that. And he insisted on hanging the curtain rods on all three windows.

 I notice that when he does domestic husbandly things like fixing light switches how I warm up to him, just like when I was a single mom at eighteen and all men had to do was bounce my baby boy on their lap and I’d fall into bed with them.

 Last Saturday, for some inexplicable reason, we had agreed that he would spend the night this Saturday. As I recall, it came about after a discussion whether he was just a lodger at Diane’s house (since he rents a room there) or is there something more going on emotionally with Diane?

 I had a feeling he would dream up some way to wiggle out of it as I think he feels insecure about bringing our three months of sexual fantasies into reality. 

I can understand that. 

 Saturday morning, on the phone, he came up with a good one. I felt so angry I had to hang up for a minute.

He said he noticed he is having trouble breathing in my apartment. He asked if there might be mold. Then he said maybe he is allergic to the cats. He went on and on about his allergies. Said he had never had a girlfriend before with cats.

Ann, it is no coincidence that he brought this up when faced with actually spending the night with me. He said that if he goes outside every hour for a few minutes in the fresh air that he would be all right.

Other than that he was a good date at the birthday party.

He told me that his father’s bible was Dale Carnegie’s book,”How to Win Friends and Influence People.” He’s read it many times. I think that is the key to his modus operandus.

I see him using the same techniques on other people, like asking them questions about themselves, that he used on me that first date.

Ann, when we got back to my house he suddenly looked like this strange old man sitting in my room. I lit candles and told him to relax while I took Honey on a walk around the block. The candles were a clue no man could miss. You would think.

 When I came back the place was lit up. The bright overhead lights were on ruining the ambiance. He said he had to find a cup for water.

 Now you would think my wild mountain man would be lying on my “child futon bed,” as he calls it, with his shoes off, but instead he sat stiff and distant on a chair, poised to bolt out of the room.

 I think he was scared.

 I had to sweet talk him into lying on the bed. I did not feel sexual at all with his bizarre vibe in the room. Hard to believe this was the same man who wrote me those love letters and has been stirring me up and making me feel crazy with desire for three full moons.

 Part of me wanted to push him out the door but the Love Goddess inside me was not ready to throw in the towel. Yet.

 So he finally took off his shoes.

 I changed clothes. I had to feel like my yoga self. I wore a long, loose fitting, very soft top with buttons and a little black top underneath that I could pull down over my tummy and expose whatever I like–or not– and no underwear.

 In spite of all his distancing and sudden allergies, I felt relaxed and happy and very sexy and sensual. He finally picked up on it. And then it was like another entity entered his body and he felt more like the man who has been kissing me out in nature all these weeks.

I was happy when he went home a little later to his cozy bachelor bed because I am not ready to make love with him. Yet.

His ambivalence is making me a bit ambivalent.

 But the way he touched me felt amazing. It was a very special, sacred time together. When he called me the next morning at 6 am, and the sweet, sensitive things he said, told me that he understands.

On some level he does understand.

But at some point his ambivalence may wear me out.

 And the Gemini in me can see that his need to stay at Diane’s house allows me my independence. If he was snoring in my bed I might not be writing this.

 * * * * *

Hello Dear Ann,

I would describe this as a perfect day –except for reality.

All seemed well until I went to his Facebook page.

 When I see the photos of Diane and Adam’s garden I feel as if I’m kicked in the gut.

 He loves that garden. I feel completely shut out of this part of his life.

 He still tells me it would be disrespectful to Diane to take me her house.

Ann, I  know he is giving me contradictory conflicting messages –but what if I am not hearing him right. I am making a huge effort to listen carefully and not brush aside the things I don’t want to hear, and writing down what he said is a huge part of this effort.

  I don’t get it!

 I don’t want to dwell on this. It’s not my problem. I’m putting it on paper and out of my head, for now.  But it strikes me as very strange that Diane has not asked him to move.  Surely she can hire someone else to maintain the garden!

 And then, when I express concern about his living with Diane  I notice now he overreacts. He says things in a loud somewhat emotional, irritated voice, like “What do you expect me to do. Pack up my clothes in ten minutes and just leave?”

Well, yes!

 But instead I say, “No, you do not need to do anything extreme. But you need to be clear that you need to find a way to move out. It can be a stepping stone like renting a room.

I told him that even though living with Diane is convenient, the first step is for him to see that it is not psychologically  healthy for him to keep living in her house.

 Suza

 * * * *

From my journal, February 8, 2011:

 As life whirls around me I am shocked by how much I want the story of Adam and Suza to turn out well.

 I write myself messages like:

 You are hanging in there because you want the story to have an unexpected twist and turn out good.

Another month of meetings, dates, dog walks and soul baring went by. Adam was no closer to moving out of Diane’s house then the day I met him for lunch at Farmer and the Cook. Ann suggested that I have Adam set a move-out date and see what he comes up with.

And all this time not a day went by that I did not debate the pros and cons of calling Diane.

On February 20, I wrote to Ann:

Ann, I think the moment will come when I call Diane to find out what is really going on.

Ann replied  And that would be like his two mothers getting together to talk about him. No, no, no!

 I wrote Ann, It feels strange that he went to the movies with someone else after we started dating. That he still does stuff with her.  Goes places with her.

Ann wrote back, Suza, she is his friend. Or mother. Or both. Not a romantic rival!

 * * * * * * *

I saw Ann’s point but finally the day came that I could not contain the urge to call Diane any longer. Adam had an out of town meeting that would take up most of the day. So I knew for sure that the coast was clear..

 Apparently the Lords of Karma had already decided I had learned my lesson.

They were waiting in the wings, ready to help me get off the hook.

When I looked in my email box that morning, lo and behold, there was a message from Diane Jackson. It had arrived the previous night.

The message said:

My friend, I guess I should say our friend, made the comment to me a couple of weeks ago that you would like to talk to me. My phone number is 648-xx xx

This is a land line. I don’t have a cell. I would feel very uneasy speaking on the phone with Adam in the house.  I probably know Adam better than anyone in this world.  I would insist though that he not know we are communicating.  I am a very honest person, and I don’t lie.  Sometimes that is very painful.  Believe me I have no ill feelings towards you. You did me a favor.  Diane

Saturday, March 5

Dear Diane,

Thank you for this communication. I will call you after Adam leaves your house. He said he would be in LA all day today, Saturday. I promise that our communication is confidential.  I have been wanting to talk to you ever since I found out through your friend Liz (my yoga student) that Adam lives in your house. I knew Adam back in the 1970’s (from a distance) and we have many common friends from our years living in Ojai.

These past several months I’ve come to realize I don’t really know Adam and at this point I’m having trouble sorting out fact from fiction.

 I very much look forward to speaking with you.

Sincerely,

Suza Francina   646-2613

To be continued, Chapter Twelve, breakfast with Diane at Ojai Coffee Emporium

Historically men’s greatest fear has been that women would unite.

 * * * * * * *

There is yet another problem with relationship addiction: Both rejection and acceptance fire up our adrenalin, so both are equally exciting to the addict. Thus, adrenaline hooks us both coming and going;we are still hooked when we are breaking up. We can get a fix from our partner even as we leave him. Addictions of this kind often follow the pattern of “seduce and withhold.” First I attract you to me and then I withdraw from you.

David Richo, How to Be an Adult in Relationships

Both psychological work for individuation and spiritual practice for egolessness will always be required as dual requisites for the enlightenment of beings as beautifully and mysteriously designed as we. —David Richo, How to Be an Adult in Relationships

Fishing on Facebook, Chapter Ten: Meditation Mount, the Garden of Peace

April 29, 2011

“You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.” C.S. Lewis

This is Chapter Ten 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. 

One of Adam’s good qualities was that he was always on time, even a few minutes early. I wondered if he would try to wiggle out of going to Meditation Mount but there he was, right at 2pm.

We drove toward the east end, past the orange groves on Reeves Road, to the very top of the steep hill where Meditation Mount sits. You cannot help but be transported to a higher plane the moment you step onto that sacred land, surrounded by chaparral, sage, wildflowers, with majestic views of the mountains and Ojai Valley below.

There were cars in the parking lot and I could see people seated in the auditorium, but all was peaceful and quiet outside.

The profound stillness that pervaded the whole atmosphere of Meditation Mount helped to center me.

We walked quietly past the Tibetan-style buildings, past The Terrace, down the winding dirt path, through the wooden “Portal of Peace,” structure and into the Garden of Peace.

We picked out a stone bench, a fairly private spot, and sat down together.

I took Adam’s hand.

We were two human beings, two ordinary mortals, two souls wrestling with our transient problems on the earthly plane.

No animosity.

I felt a wave of love and compassion for him. I smiled my most illuminated yogini smile.

Adam,” I said, half joking to add a little levity to the situation, “You are a child of God.”

A delinquent child of God,” he joked back.


He looked like a child that knows in his heart of hearts that lying is wrong but still hopes he can get away with it.

It was our first time together at Meditation Mount. Smart move on my part, I thought, to suggest we come here to talk.  The peaceful atmosphere was conducive to seeing our personal problems from a more cosmic perspective.

I sat cross-legged on the stone bench and suggested we be quiet for a few moments.

I closed my eyes. This was as good a moment as any to commune with the divine.


The devil must have told Adam what was coming. When I opened my eyes he launched nonstop into the story of how he discovered, as a child, that people like it better when you lie.


He said he learned to lie as  child, “ to make life easer.”


Adam is a great story teller. He described in colorful detail how he frequently forgot to shut the garden gate of the various gardens on his family’s ranch. And how he would get into big trouble when the goats and other animals ate all the flowers and vegetables.

Each time he left the gate unlocked his parents would yell for him and ask if he left the gate open.

Each time, after he confessed, his father would whip him.

He said he was only about six or seven years old at the time.

The image of this little boy getting a beating made me very sad.

No matter how often he got a beating, (“and it hurt,” he added) a few weeks or months later he would again be in a hurry, slam the gate shut and not check if it was really locked.

The way he tells it, this went on for a long time.


Then one day his cousins visited. After they left Adam again forgot to shut the gate and the animals got into the garden.


This time when his parents called him and yelled at him–you guessed it–he blamed his cousins.


Evidently they believed his lie and he did not get a whipping. His parents called the cousins parents and they got the full blame.

As Adam described the beautiful themed gardens that were his parents pride and joy, I could see what his game was — distracting me… delaying me…stalling.

He knew what was coming, but he was not about to own up.


When I wrote all this down in my journal I put in big print: HE IS VERY CLEVER!

Maybe he hoped if he talked long enough I’d forget about the whole house situation.


When he finally finished I gave him one more chance to come clean.

 I asked him if there was anything more I needed to know about the things we started talking about on Sunday.

I gave him plenty of time and space to tell the truth.

But he just shrugged —nothing more.

Then I said that I was “in a quandary.”

That sounded more diplomatic than outright calling him a liar.

I said, “I want to believe that Diane and her mom are living at your house because you want to help them… ” 

I waited for him to say something.

And then I said that my student Liz had read me an email from Diane that said that “Adam was staying at her house because of his finances…”

Only then did he admit (as if it was no big deal) that it was her house.

We talked for about two hours.

As I questioned him, I naturally heard myself say, several times, “How can I ever trust you?”

At one point, when we got to the part where he described how he could pack everything he owned into his car in fifteen minutes,  I started laughing as I saw the utter ludicrousness and irony of the whole situation.

 
I saw Adam as like a little child, lying to his mother.

He was not at all the wealthy happy homemaker man I imagined. He didn’t even own any pots and pans!

Then Adam started talking about how when he almost died that the doctor’s hands touched and saved his physical heart.

Then he said he felt like I was touching his emotional heart. His spiritual heart.

“It’s like you are peeling the layers of an onion. It’s like you are opening me up.”

Just like the heart surgeon.

And then, somewhere in all this talk about the heart, Adam said that he feels like he took my heart in his hands, just like the doctors held his heart, only instead of saving my heart he squashed it, opening and closing his fist as he said this.

I can still see the whole scene in my mind’ eye.

And now comes the richest part.

Near the end of our talk I told Adam that I needed to determine if he had a history of lying or if this was an isolated incident.

I said I needed to know if this whole story he cooked up about the house and Diane was just a one-time lie.

He looked me in the eye and said again that he was afraid I would think less of him if I knew he lived with someone. That is why he lied – so that I would go out with him.

He assured me that other than this, he was an honest person.

I wanted to believe him.

Ever one to look for a silver lining, when it dawned on me that Adam was not the wealthy catch I thought he was, I told myself, “Well, now I don’t have to worry that Adam thinks I’m after his money or that I only like him for his house and beautiful garden.”

After our talk at Meditation Mount, on the way back to my humble abode, I though that Adam and I were now in the same boat. The poor but happy, “Live Simply so that Others May Simply Live,“ low-carbon, low-impact, green sustainable boat.

That night we went to a long meeting together. My feelings ran from hot to cold. After he left I felt more conflicted than ever.


Late that night I emailed Ann,


Hi Ann,

We went to Meditation Mount to talk.
 My mind can see this situation so many different ways it scares me.
At the Mount he readily admitted  that he was living in Diane’s house. He takes care of the garden. She takes care of the house. At least that’s my impression.
 For several hours I felt our relationship was over.
 He apologized.
 More later.

 
Ann wrote back:


Wow . . .  The first thought that comes to my mind is that this (whatever is happening between you two) is a very important and healing encounter.

I wrote back:


Ann, I think your assessment is correct.
It is an important and healing encounter.
But at this point the emotions I feel are so extreme –from wanting to dump him (and he takes full responsibility and says he would not blame me) to talking about getting engaged.

He suggested it–not me.

But now he is saying he has to stay in Ventura so he is close to the hospital where his records are. Even this part is very confusing because on the one hand he tells me that is one reason he hesitates to move to Ojai but yet he goes off into the mountains and to remote areas, far far away from any hospital.


I better get the name of which hospital has his records because if he ever collapses I need to know where to send him.

Later I wrote Ann again:

Oh my God! The full horror, irony and humor of it all is hitting me full force!
My heart hurts so bad. 
I just remembered how all this time I though this was a man who kept his own home. I recall saying to him, “One of the things I like and really admire about you is that you are not looking for a woman to keep house for you…that you have made a beautiful home for yourself.”
All this time I thought all those photos on Facebook were his house!

  
So ironic! Everything in the house belongs to Diane. If I understood correctly (and maybe I didn’t)  he does not even own a pot or pan. He says the kitchen is the size of my yoga room.
But how could he let me go on and on about how I liked that he was self-sufficient and enjoyed homemaking.
I FEEL SO DUPED!
More later –have to process this somehow and see the light!

Adam called the next morning around 6 am and my machine recorded his message:

“Good morning Suza, it’s Adam, it’s early …Hey a couple of things… I certainly apologize for all the hurt and disturbance I’ve caused… I let my emotions cloud my common sense… anyway I hope you won’t give up on me.”

I wrote Ann again:

Adam left a message on my machine saying he misses me… and how much he appreciates everything yesterday at Meditation Mount.

I am in too much pain to call him back at the moment. I don’t want to say anything I might regret.


I am haunted by how on Sunday he could have explained everything. Instead he added a lie on top of the lie by saying Diane and her mom stayed at his house because he wanted to help them.

I explained the whole story of what I found out at Meditation Mount.

Ann replied:

Wow. This is stranger than fiction, all right.

I’m sorry for your pain. You might want to Google “pathological liar.”

JUST BE GLAD YOU DIDN’T LET IT GO ANY FURTHER!!

On January 12 I wrote in my journal:

It scares me to be with someone who can look me in the eye and lie.
I still feel like I am in shock.
Plus I still do not know what to believe.
I taught this morning. After I teach this whole thing seems like a distant dream. When I do my own practice I feel a direct line to God.

I feel complete unto myself.


I need a break from Adam.

Later I emailed Adam:

My Dear Adam,
I am in too much pain to call you back. From here on the future of our relationship is in your hands. I have done all I can.

With love,
Suza

While I wrote about all this in my journal Adam called. He said he just gotten out of a meeting and he would try to reach me again, a little later.

I wrote Ann:


I am not going to call him back. We had a sweet parting last night. He knows where I live. If he is serious about me he can come over anytime and talk to me face-to-face.  

Ann replied:  

I do think you need to tell him (on the telephone!) that you’re going to take care of yourself by ending the relationship–without vindictiveness.
 
I wrote back:

 I already told him that if he wants to keep seeing me he has to move out of Diane’s house.  

  
He knows he stirred me up. He even said something about how if I drop him some other man will get the benefit.
But that’s not how it works.


Ann agreed. She wrote:  
No, it’s not.

Later she wrote:
Would you like to borrow a wonderful book I have by David Richo, titled, How to Be an Adult in Relationships? I have read and reread the chapter “Choosing a Partner” and its subhead “Qualified Candidates.”

I wrote to Ann:


I’ve been reading the link on Relationship Scam Artists. At least he’s not a thief like the man that woman married!

She wrote back:


Yes, that is more than sad. 
Suza, I think you need to let him go. In friendship. But don’t see him any more, because you’re addicted to him. It’s your life, but that’s my advice. I don’t think he can help himself.

I went to amazon  and started reading the book Ann recommended,  How to Be an Adult in Relationships.

I ordered two paperback copies

What I read gave me peace of mind to return Adam’s call. We would both read the book and get through these bumps in the road.

When I called Adam bared is soul.

[Oh my God, I am such a sucker for soul baring.]

At the end of all his talking ,” I wrote Ann later that evening, “I said to him that there was a book I wanted us both to read. He is such an avid reader and he readily agreed to read it. He even looked it up and said it looks good.”

Ann, I could not tell him I would not see him anymore after what he said.

He apologized again and thanked me profusely.

He told me how much better he feels now that the truth is out.

He realizes things may not work out between us but that he needs to do the things I asked to get his life back on track.

He talked about how much I’ve taught him…that “Honesty is the best policy.”

Ann, my plan is to keep him at arms length –but I am not ready to say “I don’t want to see you again.”

We are going to read David Richo’s book together.

Later that evening Ann wrote:


I hear you, sweetie. You know that I would really like things to work out for you and Adam. You’re in love with him, and I think he’s in love with you, too. I’m just worried that he’s too out of whack to get back on track. But we’ll see. Eyes wide open, fingers crossed.


I wrote back:


Eyes wide open is right. I’m on high alert for any more lies.
In a way it feels like he is a child. He keeps saying I am miles and miles ahead of him…that he has already benefited enormously from knowing me, while he has been nothing but trouble.


Ann wrote back:  True enough!

The next day I wrote:

Well, Ann, it’s Thursday night, two days since I Iast  saw Adam. We have been talking on the phone. About everything.

Actually he does most of the talking.  I try to be a better listener and not interrupt. 

For all his faults, it’s a great relief to be with a man who expresses how he feels.

This is so hard. This morning he was telling me all the thing he wants to do for creating wildlife corridors. It makes me fall in love with him all over again. The rest of this stuff seems so small. The lives of so many creatures are at stake.

As he was talking I vowed to be his friend no matter what.

I want to be supportive of all the environmental things he is so passionate about.
The whole thing really does put me in a quandary.

We have worked through so much shit in nine weeks!


I think he has apologized  about fifty times for his lies and what he has put me through.

He tried to explain again why he lied. But not to justify.

He repeated parts of our conversation at Meditation Mount, and emphasized how serious he takes it all.

Then I told Ann:

Tonight, as he was telling me how his day went, he paused, and said, “I hope this is OK , but someone asked about my connection to Ojai,and I said “ My girlfriend, Suza Francina.”


Then there was another pause.


He sounded so serious.

Then he said something like, ” I’d rather ask you in person, but I guess over the phone will do. Will you be my girlfriend? I would be so honored to have you as my girlfriend.”


Ann, my eating–all-alone heart just melted.

I said “Yes, I’d love to be your girlfriend.”


And then he talked about what that means to him. How good I am for him. How I will keep him on track.

And now he knows where he stands and he won’t have other relationships.

Ann, I don’t know what to do!

I want to give him a chance.

So then I said, “Well, if I am your girlfriend then you are my boyfriend.”
“Yes,” He agreed, “ That’s how it works.”


And then we were cracking up over how adolescent it all sounded.


He has meetings all day tomorrow. We plan to have dinner Sunday night.

Suza

Ann wrote back:

So, you have a boyfriend!!

Well, I can’t help rooting for you two.

If he’s really done telling lies, then love will find a way.

As I read these words three months later, I shake my head in disbelief–I can’t believe how naive I was!

Recommended reading on Lies, Liars and Lying

http://www.outofthefog.net/CommonBehaviors/LiesLiarsAndLying.html

 

“When all is said and done, I want the reader to have compassion for Adam. He too is a child of God–albeit a delinquent one.”
 
To be continued: Chapter Eleven
 
May all beings be well, may all beings be happy, may all beings be free from suffering.


Fishing on Facebook, Chapter Nine: The Basin, near Pratt Trail

April 28, 2011

We left off in Chapter Eight with the great cosmic Zen Master in the sky hitting me full force on the head with a big stick, shouting, “Wake up, Suza! See that man for who he really is, not who you want him to be.”

Or more to the point, See Life for what it really is, not what you want it to be!

An hour had flown by since my student exclaimed, “Oh, that’s Adam Johnson, Diane’s boyfriend.” Adam offered no explanation and I was biding my time to pop the question, waiting for when the moment was right.

We went for a Sunday morning walk. I waited till we were at the basin near Pratt Trail, where we sat on a boulder, while Honey ran free.

Up until an hour ago, it had been a great week. Friday we’d met for breakfast at Ojai Coffee Emporium. Adam had started doing “couple stuff” like helping me with errands, grocery shopping and picking up my sweater at the cleaners. We made plans to go to a birthday party, meetings, a Thermography appointment and have lunch with my friend Ann.

He was talking about renting a place in Ojai, preferably in town. He said several times that he had been thinking of moving back to Ojai even before he started seeing me.

That’s how life is sometimes. Just when you think things are coming together, things fall apart.

I waited a moment while Adam got comfortable on the hard rock. I sat cross-legged, facing him.

Adam, “ says I, in my wise-crone tone of voice, “I heard what my student said when she saw you standing by the door after yoga. Who is Diane?”

Without missing a beat Adam said, “Oh, Diane is an ex girlfriend. She’s staying at the house while she gets back on her feet.” (Not his exact words, but that was the gist of it, spoken in a “It’s no big deal,” tone of voice.)

Either the man had no conscience or he was telling the truth.

Adam proceeded to explain the nature of his noble relationship with Diane. He described how she lives in one end of the house, he in the other.

We hardly ever see each other. We are like two ships passing in the night.”

Then he explained that Diane’s mother also stayed at the house. She has Alzheimers, is bedridden and in a wheel chair and Diane takes care of her.

That made it hard for me to insist that he give them the boot, even though that was my gut reaction.

It was all too much for my simple mind that all these weeks had imagined Adam’s bachelor pad with two fireplaces, a huge, fully-equipped kitchen with him all alone, baking that cake I read about on Facebook, patios and princely gardens. There were no stacks of Depends or urine soaked sheets in that scenario.

But Adam,” I questioned, “If this I true why didn’t you tell me in the first place? It gave me a terrible shock when my student said you live with your girlfriend. I imagined the worst. I really felt awful.”

He said, “The only reason I didn’t tell you was that I was afraid you wouldn’t go out with me if you knew my ex girlfriend lived at the house. But you’re right. I should have told you instead of you finding out like this.”

I really didn’t know what to think. Should I be feeling compassion for someone having a hard time?

I tried not to get too emotional but something didn’t jive.

This is very serious. If it turns out that you have lied to me I am turning my back on the world. The pain of it is unbearable.”

It sounded dramatic but in the heat of the moment that’s how I felt as memories of past betrayals came to the fore front.

I’m thinking to myself, “For crying out loud! If I can’t trust John Muir, Honest Abe or a kindred spirit who loves nature, who the hell can I trust?”

Suddenly Adam couldn’t take it. He stood up from the rock and started to head back to my house.

He said, “I think I better leave now. You don’t deserve this.”

I took his arm. I said, “No wait. Just help me understand it. It’s just such a shock…”

There were never any pictures of Diane or her elderly mother in a wheel chair on Facebook.

I tried asking logical questions like what would happen to Diane, her mother and the house if he moved to Ojai? And did they pay any rent or utilities?

I tried to make sense of something that made no sense.

We talked about telling the truth. How one lie leads to another lie.

Then I had a brilliant idea. I said, “Let’s go to your house so I can meet Diane. Then I can see the situation for myself and not feel so weird about it.”

Adam said Diane sleeps late on Sunday. She might still be in her nightgown. As a courtesy, he would have to give her a few hours notice before bringing a guest over. That he was not comfortable with that idea.

I pictured this woman Diane puttering around the house, glad to have the place to herself and how I would feel in her shoes if Adam showed up with his new girlfriend.

So I didn’t push it.

By the time we got back to my house I was emotionally exhausted and starving. So off we went to the new Hip Vegan Cafe.

The place was packed. The food was fabulous. Two of my yoga students walked in. I smiled. We kept our conversation light. Adam was off the hook for the moment. 

 I did not know what to think as he headed home to his garden, Diane and her mother with AD.

That night I wrote a letter in my journal, to myself:

Where it stands now is that you do not know the true Nature of his relationship with Diane but inwardly you cringe.

 You HOPE for the best—you run these last ten weeks over and over again in your mind. You have a pack of emails and Facebook messages to prove the depths of his feelings but you are bracing yourself for the worst because a) Fact is she lives in his house and b) Liz said she thinks “they were still together at Christmas.”


Your mind is in a whirl. You don’t know what to think. Is he a pathological liar or is he sincerely trying?

A little later I e-mailed Ann:


Not sure how I feel about all the lies he had to tell.


He had to tell an awful lot of lies and half truths to perpetuate his living alone story for two months.

Two days ago he said he could rent out his house and get a house in Ojai. When I asked him if he really thought he could rent  out his house he said “In today’s market, it would be a piece of cake…”


But what he really had in mind was that Diane and her mom could keep living in the house.

I just do not get why he did not explain this from the beginning.


Today he said he does not need the rent money and that Diane and her mom could keep living in the house for free. He said maybe they could pay utilities.


It’s all very confusing. I asked him why would a man who claims to be looking for a relationship live like this?


He admitted that it has crossed his mind that having Diane and her mother at the house keeps relationships out of reach.

That same evening I received this email from Adam. adam1@gmail.com writes:

My Dearest Suza,

 You are so right when you say “You and I have a lot of things to sort out.”

I have hopes and dreams of a great long lasting relationship, but I also have fears.

 It seems like sometimes I am a prisoner of my own thoughts and feelings. You are so close to me, yet I do so many things which seem to drive a wedge between us and our ever growing relationship. 

Like I said today, it seems that true love is always a hair away from my being able to grasp and accept it.  You have awakened many feelings in me, which I had brushed aside for so long.

Suza, you are a strong and patient woman. I am so grateful for that quality in you. I am blessed to have a woman of your quality in my life, but sometimes it seems like I don’t appreciate or respect that. 

I am trying, I want to succeed, but my past fears and emotions get in the way. You don’t know how hard this is for me. You have truly “rocked my world” in a way I never thought possible.

 

  I need to let go of the past, enjoy today and move forward with you into the future.


Suza, believe me I am trying.


With my deepest love,


Adam

Seconds later, I sent this eternally hopeful reply:

My Dearest Adam,


We need a quiet place to work things out. If your finances allow you to rent a house in Ojai I hope you seriously consider it. We could work out the details later, after you get your bearings and are more sure of your feelings and where you really want to go with this.


 Now that I know you have an ex girlfriend and her mother living at your house, I do not see going away on a weekend trip as a solution.


A relationship with me is within your reach. But it will require that you put my needs on equal footing with your own.


Looking at you, I see a wonderful, worthy man who could be a hundred times more effective in the wider world and realize your true potential.


Namaste,
With love and respect,


Suza

I also sent an email to my student Liz to remind her to contact Diane.

Hi Liz,


When you have a chance can you find out the situation with Adam and Diane (I think that is her name)?

I am so thankful that you happened to be there right at the exact moment when he arrived.
 

Thanks again for telling me!
 

Suza

Late that evening there was a reply from Liz:

Hi Suza, I emailed Diane today to find out if they are still together. If I don’t hear from her via email tomorrow, I will give her a call.  I also checked with a friend of mine who is close with Diane who thought that they were still together at Christmas.

 What did Adam say when you asked him about being Diane’s boyfriend?  

 Liz

I wrote back:

Hi Liz,

I honestly don’t know what to think.  Adam gave me the impression that he lived alone. I have gone out with him for about eight weeks (lunch dates, hikes, dinner) and he always goes home early. When I asked him about what you said he said that Diane lives at the house with her mother who has alzheimers. He said Diane is a former girlfriend  and they lead separate lives.


He says Diane takes care of the house. He insists their personal relationship is over.
I am going to keep him at arms length until I find out more. He says he wants to help Diane. That’s why she lives with him.


I think I am still in shock.  Thanks for your help.


Suza


PS If they were still together at Christmas then this man is a pathological liar. He said that he went out of town at Christmas and New Years. Please find out what you can.

Thank you!

Monday morning there was this reply from Liz:

Hi Suza, I have not heard back from Diane yet, but she doesn’t always check her email.  Honestly, I hate to say this, but I doubt that it is a “roommate” situation.  She doesn’t seem like the type of woman who would put up with that.  I’ll see what I can find out.  Adam must know that this is going to all get back to Diane one way or another!  

Monday night I got another shock.

Liz called to say that she spoke to Diane.

Diane says they broke up around Christmas. But Adam is stills staying at her house,” Liz reported.

Her house?” I interrupted. “Don’t you mean she’s staying at his house?”


Liz laughed. “No…Adam moved in with Diane. He lives at her house.”


I tried to straighten Liz out. “Oh no, that’s not true. Adam says he’s letting Diane and her mom stay at the house so she can get back on her feet.”


Liz laughed again.


Finally she convinced me I had the story backwards.


This was too big of a lie for a phone confrontation. I needed to talk to Adam face-to-face.

He was already scheduled to come to Ojai the next day, Tuesday, for an evening meeting.


He agreed to come by 2pm so we could go to Meditation Mount to talk.

Continued, Chapter Ten: Meditation Mount, The Garden of Peace

Fishing On Facebook, Chapter Eight: Yoga Room in Ojai

April 24, 2011

This is Chapter Eight of a true story.  All of the names except the author’s have been changed to protect the innocent and not so innocent.

People who are only willing to look at or to be aware of one portion of themselves  are essentially living in a delusion—-well-intended though that delusion might be.  –The Shadow Side of Intimate Relationships, by Douglas Moseley and Naomi Moseley

On December 27, 2010, I wrote in my journal: 

The strangest thing happened today when Adam came to see me after he returned  from the trip he took over Christmas weekend.

He suddenly remembered that he “forgot “to tell me he almost died last year!

We were just standing around getting ready to walk the dogs when he turns toward me with an alarmed look on his face and blurts out, “I can’t believe I forgot to tell you this! Everyone else knows this about me but I haven’t told you. I’ve told you everything else — the story about my birth parents –my step father –my biological father — I took you to the land where I was raised. You know my whole history — but I haven’t told you this.”

” I can’t believe I forgot to tell you this! ” He repeated this again.

I’ll try to remember the gist of what he said.

“I can’t believe I forgot to tell you that last spring I almost died. I had open heart surgery. One of my valves collapsed. The doctors said that in another hour I would have been dead.”

When I asked to see the scars he said he did not want to show me.

I suddenly felt exhausted and said, “Let’s lie down while you tell me the whole story.”

I hadn’t seen Adam in almost four days – since the day before Christmas. It felt nice just to relax and be close to him while he talked.

I could not help but notice that  inside the house I did not feel the same sexual pull as out in nature. Even later, when he kissed me after telling his near-death story in great detail for about ten minutes, I felt nothing. In fact, I felt his kissing was impersonal. More like him reacting to the proximity of a woman –not necessarily responding to me personally.

He described how last spring –back in March– he had been feeling increasingly breathless. He had low energy and he noticed when hiking how he was slowing down. But typical macho man , he dismissed the seriousness of his symptoms over and over again, even when all his friends told him he had to go see a doctor. He told himself it was some infection or something in his lungs.

By the time he went to the doctors’ office they said he was “an hour away from being dead.” And rushed him into surgery.

Later, after I assured him that I was like a Yoga Doctor and that I had seen lots of surgery scars on my students and that his scars would not turn me off, he finally pulled up his shirt and showed me.

You can see where they cut his chest open. He said he has seen his heart beating and pumping blood up close on a monitor. I would hope his close brush with death would make him take Life more seriously.

Adam’s health revelation gave me a jolt. This explains why we haven’t done any strenuous hikes and why he stops to catch his breath when we walk uphill. He’s still recovering.

A little later, while we walked the dogs, he  told me about his Christmas visit with his  cousin Jean, and her life long live-in boyfriend Sam. He described how they all ate at Wendy’s for a treat. [Dear Reader, The reason I’m telling you these mundane details will make sense down the road.]

Later, after I absorbed that he almost died, Adam said he has his blood checked regularly to see if the medication dosage is OK .  I think he takes blood thinners, coumadin or cumudin —isn’t that rat poison? Apparently they check his blood regularly, weekly or twice a month.

I find it mighty curious that he did not mention any of this in that email where he described his perfect health. I don’t get it. How could he forget to tell me something like this especially since he’s on medication?

All this time he’s been going to the doctor at least twice a month. But all this time he “forgot” to tell me?

I even wrote in my journal, You can’t help but think, “What else has this goon forgotten to tell me?” 

But just like all the other thoughts that threatened to burst my bubble, I brushed them aside.

As I type my journal notes and write this part of the story it strikes me that finally revealing that he “almost died,” was a very clever move on Adam’s part.

 I can see now that the revelations about his health further softened my heart and helps explain why I cut him so much slack as the truth about his life unfolded in the days ahead.

And, by the same token,  I have to cut myself some slack and keep in mind that while all this dating and soul baring was going on that Adam and I were working on several hot environmental and wildlife issues. He was the shining knight on a white horse mentoring me. I was super charged to hang in there because at the end of the fairy tale we would metamorphis into a committed political “power couple.”

A day later, while resting in the Goddess Pose on my yoga bolster, it hit me how lonely I felt. I realized I needed to Speak My Truth to Adam.

 Soon. Today. Now. Before he was out of reach on another nature adventure.

So two days before he headed out to some cabin on the Kern River, I made a heroic attempt to reconcile his  love-letters with real-life.

On Thursday, December 30, 2010, I wrote in my journal:

Suza, snap out of it.  Practice “Divine indifference.”

At the top of the page I had written “John Muir.” That is how I thought of Adam and why I made excuses for his absence at Christmas. I reminded myself, “You knew he was like this from Facebook. He likes going into Nature alone.’

Then I wrote:

Must not forget to write down the phone conversation I initiated Wednesday that ended up with him saying, “Well, let me jump ahead. Would you like me to come live with you?”

 Suza, the problem is that you are conflicted, split in two.

This week you’ve heard him say several times that the two most significant events of 2010 were in April, when he almost died and doctors saved his life, and meeting you. That was the Friday before Thanksgiving, only seven weeks ago. But because you’ve known him since the 1970’s, it feels much longer.

I also wrote: The other day while he drove through the Arbolada he brought up again about eating meat. He is worried that if he hooks up with me he’ll have to cut back on Wendy’s hamburgers and trips to the steak house!

Part of me is incredulous that he is making meat-eating an issue but it turns out he’s been down this road before. He had another vegan or vegetarian girlfriend and, he said, “In the beginning, it’s not an issue but then reality enters in.”

What an insult. He’d give me up for a hamburger?

Wednesday December 29, 2010

On the phone with Adam I heard myself tell him again, “It’s been like this from the beginning. You act interested. But you are not available.”

I  told him, “Waiting has been good for us. It’s been hard for me, but good. It’s good for both of us to look at our patterns.”

I talk to Adam on the phone while sitting on the yoga room floor in Upavista Konasana, Seated Wide Angle Pose.  My feet wide apart, legs open, anchored to the Earth, my chest lifted, my pubis, navel, heart, third-eye, brain, mind centered.

I say, in my sweetest, calmest, most non threatening voice, “There is something I want to talk about.

 It may take a little while. It is very  sensitive. So it might take me awhile to find the right words.”

“Oh Kaaay…” He drawls.

I said that talking is like writing. If it does not come out right you can wipe the slate clean.  Like tearing up the page or deleting, and starting over. And if it still doesn’t come out right, you can try again.”

There’s a pause and then he says,”That’s very powerful.”

He always knows what to say.

So, then, encouraged by his response, I continue.

 “I want to tell you what I’d like. I know that doesn’t mean I can have it. But I want you to understand how I feel and what I’d like.”

“I’d like to spend New Years eve with you. Either in front of a fire at your house or on a futon in my yoga room with candles all around.

I need warmth. I need to be hugged. I want the evening to be open-ended. Where you don’t have to leave at 8pm and we can see how we feel.

It’s been good to delay sex. But there comes a point where it does not feel right to keep getting all fired up –and then –nothing.”

I said this so much better than I’m writing it.

I warmed up to it.

I said, “I want to give you space. I understand about being alone. ”

 (Earlier he had  tried to bring up that old-worn out point about “What if he wants to take off to the Grand Canyon for three weeks…”)

I said, “This is not about taking off to the Grand Canyon later on in our relationship, after we’ve been together. You going off alone in nature is not a problem. I told you, I’m a writer. I need time alone.

I understood when you left for Christmas to be with your cousin. But I really want to be with you on New Year’s eve.

I do not understand how you can write me those letters about how much you want me and then take off  again so soon.

It makes me feel lonely, rejected and confused.”

Adam’s response was very sweet. He is no dummy!  His voice got ever so tender and serious. So I know he heard me and understood.

But then, instead of staying quiet,  I made it easy for him to have an out.

I said, “ Even if I cannot have what I want at this time, I want to be understood.”

Then he says, “Now I feel torn. I’m glad you can express how you feel. I want to know how you feel. I’m glad you shared this.”

And then the tone of his voice got firmer. ” I’ve planned this trip. I’m going. I don’t go to New Year’s eve parties. And I go to bed early.”

“OK,” I said, “But I want you to know how hard this is for me. All this longing. I want to lie down with you and be close. It does not have to be all or nothing. I don’t know what it will lead to.”

“I guarantee I know what it will lead to.”  Says he.

So then I said, “OK. I respect that. I would not want to talk you into staying and then have you resent me because I talked you out of your trip.”

And then I dug in my heels.

I said, in my firmest feminine voice, “But I still do not understand why you have to be gone New Year’s eve.  Why leave that night? You have plenty of free time. Why not go mid week? Or next weekend.”

I don’t give up easy.

I said, “Adam, we are at the beginning of a relationship. New Years eve is special and I want to be with you.”

I was careful to say all this with dignity and not sound like I was begging to go to bed with him which ofcourse in a way I am.

He’s so smart.  He says, “OK.  Let’s just keep talking.”

I say, “I do love that you want to be alone in nature. But this is something to look at. Just like you say to me, “I want Suza to be Suza, I also want Adam to be Adam.”

So I said, “I’ve told you how I feel. Now the ball is in your court. Maybe you can find a way for us to be together before you leave.”

I need a Zen Master to hit me over the head with a stick.

Instead of staying quiet I dug my own grave. I said,

“If you go I will not be mad. We will see each other in a week. I just want you to know how I feel .

I cannot go on like this. Each time you visit it takes me day or two to recover. I can’t go on being distracted always thinking about sex.”

Then, after a few more minutes of this kind of hopeless exchange Adam suddenly says:

“Let me jump head. “ Pause. “Do you want me to live with you?”

Well, that’s one way to silence me. I wasn’t ready for that.

I told Ann some of this.  She said, “ I’m with your Gemini twin who knows how to practice divine indifference and love what is!  The more freedom you allow him, the more he’ll keep wanting to come back to you — scarred heart and all!”

December 31, 2010, Friday morning, I wrote in my journal,

Now it is Friday and this conversation seems long ago. I prefer that Adam not come to Ojai this morning and disturb me. I want to enjoy my weekend and not be missing him.

Mantra for the day: Suza, see things as they are, not as you wish them to be!

But Adam came to Ojai to say goodbye. I had to go finish emptying out my storage unit so we only had a few minutes.

As I gave him a  hug, he pulled a folded piece of paper out of his pocket. It was a sketch of a gardening plan for my new place.

It made me feel so hopeful! A tangible sign that Adam did care about me and intended to plant my dream garden after all!

A few hours later I went to Westridge Market. As I walked the aisles they were playing Allison Kraus, one of my favorite songs, You say it best, when you say nothing at all.

A wave of loneliness and sexual longing overcame me. It just about knocked me over into the cat food. Inside I was crying.

I went outside the store and called Adam’s cell. But it was too late. He was off my radar screen –again.

Out of reach.

That night I wrote this note to myself in large print:

It is so confusing. You don’t know if you don’t trust him because of your past, or his past, or both, or his actions in the present. Or the fact that he was lied to by his two fathers, his mothers, all his relatives, so you are apt to wonder if he lies too.

Three days of silence during which I tried to put my Life in order and make a plan for the New Year.

Then this hopeful email blinked on my computer screen.

adam1@gmail.com writes:

My Dearest Suza:

I am home now.

Had a very enriching and rewarding stay at a cabin along the mighty Kern River north of Bakersfield. The Kern was reallly roaring. The conifer forest trees were covered with snow on their branches. Brrrrrrrrr was it cold. Saw several robins and six young weasels out and about in places where there was no snow. I have always thought that the Kern River Canyon was one of the most beautiful spots in all of the Southern Sierras.

And seeing it this winter brought back many memories of my many visits here over the years.

Now home to reality and time to “get my act together” for the New Year. And see you.

Love,

Adam

I replied, right away:

My Dearest Adam

I love you and I am happy you are home. Looking forward to dinner Tuesday evening and hearing more about your adventure in that cabin along the mighty Kern River  — which intrigues me to no end.

Suza

*     *    *     *    *

The first week of the New Year flew by. Things were so busy I didn’t even think about going to visit Adam’s place in Ventura.

I had started teaching a small group Sunday morning class at my house and Adam was coming over after class. We planned to walk Honey together, go check out the new Hip Vegan Cafe for lunch and catch up on things.

There was a new student in the Sunday class, Jill, who I noticed was one of the many women who left Comments on Adam’s Facebook page. She was involved in several wildlife projects. I knew she would enjoy meeting Adam in person so I suggested to Adam that instead of picking me up at 11 am as we had originally planned, that he come at 10:30, right when class was over, so that he and Jill could meet and chat.

My students were still in Savasana, Deep Relaxation Pose, when Adam’s car pulled into the driveway. As he approached the house I put a finger on my lips for him to be quiet and motioned through the window to wait outside.

A minute later I brought the students back up  to a sitting position and ended the class.

I told Jill that Adam was waiting outside. As the door opened and students began leaving, Jill and Adam greeted each other. They stepped off to the side, a few feet away from the front door, where they could talk.

A few seconds after Jill and Adam met, I heard another student, Liz, exclaim, “Oh,” “That’s Adam Johnson, Diane’s  boyfriend!”

Talk about the cosmos pulling my yoga mat out from under me!

The Zen Master with the big stick had arrived. And he was hitting me full force on the head.

The moment I heard Liz say “That’s Diane’s boyfriend,” I knew it was true, even as in the next moment I told myself, “There must be some explanation.”

Well of course there was. Adam is never short on explanations.

As I found my legs and tried to recover from the blow, I glanced toward Adam for any sign that he heard Liz’s spontaeous outburst.

Adam was totally engrossed in his conversation with Jill. I don’t know how he could have missed it. Maybe I imagined it.

I followed Liz to her car. I said, “Who is Diane?”

She said, “I don’t think Adam expected to see me here. All I know is that that he and Diane have been together for at least  two years – -they have been to my house for dinner a couple of times… They live together…as far as I know they were still together at Christmas…. And they live in the same place…”

I know this happens all the time, since the beginning of time, all over the world — but still I had trouble wrapping my head around it.

Who was this man, really?

While  Liz was telling me all this I vaguely realized that if Adam had arrived a few minutes later he and Liz would not have bumped into each other. There was really only about a two-minute window of time for this synchronicity to occur.  Liz  goes straight from the yoga room to her car and zooms home.

In my pre menopause  years when  things like his happened I would have been screaming and yelling and calling Adam a liar and cheater.

But now I did no such thing.

Liz said she would call Diane and find out if Adam and her were still couple.

I said, “Please find out as much as you can. I do not date men involved with someone else.”

That old familiar queasiness I felt was not new. I’d been here before. Hadn’t I learned this lesson years ago? What kind of cosmic prank was this?

I went inside.  Jill was gone and Adam was sitting on the couch petting Honey and acting perfectly normal.

Maybe he hadn’t heard anything. No, he wasn’t deaf. He heard. He was just hoping I hadn’t heard.

I said nothing.

I went into the bathroom to calm myself and think.

I decided if he did not volunteer an explanation, I had no choice but to ask him “Who is Diane?”

I would stay calm and hear him out.

And then I would let him have it.

So I said in my most normal, neutral, natural voice, “Let’s go for a walk…”

Dear Reader, I still had no clue what I was really dealing with.

To be continued,

Chapter Nine, the basin, near Pratt Trail

Chapter Ten,  Meditation Mount, the Garden of Peace

Note: This is a work-in-progress.  When all the Chapters are complete the manuscript will go through a rigorous editing process.

The book version of these chapters will have side bars on yoga and writing. Keeping a journal, writing daily, is part of the author’s yoga  practice.

In the immotal words of  the Greek philosopher Socrates (469-469 BC) ,  Know thy self.

Fishing On Facebook, Chapter Seven: Downtown Ojai

April 23, 2011

The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.  —Mark Twain

The lesson will repeat until it is learned. —Author Unknown

Note: This is Chapter Seven of a true story.  All of the names except the author’s have been changed to protect the innocent and not so innocent.

Fishing On Facebook, Chapter Seven, Downtown Ojai

After our heavenly nature date on the Happy Valley Land in Upper Ojai, things were humming along.  Life started to feel more “normal,” again, at least for a few days.

On a Saturday before Christmas,  Adam and I explored Ojai like a couple of tourists. We strolled the decorated historic arcade, took in Primavera, HumanArts and other galleries. We checked out Love Heals, a new jewelry store, where I wished he’d buy me some earrings for Christmas.

After hitting the shops we strolled over to Osterio Monte Grappa where I ordered Zuppa Del Giorno “soup of the day,” which that day was a fabulous vegan vegetable soup, and Insalata Del Pra which is  Fresh Spring Mix Field Greens Tossed in House Vinaigrette.

Adam continued “testing” me by ordering Arpaccio All’ Asolana, Thin Slices of Raw Natural Angus Beef, Arugula, Red Onion & Saved Grana Padono.

In spite of my vegetarian sensitivities, in my altered state I viewed this as a manly meal. I reasoned Adam worked hard in his garden. And maybe he was Blood-Type O or B, the kind that thrives on red meat.

I was hoping he’d save a piece for Honey but he ate it all.

There was no need to travel to Italy, India or Indonesia. I was in Ojai, California’s Shangri La, the most romantic small town in the world!

Sitting at a candle lit table, I got a contact high from the other couples sipping wine.

I vowed that if Adam didn’t drink, I wouldn’t either.

I thought it was great that we could enjoy each others company stone sober.

On all our dates Adam would head home by 8 or 9 pm. I was pleasantly tired by then so his  going home early after some delicious good night kissing was fine by me.

There would be a nice email or phone message waiting for me the next day.

adam1@gmail.com writes:

Dear Suza:

I wanted to tell you that the greatest joy I have had in weeks was when you and I strolled through the arcade, stopping at several art galleries.  As we looked, you pointed out things to me and I pointed out things to you.

Such simple acts, yet our stroll and viewing meant so much to me.

Lets stroll again soon,

Love,

Adam

It was getting close to Christmas. I was still unpacking and moving into my new digs. At that point it suited me fine that Adam always came to Ojai to see me and had yet to invite me to his home in Santa Barbara.

When I expressed a desire to see his garden after he posted something particularly beautiful on Facebook, he would simply shrug and come up with a plausible explanation why we would see these snapdragons and calendulas,  fragrant flowering sweet peas climbing up the trellisis,  roses and white birch trees and all the other wonders I saw on Facebook,  another day.

I was already dreaming of Adam making me a dream garden.

One day when I pressed the point of visiting his place, he confided how he’d had trouble in the past with women stalking him. He described how he’d come home from work one day and one of the women he was dating or an ex girlfriend was sitting on the steps by his front door.

I relayed this anecdote to my friend Ann. When I explained that’s why I hadn’t been invited for dinner at his house yet, she said, “I can understand that.”

I felt secure enough to introduce Adam to a few of my friends. Macy, being a bit further down the road of Life then Ann and I, was not nearly as trusting. But I was so giddy that when she took me aside and gave me an earful I did not retain a single word she said.

I figured by Christmas (the four-week anniversary of our Farmer & Cook date), or surely by New Years, he’d trust me enough to invite me over.

Rather than considering his avoidance of showing me his house and garden as a red flag,  in my rose-colored world Adam’s stature actually increased.

Imagine that — I was dating a man so desirable that women stalked him! Sure, I wondered what he had really done to make someone wait for him to come home, but I didn’t dwell on it.

In fact, knowing from Facebook about Adam’s need for solitude, evidently at home as well as in nature, I went the extra mile to demonstrate that I was the trustworthy, independent type.

God forbid, if we ever broke up I’d never stoop to being a pathetic heap on his front stoop!

During this blissful period, Adam also took a loving interest in my health.

To back track just a bit, after our date at Lake Casitas, we exchanged a flurry of emails assuring each other we were in “perfect health.”

Here are a few excepts from our long-winded health emails.

From: adam1@gmail.com
To: sfrancina@aol.com
Subj: I am concerned

My Dear Suza:

I am concerned. One of the many things we talked about were some “medical/health issues.”

You told me that you have never had a mammogram. I have been thinking about that. I feel that it is better to be safe than sorry. We have both known women who survived breast cancer and those who did not.

A woman at your age should have had a mammogram long ago.

This is coming from a man who cares very much about Suza and her well being.

Love,
Adam

I replied:

My Dear Adam,

OK I will go get a check up–there is a medical procedure that might be an alternative to a  mammogram. It’s called a Thermography and I can get one in Ojai at Dr. Robin Bernhoft’s office over by the hospital.

I will make an appointment. No problem.

Thank you for your concern!

Suza

From: adam1@gmail.com
To: sfrancina@aol.com
Subj: Thermography

Dear Suza:

I read the articles on Thermography with great interest. You and I both know about the traditional mammograms and yes, women tell me they do not look forward to these exams. But they feel this is their only option. And it has saved lives.

But the holistic approach, as you know, is best. I like the fact that you have located a doctor in Ojai… Please let me know when your appointment is.

With love,

Adam

I took all this as further evidence of Adam’s good intentions. But just to be safe, I fired back this epistle, so he could see I was equally serious about him:

Dear Adam,

I take my health seriously. When I wrote a book on yoga and menopause  I did extensive research on hormones and breast health. While writing that book I lost a student to cancer – she was certain that doctor prescribed hormones played a part.

I have never taken any hormones or medications of any kind.

While I am concerned about my physical health, I am equally concerned about my emotional health.

It is hard on me to have these intense feelings and then have to sort them out on my own.

I read on Facebook that you are fasting but I wish we were eating together and talking about life.

Just as you are concerned about my health, I am concerned about yours.

You mentioned you had a recent aids test. Can you let me know the status of that?

With love,

Suza

Adam1@gmail.com wrote back:

Dear Suza:

I am  grateful that I am very healthy. I have never had any health problems.

I had a colonoscopy to check my colon for cancer this past spring. No problems. I had a test for aids and other STD’s. back in May of this year. I do not have aids or any std’s.  I have practiced safe sex with past partners.

My birth mother died from cancer and my birth father died of a heart attack.

I try and take the best care of myself. Physically active, eat right (most of the time) and I  believe in holistic medicine and cures. But I do not hesitate to use traditional doctors when I have a physical or other medical checkups.

I have all of my original teeth,  my gums and teeth are healthy. My eyesight is good, though I do use reading glasses to read. My hearing is good.

I feel  lucky to have not had any broken bones. Lord knows I fell off my horse dozens of times, but nothing more than bruises.

I am six foot tall, weigh 190 pounds and wear a size 11 shoe.

Both my birth mother and birth father had great heads of hair right up until they died, so I like the fact that I may not get bald soon.

I have never smoked, drank alcohol or taken drugs. I was taught that my body was given to me in a perfect state and that I should keep it that way.

I do not have any tattoos or body piercings.

I deal with stress mostly by living a peaceful spiritual life, and, as you know, I spend a lot of time out in nature. This is so healing for me, physically and emotionally.

I meditate a lot. Enjoy the feeling I get. Peace is important to me. But as I have said to you before, I do not hesitate to pick up the gun or sword to battle for the ones who cannot defend themselves.

The only exercise I have ever done is gardening, walking and hiking. I am not a runner, and I have never been interested in participating in sports.

I have never been in a car accident or any accident for that matter. Have on occasion cut myself in the garden, or bruised myself, but recover quickly.

Well… talk about baring my soul to you. There you have it. The only health problem I have now is my heart starts beating fast when we are close, so don’t give me a heart attack.

Love,

Adam

OK. I confess. I almost died laughing when I read Adam’s health report. Not the part about his parents, but the rest! The child in me found it hillarious. I showed Ann and we laughed like naughty school girls. But, at the same time, I found his  full disclsure (or so I thought) , and the part about his “heart starts beating fast when we are close,” utterly irresistibly charming.

I fell deeper in love.

Adam promised to accompany me to my Thermography appointment in the New Year.  His plans for future events took my sense of security to a higher level.

A few days later, after another happy  date, Adam wrote:

My Dear Suza, Good Morning

I came home last night emotionally exhausted, in a very good way. Went to bed at 9:30 thinking of you and woke up at 6 thinking of you.

 I feel very blessed to have a woman of your quality in my life.

Suza, you have become very special to me. I am overwhelmed by your beauty, inner strength, your spirit, your emotions, your soul and your female touch.

I feel a wonderful bond both when I am with you and when we are apart. I feel strength from knowing you. I feel love from touching you. I feel sweetness from talking with you and I feel peace from your spirit.

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by Suza. You have the qualities of ten women all in the one woman that is you.

When we hung out at your house in the afternoon, I felt a kinship. When we walked around the arcade and had dinner, I felt a peaceful comfort in our seeing, learning and exploring things.

Your kisses, your female fragrance, your tenderness in touching me put me in spiritual heaven.

Namaste,

with love,

Adam

How could I not fall for a man who writes letters like this? (And these are not the best ones. The best  are tucked in the pages of my journal. For my eyes only.)

I tried not to reply too quickly:

My Dear Adam,

I read your beautiful Letter several times. I feel honored by what you have written and love and appreciate you and how you express yourself.

Namaste,

with love,

Suza

I also saved this Letter, sent a few days later:

My Sweet Suza:

I have grown to really appreciate and admire the wonderful woman that you are. Just thinking about you gives my spirit so much joy. You are truly a beautiful, loving, spiritual and passionate woman.

You have come into my life at a time when I was seeking peace, love, caring and communication from a woman. Suza, you have so much strength, so much love, so much beauty, so much gentleness and so much depth of soul.

I feel you, even when we are not with each other.

Love,

Adam

If he was in heaven from being around me, truly I was in heaven reading about it.

Adam came from a wealthy family that owned thousands of acres of land before the government bought it up. He told me the story of how he inherited his house in Ventura, which is how he came to move out of the Ojai Valley.

I had the impression he never had to worry about money a day in his life, whereas I can’t remember ever waking up and not worrying about money.

I was intrigued by the contrast of our lives and thought that maybe we had some lessons to teach other.

[I laugh as I write this Pulitzer Prize winning understatement.]

A few days before Christmas I wrote:

Dear Adam,

You have so many beautiful qualities that I love and appreciate so much.

In some ways I am a bit “further along spiritually” (to use your words) because I’ve been forced to grow up to cope with the hardships in my life.

I know “hardships” are relative –and compared to the untold misery of millions of people on the Planet, my life is golden.

But it strikes me that you were an only child, the focus of your parent’s attention. From what you have told me you have always had material (financial) security.

Whereas I grew up aware that we were very poor. When we emigrated to Ojai from Holland I worked alongside my dad since age 7, began cleaning people’s houses at age 10, worked as a night janitor at Thacher School after I had a baby at age 18, had added responsibility of two step children by age 21, and have rarely known a care-free day in my life.

My sense of you is that you have avoided the kind of Life I’ve led like the plague! You made a choice not to marry or have children.

I have earned my spiritual perspective and sense of humor about it all!

I do wish I had someone to hug me and make love with…but that can only happen in the deepest way if we bare our souls.

So keep the soul baring coming!

With love,

Suza

I really wanted to find out what made Adam tick. So I put on my smartest  PhD – in-Psychology-Hat and asked him to write me an essay on his “Greatest Fear About Women.”

I figured that a 57-year old man who’se never been married must have some fears.

I think I opened Pandora’s Box!

From: Adam Johnson adam1@gmail.com
To: sfrancina
Subject: My Greatest Fear About Women

My Dear Suza:

Thank you so very much for taking the time to share your thoughts and feelings with me.

You asked me, “What is my greatest fear about women?”

O.K. here goes.

Because of your question, feelings are starting to pour out from deep within me.

Here are my thoughts and feelings in no logical order. Take them as you like. I don’t know what will happen as I express these feelings to you, but I will let the chips fall where they may.

Suza, I truly miss my mother. I was very close to her. I was alone with her for three years after I was created by her affair with my birth dad.

I was with her when she died. I still want her attention. I enjoyed it when she was proud of me. I liked it when she hugged and comforted me.

 I was raised alone out on the ranch. There were no other women in my life on a daily emotional basis.

I did not start dating until I was in my twenties. Then I made up for lost time. I was out of control emotionally and physically.

Stupid macho me, looking back now.

No responsibilities, no marriage, no children.

Yes, you were right. Selfish and hurtful me. Blindly going through life woman after woman.

I am sure that I wrecked lives by my actions.

Were my past relationships with women all a false facade?

I controlled them (or so I thought). What was my anger really directed at? My mom for dying? Leaving me without the one woman I truly loved.

I was cheated out of her in my life by the lies I lived with, by the actions of both my step dad and birth dad. Then the ultimate rejection was her death.

Fast forward to now. Here I meet a wonderful woman named Suza Francina. Inside me are strong feelings of deep love, admiration and physical desire for you.

This whole relationship with you has rocked my soul…

I meet someone nice like you and then I throw you away, because for me to deal with my deep inner feelings towards women is too much for me to bear.

You are not my mother, yet you are a woman…

A second letter followed a few minutes later.

Suza:

I have really grown to enjoy the emotional company and great verbal sharing I have done with women over the past few years.

I don’t know if that means anything at all though.

You are so right in saying that actions speak louder than words.

I have tried to listen to your feelings about me,our relationship and how I have treated you..

I guess I have failed in this also. Too damn busy being Mr. Nature.

I want so much to have a loving, caring relationship with a woman. I shed a tear when I see couples in a store shopping, talking and sharing with each other about things, even holding hands…

I believed then and I still do now that I am not good enough for any woman. I now have come to realize that I am not good enough for you. When I have done this action in my past, women would ask me, “Why did you pull away from me?” and I would reply “To save you from me.”

How stupid and childish.

As I get older now, I feel that my world will never be complete without a loving lasting relationship with a woman I can truly love with all my heart.

And now I am wondering if I will ever even see you again, let alone have a loving relationship with you.

I have bared my soul to you….do with it as you like.

Love,

Adam

I quickly wrote back:

“Adam I understand…”

More Letters followed back and forth, day after day, between Adam and I.

Amidst all of this cyberspace soul-baring, I was aware that we hadn’t made any plans for Christmas.

Still, it gave my nervous system a jolt when just a few days before Christmas Adam announced that he would be gone all of Christmas weekend. He’d be leaving Friday morning and be back Sunday night or late Monday afternoon.

He said he had planned this trip before we started dating.

Adam had told me on several occasions that one of the reasons he never married was because he did not want to be tied down and he also liked to travel places alone. So, while I was disappointed that we would not have the romantic Christmas  at his house that I had envisioned,  I also saw a golden opportunity to show Adam that I was fine by myself, even during the holidays.

I wrote in my journal:

He’s perfect for me.  He hates cars, he hates sports and he wants to take off for three weeks to see the Grand Canyon.

He worries that if he gets married that he won’t be able to take off…does not always want a companion. He likes being alone!

I said I am a writer. I too need to be alone.

I spent Christmas unpacking more stuff and visiting my family. I accepted that Adam did not answer his cell phone when out in Nature.

Sunday night, the day after Christmas, there was this message:

Subject Line: I am Home

adam1@gmail.com  writes:

My Dear Suza:

I am home. Wonderful to visit the high desert. A real adventure to visit Jean and Sam (my cousin and her lifelong boyfriend). No rain up there. Got to see all the snow though in the high country above the Antelope Valley. Took a hike in Saddleback Butte State Park. Played with Jean’s  two cats and they took me out to dinner at Wendy’s (big event for them).

Good to be home. Had one inch of rain in my rain guage. Saw the snow on top of Topa-Topa… beautiful.

Will call you in the AM…plan to come up to Ojai midday on Monday or Tuesday.

Give Honey a hug for me.

Love,

Adam

That all sounded good to me. The little details about his relatives assured me he’d spent Christmas with family and didn’t have some side fling going like my last husband.

And I liked that he wrote, “Good to be home.”

That’s what my feminine soul loves to hear.

I wrote back and typed in the Subject Line: Home Sweet Home

My Dear Adam,

I’m happy to hear you are home and that you had a wonderful visit to the high desert. And a real adventure visiting Jean and Sam!

And now you are at home-sweet-home … with snow on top of Topa Topa.

I had such peace of mind when you left Ojai.

Our good communication and the love and affection that flows between us added to my Christmas joy. I had fun with my family and late afternoon hiked the basin area with Honey and Faccia. Later I took a walk in the rain with my umbrella…feeling carefree without the dogs.

I teach Monday morning but should be home around 1pm. Either Monday or Tuesday is fine to come over –do what is best for you…and see how the weather is.

I send you a kiss,

With love,

Suza (and a hug back from Honey)

Am I the world’s most accommodating woman or what?

To be continued,  Chapter Eight

Fishing On Facebook, Chapter Six: Upper Ojai, the Happy Valley Land

April 18, 2011

This is Chapter Six  of a true story. All of the names except the author’s have been changed. The protagonist is rooted in Ojai and does not have a big fat book advance to escape to Italy, India and Indonesia, a la Eat, Pray, Love.

From my journal, Sunday, April 17, 2011
Saturday night as I walked the basin with Honey, I stopped every few steps to write down incidents that I wanted to include in this Chapter.  As I scribbled quickly, I realized I was now becoming the Witness to the story.

*******

Today while typing my notes, I’m thinking to myself, “This story would be even more interesting if Adam had also kept a journal.”

What would it say? “Going to Ojai today to see Suza. Hope she doesn’t find out I am …”

Would journaling make Adam more conscious? 

 Is Adam capable of introspection? 

 Sure he is. I told him several times, “You are smart when you want to be and play dumb when it suits you…” Adam can go behind the podium cold and give a two-hour speech without notes. But when I asked him if he remembered that the first thing I said to him on our first date was, “The one thing I require is complete honesty, “ he shrugged and said , “It went in one ear and out the other.”

Now back to where we left off in Chapter Five

Monday, December 6, 2010, I wrote in my jounal:
 Adam finally called me back.

When Adam found out his not calling for three days had actually made me cry, he vowed to turn over a new leaf. He took me out for lunch at Garden Terrace. He began calling religiously, every day, sometimes twice a day. I told him, “Even if we don’t talk, it’s just so nice to come home and hear your voice on my answering machine.”

I think it finally hit him that this was something easy that he could do with little effort, no cost, no extra trips to Ojai and it reaped great dividends.

His daily calls gave me sense of security.

I also liked that Adam did not smoke, drink or do drugs. No liquor touched his lips. Ever.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010, I wrote:

Well, he’s not boring! I am giving him a chance. For the life of me the hormonal surge is so powerful I cannot sort out what this attraction is about. I do know I like him more and not less.

I am still in utter disbelief that this has hit me out of the blue. I am not used to sitting down for two and a half hours and enjoying someone’s company [referring to lunch that day at  Garden Terrace.]

Wednesday, December 8, 2010
I keep thinking back to our lunch date Tuesday. Am getting better at being present and not feeling nervous or embarrassed.

Like all human beings, Adam is a bundle of contradictions. I’m sure he ordered a hamburger to test my reaction. He joked that if we ever live together,  I won’t let him eat meat. I pointed out that my dogs and cats are not vegetarians and we get along fine.  [And in the back of my mind I wonder if  I think of him moving in as kind of like adding a pet to the family]

I’ve stopped trying to tell him that we environmentalists should “walk the talk,” and not eat meat from factory farms or from beef that is destroying the rain forest. He knows all that.

He says he feels a “sense of responsibility.” That I am “more vulnerable than him.” [Referring to our relationship, not food.]

The whole lunch was filled with provocative flirtatious statements designed to get me going—in which he succeeded.  As Beato used to say, “He could have knocked me over with a feather and I would have fallen in his lap…”

My motto is, “Be yourself because they’re gonna find out…sooner or later… anyway…”

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Another Nature date with Adam to Upper Ojai, the Happy Valley/ Beatrice Wood land.

It is impossible for me to separate Sex, Nature and Adam, the persona. Why don’t I just surrender and fall into the abyss ?

No, honestly, I think we are doing good.

He always arrives a little early, I like that!

I gave him a copy of my last yoga book. Tried to get him to practice a few poses before we left. When I encouraged him to sit cross-legged on a big bolster he crashed into the wall. “That’s one way to extend the house,” he joked.

As I write this my mind is all a whirl. Here is a man who does bare his soul—more naked than I think he realizes. We covered so much ground —on all levels—walking the Happy Valley land.

When he came to pick me up this morning saw him plain and simple. Just an older, aging, geeky man. But the moment we were climbing up Dennison Grade I was transported.
 
I know we are in that magic grace period that usually only lasts a little while.

I like that he wanted to stop at the view point where you can see the whole valley below. I did not even have to ask. It is so amazing to be in Nature with him. He right away spotted a Turkey Vulture on the distant phone line…a hawk flew overhead… such a gorgeous day!

Went to Beato’s Studio. Closed weekdays which was perfect as we had total peace, quiet, and privacy. We stood on the hill watching the horses below. I was so happy. The energy flowed stronger than ever between us. It was not just a dream at Lake Casitas.

He told me how he used to ride alone all day with only his wolf-dog for companion. We talked about going horseback riding –something I’ve wanted to do all my life.

He told me more about all his trips around the world with his dad. About Rwanda. How he thought he saw groups of boys carrying backpacks but when they got closer his dad pointed out they were guns. Child soldiers… He saw dead bodies…    

He knows the whole history of Ojai even better than I do. Told me about the Upper Ojai environmental battles in the 1980’s –they wanted to put a race car track on the land there.

 We talked about politics. He’s thought about running for office again. I joked he reminded me of Abraham Lincoln. “Honest Abe.” He said, “You know what? A reporter who interviewed me back in the 80’s called me that.”

He understands the need for women’s empowerment!

But the best news is that he was part of a men’s group. He mentioned again seeing Greg Churchill for therapy after he found out he had a sister and the truth about his biological father. And he also went on a retreat with Robert Bly, I think at the Ojai Foundation or somewhere else. He is familiar with Joseph Campbell.

He mentioned other retreats he’s gone on. That was a surprise to me.

I am such an inhibited journal writer. My parents are ninety now and hardly ever come over but I still live in fear they will discover my journals.

They will snoop and peek and find out that after so many years I am out in Nature enjoying the kiss of Male Energy.

While we were looking out at the views I could not resist nuzzling his delicious sun drenched neck. …with the vast view of green fields and the Topas behind him.

I had to calm myself down. But I am still over the edge. There is not going to be any quick too soon sex in a field somewhere.  Ann reminds me, “The longer you wait, the better it will be. – Within limits, of course.”

But of course I am too inhibited to write down the most delicious parts.

 It got pretty intense in a sweet way and we discussed sex in a good way–like grown ups.
 

It was just the right degree of passion and restraint.
 
I also saw how his mind works. When things got too intense he pulled himself together and put on his Nature Hat and started talking about plants—too delicious for words!

We talked about romance. Whoa! He understands romance! He indicated I ought to wear something beside “yoga clothes.” I said I would love to wear dresses and necklaces.

We are both trying to see the “real person” –not just what the other symbolizes.

We talked about expectations. What it means to be a boyfriend or girlfriend. I blurted out, “If you have a sexual relationship that means you are that person’s boyfriend or girlfriend, “ or some such idiotic thing. As soon as I said it I realized that was false. Old illusions die hard!

When we got back he always walks me inside…as he was leaving he smiled and said, “Looks like I have a yoga teacher.”   I love that!
 
And whoa! He put this on his Facebook page.  

We are so ahead of ourselves!

Next week is very busy for both of us. Good we have these “cooling off” days in between these Nature dates.

I told Ann, “He really likes me!”  She said, “ Duh!  Of course he does! Not every man in the world is like your dad, dissing you in favor of your born-again sisters!”

My therapists always told me my imagination belongs in a book and not real life.

Continued Chapter Seven 

Sex is a trickster. It can feel good no matter how unfulfilling or troubled the relationship… Because sex leads to bonding, problems with sex in a relationship may increase with fear of intimacy. Anyone who fears commitment will run when he senses the growing bond that forms automatically as sex matures. 

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

Fishing on Facebook, Chapter Five: Lake Casitas

April 15, 2011

This is Chapter Five of a true story. All of the names (except mine) have been changed to protect the innocent, or not so innocent, depending on your perspective

On Thursday, April 14, 2011, I wrote in my journal:
Fell asleep very early. Woke up 2 am and started working on Chapter Five. It was very painful. Sometimes reading my journals feels like getting kicked in the stomach. One sentence keeps jumping out at me, “For my mental, emotional and spiritual health I must write down everything.” I can see that I was trying to stay conscious. I still remember the drug-like intensity that day we went to Lake Casitas…

On Monday, November 29, 2010, I wrote:
Adam called at 8:45 am, just as I was leaving to go teach. He sounds so relaxed and confident, it kind of intimidates me. His voice is really powerful. Have to really work to keep my center. I have to work today–so it won’t work out to see him. Thankfully, he is very busy with meetings. He asked if I like picnics. Heck, of course I do! Thursday is the first mutually free day  so we will go explore and picnic at Casitas that day.. He has to go back to Santa Barbara  for a meeting by 4pm so we’ll head out early morning.

I could see from the photos and comments on Adam’s Facebook page that he was both spiritual and political. He wrote how he went to Meditation Mount to meditate and find peace. I told Ann to check out the photos of his amazing garden and also his house that showed how he decorated for the holidays. Not many men have that kind of feminine streak. I was impressed when he wrote that he bought a new cookbook and was going to try a new chocolate cake recipe. Plus, he wasn’t shy about expressing his feelings. Adam’s Facebook persona was your all-around sensitive, successful male. There were no photographs of Mrs. Johnson or any hint he shared his house with anyone.

Adam’s  image was firmly etched in my mind.

The main shadow on the horizon was this business of “social dating, “ that he had brought up on our date at Krotona. Our date at Lake Casitas would give me a chance to ask all my burning questions. I decided to run what I planned to say by Ann:

Sent: 12/1/2010  Subj: Questions re “Social Dating,” and Life

Here are the questions I want to ask…the things I want to say…my challenge is to ask the questions in a friendly way, at the most appropriate time…without sounding suspicious  or like I’m accusing him of something…

Some of his behavior reminds me of my last husband, who was a pathological liar. Maybe I’m just projecting stuff from the past.
 
Yesterday on the phone we talked about self-esteem….how no matter how it looks on the outside if you are not right in your core you will “act out.” We talked about guys like Tiger Woods…etc.. Some of this I tried to say last time but can’t remember what he said. How does this sound?

You said that these “social dates” you go on are not romantic…not sexual…that these are women who ask you out …but how do you think these women see these dates? 
 
This leads to the question of why would he ask if “I’m not comfortable with that,” unless there is something going on that I might not be comfortable with.
 
I want to know why he calls in the morning and tells me how much he loves me and wishes he were holding me.  Is this is just one of his lines he uses to get women thinking about him in a sexual way? It worked the first few times but now it just leaves me cold.
 
I suspect he likes having a bunch of women interested in him.
 
I already told him that my feelings are as much about my history with men as they are about him.
 
But most of all I want to find out what he is looking for.
 
I do feel comfortable talking about anything with him…but I have to keep my emotions in check… .I need to gather information to figure out if this is a man is available for a real relationship.
 
And I want to know when he had these six month live-in relationships did he carry on, on the side…Is it OK to ask all this…in the right tone…???

I can’t feel romantic toward him if I know after our date at Casitas he has a “social date.”
 
So I think the best course for me is just be myself and put a lid on romantic hopes!
 
OK enough of this… I really do need to protect my heart!
 
Ann wrote back:

Your questions–if asked in a loving way–all sound appropriate to me. These are things you need to know because you’re taking care of yourself! 

But I do want to add a thought, in response to “I really do need to protect my heart!” –that the heart needs no protection. Only the ego wants protection!

Also, try as you might, you’re not going to be able (I don’t think) to put a lid on your romantic hopes. You’re a human and a woman and you’re attracted to him. What you can do is keep acting as your own wise parent and do (and accept) only what feels right for yourself.

Good luck tomorrow.

I was worried that Adam had me on a pedestal. I wanted to be upfront about where I was in Life so I decide to have him pick me up in the river bottom at my humble writing hut. I wanted him to know that I didn’t have any assets, other than myself.

Early Thursday morning Adam picked me up. I wore my most feminine outdoorsy top and pants and he complimented me on how nice I looked. I tried to act perfectly natural and relaxed like it hadn’t been aeons since I spent the day out in the boonies with a man.

I was still on my juice feast/raw food cleanse and brought along a bottle of fresh carrot and celery juice. I also loaded up a basket with ripe organic bananas, apples, oranges, almonds, walnuts, dates, carrots, cucumbers and a container of humus. And, since this was a romantic picnic, I’d made a special trip to Rainbow Bridge for three kinds of organic Fair-Trade chocolate, including my favorite: Sunburst Farm chocolate covered ginger pieces.

Being a woman, I also remembered to bring water, cups, utensils, a table cloth from Africa and a yoga blanket.

I figured we could stop at the Farmer & the Cook and pick up a sandwich for Adam but he said that the food I packed would be just fine. As we drove to the Lake he told me that he fasts one day a week. It was something he an his dad started doing while they worked in Africa to show solidarity for all the people that go hungry every day.

I thought to myself, “What great global consciousness he has.”

We talked about all the environmental issues near and dear to my heart.

My opinion of him went up ten notches.

The effect of a free day out in nature was electric. It had been ages since I’d taken a whole day off and I felt happy and carefree.

True to his word, Adam took me to the hill on the land where he grew up. There were no other people in sight and as we sat on the grass looking down at the sparkling lake we could have been anywhere.

As they say in romance novels, “Time stood still.”

We took a little walk. I had stuffed the bag of chocolate covered ginger in my pocket. After awhile we sat on a log. As if in a fairy tale, a deer appeared in the distance. Adam saw it first and put a finger on his lips, signaling me to be quiet.

We were so still, Adam and I and the enchanting deer…

When the deer disappeared I hand-fed Adam the chocolate…my fingers touched his lips…we started kissing…

Every plant, every leaf, sparkled… When an eagle flew over our heads, I took it as an auspicious omen…

From my journal, Thursday night, December 2, 2010
.
I felt he really revealed himself at a soul level today.
  
The energy between us was pretty intense. Good thing we had our picnic out in the open. I had to move away from him a few times just to keep my feet on the ground.
 
Asked him lots of questions…felt I got honest answers…I was projecting past fears.
 
I’m still a bit confused about his past relationships. Talked some more about why he’s never been married.
 
He said he feared that I would realize he was not as far along as I was spiritually.
.
I love how he notices everything in nature …details I miss…I am afraid I am smitten when he starts describing all the plants and birds… I feel his soul connection to nature.
 
He is very different having never gone to public school…just grew up in nature and traveling the world with his dad.
  
Rode horses all his life…wants to go horse back riding again.
 
We saw deer…hawks… such a romantic setting, hard not to get swept away.
 
There is something  mystical about us reconnecting forty years after we first met.
 
Whatever the future holds, this is a great learning experience for both of us.

Adam sent a sweet email that evening. I saved it in my journal:

From: adam1@gmail.com
To: sfrancina@aol.com
Sent: 12/2/2010 Subj: A Special Day

My Dear Suza,

WOW…what can I say? I spent a very special day in a most wonderful place, feeling the soul of my parents and sharing it with a very special woman, YOU…who I have special feelings of love for.

  I felt so much inner peace after I left you.
Suza, you are very precious, very special, very loving, very caring, very pretty and  a very interesting woman.  Please don’t stop being who you are….this is the Suza I am attracted to.

Good Night…I am off to bed now, with sweet thoughts of you.

Love,

Adam
I smiled and reread those blessed words several times. The eternal young innocent girl in me quickly wrote back:

My Dear Adam,
 
It was pure delight to be in Nature with you, and to feel the forces of Nature all around, inside and out.
 
You shared many things about yourself today at a soul level … I feel our connection,  our friendship, deepening.
 
I hope you are in heavenly peaceful sleep as I write this.

With love from my heart to yours,
 
Suza

I called Ann and gushed that we had another amazing day…

Later that evening I remembered more things that happened and wrote this in an email:

Ann, I forgot to tell you how he blurts things out totally uncensored. He says things that most people think but don’t usually say. Here’s an example:

As we were headed back from Casitas we passed a  slender, very fit, woman jogger with quite noticeable breasts in her tank top. She looked like she works very hard for her “hard body.” He made a comment about her breasts, questioning if they real.
Well, the anthropologist in me is always curious to hear what men think but still it startled me. 
 And then he turns toward me and asks, “Are your breasts natural?”
I wasn’t really prepared to bare my bosom about my bosom. But, instead of keeping quiet and smiling sweetly I plunged into a swamp.

I said, “They are mostly natural…”
And in the next breath I added, “You really should not be asking sensitive questions like this.”
Then I gave him this whole spiel about having a baby at eighteen that I breast fed for three years. And how fourteen years later I had a daughter who I nursed for over two years. Then I told him how my third husband was crazy about me but after a few years he started clipping ads for breast augmentation or whatever the euphemism is.

I even felt it necessary to explain that I have quite a large rib cage and having had a baby so young and nursing two kids for almost six years left me looking …not as nice… I told him how the surgeons always want to do what he saw on the jogger we had just passed but that I had insisted on a smaller  natural looking enhancement.

I even told him how back in the 1980’s I wrote a humorous story entitled, “It’s Not My Fault the World Wants To Be Fooled.” Some people thought I made it up!

I was feeling defensive. So I said that this was twenty year ago and I never think about. I assured him my breasts look and feel natural and that it was no big deal…

Ann wrote back:

oh…these admissions…these bare-rings of our soul…and bosoms…

I am smiling and chuckling as I read . . . And I must say that I had no idea about your enhancement; your bosom looks completely natural.

I slept well that night, confident the day had gone well, except for Adam’s rude question.

*********************************
Three days after our date at Lake Casitas I emailed Ann again:

Something about this does not make sense. We’ve had three dates, each time we hit it off…and then SILENCE…

I won’t call him although I’m sorely tempted.

I think, “What if he’s depressed…” “What if he’s thinking if she likes me she’ll call…” but I realize that does not make sense…
 
So…he’s either terribly immature…afraid…has “social dates” … what?
 
I try not to think about it…but I do wonder WHY he doesn’t call…

I last saw him Thursday at 3pm. FRIDAY, SATURDAY, SUNDAY. That seems awfully long not to call and I am pathetic thinking about it…just like I did in my teens…

I assured Ann I would do as she said. I would not call Adam. “Whenever I have the urge to call him,  unless it’s a return call, I will call you instead. If you’re busy just allow me to leave a message on your answer  machine and that will quell the urge.”

I googled “Rules of Dating.”

The Rule for sex: Wait as long as possible.

************************************”
On December 5, 2010, I wrote:

Ann,  I am going to write a story about this.
 
I am going to write exactly what we said and did on Thursday at Casitas. I am going to describe my state of mind, and, I am going to find out his state of mind and describe it.
 
I feel like I have been duped and lied to.

But I won’t say any of this when I talk to him again.
 
My heart hurts so bad…

I let myself feel the pain I’ve been trying to keep a lid on…

I sat in my bed with my head in my hands.

I just sat there and prayed for guidance.

Ann, if what you say is true, that he is clueless that after our very intimate time together (I did not have sex with him, thank god , but it feels as if I have on an etheric or is it astral level ) after the kissing and deep sharing at a soul level…if he is really clueless what three days of not talking means to a woman…then I need to know this for myself and hear it from him.

I just wanted to scream.

Then as if in  a dream I dialed his number…he never answers…it is some remote voice mail system…not even his voice… I left a very calm message…my voice was detached..I said,
 
“Hello Adam, this is Suza, calling about 9:15 Sunday evening… I wanted to ask you something,” in a tone that was friendly yet business-like so he would never suspect what is boiling beneath the surface.
 
And I added, “It’s OK to call even if it’s late.”
 
After all, he did say in his early emails to please feel free to call him anytime.
 
Well, I just did!

So now it’s 11:10 pm and he still has not called.
 

I’ll bet he’ll have some excuse. Well, I can’t wait to hear it. Maybe he went to bed early.  Sleeping peacefully while I ‘m crying!
 
So I am writing all this because when he does call I am going to try with every ounce of compassion and strength and unconditional love  that I can muster– to give him the benefit of a doubt and hear him out without interrupting.
 
 I want him to feel safe to reveal himself. I want to understand his state of mind. I want to know what I’m dealing with. A three year old? Thirteen? Emotionally how old is this man-child?
 
Because I cannot keep going through this. I want to tell him “Three strikes and you’re out…”
 
He contacted me first and he initiated this relationship.  He is very experienced with women and by now he knows what he is doing.  I gave him a nice easy out that first week (and I have the letter to prove it).
 
So if after all this he still wants to keep seeing me I am going to set up some rules because I’ll be damned if I’m going to play this game by his rules! Clearly I need to be the one setting the rules!

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

Ann wrote back:

God–I so feel for you! It’s exactly what I (and maybe every other woman in the world) go through. One thing I’m pretty sure of:  He has no idea that his three days of silence are a problem for you. Men are just unconscious that way! 

You’ll find out, probably tomorrow, what he’s been up to.

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

And what was Adam doing while I was torturing myself?

I found this entry on his Facebook page.

Adam Johnson
Peace on Earth… What are you wishing for this Christmas?

I called Ann. She yelled, “Oh, for Christ’s sake! Does he have multiple personalities?”

If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drives us crazy, can be our teacher. – Pema Chodron, author, When Things Fall Apart

To be Continued, Chapter Six

Adam is fishing on Facebook but women want to reel him in real life….

Fishing On Facebook, Chapter Four: Krotona, “The White Feather of Peace.”

April 13, 2011

Chapter Four, Krotona, “The White Feather of Peace.”

From my journal, Sunday, November 28, 2010

Just got back from Krotona Hill where I spent the afternoon with Adam. Will write everything after I feed cats, dogs, finish laundry, make salad…eat salad. Still on juice cleanse and eating mainly raw food.

I need to write down everything to bring this into reality.

Meeting at Krotona in nature with privacy was a good idea.

We sat in the sun on a stone bench overlooking the valley.

He wants to meet again tomorrow –but don’t know if I have time.

Better do my chores.

Next page:

Oh boy!

Is he ever interesting!

I swear he hardly stopped talking. But he did ask me almost as many personal questions as I asked him.

I parked my car in the Krotona parking lot, near the Rose Garden that is in front of the library. I had told him to meet me in back where the fish ponds are so we could see the hawks that I saw there the other day but I heard him call my name and saw that he was sitting on a bench in the sun, in front of the library.

It was freezing cold except for that sunny spot where he sat.  The spot he picked was the very best warmest spot with great views and privacy.

The whole vibe was different from last Friday (only nine days ago!) when we met at the Farmer & Cook.

Here is what happened off the top of my head — not necessarily in chronological order.

When I first saw him he walked toward me and gave me a white feather he had found. He said it was the “white feather of peace.”

I guess I was kind of hard on him about not calling all week.

We sat close together on the stone bench and he told me the real names of every mountain in sight. With a story. And the names of every plant we could see. Plus their history and how they got here. Such great views of the valley. 

Oh, before that, when we first started talking I said something about why we had to be careful. Because I genuinely like him and we could do good work together. So we have to be conscious, I told him.

He said he fell in love with me and had to get a handle on it.

He thanked me multiple times for putting up with what he did during the week.

Said what he did with me (not call or email) is what he periodically does when he is on overload. When he feels overwhelmed he turns off his phone and email till he finds his balance.

Now I understand why he said he needed to be “off my radar screen” for a few days.

In the course of two hours he pretty much  revealed his whole sexual past.

He says he is trying to reign himself in, so to speak. No sexual encounters for eight months, some sort of record, I gather.

Later told me that about 80% of the women on his Facebook page are old lovers/girlfriends. I think he’s exaggerating.  Hope that’s not true!

He said the longest he’s ever lived with a woman is six months.

Women move in with him but he mentioned they keep their old place. I said well maybe they intuitively they know they may need their old place back again.

I asked him again if he’d ever been married. Still find it hard to believe a 57-year old man like him has never been married! He stretched his arms out and said something about “not going through that door….” (the long-term relationship/ marriage door).

Later he said sometimes he feels sad about this. He said he notices couples in stores, like when he’s at Home Depot, buying things together. He said he notices the way they talk to each other like when they are deciding on the color of paint.

I asked him why do these women that move in with him move out? He claims the separation is mutual. He says old girlfriends occasionally stay with him to get back on their feet. He says he just sees them in the hallway or kitchen, like a sister. Sounds like he has a big house with separate wings.

I felt very relaxed this time. We both asked each other tons of snoopy questions like does he have any diseases. No, healthy as a horse.

He’s kind of like a wild animal that has managed to participate in the world. Found out more about the different organizations he helped start.

We sat close together and then walked around Krotona arm in arm, in part because it was so windy and freezing cold.

He said he is aware of his patterns. How he sleeps with women too quickly, and I gather in his youth very indiscriminately.

He was raised on goats milk. Maybe he’s like a goat…

 This time I felt very comfortable around him… Felt attracted to him.. Felt safe in Nature at Krotona.

He was four years old (or maybe younger?) when his biological father introduced his mom to his best friend, who then married his mom and raised him as his son.

He is very close to his dad. Said again that he plans to take me to the land where he grew up. Said his dad will be watching and that I would feel his spirit. That his dad would be happy he was with me.

Says he feels he has two men, two fathers in him. He’s pretty sure his biological dad had multiple affairs –not just with his mom. And because he and his dad were sometimes gone a month to Africa or India (his dad worked for some World Wildlife organization) he’ pretty sure his mom and biological dad continued their affair.

He also thinks this because the biological dad came over to ride the horses his parents kept on the property. So his biological dad was always around and his mom was often alone.

His mom did not drive. She was a full-time homemaker.

He said he and his sister (who found him thirteen years ago) compared notes. They realize their parents (all four parents, biological and adopted) made sure he and his sister did not meet each other. Their biological  dad never took Adam’s sister to the “Ranch” where he boarded his horses (and where he saw Adam grow up but never acknowledged that Adam was his biological son) .

It’s not clear to me if his biological father’s wife –the woman who raised his sister and who his sister thought was her real mother– knew that her husband was the father of the daughter they adopted. They already had three sons and I guess the father told his wife that he knew about a baby girl that was up for adoption .

Back in those days people didn’t talk about stuff like this. His sister found out that the woman who raised her was not her biological mother at her mother’s funeral. Some relative told her.

Also, Adam was home-schooled in an era where parents had to get the courts permission. It was highly unusual. He said it was because his mom did not want him getting exposed to bad influences (or something like that) plus his dad wanted to take him along on all his trips for the World Wildlife Organization.

Plus he and his sister suspect the parents were worried they might meet each other at school.

He said he has had some therapy about all this. Said he saw Gregg Churchill and other therapists. Said he went to a men’s gathering at the Ojai Foundation or something to do with Robert Bly. Something about 12-steps. Oh, he does not drink, smoke or do drugs. Not even any social drinking.

He thanked me several times for my letters (emails). Said again that I am a strong woman…something about “you know how to pull the sword…”

He repeated the three words I used in one of my emails to describe him. What did I say? Rude or selfish…hurtful…immature?

This man has had amazing life experiences!

He’s very spiritual. Believes in past lives. He’s not Jewish but attracted to the Kabala and Judaism.

Even though it was cold we walked in the shady area by the side garden, the meditation garden. Everywhere we walked he told me names of every plant and  tree. So romantic. He rubbed some leaves to release the scent and held it under my nose.

Now  I am more used to his looks…very tall…kind of looks like a farmer or a very well self-educated outdoors man type. Very earthy/masculine.

His dad (the adopted dad) was a successful landscaper. He said he plans to ask Krotona who does their gardening. Said he’d like to move back to Ojai.

I told him a little bit about my pattern of moving in with men too quickly.

Amidst all this I heard him make plans for the future. He wants to meet tomorrow. He’s planning  a day to explore the Casitas area and also Upper Ojai –the Happy Valley Land. I’ve been wanting to do that for ages. He likes going to Meditation Mount–all the Ojai power spots.

 He had to leave at 3:30 pm so we only had about two and a half hours. Said he had to get ready go to  the ballet but he added that he wished he didn’t have to go. Said he likes ballet but this is the Nutcracker and he’s seen it many times before. A woman friend’s daughter is in the show and she had an extra ticket.

I told him to feel free to call me anytime – after he said the same thing to me.

We gave each other a long heart to heart good bye hug. And I gave him a quick kiss on the lips.

Oh, one thing that I did not like. I did ask him if he was dating other women. I know he lives alone but I had to ask. He says he does a lot of “social dating.” I don’t really know what that is but next time I see him I’m gonna ask if these women he’s “social dating,” know it’s just a “social date,” or do they think it’s a real date…

Well, dear reader, as you can see, that was a big day in my early days with Adam. I was high as a kite when I came home from Krotona and completely forgot that first dates are like a hallucination.

In the back of my mind I was still a bit worried about this ballet he was going to with some mystery woman, but, that evening, I received an email that helped put my fears to rest.

From: adam1@gmail.com
To: sfrancina@aol.com
Sent: 11/28/2010 Subj: Thank you

My Dear Suza:

  Thank you so much for sharing your beauty and the beauty of Krotona Hill with me today. I left fully inspired. 

I know I have said this to you before, but I really admire the woman that Suza is. Your personal strength, your spirituality, your closeness to nature,your physical beauty, your laughter, your ability to share your feelings — all of this makes me feel humble in your presence.

  Nothing will remove these feelings  and the memories of time we spend together from me.

I enjoy your company. And Krotona Hill was the perfect place to reconnect our spirits. You couldn’t have picked a more beautiful spot in The Ojai.

Stay warm tonight and know that you are inside my loving spirit.

Thank you for accepting my “feather of peace”.

with love,

Adam

I hesitated to share something so personal with Ann but finally the young girl in me just had to tell someone my delicious secret. Before forwarding Adam’s letter, I called and told her about my amazing time at Krotona.

Ann is a bit older and wiser than me.

Well, “ she said after I told her everything, “It seems there’s hope again. Fascinating!”

Then I said, Ann, he sent me another Letter. I’m afraid to show it to you.You might throw a bucket of cold water on me!

Oh come on,” she said, “Send it.”

So I did. A few seconds later she wrote back:

 Wow–that’s beautiful. I wouldn’t throw a single drop of cold water on that message. And, as your longtime friend, I feel that he sees you truly and truly appreciates you.

x o x/a

Afrer all that I sent a reply to Adam1@gmail.com


From: SFrancina@aol.com
To:adam1@gmail.com
Sent: 11/28/2010 Subj: Thank you too Re: Thank you

   Dear Adam,

  Thank you for your beautiful letter and being so loving and open with me.  It was so sweet to sit with you in the warm sun, on the bench at Krotona Hill, overlooking our beautiful Ojai Valley.

  You are one of the most unique, amazing, interesting men I have ever met — it is a pleasure and kind of a cosmic adventure getting to know you!

  I enjoy your company immensely, and wholeheartedly  agree that Krotona Hill was the perfect place for our spirits to reconnect.

Today I felt very relaxed and happy around you…I love you and appreciate how you are revealing who you are on all levels…physical…psychological…spiritual…

  Your white feather of peace sits here on my desk…

  With love,

  Suza

  I emailed Ann and said I was a bit worried that we were moving too quickly but maybe it was OK because I’d known him back in the 1970’s and we had this whole Ojai history together. It was not like he was some stranger I picked up in a bar. I said I was afraid I was getting too attached.

 

 


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