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The Distant Presence

Another random chapter of a book about two people who meet each other on the internet and in mysterious real life circumstances. Natasja and I never met for real so the “coordinated writing” took a fair amount of e-communication skills. Since women’s perception and feelings about life and the expression of them vary from men’s to a certain extent, the contributions from Natasja are in italic to offer you the possibility to refine your understanding of gender differences in response to various events.

 

Chapter XV

 

The next couple of days took away a lot of the lingering tension about my intentions, being busy packing and shopping for things we might need, the latter entirely according to Shanna’s judgment. If anything, it gave me the opportunity the see the world beyond Georgia’s small town atmosphere since, according to my locally available source, Dothan was the place to be for shopping. Any place renowned for that is therefore to be avoided in my travel guide but even a car is eventually full up. The last essential purchase in the form of a cowboy hat was thrown at me when I closed the boot with a sigh of relief, along with her now Euro-xenophobic name-calling. Or was it just trying to make me feel a home when she called me Boy or Cowboy? Point made was that I was to contribute my share to driving and she made that clear in the Southern drawl she hardly ever spoke but always meant she talked shop and left me no choice but to agree.

I threw her the keys, opened up the roof and settled down on the passenger seat with my feet on the dashboard, the hat pulled over my eyes and ready to roll. Sure we had things to talk about but the recent Georgian adventure soon knocked me off.

She pulled over and kicked my shoulder in Panama City. Her invitation addressed at my beach boy sweet ass to join her on a beach facing the Gulf of Mexico seemed alien at first. More still in dreamland than ashore, I followed her own sweet ass shaking itself towards Panama beach. The sun made it a fine day but it was wasted on me. The beach and the surf was beautiful and the sound of the sea woke me up somewhat. I just sat down, hating beaches even more, glaring at the idiots who obviously liked them and watched Shanna take off her clothes showing a bikini and starting to put on sun oil.
If it hadn’t been for the sight of her well shaped body, I would probably have spent the time looking for interesting shells. She went for an ocean dip and returned with white sand and next salt crystals on her body glistening on her skin. The shade of her blue-grey eyes, shifted to ocean green when the shadow of her platinum hair lighted up in the sun made me all horny. All I expected from a woman seemed to fall into place in any circumstances with her, including what she like to do to make that happen.

Getting horny is one thing to manage but admiring nature’s beauties is just natural or so I thought until she got annoyed with my staring at hers. Claiming artistic interest was just an excuse for sex or so I was told. Although I wanted nothing more than to make out with her at that very instant to beat the boredom of sitting on beaches, the issue seemed interesting enough to pursue. 

I was convinced she was enjoying it but still got told off for staring at her, obviously yearning for the reasons -read- compliments she was waiting to hear. Explaining it had nothing to do with sex such as she was obviously preoccupied with, but a mere admiration of aesthetic beauty only opened a path of female irrational dispute. Kindly explaining first that gloating at a picture is not the same as enjoying beauty in change and circumstances. That a picture can not capture that, depicting a moment in time and a fraction of the entire situation only and that only paintings can attempt at expressing those things, or writing...” was cut short attempting to redirect the discussion to what my physical appreciation really was worth.

 

 

Panama beach... white sand and shells prior to being crushed into just that, rollers huge to North Sea standards doing just that, a pouting woman so close to my skin her warmth defeated the sun’s and I wanted to explain my pragmatic definition of love to someone who probably inherited just that with her X-chromosome? I could be as convincing as I wanted, she wouldn’t buy it for sure but for starters, it was worth a try.

Okay, answer me this: I want you to be exactly the way I like the woman I love to be.”

“Fat chance. I want to be who I am, not your dreamed up wannahave pinup.”

“You said I was the perfect man. I want to find out if you are the perfect woman but unlike your snap instincts I need proof.”

“Can’t you just take me as I am?”

“I do for now, don’t I?”

“Let me get this straight. I am your guinea pig on probation, eternally or until you find a flaw.”

“You don’t have flaws, you’re just the way you are but in those terms I want to find out if your flaws match my expectations.”

“And if I don’t, you dump me. What more can a woman want?”

“A not so trustworthy commitment is what most woman want and when those promises are broken, the shit hits the fan.  It’s all about increasing trust along the way.“

“I don’t understand what you mean, Jan.”

“Lemme explain with an example. If we were to go for a brunch at Commander's Palace on Sunday morning, what would you wear?”

“Commander’s Palace in New Orleans? You would never go there. That place is so snob you’d puke.”

Unintentionally, she answered the question already but I kept that wonderment to myself. Explaining that would be much more fun when we eventually would be in New Orleans. I was more than curious then what she would answer to my question and repeated it.

Okay this is great fun. And if the answer is not to your expectations, I can pack my bags?”

“The answer cannot be wrong as long as it yours. Just take an intuitive pick from your vast wardrobe.”

A bit nervous nevertheless but obviously amused, she gave it a long thought to the extent that I began to suspect her returning the pestering favor and even cheat.

“Uuummmm, I would wear... a simple satin dress, matching pumps and a pearl necklace.”

“What dress color?”

“Red. Did I pass the test, Mistah? If not, you can find your way back to where you came from all by yourself.”

“The point is that I would want you to wear just that without wondering if you would. That’s what I mean by trust, in a small way. Promising or committing to always wear that, perhaps as a compromise for something else is not good enough. I wouldn’t want to wonder all the time if you kept that commitment. I want to know that would be your choice by default.”

“What if I had chosen a green dress?”

“Yuck. I would have thought that some people have no taste and you would be one of them.”

“And in that respect, what if I find that kind of reasoning about love and all utter nonsense. Should I dump you now?”

“Thing is, you don’t. You expect me to think that way. If I didn’t, you would dump me sooner or later.”

“Okay, so you’re saying I for one feel you are what I want but you will never know, so you refuse to commit yourself.”

“I commit myself to find out, isn’t that good enough?”

“No! What if I feel like wearing a green dress tomorrow?”

“If you would, I would know why and expect it.”

“Hmm, like so, I trust you don’t like hanging out on beaches, do you? I want to move on.”

I was going to say that was exactly what I wanted to hear but it would probably confuse her genetically defined logic. Instead the beach situation stuck to my mind and I went on.

At first bored and restless and rolling her eyes, she listened to my farfetched metaphor, easily illustrated by our present and past dwellings.

Starting with our first probably not-so real meetings, I asked her to imagine that after leaving the valley and the woods we were struggling up dunes getting to know each other, eventually trying to reach a beach, a refuse without hidden pitfalls and a complete view of each other. On our way to reach that, every time we would make it to the top of a dune, a pit was in front of us.

Along the way, we had three choices. The first taking the frightening drop into the pit in front of us when we learn about something not quite what we expected, wanted from the other, call it hoped for. The motive for jumping down is the scare of turning back to the woods, in other words giving up on what we hoped the other to be.

The second, accepting the beach wasn’t what one of us wasn’t looking for and indeed turn back. Nothing wrong accepting that, there simply wasn’t any beach at all.

When I came to the third choice, her eyes lit up obviously hoping I had seen the light after all. She pulled a disappointing face at the Gulf, hearing I would look next to me looking for ways to find a way avoiding the pit and thus continue to find my way to the beach.

She picked up the comparison but efficiently molded it to what I considered her silly female intuition. She said she was already on that beach and to hell with dunes and figuring out how to get over them forever. If I enjoyed searching my way to her for the rest of my days, that was up to me but she would always be standing on that beach, waiting for me.

That was the end of the argument as far as she was concerned. She put her head on her arms and stared into a distance. A painful verbal silence followed, painful because I suspected she was crying.

I left her and walked into the foot deep surf watching it go back and forth over the waiting sand, waiting to be taken back to the sea or believe it had arrived were it belonged. She was going to wait. One time until my Visa card expired and next forever after I had left. That was us from her point of view. Following my departure, there was no doubt soon nothing more than a continued virtual relationship, friendship at best or worse, nothing at all perhaps would be left to pay tribute to something so precious to her mind. I had never considered her pulling the long distance plug and that didn’t appeal to me at all. She had every right to of course given I had taken her so much for granted. If she had been the girl next door, I wouldn’t have cared if she had to wait for something that was beyond my control and was never my intention anyway.

Perhaps she and I were souls that needed to be together? My comments about finding Mr. Right and laughing at her, telling there is no such thing seemed suddenly way off. I hadn’t bothered us before, we were doing just fine even with an ocean between us. Did the physical presence really matter? It made some things easier and others more difficult. The latter for one, not being able to hide behind a screen.

Not relevant, I thought.

What had all that not-so paranormal shit been about? Had I not wanted it to happen so much the hallucinations felt so real, needed it even? Amazing they happened so synchronized but was that as coincidental as Mrs Doccie had preferred to postulate?

The difference still felt trivial.

Could I continue to enjoy her online babbling, knowing very well that she was yearning for something that would never happen again, or at best once in a blue moon when I happened to cross the Atlantic again and make up for what would be missing eternally?  

Probably not.

If I couldn’t, I had to commit myself to this woman the way she wanted it. It brought me back to the red tape being no matter of choice. I had to decide one way or the other. Could I ever just walk away and not look back, leaving a big question mark, satisfied that I gave it a try and spend the rest of my life not caring about what happened to her every day, smirking to myself that after all she wasn’t perfect and not even bother to understand them?

I could not, even considering her imperfections.

What did she mean by I want you? Needed me perhaps? The difference seemed futile. Surely there is something wrong with people claiming they can’t live without a particular other. I didn’t need her to survive but reversing that is there anything wrong with admitting I enjoyed life more in her physical presence? Would it be wrong to presume a match along the way of finding out?

Not so, I did really love to have her by my side.

Her idea of already being on the beach seemed too simple. How on earth could she so unquestionably know I would never fail her expectations? Was a promise to try to understand her way to love someone so damn hard to come by?

It was.

When short of a solution, turning shit upside down sometimes reveals unexpected treasures, at least literally to ardent biologists. Me marrying her to be able stay with her was wrong. But what about the opposite? Not the staying, my ability, me marrying here but the grammar was wrong. I had to leave but didn’t want to and she hoped not. She could stay and leave, if she wanted.

I had meant to find a pragmatic answer and what I found was one in turmoil of sudden urgency and fear. Not the fear of committing to the dune pit but the fear that feeds most relationships. I could lose her and be forced to walk back alone if I didn’t make up my mind and had to do it fast. The argument, her square answer, the silence and her crying and the makeshift solution brought up a gut feeling it was already too late.

I turned and felt the blood drain from my face when I saw her all packed and ready to walk away. I screamed her name but she kept on leaving me. I knew this was not a woman’s whims, this was dead serious and nobody else to blame for it than myself. I felt rightly put into my place, nowhere near her anymore, dumped in rightful self-defence.

Cautiously, I didn’t stop her physically but stood in front of her, facing a sadly determined hurt soul. With a shrug and the response to my feeble announcement that she had heard enough already, she just shoved me out of her way.

I had lost all will to beat around the bush. She finally stopped dead when I took her hand, resisting the urge to immobilize her in my arms, and asked if she wanted to follow me.

She didn’t even respond at first, pulled her hand from mine and shook her head. Desperate now, I put my hands on her shoulders and repeated the question with no need to answer now, and to listen to what it meant to me. She calmly stated she wanted to answer it now.

She simply said “Yes” and made off to the car park. was glad that made two points we had in agreement. The most practical that it was my turn to drive as I was beginning to suspect she was not quite herself. I hoped she would talk but feared the worst coming up.

 

I didn’t understand what he was going on about. I needed to be sure he would be forever near me so much I could scream. When he told me, he would never know for sure, my heart sank. I knew I would never stop loving him. All I wanted was to cry, return home, and wait for him to find his way.

I was ready to do just that when he stopped me and asked if I wanted to follow him. I had wanted to hear him say that for so long, my heart just stopped beating. How could he ask me such a foolish question?

He looked so upset I thought something was wrong with him and he looked so helpless all I wanted to jump into his arms, hold him so tight to never let him go and answer him “I do”, so softly but all I got over my lips before I fell into another world was “Yes.”

 

Written by:      Natasja Ivanovskaya

& Ivan Lynnishkin (aka Solbe)

 

Read chapter I of The Distant  Presence

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