This One is for Marco

I have been in bed reading a Leo Buscaglia book Clyde loaned me before he left for Italy. If you don’t know, Leo Buscaglia is like a bad ass Pollyanna, a man who writes about life with such positive force, you think you may just go conquer the world, save a small orphan child, write a note to forgive the ex cheating boyfriend, and after all that is crossed off the list, pay your cheap friend the 20 bucks she thinks you owe her that you really gave her already but she was drunk that night and doesn’t remember. Life is to short to be right. Love, live, and forgive.
The only problem is by the time you get to the fridge for an ice cream sandwich, catch a glimpse of Oprah on Tivo, and answer a phone call from your mom, you forgot what it was your epiphany was all about, and then you start to wonder if it were an epiphany at all, cause if it were, how could you already forget what it was in the first place?
That is not the point.
The point is I dated a man named Marco, a name given for the purpose of this blog. In my 32 years, I have met a lot of fascinating people, too many colorful characters to name, but he has to be near the top of the list. I met him through a friend who thought he was hot, a gifted musician, a man who loved his motorcycle. I found that statement to be totally uninteresting and cliche, but she gave him my phone number anyway. He was completely male in his relentless pursuit of me, and seeing as I already had no interest in dating a man who lived over an hour away, I surprised even myself by picking up the phone when he called. Usually being able to read a person in less than five minutes, it was only one minute into our first conversation when I thought exactly this, “No way in hell.”
For many reasons.
I couldn’t understand a word the guy said. He ran all his words together, his voice low and deep, the deepest Southern drawl I had ever heard. I believe “Does a bear shit in the woods?” was the response to a question I asked. He asked me to repeat myself over and over as well, saying I talked too fast, asking me where I was from, as if I were straight off a flying saucer, a strange chick sent down from the Mothership. I live in Atlanta, Georgia, for God’s sakes. In five minutes, he had cursed more than an entire Pulp Fiction movie. I throw a f bomb just like everyone else, but it made me flinch to realize fuck, shit, damn, and asshole were not curse words but an actual vocabulary I had to decipher to understand what the hell he was talking about.
He smoked. A deal breaker. He wanted me to ride his bike. No way.
I was on my drive home from work, and with my mind already made this would never be a love connection, I always love a new friend. With this thought in my head, I knew it couldn’t hurt but to find out what made him tick.
What made him tick made my toes crawl. I would call him authentic, eccentric, brutal in his honesty, not a part of him added up or made sense. When he talked about his kids, especially his little girl, I could feel his energy, his dreams for them, a passion that moved me. At 32, he had more wisdom in his pinky finger than most men I have met in my lifetime. Its not just life experiences but the lessons learned that turn boys into men. It became crystal clear that this man had lived, lost, loved, and thought deeply over all the mistakes, reviewing the lessons to me with such humility, such grace. It was a gift for me to hear him, an obvious quiet man of few words, speak of his wounds, being raised in an environment that most people don’t survive, much less rise above.
He spoke of fucking in a way that made me almost drop my phone. There is nothing the man will not say, no matter how good or bad it sounds, a quality that at one moment made my stomach drop, and in the next instant, would irritate me, like a bug crawling under my skin.
He said he wanted a mind fuck, a girl who wasn’t afraid to look him in his eyes, to bring to the table her true self and drop the bullshit. He wanted someone present, who knew what intimacy could be like, that he didn’t live 32 years to settle for anything else.
I kind of wondered if smoking were that big of a deal.
I went to bed thinking of my nonexistent sex life, of my intimacy issues, and started to wonder if I had ever heard of a man who thought of sex the way he did. I think I wanted to know what being mind fucked felt like.
So we met for dinner. It was terrible. He never looked at me, complained the entire time, met up with our mutual friends where he said I was “iffy” and on top of that, he was a total fake. The man on the phone was nowhere to be found and this tough rocker dude, covered in tats and stories of playing music had taken his place. I was pissed.
I left pissed with him following me to my car, his head hanging low like a little puppy, apologizing. I was sorry I wasted my time, realized he had serious game to fool me the way he had.
I was obviously not attractive to him since he never looked at me or touched me so I felt a little bad for him too, thinking I must have been a bad date for such a long drive.
That was when he called me, apologizing profusely, and in his quiet sweet way, started to tell me about my smile, the seven different faces I made that had been snapshots he couldn’t take out of his head. He heard every word I said, repeating them all back to me as if they had been written down, word for word.
I was dumbfounded.
He said he didn’t know how to deal with how real he felt around me, how it scared him, how out of his skin it was for him, that the environment was set up, nothing like home, and halfway through his apology, I stopped him.
“I will give you another chance,” I said.
He acted as if he had won the lottery, an adorable reaction and I continued to be surprised, and dead wrong.
So I came to his town, and I noticed the details of his spotless home, the dinner on the stove, the music, the grin on his face. He was nervous in the cutest way, taking me to a friend’s home, leaving me to work on a bike. I chatted myself up with the pregnant wife of his friend, thinking how funny he didn’t know this was such bad manners for a date. He clearly never did the right things or said what was needed but what he did and didn’t do all began to make perfect sense. I began to understand him. That should be deserving of a medal in itself.
His imperfections made him beautiful to me, and his words sacred, because no one heard them but me, a fact he stated with such profound shock so many times that I realized this man had not been heard or seen in a very long time. I do not speak about “fucking” with his kind of bold blunt manner but what I will say is that in all my years of living, the most imperfect man could not have been more perfect, his ability to read my energy astounding, and I slept like a baby next to him, full and happy.
How I wish the story ended there. I wish I could put a period at the end of the sentence, marking my final journey through the fire, all my battle wounds healed, my other half beside me.
One day it will be that story but not today. The first fight, way too early to be getting to know someone, a disrespectful rude moment and then the apology, sweet and kind, revealing his truest self. Then the pattern became set and the hamster wheel started to turn, and I began to wonder how I became a hamster to begin with. Who was I? Where did I go? I have never been a woman who allows disrespectful behavior, drunk unkind words to be patched over with sweet adoring statements. I found my phone going off nonstop, accusations beginning that I even used precious energy to defend. I was told I was the only one he felt himself around, and that became a burden, every boundary placed became an argument, and I found myself drained, tired, and nothing I gave him ever felt enough.
It felt as if I had become a drug, the very thing that made him feel whole and understood and I know that he is misguided. I give him nothing. Everything that makes him feel whole and understood and lovable is inside of him and if I could change it, I would. I lost a marriage and many a relationship with that lesson engraved in my soul, so with much despair, I am releasing this beautiful imperfect man. If you scratched him, there is nothing but real gold, not a foolish or fake piece of him could be found.
I find it interesting in discussing this blog awhile ago that he wanted his name to be Marco, for the game Marco Polo, something I loved to play as a child. I have wanted to jump up and scream Marco Polo myself for some time now, never sure which part of him would stand up, always hoping for Marco, cheering when he arrives. When Polo comes, I cringe, a little piece of me crumbling, knowing he is asking of me the very thing I have not wanted to face.
He asks me to chose myself.
He reminds me that I can change no one.
He reminds me of just how much more work I have to go.
As far as Marco, I will love him for always, for his depth, his sweetness, the way he saw me, challenged me, desired me. He has taught me so much about myself and life, reminding me to push my limits, to open my heart, to break down my walls. He brought that beautiful sexual feminine creature alive again, and I wonder how we shall evolve from being two strangers so wrong and yet so right, speaking different languages, following rules neither one of us can explain or change. I believe our imperfect collision will somehow turn out well, just perfect.

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