Love can be wonderful; love can be exhilarating; it can feel as though two people have finally come home to one another after a long and arduous search.  Or it can be achingly poignant; when one loves so dearly and the other seems indifferent.

I haven’t actually been with the man I’m love with for some time.  We’ve stayed in touch, but I haven’t laid eyes on him in a while.  I’ve been dating here and there and now have a relationship of sorts with someone else, but my heart still belongs to the man I’ve referred to in earlier posts  as my ‘fisherman friend”.  I’ve known him as an acquaintance for about 25 years; back when he was a tall, good-looking, slim young man with pale blond hair and bright blue eyes.  We both worked out of the town’s fish pier at one time, he as a commercial fisherman and me doing ‘shanty work’, which meant that I maintained fishing gear.  I’d see him in passing; he always smiled shyly and said hello, but there was never much conversation.  I thought he was – to use a New England term –  “wicked cute”, but being at work in assorted layers of my worst clothing, splotched with fish gurry and slime, I certainly wasn’t at my best.  I had a feeling that most of the guys I worked with barely knew that I was female.  I harbored no hopes that this handsome man would ever have any interest in me.

Years later, brought together after my second marriage split up, I was amazed that he still remembered me; even remembered in detail what I used to wear to work; which was more that I could readily recall.  But then, fishermen need an exceptional memory to be good at their jobs;  they need  to keep track of their boat and gear maintenance, which is harder than it sounds; there are hundreds of details that your life depends on when you work at sea.  They also need to remember when what fish are where at what time of year and where navigational markers are (which are moved all the time) and so many other things.   So, it shouldn’t be too surprising that he remembered me.

What was a surprise was the whirlwind romance that developed between us.  We bonded over weeks of emails and long telephone calls.  We shared so much in common, for all that we might seem an unlikely couple, what with him being so tall and me being so short.   But, besides our commercial fishing back grounds, we’d both been married twice and both our most recent marriages were to complete nuts.  His ex-wife was a bi-polar alcoholic and mine was a psychopath alcoholic/drug user.  We often commiserated  together.   I think we each knew intimately what the other had gone through, in a way that most people can’t.  He is usually a painfully shy man, but he seemed to feel completely at ease with me.  I’ve always said that you have to watch out for the quiet ones; “still waters run deep” and all.   Not only did I find him to be very astute and well spoken, but I also found him to be deeply passionate.   He was sweet, empathetic and sometimes very funny.

Earlier in the summer, he told me that he would be too busy to see me during the hectic fishing season and said he just “wanted to be friends”.  I swallowed my heart break and took his words at face value, but I suspected that he was pulling away because he was simply not interested in a serious relationship with me.  I knew him to be a sensitive and caring man and I knew he was trying to be as kind as possible, so I just let him go.  Part of me recognized from the start that he had been deeply wounded by his past marriages and that it was possible he would never really give his heart away to anyone, again.   But I was pleased when he continued to call, email or Instant Message me on occasion to see how I was.  He asked if I would still see him sometimes, when he could manage it.  I said yes, because I would be willing to see him no matter what the circumstances were.  I know I’m a fool for him, but I can’t seem to help myself.  But, anyway, it’s a moot point, because by now, I haven’t seen him in ages; I just start to think that maybe I can forget about him and open up my heart to someone else when he’ll call and I’m lost to him all over again.

I’ve done some dating and had given up on him to the point where I’m now seeing someone else; a man almost half my age and very good looking one, at that, but we both know that it’s not forever.  I think he’s just temporarily intrigued with seeing an older woman and I’m just enjoying his attentions while they last.

Last night I received another one of those phone calls.  As usual, he sounds dead tired; so exhausted that he almost sounds drunk, except for that I know he’s a tee-totaler and is vehemently against alcohol abuse.   We talk about fishing for a bit.  He’s having a really hard summer and sounds frustrated with how things are going, but he asks how I am doing and talks about my painting projects and gardening.   The subject then turns to my divorce when he mentions that it’s almost all over, now, as we wait for it to become final.  I told him about the recent trouble with my Ex and his voice is suddenly sharp; “What’s going on?”  The sleepy edge was immediately gone and he asked a lot of detailed questions, so I had to lay the whole story before him.  As usual, he had some clear and concise comments, some almost echoing verbatim what the lawyer I consulted had said.   He gave me some comforting and encouraging words and he joked for a bit about how our ex-spouses should have been the ones to get together, instead of involving completely innocent, normal people like us.  In my mind, I added: ‘then we could have been the ones to get married’.

On a lighter note, I told him that I’d had a dream about him a few nights ago.  I don’t usually remember my dreams, but for some reason, I woke up with this dream still lingering in my sleep-fogged brain.  He laughed softly; “Were we naked and laying next to each other?”  I thought a moment but I couldn’t remember, except that I recalled that we were talking and that my aunt was there, too (which makes his scenario unlikely).  “I don’t know,” I admitted, “but if we were, that’s okay because that sounds pretty good to me!”  We both laughed and shortly hung up, promising to talk again, soon.

I know it’s pointless to hope for more with him; and actually, I don’t dare let myself hope; but I still find myself living for his next communication, in whatever form it may arrive.  It’s silly, it’s stupid and I know better, but I can’t seem to give him up.  *sigh*

Lighthouse at night