••• Wednesday, July 19, 2006

M is for Manpie 

M is for Mate. Mmmm. Mine.

You Had Me at Left Branch Bundle Block
A couple of years ago I wrote a birthday tribute to my husband and a comet called Halle-Bopp.

The story in question had a happy ending, obviously. But it almost didn't.

See, I had some unfinished business in another relationship with a sweet guy who I had been planning to break up with for a couple months. Then he lost his job so I thought I'd wait. My future husband (we'll call him E) was still on what I considered a most long-ass rebound from his most recent break-up and was quite happy in his current relationship position being raised by a flock of lesbians. Seriously.

So, after our initial, ummm, birthday meeting, Yeah, that's it, birthday meeting, Mr. E. called me a couple times and we chatted at the health club. He didn't ask me out or anything and clearly our relationship status was less than casual, which suited me fine.

That's until he showed up at my doorstep at 2:00 a.m. one evening, with a bottle of Kendall Jackson Chardonnay in one hand and Turning Leaf in the other, with the slurpy explanation that he knew I liked the wine with the leaves on the label, but he couldn't remember which one. ::Ain't he the cutest?::

That same night/morning, while we sat on my couch, I looked at this man and said "I think I could fall for you." To which he too quickly replied, "No. I'm trouble." And I said "But I can see your shiny heart." ::I have the shiny heart vision, because I really could see it.::

And that's when he told me the story about his heart. He already told me that he had been born with a heart defect and had open-heart surgery at age four and had been a subject in a study on congenital heart defects and pediatric surgery through the University of Michigan.

Obviously, I had seen the huge scar that ran from his chest to the top of his tummy, and the little scars on the sides of his abdomen where they had inserted tubes into his tender, four-year old flesh. These scars sprouted tiny tufts of hair, like tiny shrubs. But that's all I knew.

What I didn't know was the Left Branch Bundle Block part of his heart. We all have bundles in our heart. It's an electrical thing. I knew about the electrical thing, but I didn't know the bundled part.

And somehow, despite the ordinary reality of everyday heart bundles, hearing this hulking, sweet, more than slightly drunken man use bundle and heart in the same sentence was a death sentence for all my casual intentions.

That's exactly the point I decided I had to have this one. And his huge, shiny, bundled heart. Tiny shrubs and all.

That's exactly the point E decided he wasn't ready for any of this relationship crap. So he bundled his fine-assed self into his '93 Cobra Mustang and zoomed away.

Days passed and no call. I went to the club every day, at the same time I used to see him there. But no. No bundled heart.

Then I called him, but he didn't answer. I left messages on his machine, but he didn't return my calls.

One time his roommate answered and I heard a voice in the background whisper "I'm not here." And then I heard the roommate say, "He's not here." And then I felt like someone had punched me square in my heart bundles. And I couldn't breathe very well. And I felt so ashamed. And embarrassed. And alone.

That's when I took that scrap of paper with his phone number, and ripped it into tiny pieces, and threw it in the trash. ::I had memorized my last phone number in 1990. The brain can only hold so many phone numbers, I theorized.::

Weeks passed. I would see him at the club on a rare occasion, and we'd just give each other a nod. But he didn't call. And I couldn't call him.

Every once in awhile I'd talk to one of his best friends Tee, who worked the snack bar at the club. This was also the woman who had orchestrated our getting together in the first place. But I didn't ask her about him. This was partly to spare her an awkward position, but mostly because I couldn't bear to hear from a reliable source, that I should peddle my heart bundles elsewhere.

Tee soon left her job at the club, to work at a car dealership. And I just went on with my life. More weeks passed before I saw him at the club again. He nodded per usual, but he looked at me in a different way. Kind of sad. Lingering. I nodded back and went about my business. But that look bugged me. Later, I had the strong need to talk to him. To explain something. I didn't know what, exactly, I wanted to explain. But I didn't see him again.

One day, while driving past Tee's new place of employment, I stopped to see her. I told her that I needed a number.

I needed to call him.
To tell him that I threw his number away.
And would not be calling him.
But just to be fair, I thought I should explain.
And move on.
To forget.
About him.
And his bundled heart.
And tiny tufts.
And fine ass.
And bottles of wine.
And leafy labels.
And how my face hurt from smiling whenever he was around.
And how I just wanted to get it all behind me.
After I explained.
That I threw his number away.
And it's only fair.
To tell him why.
And that it's over.

And Tee said okay.

So I called him. And I actually said to him, "I'm just calling to tell you that I threw your phone number away and it's over."

And he laughed. And then he asked me if I wanted to come over. And I said okay. And I brought him a plate of black bean enchiladas. And we watched a movie, while we shared some enchiladas, and some wine and some bundled heart.

The next week we had our first official date.
And then he met my boy, who showed him some yoyo tricks.
And then we got engaged.
And then, on his way to work in the morning sometimes, he would stop at my house and come to my bedroom window and tell me he loved me, and ask me to marry him some more and then he'd go to work.
And then I'd fall back to sleep.
And then I'd wake up with a sore face. From smiling in my pillow.
And then we got married and bundled our hearts forever.
And then I offered my last good egg and we made ourselves a bundle of something the world has never known.

I am not a religious person. But I believe in a Higher Power. A Source. A Power not to be ignored. A Power that chose my eyes to really see this man as he was created. A joy. A light. A bundle.

Author's Note: I have been working on this post for days. It was really hard because it was so personal. And there was so much I wanted to say, but much of that was not for human consumption. So I wrote and wrote. Deleted and deleted and wrote some more. Last night I thought I had it done, but held off on posting it until morning.

Today I woke up with the intention of cleaning up and publishing. Instead, I deleted the entire thing and started rambling from scratch. From a whole new angle. It's this ramble that you're reading today. Pretty much unedited except for a few glaring issues. ::bloggers eating my words today.:: I got to get on with my life.

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