Do you have control issues? I mean, have you ever tried to fix a man? Have you ever thought if only he had a better childhood, or he trimmed his nose hairs, or knew that brown shoes don’t go with black pants he would be OK? Gramps grew up with his biological father and his step mom his whole life. He told gut wrenching stories of being neglected in his early adolescence by this evil woman. His dad was sick with cancer and she didn’t treat him the same as her real kids. When he came home from school on his birthday there was never cake, or presents, or even “Happy Birthday.” Somehow I felt like it was my responsibility to fix that. We had made plans to leave town the weekend before but he cancelled due to a prior race commitment he forgot about. Gramps was a runner and attended various run clubs throughout the city. I knew he had plans with some of his guy friends on the night of his actual birthday so I settled on the night before. This way he was with me at midnight and I’d be the first person to wish him a happy birthday.
I was so excited for him to come over that night. My friend Erin and I made him a two layer German Chocolate cake, his favorite. I scoured the city looking for non confetti (non cheesy) 3 and 7 candles. I cooked pot-roast for dinner, put out fresh flowers and got him a nice bottle of red wine. I noticed his cologne was getting low the last time I was over and so I bought him a new scent. I ordered USB cufflinks with his birthday card written on them, and a book we had discussed a month prior. He told me he was an avid reader… though I never saw him actually reading a book. Ever. Maybe he would start again!
At 6:55 I made sure everything was perfect and the table was set. At 7:20 I had to put the cake back in the fridge, the roast back in the oven warmer, and touch up my lipstick because he was late. I was looking out my window cursing his name when he finally showed up 30 minutes later. It was his day so I didn’t say anything. We sat down to dinner and I waited anxiously for him to compliment something. It was the first time I’d cooked for him and I wanted to know that my efforts were at least noticed. He told me he didn’t like Chardonnay. I didn’t say anything because I didn’t have a different option to serve him. He made a luke warm comment about the pot-roast. He liked the spinach side dish the most of the entire meal. Asshole. We went on to gifts. I bought him a Gucci cologne and he said, “I didn’t like my Vera Wang when I got it either.” “The cufflinks were clunkers”, the book was “nice”, and he wanted cake. He ate almost half the cake by himself. It was the most disgusting thing I’ve ever watched someone eat and I’m not even sure he tasted it. He said, “Girl, that German chocolate cake was the best cake I’ve ever had, better than my grandmothers!” Okay, so I finally got a compliment. Happy 37th birthday you big fucking ass. I hated when he called me “girl.” We took a bunch of silly photos with my camera phone and then he asked me what date we should consider as our anniversary date. That was a sweet gesture on his part. I can’t lie it made me happy.
At exactly 12:40 at night his phone started buzzing over and over. URGH. I just fell asleep. I went to the bathroom and decided I was going to turn it off when I walked outside to a dark shadow in my living room. He was dressed and headed for the door.
Me: Where are you going?
Gramps: I feel alone, I can’t sleep and my tummy hurts. Come give me a hug, we will talk about this in the morning.
Me: NO, we won’t. Who was calling you?!
Gramps: My friends wanting me to come out. I told them earlier in the day I would because I didn’t know how the night would go
He was making contingency plans? Who the hell does this guy think he is? He didn’t want to take his gifts or the cake he inhaled half of earlier. SO I made him. He took what gifts he could fit in his pockets and reluctantly the cake.
The next morning he sent me a “Good Morning” message. My head exploded. GOOD WHAT? Are you kiddddding me? I started in on him. It was completely unacceptable to walk out on a birthday celebration I planned for him! I sent him five text messages in a row I was so mad. He started responding and telling me it was my fault that he felt alone.
Gramps: Why r u trying to be hurtful? I feel like instead of understand or trying to empathize, you’re just lashing out, calling me names, making personal attacks, and trying to inflict pain. Why would you want to do that?
WHAT?! I called him and he rejected the call.
Me: Sure we can discuss hurtful. How about your general attitude the entire night? You talked down to almost everything I did for you. Leaving in the middle of the night, me having to remind you to take your gift AND beg you to take your cake. Oh, and to really kick me in the face you told me you felt “alone” with me.
Gramps: It’s how I felt would you have preferred I lie?
Me: I would have preferred you set aside your gross selfishness for one minute and appreciated that I was trying to make you feel special and important. I could have just taken you out but instead I chose to cook for you. You say I am cold all the time. You are cold, calculating, and manipulative. You are the one who is incapable of relating and empathizing with other people.
Gramps: I can’t believe you r mad at me bc I wanted to sleep well and I wasn’t. So I went home. Not out, home to bed. Um, the night was over. We r going to bed. What did you expect. Me to stare at the ceiling or possibly toss and turn all night? Sounds enticing. This whole thing is really sad. I’m scratching my head to figure it out. In the end I have no desire to debate what did or didn’t happen. Know that whether you want to accept these words or not, you are the most special person to have come into my life in a long time and made me feel tingly all the time. It took everything I had not to drop the L on you and that’s probably for the best but it was nice to want to.
What an idiot. He told me he loved me two months ago. I acted like I didn’t hear him and when I said “what,” he lied. Spineless coward.
Days of fighting via text and me asking for him to return my plate went nowhere. He was holding my plate hostage. I don’t know why I wanted it back because I didn’t even LIKE that set. Finally, I agreed to meet him to “talk” and collect my stuff. I wasn’t sure if we could fix things but I was attached as much as I hated his face. Thirty minutes before the meeting he texted me that his daughter had an accident with “boys” and he needed to find a flight out to Oklahoma…His daughter and their mother just moved to Alabama. I knew I couldn’t act out because he played the daughter card. I didn’t hear from him for three whole days. Oddly, I felt calmer than I had been in the last few months but I still missed him. I decided to call him.
Notes to self….
Sometimes step mamas are on to something.
You should always SAY something.
You shouldn’t text and date.