This is a serial about love and awakening. Previously: I broke my collarbone skiing at Vail, which prevented me from visiting Billy for our second date. Without consulting me, he drove to Boulder to help, couldn’t reach me on the phone and drove home. Click here to start with Part One.

I felt terrible that Billy had made a trip in vain. I called him and said I was really sorry, but I’d been mostly unconscious the last two days. “I wish you’d waited till you spoke to me before driving up.”

“How did you get back from Vail?” he asked.

“I called a friend.”

He was silent. “What friend?” he asked.

“A guy named Bill, as it happens. Like you.”

“You called another man.”

“He’s a friend, just a friend.”

“You chose him over me.”

“I hardly know you. We met once. Bill’s been a friend for years.”

“I would have taken care of you,” Billy said. I took care of my mother when she had a car accident. I took care of my sister when she broke her collarbone. I know how to do it. I would have done that for you.”

“I really appreciate that, but I had no idea…”

He was becoming angry. “You made your choice, and it wasn’t me.”

I tried to explain that I’d felt vulnerable, I needed help getting undressed and going to the bathroom and wanted to call someone I already felt comfortable with. That didn’t mean I wasn’t interested in seeing him again…

But he was hurt and angry and there was no getting him to understand. I told him I had to go, my shoulder was throbbing with pain. “Let’s wait until I feel better and talk then.” Hanging up, I thought, this man is high maintenance. And presumptuous. I mean, I’ve only met him once! I can’t deal with anyone else’s anger right now. I have to focus all my energy on healing.

He called and sent emails in the following days but I didn’t answer any and after a time, they stopped. My friend, Claire, said, “I think the universe saved you from a bullet — an entanglement with a guy who’s not stable. That accident was providential.”

Did it have to be something so extreme? I said.

“Apparently so.”

And that was that. Until Valentine’s Day.


Please leave a COMMENT. What do you think of Billy’s reaction, and mine? Do you think sometimes we need to be hit on the head (or shoulder) to learn something or wake up? 

This blog is based on a true story, but I’ve changed names and identifying details to protect privacy. I’ve also, in a few cases, compressed time or altered elements to serve the narrative.
The title “Sex Love Enlightenment” is an homage to Mark Matousek’s book, Sex Death Enlightenment



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22 thoughts on “PART 3 – SAVED BY A WRECK?

  1. Beauregard

    How many times have I seen this story about the loyal, unrequited lap dog ready to serve and called upon when needed in competition with the bad boy?
    Why is that?
    And how many times have we all heard this story about a man who is clearly
    -Immature and hotheaded (jumps in car, drives to Boulder with no planning or thought)
    Controlling and angry (you chose another man!)
    Manipulative (that will be the next chapter, I’ll bet)
    And why, dear readers, did she not just hang up the phone, literally and figuratively, when we could all, herself included, hear the ominous music rising in the background signaling the circling shark?

  2. Barbara

    Your reaction was completely normal and his was ego driven. Who needs that! Just the same I am also seeing that bad Billy would only feel good if he was needed for something and he could be in control of it. Not really knowing what his history is he could also have been seen sincere by continuing to try and contact you via email or phone.
    As for the accident, sometimes the universe does want one to see something and getting hurt via an accident is the wake up call we need at the time. Even if we don’t want to see it that way. My husband had a snow injury and then later a failed surgery to “correct” his problem and that failed as well stopping him from doing what he was passionate about for work. The astronomer suggested he was saved from something else by having the accident which set us up for a move to a new life in a new city where we are very happy. So the universe does work in mysterious ways.

  3. Marc

    Sara, it sounds to me as though Billy was caught up in a very insecure personal piece that was offended that it wasn’t the ‘only’ special one…..

  4. Debbie

    HIGH MAINTENANCE?? That’s putting it mildly, Sara…my relationship antennae would have been shouting at me “Nip this one in the bud, and move on!” But, you did mention the great chemistry you felt with him, and I’m sure you were in a very vulnerable place after your injury. I would like to hear more about that – do you think you would have continued to be open to a relationship with him if you HADN’T been in such a vulnerable place??

    Also, perhaps you could tell us if it had been awhile since you had dated or been in a relationship with someone? Perhaps the need to “connect” with someone motivated you to give “Billy the Bad” more credit than he deserved? Well, you have me hooked, Sara – I can hardly wait to hear what happens next!

  5. Tracy

    The need to connect is never worth what he would have put you through (or perhaps we aren’t done with this…).
    I do admire the fact that you keep trying to find love – passion and deep understanding however, this was a direct and clear tip off that he was not going to be the one.
    It will always be inside him and WILL COME OUT AGAIN.
    Take a deep breath, heal and go forth in another direction.

  6. Michael

    Yes, I do think that the universe sometimes gives us one of those “rude awakenings” that my mother warned me about. For me, it was a run-in with lymphoma that caused me to get serious about eating more healthfully and getting regular exercise. As a result, I’m much stronger, as if I’d been forced to walk on hot coals. My soles–and my soul–are a little thicker.
    Steve in Denver

  7. Torrie

    It was obvious that this guy was all about himself: “I can take care of you! I know what to do!” Who cares? You’d already said you felt more comfortable with someone else!The situation of the accident just made his narcissism explicit, faster, so you wasted less time on him.
    I’ve learned the hard way (especially with online dating) that when something about a prospective guy just doesn’t feel right: believe it!! Whenever I just ignore the feeling(oh, but he’s so cute/ intelligent/ talented/ charming-whatever), it always ends up that my gut instinct was right and that the “not quite right” vibe was the tip of an iceberg of sociopathic yuckiness.

  8. Frederick

    It seems unrealistic to me for some guy to assume so much after only one meeting. Also that he would do a lot of emailing and fail to reply to any you sent in return.
    I’ll be interested to see how you handle what seems to be the inevitable next meeting with “Bill”.

  9. Anonymous

    Sara, this guy screams of controlling behavior! It frankly scares me when I read this one. Take it slow. You only went out with him one time. Its presumptuous behavior on his part that he should be the one to call first.

  10. Gayle

    He definitely overreacted and sounds a bit immature. I’m hooked too and anxious to hear about V Day!

  11. Gail

    I want to hear why Bill the Good isn’t a romantic contender. I’ve had a few of those, no chemistry, but still I’d like to hear your version. Billy the Bad has got his work cut out for him making up for his overreaction.

  12. Sara Davidson

    Lots of people have asked Why Bill the Good isn’t a romantic contender. There are lots of reasons, but as Louise Erdrich says in “The Blue Jay’s Dance: “Love is not political. Love resists correctness and blindly goes on, selecting for smell and touch… We can choose whom we live with, whose hand we shake, whose cheek we kiss, but we cannot choose who in this wide world, out of the millions, we truly love.”

    Thanks for asking!

  13. Anonymous

    OK, Bad Bill’s behavior in the phone call after your accident was a GIANT RED FLAG that the guy was not anywhere close to your level of emotional maturity. I’d say to him: “It’s NOT about YOU.” Most of us experience LOVE as acceptance — in the direction of unconditional acceptance — and his reaction was anything but that. Time to walk away.

  14. Beauregard

    Sorry, Sara, I think you are wrong about chosing who to love, especially for “mature” people like us. And that’s what gets us into trouble.
    Love that lasts is the sum of respect, background, interests, personality, values… a lot of qualities we can observe including likability and friendship. Read Judith Sills’
    book “A Fine Romance” with careful attention to the part about chemistry and the two year syndrome.
    She explains about working to build love and she has it spot on.
    Erdrich’s romantic claptrap leads you and others into the train wrecks you’ve experienced.

  15. Anonymous

    First of all let me confess that I am hooked on this book in installments thing, Sara. Each one arrives and I immediately read it with rapt interest. I skimmed the comments on this one and agree with those that feel Billy’s reaction to your having called “the other man” should be a sign. Nonetheless in this rapid pace world of few close encounters of any significance, well, it’s surprising and it brings you to full attention, you want to know what this guy is about and what about you is so attractive to him, yes, you even feel flattered. All in the main the wrong reactions in a way, but the natural ones when someone shows such interest.

  16. Igetit

    Oh, Sara, CC, I’ll call her, is the one who brought me to my knees. I ignored the red flags because I loved how I felt. The relationship was exhilirating, exciting, and I felt listened to, cared for. I pined for a year after we met. Then, just as I was starting to let go, there she came, back into my life.

    I chose to ignore the drinking. Friends told me, Oh, she can handle her liquor, or Oh, she just drinks beer.

    But I felt like I had such a long honeymoon. My benchmark was that I always asked myself, “How can we make this work?” Rather than, “Is it worth it to make this work?” Until, eight years later, i finally started to say, you know, it might not be worth it. But the thought would flee soon after. I kept believing, things will change.

    But it did get worse and worse. I landed on my knees in alanon when I found myself falling for someone else and contemplating an affair, something so against my ethics…but there I was.

    CC tried to get sober to keep from losing me, but that didn’t work. We hung on for another 4 years. When I finally left for real, she did. A year and a half later, she has 18 months and I am just so unsure of what is best for me.

    All this is to say that I really get being brought to one’s knees.

  17. Steph

    What I see with Billy’s reaction is a huge RED FLAG smacking me in the face. Your reaction was direct and honest that he just did not get which is why he hasn’t been successful in relationships And THAT was the first RED FLAG.
    And yeah, I believe Life gave you the accident as a halting point in going any further with Billy. Sometimes you just have to be able to know those signs!

  18. JoAnn

    Yikes! Jealousy at large and a control freak. He wanted to be the main course and you made him the side dish! I can see where this is going, because, when you think there is a possible “love” relationship, you fail to see reality beyond what your fantasy wants to believe and then you begin to make excuses for their behavior. Sometimes it goes on for a very long time until you see the light and get fed up. Some of us are just insecure creatures longing for the perfect relationship, which gets us into this type of situation to begin with. The hope is to grow from the experience and move forward. I wonder if he is reading your chapters and it was his comment that was deleted…..just a thought.

  19. veek

    ok, based on that phone converation i would draw these conclusions: at the very least bill is pathetically insecure, ridiculously immature, frighteningly inappropriate, and completely out of touch with reality. the red flag screams control freak at a minimum and abuser at worst. it explains his perception that he’s never been loved by a woman before. the problem is, you don’t know if he’s the way he is because of a failed relationship or if his relationship(s) failed because this is who he is. your decision, as i see it, is whether or not you stick around and figure out if there is anything worth salvaging in this sadly damaged human being. that sounds cold and heartless but sometimes people just carry so much anger and resentment that any attempt to grow a healthy relationship would be like beating your head against a wall. at some point you have to decide how much you are willing to give in an effort to undo someone else’s damage.

    p.s. i checked your schedule and see that you are avoiding texas. i can’t blame you, really, but austin is different and well worth visiting! 🙂

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