This is a serial about love and awakening. Previously: After making love with me most of the night, Billy leaves in the morning to see another woman. Check “Recent Posts” on right side of page to read past installments or to start with Part One.
Billy drops by before leaving Boulder to return to his home in Lone Tree. When he hugs me, I don’t respond. “What’s going on?” he asks. I tell him how it felt when he jumped out of my bed at 9 a.m. to go meet Sally.
“I’m not asking for a life commitment. Just that…if we’re going to explore where things might go with us, you don’t explore the same thing with other people.”
Billy nods. “Sally is saying the same thing. Pick one and be with her. Do one at a time.”
Part of me feels threatened, hearing about Sally, and part of me can’t believe Billy would prefer other women to me. As my hair stylist, Katie, had said that morning when I’d told her about the situation, “You’ve got bragging rights. You’re pretty special, and if he doesn’t see that…he’s an asshole.”
I ask Billy, “Did Sally tell you how she knows me?”
He says Sally hasn’t met me yet. She was telling Billy about a conference she was planning and said she hoped to hire me as the keynote speaker. “I was shocked,” Billy says. “I told her you were one of the women I was dating.”
What was her response?
“She said, ‘You must really like strong women.’”
I remember, now, receiving an email from Sally and googling her to see if I wanted to be involved in her conference. Her bio said she’d contracted polio as a child and her legs had never fully recovered, but at 50, she resolved to run a marathon – a regular one, not for people with special needs – and came in third in her age group. She was now doing endurance races and giving motivational talks. I emailed her back, but she was just leaving for Australia and we never connected.
“This must be great for your ego,” I tell Billy, “dating three quality women. It’s like getting a tray filled with delicious treats and being told to pick one.”
“I’d still prefer to have one deep love than to sample all the goodies,” he says.
“What’s holding you back?”
“With you… we’ve had so much trouble getting started… I’m not certain things would work out.”
We never know that, I say. “It’s like buying a horse. You have a hunch it’ll be good, you ride it a few times, then you take it home, get to know each other and sometimes it’s magic and sometimes you move on to another horse.”
He considers this.
“What do you want to do?” I ask.
He smiles. “Date all three of you. You’re all busy, and I have time enough to serve all three of you.”
We laugh but I make it clear we will not revisit the bedroom until this gets sorted out.
That night, while I’m working at the computer, the phone rings. I check caller ID: it’s Billy. I pick up. “Hello.”
“Can I please speak to Sally?”
“Sally! You’ve called Sara.”
“I know. Just joking.”
“That’s not funny.”
“Hey, ease up. I dialed your number because I want to talk to you.”
“Jon? Who’s that?”
“This other guy I met on match.”
“Should I be jealous?”
“Absolutely. He’s a stand-up comic, makes me laugh constantly.”
When I hang up, the pain is back. I don’t like this game. I can’t concentrate now and it takes hours to get back on track. I quit work around 2 a.m. and in the shower – where I often get inspiration and clarity – it comes to me. When Billy is with me, he’s charming, funny, sexy, and I figure, OK, this is too good to pass up. Then he talks and makes jokes about the other women and it hurts. I don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t want to be at the mercy of his whims any longer, wondering, when will he decide – in a week, a month? I’m taking my power back.
I sleep well and the next morning when he calls, I ask, “How do you feel about the situation? You’ve had a chance to to sleep on it.
“I… don’t know.”
“Then I’m going to make a decision. I don’t want to play this kind of dating roulette. You’re free to get to know the others, take ‘em all to bed if you like. If things don’t work out, you can get back in touch, but who knows where I’ll be by then.”
“Yeah, I know,” Billy says.
“I want to be with someone who really wants to be with me. And you’re not there. So I’m bowing out.”
It’s painful, but it also feels right. Not happy, but right.
Late that day, when I’ve finished working, I look up the email Sally Burton sent me months before. I write a reply: “Well, Sally, it seems we have Billy Stors in common. If you’d like to talk, give me a call.”
TO BE CONTINUED
Please leave a COMMENT. Why do you think I contacted Sally? What would you have done in Billy’s place?
This blog is based on a true story, but names and identifying details have been changed to protect privacy.