Enjoying the Ride

Meet, fall in love and live happily ever after ... well, not today, my friend. In relationship quandries that make up modern society, I'll take what I can get

PEOPLE, 02/14/2K: RELATIONSHIPS Sunday is my down day. Typically hang around the house, then go for a drive, thinking about the past weekend, the work week ahead . and her. It's a good day to do a mental status check on our "relationship," cause god knows it is forever evolving.

Katrina is one of the most unique women I've ever met. Her style, the way she carries herself, her intelligence, are all incredible parts that make up the whole her. If there's one word that best describes her it's passion. She has a passion for everything she does - passion for life, passion for motherhood, passion for her family, passion for friendships, passion for work, and a passion for love. Wow, does she have passion when it comes to love.

So she called me today. "What was last night all about," she asks. On occasion I'll go in and hang out at the bar while she works. I usually stay long enough to make an appearance, then move on to the next establishment. Well, last night for some reason I just didn't feel like leaving her bar. Not sure why - maybe it was the fact I was so inebriated I was afraid to try and get off the bar stool. Yeah, I bet that was it.

"It seemed like your were stalking me - you know how I hate that," she says. Jesus, here we go again - stalker. She knows I'm not, but every once in a while she'll go into that mindset. It's her wall of defense going up again. At times I think it would be easier for her to deal with me if indeed I was a stalker. That's about all she knows in former love interests. It's that passion of hers, and frankly, not many men can handle it - they want to control something so alive and beautiful, and unfortunately don't realize that to capture her would be to kill her. Plus she's too strong to let that happen. Too bad the other guys weren't as self-confident, independent and supportive as her current interest. (Author's note: it is acceptable for the writer of this prose to give self props in order to boost his own ego.)

So this relationship baggage of hers is partly what allows her head to take over for her heart ever so often. It's her source of protection. We've been close lately, and I think it's kinda scaring her. When we first started out, it was extremely intense, fast and furious. Too fast. Too furious. Just too much. We both realize that now. But when you're caught up in the middle of it, that's a hard thing to recognize. Then we decided to take a serious break - not much interaction, trying to move on with our lives separately. But that didn't work.

What is undeniable about our relationship is the connection. Soul mates? Well, I'm not sure what that is, and I think it's an over-used expression, but there are moments between us, so vivid, so alive. Memories that will stay with me forever . and all we did, was simply look at each other. A look, a parting glance, a secret smile - creating an intellectual, sexual and emotional connection that is hard to match. So with a bond like that, quitting each other cold turkey just wasn't possible.

We've had a casual routine going the last couple of months - a brief phone call, a private email message, a secret rendezvous. A rendezvous where we vent about our lives, play like kittens, and then make ravenous, unbelievable, and yes, passionate, love.

This arraignment may not sound like much, but I've learned - and it's taken me some time to learn - that for Katrina to give me what she gives me is special. She chooses me to spend this time with when it could be anyone - male or female (yeah, you heard me right). And during those nights, we escape. Escape from the daily toil, escape from the demands of others, and get lost in the us. There are times when I'd like our relationship to be more, but I understand. I understand that she's still trying to find her way thru a post-divorce maze of emotions, demands, pursuers and life-sucking leaches. I just want to be her strength, her lean-to. And sometimes she lets me.

But despite all this, today she says I'm a stalker, and yesterday she said that I was just using her for sex. And that tells me one thing: her head is acting up again. Just when things are at their smoothest, that's when her head makes the declaration: "Wait. You're not supposed to be happy yet! Stop it! Oh, and don't forget: you're not ready to commit!"

In a way, this is how she takes a relationship status check, and I think it's a good idea to take a temperature now and again. But at the same time thinking too much can be a bad thing. As Crash Davis said to Nuke in Bull Durham, "don't think, it can only hurt the ball club."

I'm not sure where we are going with this thing of ours, and not knowing doesn't have to be a bad thing. When I look to the future, I can picture being with Katrina, but to be honest, I'm hazy on what the level of commitment ultimately will be, for both of us.

But here's what I do know: when something big happens in my life, she's the first person I want to share it with. When she hears one of our songs on the radio, she'll just stop her busy life for a moment, listen, reminisce, and enjoy what we had, and what we have. And ever so often, as I brush her hair away from her eyes as she's drifting off to sleep, I'll whisper the words, 'I love you.' And without hesitation, before her head gets a chance to get in the game, her heart will respond, "I love you too," with the sweetest, softest voice you've ever heard.

And at that moment, I'll smile. Because even though our future - and hell, even our present - is unclear, right then, everything is just fine. And it feels good.

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