The Neighbor

My new neighborhood was vastly different than my last neighborhood.  We’d been in our last neighborhood for well over two years and I knew one of my neighbors.  I didn’t hang out with her though we did chit-chat in the mornings while our children waited for the school bus.  

Within one week of moving into my new place, I knew the people who lived in the three closest houses!  The neighborhood is totally different than my old one.  Everyone knows everyone.  Everyone stands outside and chats with everyone else.  It is so very fun!  I’ve never lived in a neighborhood like this in my whole life.  I was loving my new life!

Let’s discuss the neighbor, Sean.  He’s a trip.  He’s an extreme extrovert.  When we first moved in, he was basically under house arrest across the street at his mother’s house.  He’d had surgery and had to be watched 24/7 in case he reopened the incision and bled out.  He was going daffy being cooped up all the time.  He offered his help for anything I’d need.  He gave me his number and I texted him so he’d have my number too.

I actually had to text him rather quickly because we set up the hoses on my washing machine backward and I couldn’t get the one unscrewed to fix them.  He seemed very happy to help.

He would come over and chat if he saw us outside.  Even after his doctor released him to drive again, he rarely left his mother’s house.  He seemed a rather permanent fixture.  I rather got used to him being around.

On Saturday I made scones.  Sunday morning, I texted him and told him I had one wrapped up for him.  He came over around 1 to get it.  He had a suit on since he’d just come from church and he looked rather nice.  He said he was on his way home but he had to come back for the scone.  He didn’t leave again until Wednesday.  On Monday, I made rice crispie treats and date cookies and offered him some.  He didn’t come over for them, so I texted him again on Tuesday morning.  He came over for them and I invited him in to chat while I worked in the living room.  I felt safe as the kids were running in and out of the house.

I’d also made another cookie but they weren’t pretty.  I offered him one as he was leaving.  He took one bite, got this look of pleasure on his face and said, “He’s an idiot!  A stone-cold idiot!”  I said, “Who?”  He said, “Your ex.”   That made me feel really good.  He obviously enjoys my baking.  Having it validated that I am good at baking by my friends is one thing but hearing a man say it felt different.  I’m not attracted to him at all, I want nothing beyond friendship.  But it gave me this small thrill to see him enjoy my baking like he did.

He did freak me out though.  When I invited him in, he asked if I had a boyfriend because he didn’t want to worry about some guy showing up and being angry because he was in there talking to me.  I said absolutely no boyfriend although I do have an old friend coming to visit in July.  He didn’t stay long.  We got to texting later and I told him about my grades.  I told him that the kids would be glad that I’m done labeling all their bones and muscles.  He said something about it being a turn-on and I freaked out.   I had a very visceral reaction to it.  I replied, “that’s not good.  I’m going to be manless for a very long time.”  He back-pedaled and explained that I took it wrong.  After I got over the initial sweating, light-headed, panicky feeling, I really had to fight the urge to change into baggy clothes and hide.  I really had to fight that urge the next morning when I got ready for the day.

I won!  I wore my short shorts and a form-fitting shirt.  It took every fiber of my being to win that battle, but I did it.  I was determined to not let Bubba win.  He will no longer have any say in my head about what I do with my body.  I won’t let his attitude about me influence me – I will, in fact, actively fight against what he conditioned me to believe all those years.  So what if Sean does find me attractive?  (Ok, even now that sentence strikes terror into my heart but I’m fighting it.)  It is ok to have a man find me attractive.  Not that I really 100% believe that is possible but it may happen some day.

Sean finally went home yesterday.  He was on his way home on Sunday and ended up staying till Wednesday.  He’s been gone just over 24 hours and I feel strangely bereft.  I finally figured it out while chatting with Endellion. My idea of good company is someone sitting on the couch, watching t.v. while I sit on the recliner and knit.  There doesn’t need to be any conversation – just being in the same room with someone is enough for me.  Having Sean across the street was like having him sitting on the couch.  He was there, but I didn’t have to talk to him.  It felt like having company, knowing he was that close.  Now it kind of feels lonely in the house.

I broke down and texted him just to make sure he didn’t open his incision and bleed out somewhere.  lol  We shared a few texts.  It’s nice to have a friend.  But I do feel like a teenager in so many ways.  I’m sitting here thinking, “I can’t believe I texted a boy!!!! What was I thinking?”  I know I’m ok.  I know I can do this.  Navigating any relationship right now is difficult.  I have some long established friends and those relationships are easy.  

New relationships are difficult.  New relationships with a man are almost beyond my capabilities.  I have no idea how to proceed.  It feels weird.  There is a large part of me that is really enjoying learning though.  A whole new world is opening to me.  It is just another part of me that I have to get to know.  

I’m up for the discovery!

As I was rereading this, I realized I’d left out an important part of the story.  As Sean was switching the hoses around on my washing machine, he said, “If you ever need this again, just remember that the hot water is always on the left.”  I told him I hadn’t thought of that before.  Then he said, “Well, just think about your kitchen and bathroom sinks.  Which side is the hot water on?”  When he started talking, I could feel my insides start to tremble.  I thought a lecture was coming because that is what Bubba would’ve done along with making me feel like the stupidest person in the world.  Sean just matter-of-factly said what he did and that was it.  It really boggled my mind.  

I was slowly learning what healthy behavior looked like.  It was rather amazing and eye-opening.

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