Intuition tugs at me sometimes, lingers in my peripheral vision waving its hands and demanding attention. It's a curious sixth sense I've yet to fully master or embrace. Here, over here! Pay me attention, dammit! And when I do finally look, when I pivot my stance and turn my gaze to stare head on at the ghost longing for my attention, there's usually a reason.
"Alaska's married," I said to Leslie Sunday morning, after I laced up my sneakers but before I headed to the gym.
"I checked to see if he was running the New York marathon, which he is. Then a nagging itch told me to google his name and 'engaged.' A registry for him and some Brasilian girl popped up. Williams-Sonoma. Pottery Barn. Married."
"Wow, he had to import someone from South America?"
"Apparently. And he doesn't even speak Portuguese."
"Which works out favorably seeing expressing his emotions in English was a struggle."
I remained quiet.
"Paige, in all seriousness, he was terrible for you. Also, he has no ability to be faithful."
"No, I know. I'm just....shocked."
Halfway to the gym, I called my friend Amy and left her a blithering message. "I don't want him. But this is the guy who told me he didn't want to get married again. Life was great as-is. And," I paused to sniffle. "And, now I have last night's mascara running down my face. Fuck."
She called me back.
"Hey, three of my ex-boyfriends went on to marry the next woman they dated. How's that for a kicker?"
"Nice prep-work there, girl," I said with a chuckle.
"In six months, want me to google his name and 'divorced?'" she asked.
I almost fell off the treadmill.
"Listen, if I found out Bandman was married, I'd go off the deep end." Amy was quiet for a moment, referring to the man she tangled up with off-and-on for ten years. Bandman was her Alaska.
"It's just," I stepped onto the rails, tugged the visor of my baseball cap lower to shield my eyes. "It sounds so lame but, it isn't that he didn't want to get married again. It's that he didn't want to marry me."
There it was. The dread and the rawness of a situation that didn't mean anything other than a trigger to rumble my demons. I wasn't good enough.
"On a related note," I said to break the silence. "It looks like psychotherapy is an eligible expense for an FSA and I've got my entire bank to burn through before the end of the year."
When I got home, I poured some water and sat down with my laptop. One hour, I said to myself. Look online, lurk at the life he kept so private he wouldn't comfortably speak on the phone when in an airport. See the picture of his now-wife seated before a hideous piece of art you tried to talk him out of. Witness the chairs set out for the wedding on the lawn of his Kauai house he never invited you to visit. Then shut it all down. Walk away. But hold onto what it triggered. Sit with that feeling, acknowledge it, own it, and vow to tackle it once and for all.