Not In Kansas Anymore...

Click your heels, and see if home is where you hang your hat, or somewhere else inside yourself as this simple, postmodern girl takes on L.A.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

......and now he's outta here. After not even a week, Leo's back on home turf ala' Hollywood, FL ( I made a joke that he flew from Hollywood to Hollywood, but technically it was Ft. Lauderdale to Burbank). How was it?

How was it. Hmm. Words fail me, that's how it was. "Terrifically fun" and " incredibly intense" would be some words I might use, but they wouldn't be as all-inclusive as the terms should neccessarily be. Dani said tonight that it seemed the best descriptor she would use would be "just so damned INVOLVED", and I think that's probably the truest fit. Of course this begs the question: WHY? Well, as to not bore the reader with some onslaught of anecdotes, direct quotes and detailed retelling of events better suited for something like TV y Novelas , I shall summarize:
* disclaimer: all of the perspectives written here about that which transpired in the last four days belong to Jessica and Jessica only, as if you didn't know that already.*

When I picked him up at the airport, I didn't see him at first, as he was standing back out of the sun and I was focused on the annoying Armenian couple in front of me using two entire loading/unloading spaces at the curb ( he said he spotted me right away because he could see me mouthing the words "fucking MOVE!" through my car window. Good to know I haven't changed too much, eh?) When I did spot him, I recognized that same boyish grin a mile away, only this time with handsome grayish hair and in a swanky expensive suit . I was so excited to see him, after all these weeks and weeks of hilarious/ardent/intellectually stimulating/infuriating/emotionally sustaining emailing that I yelped his name and ran to hug him. Whereupon, he, feeling similarly, ran back, dropped his bags and pulled me in. Then he pulled my head back and planted one of the longest, most intense kisses on me that I've had in awhile. It lasted so long that the security guy had to ask me to move my car.

That was the beginning of the weekend. And in the interest of maintaining your attention, I will now provide a short FAQs area, for the sake of all your inquiring minds that want to know:

Did I sleep with him?
Next to him, yes. WITH him, no. That ex thing was just. Too. Recent for him ( I know, shocker!). But it was okay, because both of us said we were going to take that as it came, and I myself wasn't all too sure about it, anyway. You know, just hopping in the sack with someone and getting all attached to them and having them have to go off to Florida a few days later. Or the prospect of some long-distance relationship, either. I think we both comported ourselves with a great deal of restraint and smarts in this area, quite the contrast to being 17 ( but really, who shows alot of that when you're 17 unless they're Amish? Precisely.).

Did any of my worries ( of being too fat, too poor, too whatever) really turn out to matter?
Well, Christ knows I was still neurotic as hell about them all til at least yesterday, and him being, well, an Alpha Male, was not the squishiest, most reassuring guy ever made, but essentially the answer is no. Of course not. After some fumbling ( him) and some sulking ( me) it was made clear that he a.) still found me very attractive ( that kiss wasn't the last) , b.) understands LA far better than some of the people that live here and was actually found my standard of living to be comparatively high, considering and c.) has grown up enough to know that his 17-year-old self couldn't judge where life had taken us 20 years later. He was generous, kind, friendly to my friends, sweet to my animals, and a total gentleman. He settled right in to my little house , so hated seeing me so unhappy in California that it spurred a 3 hour discussion, adored my cats and was caring enough to want to make sure I was okay about his being here and not confused about any of his feelings, agendas or plans regarding his visit.

What did I make of any of his feelings, agendas or plans during this visit?
As mentioned previously ( re: email to Sassy), he's been doing this "come here/go away" thing for a bit, simoutaneously wooing me so hard and then disappearing just when I concede enough to reciprocate his attentions. None of this made much sense to me, and he wasn't giving it up when confronted about it in emails or on the phone, so I tried to make him clarify as much as possible when the moment arose, as I knew it surely would. The sum total of it was that, as I suspected, he's more messed up than he realized about the whole Bella thing, and didn't know his ass from a hole in the ground regarding me/romance/friendship/whatever , and his plan was to see what happened when he got here, without much thought to how I might feel about things being so loose and undefined. He's such a typical Leo ( yes, as I said, that's his astrological sign): "what, you mean I have to explain myself? " This made me pretty mad, and rest assured, that was a Long Talk Much Warranted, But Eventually Resolved. So, not surprisingly, when I pressed on and he finally gave up his agenda, it was a quite a little revelation: he not only wanted to see an old trusted friend and "wise soul" for comfort, relief and a little vacy, snuggle into my lap and repair his broken heart, but he also wanted to take me on a Real Honest Date to see. See if he could, see if I wanted to, see if there was anything there from Way Back When left that might be teneable Now.

So, was there? Did I? Could he? No. Maybe. Yes, definitely. In that order. Which brings us back to the program at hand:

In an evening that I thought we were just setting to " finally have that date I never took you on 20 years ago", I not only got THAT, but was taken on one of the best current dates of my whole adult life, with this wonderful dinner in Malibu and scintillating conversation, funny stories, singing in the car, serious talks about life, God, the Nature of The Universe, and some very much appreciated compliments. ( According to Leo, I'm completely captivating, beautiful and brilliant, to use his words. I'm also completely wasted in LA, where I'm " the highest bill you can get, which is what? A $500,000 bill? Okay, let's say that. You're a $500,000 bill living in the middle of a bunch of crumpled-up $1 bills, and everyone wants the $1 bills. And you're thinking there's something wrong with you because you're not like them." Pretty high praise from someone who would know from $500,000.). But you know, it's just too soon for him. He seemed surprised at that. I was surprised that he was even getting out of bed every day, and that he WAS surprised at not being ready to leap into something new. I was pretty depressed about it for a day or so, because shit, didn't I just get run over by this "It's Not You, It's Me" Train not even 4 months ago?!?! A bit of a buzzkill, to say the least....still, it's not like I could begrudge him his greif. Or would even try.

In retrospect, beside, it was for the best, because as days went by, I saw that he has become more intractable than ever about some things ( like politics, gender roles, communication styles) , and developed some crappy lifestyle habits ( smoking too much, having too many cocktails, working too hard, and disdaining any form of talk therapy as "unscientific and unmanly" ) that would be key for the two of us to get on the same page about if anything were ever to work out. We fought bitterly for a day or two ( or, rather, I waited some atrocioulsly moody days out while simoultaneoulsy wondering if I should ask him to go to a hotel, because he was driving me insane; fortunately, I got the chance to chew him a new one and he got the chance to apologize profusely before it came to that), even. It's funny to me how you can have the most incredible chemistry with someone, just adore them, and then turn around and want to rip their head off. Then again, what did I say earlier? Some things don't change at all. They just come in new packaging.

In the end the consensus was a spiritual one, believe it or not: I don't believe-- not for an instant-- that he wandered in to my life at this particular time, by coincidence ( and neither does he, for the record), even if things didn't go all Riding Off In To The Sunset Toegether at the close of this visit. ( I was ambivalent about that anyway; although I was keeping a close eye on things as I always do, I would have to admit to not being entirely sure what I was doing either til he got here. I played it by ear, too!) . It's funny how you can be told something again and again by people in your life, but when someone who's known you a certain way for an ungodly amount of time comes around and says it, you can really trust them, and somehow, really HEAR it. It's sort of this weird gift we gave each other this week. He got to see what my life in LA was all about, and he immediately picked up on the fact that it needed to be fixed and precisely how, just like a good businessman (such as himsself) would ( and in the days to come, I'm sure I'll be sharing those here, as I took them to heart). He knew exactly what skills to teach me and which ones to remind me I already had to repair the crackpot mess I'm in with regard to my self-image, my career, my ever-present quandry over moving home. It was so clear to him, of course, but that's the strength of Leo; he's so whip-smart and cool and composed, so crafty and pragmatic, he knows how to make a market where there wasn't one before and use what's already there to make a success. I, on the other hand, took one look at him, listened to him, then sat back and watched him for a few days and saw right away where his own heart and life and psyche needed to be healed, from Bella/relationships with women, to his smoking, his wounded heart, his working himself half to death. I knew exactly what he needed to pay more attention to and start to make whole, and had a complete map of his consciousness ( and unconsciousness ) laid out before his head hit the pillow on the third night he was here. But that's the strength of Jessica; she's intuitive and empathic and full of feeling, observing all the time all the things you think don't show, and taking mental notes, and she can find her way out ( or find the resources to get people out ) of an emotional foxhole with her hands tied behind her back. It's funny ( but not really) how we were both able to solve what the other couldn't because we were experts at what the other one lacked. And as I said to him yesterday, "I hope you see this as grace, because I do. It's a gift that we've been given to be able to say to each other what needs to be heard, and that we can do it with love and compassion and kindness, because of all these years between us. Grace is a free gift, regardless of our good works. It's uncondiitonal and it often comes when we expect it the least. No matter what else has transpired, this is what is valuable to me."

Another FAQ: Did he concur?
Why, yes. He did.

Not at all what I had expected, and surely as exhausting as the day is long. A roller coaster from beginning to end. All good descriptors. And all so true. When he got on the plane today I got in my car and cried. I don't know when I'll see him again, and I don't know that that's all that important, really. All I know is that I have to regard it, at the end of all the emotional math, as good, good, good. And Blessed be and Amen for that.