Dearest Rachel –
I should tell you upfront that Daniel does not seem to approve of Ruby. Every time the phone ‘thrums’ to indicate a message from her when he’s in earshot, he gives me a sideways glance as if to ask ‘her again?’ even if he doesn’t always say it aloud – which he does more often than not.
I’m not sure what his particular beef is with her. Maybe it’s true that what Lars told me – that I might be able to find another wife, but he will never have another mother – is the main point of contention, but he seems to have a more pronounced animosity toward her than others that I have communicated with. Maybe it’s the cumulative affect of other, prior failed connections, combined with his initial mistrust of online dating services – he doesn’t seem to consider the process worthwhile, and my experiences thus far haven’t done much to convince him that he might be wrong (if anything, they’ve generally bolstered his argument against it, even as it at least gives me material to write you about). Or maybe it’s the fact that she will often communicate with me while I am at home with him, that’s cutting into my time with him (not that it really amounts to more than me sitting in my chair and him in his, as we watch YouTube together, like the three of us used to do back in the day).
That last option seems of a bit unfair to her. When would you expect her to communicate with me, especially if she’s busy during the day with her own work (or study, as it so happens – she’s looking into a nursing degree, it would seem)? Then again, she has, in fact, messaged me – and called me at least once – during a day at the office, so there’s that. Which might suggest a lack of any visible means of support, and thus be a different sort of red flag from the bots and catfishes that I have so far been dealing with.
Last night, however, did not involve his knowledge or disapproval, but it does start to give me some concerns. For the sake of giving context, I should admit to having fallen asleep in the family room, and only dragged myself off to bed a little after midnight. As a result, I was still somewhat awake when this happened, which probably caused it to drag on considerably longer than I would’ve liked. But, you know me – when the phone rings, or I get a text message, I feel compelled to answer it when I’m made aware of it.
And thus it was, at a quarter to two, that there came a ‘thrum’ from my nightstand. Two, in fact, indicating two messages in quick succession – although, in fact, it turned out to be but one message being picked up on both my new and old phone side-by-side (no, of course I haven’t gotten rid of my old phone, spiderweb crack on its face notwithstanding).
It was Ruby, asking if I’m awake.
This is one of those questions that literally cannot be answered with a ‘no’ (apart from being facetious, but let’s set that aside for now). And since I was jarred out of my attempts to get back to sleep by it (and feared a couple more inquiries if I were to attempt to ignore it), I responded in the affirmative, with a conditional clause that I was in bed and trying to fall asleep.
Now, here’s where I probably went wrong, but in my half-awake state, I may not have been thinking as clearly as I should have been: I asked her what the problem was. Specifically, I inquired as to whether she’d had a nightmare or something. Sure enough, she had, and living alone as she does, a situation like that leaves her somewhat afraid to fall asleep.
You know, you never gave me much in the way of practice in dealing with someone else’s nightmares. At a quarter to two, you’d most likely still be asleep on Daniel’s couch in front of the television, and not even at the point where you’d be dealing with dreams. And in retreating to bed (whenever you did), either you were quiet enough, or I was a sufficiently sound sleeper, that I never knew when you arrived. From that point, I don’t know if you had any difficulty returning to sleep, but I cannot recall any point when you would wake me up to help you deal with a bad dream you’d experienced. You’d tell me about them in the morning (assuming you woke up before I set off for the day), but that was the extent of it.
I’d like to think that if you were to wake me in the middle of the night with a nightmare – especially these days, now that I’ve no rush to get a full night’s sleep before heading off to work – I would be more than willing to hear you out in an effort to purge the frightening images from your mind. I can almost guarantee that I’d be willing to hold you until the tide of anxiety receded – although you rarely wanted to be held in your sleep (although since, in this hypothetical scenario, you were in no mood to sleep until the fear passed, that wouldn’t really be a factor).
But that’s a case of physically being next to you, someone I’ve known for the better part of a quarter-century (my gosh, it sounds so long when I put it that way). Here, I’m dealing with a… well, not even a disembodied voice, as I’ve only heard it once – just a series of text messages from someone who, quite honestly, seems to think I’m The One For Her without even having met me. It would be flattering, if it didn’t seem so… premature? rushed? presumptuous?
Because it’s at this point, she starts asking me about my background – and asking me if I’m “talking to any other woman behind [her].” Now, I kind of get the former – my answers to her over the course of the past couple of months have been somewhat generic. It’s entirely possible that my side of our conversations wouldn’t necessarily pass a Turing test, especially as computers continue to get more sophisticated over time. But two in the morning is not the time to get anything particularly lucid out of me, especially on that subject, and I tell her so.
As for the other part of her question, what of it? At the moment, I haven’t been conversing with too many others on the dating site (and the one who most recently responded to a smile I sent her suddenly had a modification to her profile that changed her location from Chicago to San Francisco, diminishing her appeal considerably), but should that be any of her concern at this point? She’s telling me “we promised for be honest and faithful with each other’s” (yes, that’s verbatim) as if texting together were some kind of marital vows. I appreciate her interest, and even her devotion to a certain extent, but I’m not sure what I’m dealing with.
Even if she had just been dealing with a nightmare involving me dumping her (and again, to be in someone’s dreams like that is kind of a cool thing, until you consider the ramifications of this sort of situation), what has she lost? Merely someone to text with from time to time, at this point. And it’s not like she couldn’t find others out there, had she not immediately erased her profile upon making a connection with me.
I have to admit, I don’t understand her very well at this point. The question is, does this mystery surrounding her fascinate me, or irritate me? I’d better make up my mind soon, because this relationship hinges on my reaction to this kind of thing, I suppose.
In the meantime, honey, wish me luck. I’m going to need it.