Kissing toads and other hazards of dating
But surprisingly, I found myself plunging into finding another partner.I came close once or twice, in the form of intense rebounds.The first question a man always asks when I break it off with him: “Is there someone else? “No, of course not.” I want to tell them the truth.I don’t introduce my son Thaddeus to all the men I date. He’s sweet as a candy apple when he wants to be and a little jerk on the bad days, but don’t all parents experience a piece of heaven and hell wrapped up in something that can barely peddle a tricycle?Lowering myself onto the couch, I stared at the coffee table in silence. When I found out I was pregnant, my sister had said, “This is the best and longest companion you’ll probably have.” The way she blurted it out, like it wasn’t coming from her but from somewhere else we couldn’t possibly imagine, and why she was saying that a tiny bean of a something growing inside me was going to be a better person than my husband didn’t make an ounce of sense. He runs another lap, pumping his arms, his stump and his natural hand blurry with speed. Find her on Twitter @thecatcampbell by Alysa Salzberg Most people who know me well know that I love to walk.Will I ever fall in love beyond the love and commitment I have for my son? I’m not athletic, and am sort of morally against most activities that cause me to sweat. When I was in middle school, I was bullied for being chubby.He paces the kitchen while I assemble the first quesadilla. Much older men, men who didn’t want kids (“they impede vacations”), ex-boyfriends passing through town, new widowers who bawled in my arms, the separated husbands—still angry and lost—the men who just needed a good preening and a road map to get them back on their way, away from me. I shuffle spiders out of corners, finish client reports, fold another load of laundry, repaint the flaked white trim long into the night. I flew back to North Carolina expecting it to end, but instead of the “So long, farewell! He has crawled into my bed again at a.m., shaking off a bad dream. His eyes are big, the shade of blue that makes you feel like you’re sailing paper boats on an endless day.The terms “amelia,” “anomaly,” and even “difference” all sound much more pleasing than the word “disabled.” But I can’t help use it all the time. In the morning, the Spiderman lunchbox sits flap-open on the counter. ” single date, we stayed in touch, made travel plans involving direct flights and long weekends. We lounged like cats—smart, mature, romantically compatible cats—on the sundrenched couch of his living room. After I opened my heart to this man, I would finally have a normal triangle family with love and acceptance and all the fairytale trimmings. The first girl to break his heart—what will she look like?
Thaddeus practices holding a cup between his stub and his good arm. “Plain and simple.” After a few rebounds who I thought I might want to love, I went on to date the sure cases of quick implosion. I remember how, after Thaddeus’ diagnosis, his father and I held our hands together in the ultrasound office, scooting closer, studying each other’s palms and fingerprints for the first time. On the weeks when Thaddeus is at his father’s house, I sit on my back stoop alone, overlooking the garden, watching the cardinals burrow themselves into sunflower heads. Handsome and funny, he bought me a beer before a Red Sox game and he fed me oysters afterward.I’m lugging the T-ball set while he’s skipping along and whistles to himself while I set it up. But at some point, walking became about more than discipline and trying to please others.Try-outs will be here in a month and I want him to have a fighting chance. We do drills: rolls, pop-ups, batting practice My son swings and connects, it’s not the satisfying crack of a wooden bat but a THUMP of two plastic toys, and the ball whizzes past my head with startling ferocity. Knowing that few things could be harder than climbing steep hills in the hot, pollen-dense north Georgia air, I wasn’t afraid of long walks.At one point, we started talking about Thaddeus’s disability, what teenage life might be for him.I tried to spin the positive as I always had, going on and on about prom and guitar lessons and driving the car. “None of us can know exactly what Thaddeus is going through. No matter how close you are to him, you’re not him. I stand on the pitcher’s mound, and for a moment I wonder what it would be like to see a third person in this field, someone on the horizon, holding the plastic ball in their hands, and what it would be like if I could wave that man infield, my arm moving in a way that already felt warm and familiar, gesturing for him to come closer.