(The background: On Monday, he met me for a drink to let me know how pissed off he was at my behaviour. Not the way to treat someone you love, he said. Then he asked for distance, but would call me before the end of the week.)
Tuesday arrived. I needed to pick up a package of school books that had been delivered to his address. Alistair would be at work. I went in and greeted the ex and the friends that she had over. She asked me if I would go and get a coffee with her. It sounded like a good idea to me, I am a huge fan of openess and honesty, largely because my warped and paranoid little mind is saved from unnecessary gymnastics that way.
We never reached the cafe. We got wine instead. And as I have mentioned before, I get along extremely well with her, despite her behaviour, which I often find appalling. We talked. She told me Alistair loves me, and that she has said to him that she thinks he treats me badly. I voiced my concerns that he is losing interest in me, for which she had no answer. I admitted how deeply I feel, though it is obvious for all to see, and told her that if it would really bring about Alistair's happiness, I would back away. The ex thought this was silly. She sees no reason why we can't all exist together, since her and I get along so well. She is bisexual, and I am not, but we would be doing a platonic girlfriend thing. I would be fulfilling the areas she could not, and it would all be dependent on whether he could treat us equally. We were tipsy. It seemed to make complete sense.
She also told me of some of the terrible ways in which he has treated her, of which I have heard the bare bones already. However, if what she says is true and unexaggerated, then I am horrified at the callousness. I will not give any details of that part of the conversation here, lest anyone involved ever stumbles across my writings. I am not here to reveal the private affairs of others that do not concern me in any way. When she related events, she became teary eyed several times, as she also did when we dicussed some of her sexual/play issues.
Although I am useless at managing my own emotional affairs, I am rather good at helping and advising others. She told me a few things. She told me that sex just does not work between them, which left me wondering what she likes, because I have a rip-roaring filthy good time with the boy. She told me she has good sex with Ben, that he has much of what she wants and needs. I asked her if she is in love with Alistair, and she told me a very definite "no", but that she loves him... I am pretty certain that she has never told Alistair this.
As a sideline, I spoke to Ben yesterday. Not only has she revealed to him that she is not interested in Alistair, but she has also said that she needed to move in with Alistair whilst she did her course in London in order to live in the manner that she is accustomed to. i.e. Going it alone would mean a more frugal existence.
Back to Tuesday. As I said, we were tipsy, so when she said that she wanted to go for cocktails, well that sounded just dandy. I paused. I said to her that I knew that Alistair was planning to have a "chat" with her tonight, and so perhaps we should not go out. Especially with each other. Somehow, she ended up calling Alistair at work and asking him to come too.
I know, I know.
Before I knew it, we were planning to both wear our tartan mini-skirts, and the Mary-Jane shoes we have that turn out to be matching. She wears a black top, I wear a white top (which is odd, because I am the one usually all in black.) We take the bus to the bar. We order cocktails. Alistair arrives.
I know, I know.
He is a little tired and crabby at first. He takes the nearest seat, which is next to the ex. And of course, most of the body language and eye contact is directed at her. I was prepared for this. We chatter, and I think he feels as if he is involved in a plot, since we are getting along so very well, but he does express gladness that we have spoken. Eventually she brings up the topic at hand, phrasing it like we have sat down and decided what he wants. This makes him bristle. I smooth things over. They bicker somewhat. He makes light, she gets cross, and then she begins the insults. He never insults her. I begin to feel upset.
So I think to myself that there is probably no hope for Alistair and I. That I should give up and just try to help them improve things between them. I start to mediate, counsel, if you will. And I did a good job, and this made me feel sick. And then the ex disappeared to the loo for long enough that I thought she must have bowel trouble. We have more cocktails and go to a restaurant for dinner.
More of the same ensues. Moments of progress, a lot of bickering, her insults. I fliched as she called him fat and flabby. He may have put on some weight, but really, it 'aint that bad. I am pretty damn shallow, and so fussy I hardly ever get any. The boy is hot. She clearly no longer fancies him. After we had finished eating, she disappears to the toilet again. She is gone a very long time. I go out for a cigarette, and when I return, she is still gone. I lifted my eyes to look at Alistair, "Where is she?" I asked,
"She will be in the loo talking to Ben," he looked sad, disappointed, angry. I felt disbelief. I had spent the evening trying to make everything better, first with this whole menage a trois thing, which is essentially a method to keep him sweet so she can live with him (and if it is not, then I am extremely sorry, but it sure as hell looks like it to me), and then by stomping all over my own heart in hobnails for the chance that they could be happy. And what does she do? She goes to talk to the guy that she is falling for, the guy that is ripping Alistair apart, during our evening of fixing things.
She arrived back from the loo, and Alistair said to her, "Where were you?" she shrugged and brushed the question off. "On the phone to Ben," he said. She was forced to agree. Arguing ensued.
I slowly got up from my chair, and slid out of the restaurant. I am pretty sure that they did not even notice. My original intention was to smoke outside and wait for them, but something in me propelled my feet back to the bustop. I stood there for a short while, and in the distance I saw Alistair approaching. He was alone. I paid him no heed, and since there was a crowd he did not notice me as we got on the bus, which is no mean feat, since I am extremly tall and had my bunches in. I went upstairs, and he did not surface, so after a while I descended the stairs to seek him out. He was seated right by the foor of the stairs. He seemed to indicate that he had finished it with her and he had certainly left her there. He said he understood what I had tried to do, but that he thought it was stupid. Though I was not crying, I was in so much pain that I simply told him that if he must end it, he should do it right there. I did not want this to go on any longer. But he refused, I am not sure why, he muttered something about being drunk, but also something else that I did not catch. We got off the bus, and I told him what she had said about not being in love with him. He said he would call me the next day, that he wanted to be tucked up in his bed, and that he loved me. I waited until I was some distance before I allowed myself to cry. And cry I did. In fact, I sobbed, and was thankful that there was nobody to see or hear.
Back at home, Courtney said that I had come out of this smelling of roses. The trouble is, their sweet perfume is not ennough to win and keep the hearts of pretty boys with long hair. When I checked my phone, I discovered that I had a missed call from Alistair. I returned it, he thought I had deliberately not answered, and just wanted to check that I was alright. I told him how upset the ex had made me, that I felt like I had been used, and some other things that I cannot remember. And then I cried, I did not mean to, but could not help it. Before we said goodnight, he told me to fetch my heatable lavender bag, and be sure to put lots of the lavender oil that he had bought me on it. He knows that lavender soothes me when I am distressed. It's my thing. He said he loved one last time, and then goodnight.
(I am told by the staying friend that they spent much of Wednesday locked in coversation. Later, Alistair called and I asked him where things stood, and he said that he has no idea. Business as usual, then. I asked him where I stood and if he still wants to see me. He simply said that nothing has changed, and told me he was free on Thursday night.)
What on earth do I do with this? I do not know what to think.