My Battle with Inertia
by The Pop Culturista
He was 38 and had been divorced for less than a year.
I was 21 and had been cutting a swath through that summer's crop of eligibles.
You're all rolling your eyes already, aren't you?
It started out beautifully -- going out to dinner, movies, plays, concerts, museums. It ended gradually and long before we actually stopped seeing each other. I, like so many other women, became a victim of Inertia.
\in-'er-she\ - n. - a property of matter by which it remains at rest until acted upon by some external force.
We had next to nothing in common: he liked to run, sex was the only reason I enjoyed sweating; he was Catholic, I was pagan; he believed emotions were best repressed, I liked the world to know how I felt. But we were hot for each other and lonely. Either one of those conditions are mistaken for love all the time. The two together were particularly potent.
Gradually the fun times tapered off, as did the sex. Many times he'd invite me to spend the night only to roll over and fall asleep. I would lie awake for a time, libido raging, unable to see the forest for the trees. I felt something was wrong. I thought it was with me, so I began to change. Where I would previously have been balls-out, I was now restrained and cautious. All I knew for certain was that I didn't care for being alone.
Things came to a head one summer night during a visit from one of his college buddies. We waited at his house for the buddy before stepping out to a local club. After the buddy arrived, the two of them spent a good 25 minutes admiring each and every picture in a brand new Marilyn Monroe calendar. 25 whole minutes.
We finally went to a club to hear a very good blues rock band and the two of them immediately struck up a flirtation with a comely redhaired waitress. I stood there next to him, numb, I suppose. Not angry, not jealous, just numb. It wasn't until another man leaned over to him and said something, indicating me, that I felt something. When he moved back gesturing for the other man to take his place next to me, my clarity returned in a rush. I turned on my heel and exited through the rear of the building. I wasn't far from home and I was by-God walking. I could barely hear past the blood furiously pounding in my ears, I could only see the path directly in front of me, outlined in moonlight as if in neon. "This way to freedom," it seemed to say.
Suddenly, he was in front of me. "I thought you'd get a kick out of it," he said. At least that's what I think he said. I just stared at him, flint-eyed, until he stopped talking. He asked me to wait at the car so he could collect his friend and drive me home. I waited, the night air as sharp as diamonds now. I was in awe of how crisp and fresh everything felt, even my pain. He and his mortified friend drove me home. I felt slightly sorry for his buddy as I slammed the car door with all of my rediscovered strength. I went into my house, placed a chair in the center of the living room floor, sat down and waited.
Ten minutes later, he knocked on my door. I let him make his own way in. His words came in a rush: he wanted to see other people, I was only the second woman he had ever been with and he was afraid he was missing something. I let him speak until he was done. Then I looked at him and said, "Don't come back."
It hurt for a time but I know now that it was my pride and not my heart that was injured. I had been so afraid of being alone that I became less than whole. I diminished myself, thinking that would better suit him until I became paralyzed with Inertia. It took the external force of an innocent, horny stranger to set me in motion again and show me how lessened I had become.
A year later I was happily married and pregnant with the child of a man who wanted all of me - and in motion.