There is a man at work that I fancy.
What he isn’t: six feet tall, a paragon of virtue, the greatest looking guy on the block. He is not the most intelligent bloke I have known. He is not interested in me, or of the same social circle as mine. He is non-judgmental but can pretend to be hurtfully cool detached indifferent. Why did I say “can pretend to be”? Instincts tell me (or is it intuition?) he cannot be cool detached indifferent by nature since he has a great temper just like me. People that have the capacity to get so angry, must feel intensely attached to something to get so mad about things. Cool-detached-indifferent types don’t get mad easily. I have seen him angry a couple of times, so I think he “pretends to be” cool-detached-indifferent.
What he is: courteous, considerate and kind when he understands, very, very generous when he wants to be. And he can be tender too. He is romantic, judging by the way he breezes in and out of office juggling with two different careers. People take the pains to do that either if they are very poor and need two jobs or when they are inclined to explore life in all its myriad possibilities. Since he isn’t poor, I would think that he does it because he is a diehard romantic that sees life as a journey, an adventure of sorts.
He loves to tell jokes and never misses an opportunity to do so. I love it when he laughs at his own jokes. He tells a joke, I sit there poker faced, he laughs and I watch him without letting him see that I am watching him, and that was fun, he seemed so absorbed – men lost in their own thoughts look so attractive and loveable and in those moments you want to reach out and touch them. I have wanted to reach out and hug him but it isn’t easy kissing this guy in your head because he is so much like these porcupine birds, you never know when he is going to bristle and those needles would come out to prick you to hurt and shame. That way he is a bit like a very sensitive utterly vulnerable child. A child that has known hurt and shame and fear and pain and rejection and is quick to recoil into its protective shell or ball up his little fist and hit out at the bad world that tries to get him.
I don’t know if he can write but I don’t care. He is a snob – I have seen and heard him call out on people, “O he means propriety” – I remember the look and the laughter bec I had watched him then, at the act.
Apart from having a great sense of humour, this man can tell a tale well, and can laugh out loudly both with and at people. He can also be very derisive, caustic, hurtful. But he is generally genial and affable. Decorum is an important word in his world. He breaks his email letters into neat little paragraphs, sometimes they are so inhumanly perfect it can drive you up walls and make you mad and make you want to shock him out of that clinically clean “decorous” control. I do that whenever I get the chance. Occasionally, I succeed. But even then he doesn’t forget to break paras at the right places.
It makes me wonder do I want to see him in a state when he forgets to break paras? Would that be a hateful, pitiable or a humanizing experience?
His flaws? (as I see it of course) His fear of people. Suppose he wants to know about you? He would not ask you. He would ask around. He would send you outside while he calls someone to talk about you. Which makes me think that he lacks confidence in taking risks.One of the imp risks we that love people take is when we try to find out more about the people we like by directly interacting with them, the risk involved is, we may like what we learn or may nor like what we learn, we may be given the truth or we may be fed with a lie. So thats what I mean. Guarded, trying to do the right thing, trying to be correct, trying all the time to not make mistakes - thats him too. Another side of him. What is it that he fears I wonder. Of ending up liking the wrong things in life?
What he appears to love about life is associating with young people, he loves hanging out with his students, he loves teaching, he appreciates goodness in others, good books, grammar, words, truth, his city. He likes to call a spade a spade too.
Does he notice good looking women? There are plenty at office, his cousin watches women covertly. He always looks people directly in the eye. But I have never had a chance to see if he watches. At functions when everyone is sitting together? No. Not even then. I have never noticed him watching. Maybe he looks. In fact he is a man so he must look, but you cannot see him looking. That is what I admire about the guy. I dislike men that look and you can see that they are looking. It is natural and all that but I somehow find that unattractive in men.
Why did I write all this down today? Because I wish to not forget this man. It isn’t everyday you run across imperfect men you can like or want to love or give yourself to. This one I can like, dislike, admire, respect, hug in my mind. It is easy to want to pick him up in your arms and shelter and protect him when you see him committing an error of judgment or making a mistake. Inside your head.It is easy to want to give of yourself to this person. It is easy to feel happy when you have managed to make him smile or laugh. It is easy to want to do something for this person. It is easy to feel pleased if you have had a chance to do him a good turn. It is easy to be angry with him - just as easy to overlook his errors. That is important. He frightens me. True. But doesn't put me off.
Have I undressed him in my mind? No. It isn’t easy to see him without his clothes. If you met him, you would think he would fall down the stairs completely poised, in control. Every hair in place.I am not sure I like this particular quality about this man. But then that is the way he is. There are other things that is there to like.
I did try though. No am not ashamed to admit that in public. I am old and about to die and everyone around here is old enough to know all about the birds and bees and I think it is quite ok to know and be aware of and acknowledge what one feels when it is natural. And especially in my case, I grew up thinking I am frigid. I really have never ever been with a man ever since my divorce twelve years ago. I have spent years with the rudder not picking up any signals and I thought I had become dysfunctional. Less than the woman I was born to be. People just didnt register. So it is in a way good to know that the rudder works fine, it picks up what it has been programmed to pick up and that am far from dysfunctional.
The last time I had kissed a man was like twenty years ago? Take away five or six years from that. I never kissed the man I was married to. Why? I don’t know. I haven’t kissed this one either and I mean in my mind. I haven’t. But I have wanted to.
I am not in love.
I do not fantacize about being close to this man as I happen to be scared of him. He is unpredictable. I don’t like unpredictable people. I dislike surprises. Surprises confuse me. I know he is hugely capable of hurting people and even being callous. I find this slightly confusing bec from some of the things he does you would think the guy is sensitive.
While I have often seen me riding with him, or simply reaching out and giving him a hug I don’t really ever get further than that.
It’s just that have met a man that I realize I could have fallen in love with had we met in different circumstances. Should I have said “would have liked to have fallen in love” with? Can one choose these things in that kind of premeditated fashion? I don’t know. But what I do know is that this one I would miss.
When you have got a blue print inside your head, once you acquire that blue print inside your head, life can become rather limited and one dimensional bec you keep measuring people against that print inside your head. So, on rare occasions when you do run into people that make you feel differently, I think one should try and remember the experience so as to stay clear about what one wants and who one is and where one is trying to get to. I am not trying to get to this man, even if I wanted to I couldn’t obviously one, bec he is a colleague and two, bec he is way out of my league. You don’t want to get mixed up with rich and powerful people. I have done that mistake once earlier in my life and I would never ever repeat the same mistake if I can help it.
I am not perfect, am not pretty, am not rich or singularly gifted or something. Am just this ordinary woman from somewhere, a little speck of sand on a vast beach laid out across the world with these ordinary feelings –
I feel thankful that the 'dry spell' got over and it rained at last in Lucknow city and it feels good to know that am human and a woman in the end. Is that sentence grammatically correct? I don’t care.
Life is life, isn’t copy that needs fixing. So am going to let the feelings and the memory and this post be.