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Sunburn; Flying Too Close

sunburnI am no Icarus, I am cautious and try not to fly too close to the sun, but I am still susceptible to sunburn. Using sunscreen is an effective way to shield your skin from the ravages of the sun’s rays, but how do you protect your more delicate organs? What if the threat is as warm and inviting as the sun, and even more attractive? Mild sunburn is a first-degree burn and is superficial.

He caught me off guard, and entered my life through a door I didn’t realize I’d left open. Within a week he was sending sweet messages morning and night, showering me with the attention I have been starving for. Did he know this? I don’t think so; he didn’t know me. I was a low-risk chance he was willing to take. I’m sure it was as intriguing for him as for me, though I didn’t realize it was a game. To him, I was a ball of yarn.

The whole affair, if that’s what you would call it, lasted just over a month. We met in person twice for long lunches that included serious making out. It was lovely while it lasted and I don’t regret a moment of it. It was a nice beach vacation, a heady trip and just what I didn’t know I needed. And like most nice vacations I’m sorry it’s over, but I have shit to do, and he was a serious distraction. 

I have been alone for a long time, and suddenly a (generous) emotional heroin dealer appeared. He supplied a constant stream of my drug in the form of continuous flirtatious communication. I got hooked in no time. His timing was excellent; I was reeling from the outcome of the election, and recently losing my job, I needed a diversion and I got one. 

I could spend days trying to figure out what happened, or where he went, but why bother? I’ll never know, and if he was going to bail the timing for his disappearance was a good as for his appearance. If he’d waited a few more weeks I’d probably have fallen in love with him. He seemed too good to be true. He checked most of my ‘perfect mate’ boxes; smart, kind, funny, charming, into good food, and so attentive. If you see the red flags here good work; I totally missed them.

He was the sunshine I’d been craving and I basked in his glow. I dropped my defenses (or most of them) and stretched out feeling both languorous and excited. I was breathless and high on hormones. The anticipation of seeing him kept me up at night, my body zinging as I thought about his touch. No one had ever swept me off my feet like this. It felt so good, then suddenly, inexplicably it stopped. It took my body a few days to go through withdrawal from the constant drip of attention and adrenaline. I was sad, then mad, and now not even a week after he vanished I am circumspect. 

At first, I picked apart our final afternoon together, and the messages that followed. Did I do or say something? Blaming myself seemed easier; if it was my fault maybe I could fix this. After a few days time, lots of conversations with patient friends and a bit of sleuthing I figured out what I should have sensed from the start; this is how he operates, and nothing I did or said could have changed the outcome. If something I did hastened it that was for the best. I escaped this fire with only a first-degree burn.

I’m healing well and I’ve learned a valuable lesson about flying too close to the sun. I’ve also learned there will be a next time. In the past every time someone turned their attention to me I’ve felt like it was my last chance. This time, for the first time, I understand it’s not. I will keep using sunscreen and avoid sunburn. I will be warier next time someone pursues me so intently. But it’s not so bad to let someone into my heart at least a little, and give them a chance to prove themselves worthy (or not) of the gift of my love.

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  • December 14, 2016 - 7:49 am

    Peggy Gilbey McMackin - It’s 7:30 am and my brain hasn’t yet woke up, but just to say, nice Post, happy for you in the exhilarating moments, and though sad it didn’t last, am quite happy for your end resolution and positive outlook. Cheers to a more lasting next time!ReplyCancel

  • December 14, 2016 - 2:57 pm

    Patricia - Matters of the heart are always risky, but I am of the school, better to have loved and lost…
    Always take consolation in the fact that you were true to your feelings and went after a desire of your own. You can’t control the other aspects unfortunately, but imagine never taking these kinds of chances and feeling the exhilaration, if only short lived.
    Love the comparison to the sunburn. Wasn’t sure what “parts” you were talking about that you can’t use sunscreen on at first…lol. Glad it was about your heart… : )ReplyCancel

  • December 14, 2016 - 5:35 pm

    Nancy K. - I love this very honest look at dating, or whatever you want to call it. I especially love that you talk about getting burned without every using that term. At first I thought it was actually going to be about burns but quickly found myself completely drawn into the allegory. Excellent piece. Good luck out there!ReplyCancel

  • December 15, 2016 - 8:04 am

    Cindy D - This was so beautifully constructed; who among us can’t relate to being consumed by that feeling of being swept away? . Glad your burn is healing.ReplyCancel

  • December 15, 2016 - 8:05 am

    Donna-Louise Bishop - I loved your comparisons between sunburn and this relationship. I thought the parallels worked really well. I wondered if perhaps there was a bit too much about sunburn in the intro and maybe that could be filtered elsewhere in the piece? I found the initial jump from the sunburn to the relationship pulled me out of the piece a bit. Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and your attention to detail/emotion/thoughts worked great. Awesome job.ReplyCancel

    • December 15, 2016 - 8:08 am - Thanks Donna-Louise. I wondered about that as well.

  • February 15, 2017 - 7:00 am

    Another Valentine’s Day » Chefs Last Diet - […] eyes, would you send a love letter and let them gaze into your heart and soul? I was recently wooed with texts and IMs and mistook the chatter for romance, silly […]ReplyCancel

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