Thomm Quackenbush, author

" Part Time Lovers | 2008 | Swansong "

03.24.08 7:42 p.m.

We are each of us angels with only one wing. And we can only fly embracing each other.  

-Luciano De Crescenzo

 


Defensiveness Deriving

This entry is not directed at anyone in particular. These are just a few issues I didn't care to work into a proper entry, but which I wanted out in the open so people can stop whispering. None of this is catty or pointed. If you recognize something in this that you said to me, there is a reason but I advise you against taking it personally. The reason behind this is to stop issues, not create more.

So, are you really with Melanie?
I am in a committed relationship with her, we're dating, we're together, we're lovers. Where have you been? I've been writing about it for a while.

I can't be arsed to read everything you write. You moved on rather quickly, didn't you?
Absolutely, but as I keep saying, I really felt (retroactively) that I was single before Emily made it official. She was around inconsistently so the majority of my life did not involve her except as a background process. She was certainly a persistent process, but I had the scaffolding necessary for an independent life and I pursued that. (And, yes, a life with my teenage lover is still an independent life. She does not live with me and we are not reliant on one another for anything but kisses.)
I did not move on simply for the sake of moving on. I was not rushing the process of moving on. I began seriously dating Melanie because I reasonably adored her. She's rather too charming. I was considering cutting off dating for the immediate future before I met her. I am thrilled I didn't.
I was and am comfortable being single. I did not realize how good I would be alone until Emily dumped me. While I do need people, I now know I can handle life with minimal assistance. I don't have a core group of friends who socialize with (or even like) one another, so all of my friendships are individually packaged.

Isn't Melanie a bit young for you?
Using the dating formula (your age/2)+7, yes, she is. According to that, I should at the very youngest date a twenty-year-old. I hesitated about this for a few weeks, using her age as the insurmountable obstacle, a reason not to admit to having serious feelings for her. Finally, I got tired of saying, "If she really was twenty-three or twenty-four, I wouldn't even have to think about this. I'd practically be proposing." Eventually, if I am patient with her, she will be twenty-three or twenty-four. Her age is nothing she has power over any more than her race or sex. I love her for who she is, not what she is. It is her chronological handicap, and I can love her despite that.
My options were to ignore her because of her age and miss out on knowing someone fantastic or to allow myself the experience of her kisses. Phrased that way, it felt idiotic to forebear even a moment longer.
Possibly she is so fond and affectionate because of her age - I've heard this reasoning spat at me - but I think she feels this way because I am deserving of it, because she loves me despite my age as well.

You've been going on and on about how you want to be married and how you want to have forever with someone. You don't actually think you can have your "forever" with a teenager, do you?
No, I really don't. I'm a romantic, not lobotomized. I do think I have a chance with a twenty-year-old. Or a twenty-one-year-old... So I wait, but at least I will have good company while I do it.

When you were introducing Melanie around to friends and family, would you have dumped her on the spot if someone had disapproved of her?
No, of course not. I did want an outsider's perspective from people I love - I was obviously biased - but I had already made a commitment to her.
Likewise, I wasn't putting her fate in anyone's hand to avoid making a decision. Trust me, I had made more than a few significant decisions in regards to her prior to having her meet a single other person. She likely would not have been introduced around unless I felt she would be lingering. I don't want to will away my decision-making power. I did that with Emily too often. This was not a great idea, but it got me where I am. From here on out, thanks but no thanks. I'll steer.

You know that she could be your student, right?
If she were learning disabled and exceedingly rich, it is theoretically possible that she could be my student. Were it the case that she was my student, I would not be dating her. She isn't my student, she's never been, she's in college, so it isn't unethical. The equivalent would be suggesting that Melissa couldn't date someone who is a bit high strung because she works with people with serious mental issues and then where would Stevehen be? This argument falls flat, I'm afraid. I am allowed to date anyone of legal age without tut-tutting about professional responsibility.

So she's bisexual? Always going after the unattainable, aren't you?
One, this suggests that a bisexual person cannot be faithful, an insinuation I find grating. People are faithful or not and it has fuck all to do with their sexual orientation. Secondly, I stole a girlfriend away from Kate in high school and Emily self-identified as a lesbian. Both of those relationships were successful and long term, and neither ended because of another woman. Thirdly, bisexual girls tend to be more liberal and free thinking. Since I am looking for liberal and free thinking companions, I occasionally hit upon those who have a mild case of "the gay". I'm okay with it, really. Finally, women are really attractive. How are more women not a little gay? Haven't you seen Angelina Jolie?

Is this just about lust/infatuation/revenge?
There is lust, there in infatuation, this isn't simply about those. In the coming entries, I hope to give you a better indication of just why I like Melanie so.
As for revenge? Against whom? Emily? I do not think she cares that I am having sleepovers with Melanie and, if she does, she shouldn't. Last she let me know, she wanted me to be happy with someone else, for whatever reason. I doubt this bothers Emily. It isn't as though my relationship with Melanie lessens the time I spent with Emily. I didn't choose Melanie over Emily. Melanie did not exist in my world until after Emily left me. I never chose anyone over Emily and I never shoved my relationship with Melanie in her face. I'm sorry, but I fail to see the revenge aspect given those points.
I know a girl who is too sweet for her own good and who has an ex who sounds as though he never deserved so much as to touch the hem of her shirt. He dumped her and moved onto a sexual relationship with another girl whom I hope he treats better. He has apparently felt it necessary to pester my friend with stories of his escapades with this girl, of her sexual proclivities. He calls and texts her often to so share. This, it seems, has a root in revenge.
I understand that some feel I should want to lash out and hurt Emily because she quickly moved onto involvement with Tim, if she hadn't already created the foundations of this involvement. I promise, my relationship with Melanie (or with anyone) is completely independent of anything Emily did, outside of leaving me in the first place. I couldn't stomach the idea of using someone as a tool for revenge, especially someone I adore.

But it doesn't hurt that Melanie is attractive?
No, but bear in mind that I initially wrote to her before she had pictures in her profile, simply because she seemed like someone worth talking to and that her profile stats claimed she was twenty-four, even if the profile itself confessed she was nonspecifically younger. She was not initially counted among the few girls with whom I was flirting. In fact, my assumption was that she was unattractive. I assume this of most people on dating sites without pictures.
She is attractive beyond the physical. Though still nascent, she is developing into one of the more amazing people I've met and I rightly adore her.

God, you are saccharine. Let's move on so I don't lose my lunch. I think you are still hung up on Emily.
That isn't a question.

Fine, you insufferable prig, I'll phrase it in the form of a question. Are you still hung up on Emily (because I think you are)?
No, I'm not. We still need distance before we can be friends and there will be issues for a while. Whenever she suggests that she left something in my apartment, I cringe for a moment because I am not ready to let her back into my home. But we've had a few really good conversations and are friendly. I forward her mail onto her. I loved her for the better part of a decade and I wasn't wrong to do so. She is a good woman at the center of things, even if our relationship did not work out in the end. I wish her well in life, not that she seems to need my additional well-wishes. I am not trying to get back with her, I do not want to get back with her, but I do want to keep a positive regard for her and I do want to eventually be able to have her as one of my best friends again. Her shadow does not loom large over my life, the eclipse has passed.

That sounds like... I mean, do you think that sounds like you are hung up on her?
No, I don't. Just because I am not calling for her blood, doesn't mean I haven't coped and gotten past enough to have a successful relationship with someone else. I am not the blood-calling-for type, if you haven't noticed.

But didn't Emily leaving you after seven years hurt you and deal a major blow to your self-esteem?
It definitely hurt me, but it was not remotely a blow to my self-esteem. Emily persisted that I was the perfect boyfriend and that this breakup had totally to do with her and nothing to do with me. The only fault that I could possibly find in me in all this was that I took a job in Anemia rather than in the city. That's hardly a mortal sin, though it was for that relationship. My self-esteem is fine and it has been made perfectly clear to me that I am attractive and desirable by people who wouldn't benefit by lying about that.

Well, are you really happy with Melanie?
Honestly? Yeah. It is great to be loved by someone who is independent but who wants to spend time with me.

This won't work... I mean, what do you have to say to people who might tell you that this won't work out?
I'm annoyed with you just a bit for that. I'm happy. I am not being ridiculous about her. I'm leading my life quite a bit better than people seem to have expected of me after the breakup. You should be happy for me and trust my judgment.

But didn't you want people to be honest with you, since they weren't before?
Er... yes, I definitely did and do. But I try to understand potential biases. That doesn't mean I didn't listen and consider your words, simply that I don't necessarily agree with what you said. That also doesn't mean they won't upset me. Trust too that I can work through being upset with you and appreciate that you are being truthful about your feelings with me and not handling me with kid gloves.

Soon in Xenology: Dan and Stephanie. Xuan. Rainwater.

last watched: The Orphanage
reading: Dune
listening: The Vines

" Part Time Lovers | 2008 | Swansong "

Thomm Quackenbush is an author and teacher in the Hudson Valley. Double Dragon publishes four novels in his Night's Dream series (We Shadows, Danse Macabre, and Artificial Gods, and Flies to Wanton Boys). He has sold jewelry in Victorian England, confused children as a mad scientist, filed away more books than anyone has ever read, and tried to inspire the learning disabled and gifted. He is capable of crossing one eye, raising one eyebrow, and once accidentally groped a ghost. When not writing, he can be found biking, hiking the Adirondacks, grazing on snacks at art openings, and keeping a straight face when listening to people tell him they are in touch with 164 species of interstellar beings. He likes when you comment.



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Works by Thomm Quackenbush

Anthologies

Find What You Love and Let It Kill You by Thomm Quackenbush
Pagan Standard Times: Essays on the Craft by Thomm Quackenbush
A Creature Was Stirring: A Twisted Christmas Anthology by Thomm Quackenbush
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