Ghosts of Imaginary Boyfriends Past


I’ve written before about how I had imaginary boyfriends in super early sobriety, and how I had whirlwind romances with real live guys but unfortunately they were not aware of it. It’s charming, in a pathetic way, to think of it now. I was so aching and desperate to feel attractive and loved and pretty. The only thing I could think of to make that possible, of course, was to find someone who would do that for me. I was single-minded in my pursuit of this someone, but he just kept cheating on me with his wife or was gay or was a gentleman or was a grown-up or some other bullshit. It’s very different now and I understand that this is not the way it works. However, when I was in those brief relationships with CM and then with 24BB, I became delusional despite myself – slipped back into the thinking that my own very real-life love story with a real-live dude would smooth the edges of life in recovery. No! No! Snap out of it, I say to myself!!! We all have needs and I trust in Love that they will be met sooner or fucking later. Needs, wants, desires, etc… all in good time. I want to say that I believe that I already do have everything that I need – because this is what the CKs say and rarely are they wrong. But again, I am not that evolved. I’m trying though. Well, actually, I do believe that – I’m just frustrated and suffering the human condition, and in the meantime, there are websites for such woes. Discuss.

A few days ago right after a meeting, this beauty of a man came up to me and said those four words that can cause any good alcoholic to dry-heave: “Do you remember me?” I flipped frantically through the Rolodex of my Swiss cheese memory and came up with bupkis, zilch, nyet. I couldn’t place him. And the conversation goes something like this…

What he said: Do you remember me?
What I said (nervously): Um. Hmm. From where? I’m sorry! When?
What I thought: Sweet Mother of God, will this EVER end!!! Regardless, I love you! I love you! I love you! How could I forget you, you beauty of a man?! The future father of my children! Doesn’t matter that I have no uterus – we’ll figure out some way, some how we will do this. Love conquers all!

What he said: Oh meetings, but it was a long time ago, so I don’t expect you to. But I had to come over and tell you how great you look! I hardly recognized you! I was like ‘whoa’!
What I said: (nothing. I was speechless. I was planning the wedding).
What I thought: You said ‘whoa’. You said ‘whoa’. You said ‘whoa’ which clearly means you love me. You’ve been waiting (in the shrubbery outside meetings) for me to get better. You’ve been waiting for me all your life. You’ve had a Slushkitty-size hole in your soul. Here I am. I’ve been waiting for you all my life, too.

What he said: I know it’s nice to hear that, and it’s so great to see people getting better.
What I said: Thank you! It’s been a rough few months. I had a hysterectomy. If I wasn’t sober, I’m not sure I’d have lived through it.
What I thought: I’m not sure I am going to live through this conversation. Nothing screams ‘sexy!’ like talking about your gynecologic tragedies during the first conversation with the man of your dreams, the future father of your children.

What he said: Blah blah blah blah blah.
What I said: (nothing. I was speechless. I was planning my escape from Earth).

What he said (when his phone allegedly rang): This is my Dad calling – I gotta run. It was awesome seeing you!
What I said: You, too! We should….
What I thought: The greatest but least talked about gender inequality in America and elsewhere is the fact that vasectomies are reversible, but hysterectomies are not. (That’s where I stopped thinking about that).

Anyway, enormously embarrassed, but undeterred, I thought of “IFFoMC” all night and the whole next morning. I had this sweet and persistent idea that I would write him something, a letter, a limerick, or something. I’d carry it around with me and give it to him the next time I saw him – be it in one week or in one year. I didn’t know what I wanted to say but it would not only not be creepy/stalker-y, but it would sweep him off his feet. He’s too darling and shy to ask me for tea. It would be so romantic, and we are already in love anyway, so I really have nothing to lose. It would be one more delightful story we’d tell our children.

The important thing to note here is that only one time in my entire life have I ever given a boy a love note with my phone number. It was around 1998-99 (I think?) in San Francisco at a Staples store in the Castro. His last name was “Devereaux” as in “Blanche”. He was cute as a button and, unfortunately, also a Jesus freak. I don’t know why he even called me – nice Christian girls don’t come sashaying into a Staples in the middle of the afternoon giving strangers her phone number. He did call me promptly though, and we went out twice. The second time I only went out with him because I liked his name. I guess it was as good a reason as any.

So, back to IFFoMC.. The day after the meeting when I was thinking of writing him a love note, I stalked him on Facebook. I searched his first name figuring we’d have mutual friends, and alas, we do. Found him right away and remembered him right away – he was one of my very first Imaginary Boyfriends! I hadn’t seen him in well over a year and I completely forgot about him! I am surprised by this because I had it sooo baaaad for him. One time, we went to the same meeting – it was in a church and he came in late. Naturally, like all my IBs, he sat next to me even though there were a hundred free seats he could have chosen (that may or may not have been true). We sat in the actual pews at this meeting. The backs of the pews had these built-in magazine racks – ha! – I bet they were meant to hold Bibles and shit, not “People” or “Cosmo”. And they also had little pads of paper with those little pencils you get at mini golf places. I spent half the meeting composing a love note to him – I didn’t know what I wanted to say but it would surely sweep him off his feet. And then half-way through the meeting I noticed that he had picked up a little pencil and a little piece of paper and started writing something, presumably a love note to me! I spent the rest of the meeting in breathless anticipation of his love note. He was The One – I knew it.. finally! All I had to do was get sober and my dreams would come true! It took a long time – five months!!! – but he was worth the wait. He was going to pass me his love note when he held my hand for The Ol’ Prayer at the end of the meeting, I was sure. But when it was time, he walked clear across the church! I couldn’t believe it! He didn’t even say goodbye! WTF?! I was heart-broken but also relieved that I didn’t pass him a note. I hear the fellas like a chase. I’d just slip him my number next time I saw him.. which ended up not being until a few days ago and I’d long forgotten him. I am also relieved that I didn’t do anything drastic the other day when I saw him. Upon further Facebook stalking, it wasn’t hard to tell he had a girlfriend and they were going 2 B 2-gether 4-ever. You know someone is seriously unavailable when their profile picture is them kissing their girlfriend/boyfriend. I know these things. As quickly as I was smitten by IFFoMC this time, I just as quickly shrugged him off as a fun twirl in hasty, misguided love. I think this is a little slice of evidence of recovery. But isn’t it strange that only once in my life have I given someone a love note, but I wanted to give IFFoMC a love note two separate times, not realizing it was him both times? I wonder what that means? Curious.

I said that I only once in my life gave someone a love note, but I confess that I do have the makings of a love note for FH at home and have for quite a while. I don’t know what I am going to say, but it will not only not be creepy/stalker-y, but it will sweep him off his feet… if I ever get up the nerve to write anything, which I probably won’t. But if I do, it surely won’t be hasty, definitely not misguided, and it will always be curious with love to my boyfriend, imaginary or not.


One response

  1. DSK

    There is such beauty and tenderness and vulnerability in your writing. You are also VERY humorous, no doubt. What I find especially endearing though, is that the humor of a piece is a kind of featherbed put there to provide a gentle landing for the incredible vulnerability you allow for. It is a beautiful thing. I also really relate so much to the instant and incredibly detailed fantasies that can materialize when meeting (even from afar) an uprite, non druling, recently bathed and reasonable looking gentleman.

    Yours truly,

    Marriage Proposal

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