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February 14 2024, Stewart Island NWC Track Day 7, Freshwater Hut to Oban:
Orange asked me to cuddle him first thing in the morning. I shook my head ‘no.’
“Please?” he asked. “Only five minutes.”
I felt anger at his pushing the boundary I had voiced a couple months back. We got going on trail. Once again, I felt off put for quite some time until I recognized the gift in having the opportunity to speak to him right there.
“Orange, do you still like me?” I asked.
“Well fock yeah!” he exclaimed. “How could I nawt?”
I wasn’t specific enough.
“Did ya feel uncomfortable when I asked you to cuddle?” he asked.
“Yes I did,” I said, “because I had voiced in the past that I felt uncomfortable and it felt like you just ignored that.”
“I’m sorry, it really wasn’t my intention to make you feel uncomfortable,” he assured.
“I just don’t understand why you would still want something with me after I crossed your boundaries.”
“I don’ know, eitha. I don’ understand any more than you. It doesn’ make any sense, really,” he said. “Trust me, you’re a very difficult woman to love, Goldie.” He paused, then said, “but you tick off every box on my list.”
“How?” I asked, laughing, knowing that I was a walking red flag in so many ways.
“Because,” he said, “you just are.”
“I feel like you would fit well with Olvija (my best friend),” I said, “she’s a good Christian girl who’s very modest, wants kids and a super traditional life. Too bad she’s married.”
“That’s the thing, I don’ want a girl like that,” he pointed out, “I want a girl like you that comes with all of your weird quirkiness and wild persona.” The sun began to peek through the branches. The sound of our footsteps filled in the silent spaces. “I also think ya may have misread me,” he said. “Did I scare ya off when I told ya I wanted to have kids?”
“No, that didn’t scare me at all,” I said, “in fact, I thought it was really awesome that you were aware of your purpose here.” I sighed. “What I’m trying to say is that it is important to look at the big picture.”
“I’m tryin’ to look at the moment right now,” he said.
“Yeah, but I’m trying to point out to you that you want kids in the future and are absolutely sure of that, just like I am absolutely sure that I don’t.” I let the words sink in for him, then continued, “Orange, that is a big deal in a relationship. If we actually played out the trajectory of us becoming a thing, overtime you would grow resentful of me not wanting to have children just like I would grow resentful of you placing pressure on me. It’s very unlikely that either of us would change our minds over something like that.”
I could feel he actually got what I was getting at because he started shifting the conversation towards the topic of other women. It wasn’t in a negative way or as a way to upset me, he simply addressed that he was starting to feel open in trying out online dating sites.
“Also,” I said, “I’ve been meaning to ask you, why would you ask me to be your girlfriend that day you left me if you knew that I didn’t want to date anyone for a very long time?”
“I guess I just had high hopes,” he said, “but Goldie, soon you’re goin’ to hafta recognize that a dominant man isn’t one who chokes ya out and puts ya up against a wall.”
“Yes, I know that,” I said. “I’m very aware that I have a fucked up sense of reality and what I find attractive.”
I knew that the things that turned me on and what I tolerated in relationships was coming from unhealed trauma. There was a lot I had to forgive in myself and apparent others, and most of the time it was anything but easy.
“It also really bothered me that you told me you wished I would heal through my patterns faster,” I hissed, “I can’t just always snap out of shit. It’s not like the pain I experienced just disappears in an instant. I know it can, but it not always does.” I could feel my body getting heated as I went into defensive mode. “And I know the work I do in my mind on a daily basis. You can’t see it because you’re not the one thinking it, but I’m aware of it. I know how much I grew and what thought patterns I released over time.”
He met me with calmness, understanding and validation for what I was feeling which was all I really needed. “You’re right,” he said. The energy started to simmer down. “Ya know,” he said, “I had a dream about beatin’ up Voodoo for you.”
My heart skipped a beat. Although his statement was just a fantasy, it brought me to tears in an instant. Something about hearing that made me feel loved. I know it wouldn’t solve any of the pain I went through, or am going through, but it just felt like for the first time someone had my back.
He breathed, “I also love how in touch with God you are and aware of everything.”
“I love that about you, too, Orange.”
“But jus to be clear,” he said, “ya don’ feel anythin’ for me the way I do for you?”
“No,” I said, “I don’t.”
“There’s no chance of anythin’ happenin’ between us?”
“No, there isn’t.”
My heart broke a little bit just having to spit the words out. Of course I wanted to show him how much I could love him, how deeply capable I was of it, but I knew my ways as of right now. I would only send him into a quickening pain. I guess it was why I found it easy to put my ego aside with him. He was too good and pure hearted for my shit.
The conversation ended on a good note, and by that I mean I made loud whale noises for a couple of minutes, then asked, “Do you think snakes are ticklish?”
Before he even had time to answer, we ran into Holden on the trail! It was trippy recognizing him at first because he shaved his face and had only ever seen him with very scruffy facial hair. We talked to him for a little while before we continued to the road, officially making it back into Oban on Valentine’s Day.
There, we booked a tent site at a backpacker hostel since it was all they had left available. We celebrated our finish with ice cream and garlic oil pizza! Tomorrow we had a plane ticket booked back to Invercargill since there was no way in hell I was going to take the ferry back.