The Other Me

And I know that she is the only girl for me.
And you know that if I could split in two
The other me would hold you tight.
The other me would stay all night.
The other me would be
The only one for you.
Joe Jackson

Her love dangled before him like a piñata. The choice was Frank’s. Strike it with a bat, or embrace it, and her, forever. Armed with a decision. Armed and dangerous.

Frank was so comfortable with Joan. His feelings for her were a mile wide and three inches deep. It was a river he could not cross, but in whose waters he could not drown. And he wanted to. Well, he at least wanted to get more than his ankles wet.

They had met at a party at Bill’s house. Bill and Joan were wrapping up a six month relationship. Neither knew it at the time, but they had only one week left as a couple. Frank did not spare any of the gory details as he spent the evening describing his current debacle with Sally, his soon to be ex-wife. The rest of us, veterans of Frank’s performances, quickly tired of the show. But Joan, a relative newcomer to the group, was enthralled. She listened intently, first with her head, but quickly also with her heart.

Joan’s phone call to Frank at his office really surprised him. The break-up with Bill had caught her off guard and it had taken her a week or so to even think of anyone else. But now she was ready to force herself to look outward and one of the first things that had come to her mind was Frank and his situation. She was concerned. She wanted to know how he was doing. She had no agenda. She just wanted to focus on someone else’s pain so that she could forget her own for awhile.

It was all so innocent. He bitched. She listened. He wallowed in self-pity. She agreed with his perceptions of his situation and then offered solutions and hope. He was so preoccupied with his problems that he never had any time for hers. And thus she could avoid talking or dealing with all of them. He needed her and she loved to be needed.

They quickly became a couple. Shoulders to cry on are easily converted to shoulders to kiss. And in this day of instant gratification, emotional intimacy and physical intimacy are as close as wood burning fireplace, a comfortable chair and a CD of soft music.

There was only one small problem. Sally. Sally, who had thrown Frank out of their home; who had made Frank happier than any other woman and hurt him in ways that he didn’t think possible; who had been in and out of his life for the last ten years; wanted him back. Sally was not above using their daughter, Mindy, as bait. Casting visitation time in front of him, she reeled Frank in for a family dinner. Once alone it was only a matter of time before the old feelings and warmth surfaced. Frank had breakfast with Mindy the next morning.

And now Frank was forced to make a decision. He knew that a life with Joan would be comfortable and easy. But there was no fire, and he missed the intensity that Sally had to offer. Sally was a terror, but she was his terror. Ten years of fighting and loving had given him an appreciation for the passion of their relationship. He wished he could have the oasis of calm Joan provided. He wanted to delay his choice.

We can never complain about the time we are given to make such decisions. We should just consider ourselves lucky when the choice is ours.