Jamie and I chatted for a minute, then I passed the phone to her. Afterward, I said to Patty, "Hey, you don't like to go out, either. After that, I cut him off entirely and distanced myself from Patty. The one thing that had helped me get over him was the notion that he couldn't have a real physical relationship with anyone. I hired a new therapist, trying to get to the root of the whole twisted experience. Nearly a year later, I heard from friends that they'd broken up. "Jamie is one sick guy," she said when she called back, adding that he would tell her he loved her one minute, then pull away the next. "I wish I'd never met him." Over time, I came to forgive Patty for what I saw as a temporary lapse of sanity. Eventually, I stopped thinking about her role in things altogether—and about Jamie's culpability, too.
You two should talk to each other when I'm not around." I'd handed her the phone on impulse, but on some level, I did want her to get to know Jamie—he was my quasi-boyfriend, after all. After several months of silence, Patty called and said she needed to talk. All along, I'd thought of myself as having been lured into a half-baked attempt at intimacy because Jamie wasn't willing to meet, when in reality, it was me who was afraid to take the relationship further.
Being treated as my father's intellectual and emotional equal was heady stuff, and I'm guessing it was then that I developed a taste for the whispered intimacy of a forbidden nighttime chat.
But just to be sure, a few months into our "relationship," I sent my friend Dana, who lived in the same city as Jamie, on a reconnaissance mission to the opening of one of his stores.
She called me later, saying she'd shaken his wedding-ringless hand. "A little surprised to hear that you'd sent me, but otherwise just a nice, normal guy." That night, Jamie and I laughed about my deviousness, and he asked what else I needed him to do to prove he was who he said he was. " I tried."Good."Soon, we were having phone sex every night.
I think I'll always be evolving in that department.
All I can do is fight the urge to live in a fantasy—so a Jamie can never set up camp in my heart again.
A few weeks later, I noticed that Jamie's number was often busy. "Because his number has been busy a lot." She hesitated, and I felt an immediate stab of jealousy. "Jamie and I have been seeing each other in real life," she said. avoided real-life relationships in favor of a fantasy.
Then one evening, Patty casually mentioned she'd spoken to him the night before. That night, I tested out my sneaking suspicion by directing a fabricated accusation at him: "Patty tells me the two of you have been having phone sex," I said. I'd chosen Jamie for the very reasons he'd chosen me: We were terrified of intimacy. I was able to identify unavailable men and avoid them."Nope," I said, "I'm satisfied."Then one night, he asked, "What are you wearing? It was something I'd never done before—at least not to this degree.""Well, everything is at the Laundromat, so a pair of boxers, my roommate's 'Virginia Is for Lovers' T-shirt, and black socks," I admitted."No, no," he said. We shared our deepest, most creative fantasies..of which involved an 18th-century doctor and the invention of the vibrator (let's just say embarrassment was never an issue)."When we talk, I never want it to en —I want to totally merge with you," Jamie wrote. I like that we're different." And we different: I was a social butterfly, happiest surrounded by friends at a cocktail party; Jamie was an admitted introvert, with no interest in going out."I want to know everything about you, and I want to share everything about me. But he wasn't some creepy pervert living in his mother's basement. I knew he was who he said he was because there were articles written about him.Within six months, we were saying "I love you." I kept meaning to ask when we were going to meet in person, but I also kept putting it off.