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The CHRONICLES of ELIZABETH HIGHLAND
LIFE, LOVE, SOUL ... mate
By Elizabeth Highland
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2013 Elizabeth Highland
All rights reserved.
The Limo Ride
The Plane Trip
Wheels in Motion
Christmas and The New Year
Getting Motors Running
Leap of Faith
Setting the Record Straight
Delving into History
Memories and Dreams
Last Day before Departure
The Limo Ride
It was a crisp January morning. Traffic was flowing smoothly. The driver turned to me and asked which terminal I was going to.
"Terminal one", I replied. How exciting was this? Travelling to meet a fellow I'd met forty years ago ... a fellow I have been close friends with all my life. A fellow who somehow has gotten me to cross the line of friendship into a flirting/sexual/energetic relationship ... all online.
How the heck did this happen???
Timothy Blumefield. One of the funniest people I have ever had the pleasure to know. Always a person I made my way over to at a party. Cute, honest, and simply adorable. I've known him since my early twenties. I remember him from ski/cottage country. We had mutual friends and kept meeting on the social circuit.
I'm dressed in a form-fitting, deep-mauve dress – mini, that is. It has a mock turtleneck and a hip belt with a silver buckle and big, loose sleeves. Retro sixties. My over-the-knee black suede boots with three-inch sexy heels top the look. Not to mention the ankle-length bronze-colour beaver coat. Oh my ... I feel fabulous! What an outfit to travel in. I want to blow him away when I arrive.
This past week has been a frenzy. What do girls do when they are excited about a trip and a meeting with a new lover? GET READY
Boy oh boy have I been getting ready. The hair, the nails, the outfits – the lingerie.
Why is it that every new relationship I start I have to have new lingerie? Do men think like that? Do men buy new underwear for every new lover? I wonder.
My love life is costing me a fortune. I've been divorced for ten years now, and what a journey my single adult womanhood has been. I've had relationships ... yes I have. Good and bad, but relationships nonetheless.
There was the Greek electrician who looked liked Andy Garcia. Yes he did. Angelo was of Greek descent but looked more Italian. What a sweetie pie. We met at the front door of my marital home just as I was starting my divorce. He came to give me a quote on some electrical renovations in the master bathroom. Somehow we kept striking up conversations and then one day he called and invited me to an antique show. The next day I called him and asked him to meet me in Little Italy for a drink. And that's how that one started. It wasn't until it was too late that I found out he was thirteen years younger than me. OOPS!!! By then it was too late. We were involved. It went on for four years. Hot and heavy. He was one heck of a good lover. Just what every lost woman going through an ugly divorce after twenty-four years of marriage needs.
Then there was the Peruvian fisherman, Juan Carlos. He was of Italian, Argentinean, Spanish, and Inca descent. He would have looked just fine in a Ferrari race-car-driver suit. Thick, jet-black hair to his shoulders with a soft whispery voice and romantic as all get out. He turned out to be fifteen years younger than me. Again too late to get out when I found out the age difference. We lasted three years.
Then Hoi Chi Mein ... the sixty-five-year-old CEO. He was eight years older than me, had very little hair, smoked two packs of cigarettes a day, and was the biggest control freak I have ever known. Thought he could buy everybody – kids, wives, friends. Well, that only lasted nine months. I wasn't for sale, and I am not the type of woman who, at age fifty-eight, is looking to be controlled, or to be a doormat of a wife, no matter how rich the man is.
What will make me happy?
This is where my story starts.
The Plane Trip
The car pulls into the terminal. Oh gosh ... I really am doing this! I pay the driver and make my way into the airport. This dress! Holy moly ... I never walk around Toronto dressed like this at ten in the morning. I'm usually in my fitness gear headed to Pilates or yoga.
The dress feels wonderful on my body. Comfy and stretchy. It will survive the five-hour flight wrinkle-free. I make my way to the agent and check my bag. Done! Off I go to security. I'm noticing a few appreciative looks from both men and women. I have dared to parade myself ... expose myself ... as a sensual curvaceous blonde so early in the day. And in an airport to boot! Well, all I can say is the hours of dancing at the studio for the past two years have paid off. Legs and abs to be proud of for an older woman.
There is an attractive gal dressed in business attire behind me in the line-up for security. I feel her eyes on me. I ask her where she is going. She tells me she has a meeting in Boston in the afternoon and that she is just doing a quick turnaround. I smile at her as I put my purse and fur coat on the plastic tray and say, "Well ... I'm off to meet up with a fellow I have been good friends with for forty years! We somehow have fallen for each other online!" Then I add, "Can you believe this?"
She smiles and replies, "What have you got to lose?" Then she giggles and says, "You look fabulous".
I do look fabulous. I know it. I feel it. Well I'd better! I've put enough effort into aging gracefully. It's work just like going to an office. Plain and simple.
I board the plane and take my seat. I'm too excited to eat or even have a coffee. I sip Evian and doze off. I wake up after takeoff and flip through The Economist. I love reading this magazine on planes. It holds my attention ... but not today. My eyes are too bleary to focus. I haven't slept much in the past week and certainly not last night. Tossing and turning. My mind just wouldn't quiet down. I touch the screen in front of me. Maybe a movie to pass the time.
What is the first movie that pops up? Sleepless in Seattle. You have got to be kidding me. How long ago did that movie achieve fame? Images of Meg Ryan in bed typing madly on her laptop to Tom Hanks in Seattle make me grin at the similarity of my situation. Well ... mine is not quite the same. They did not know each other ... Tim and I do know each other. As friends ... only as friends. We met when we were eighteen. Oh ... and there is another big difference in my story.
Tim is married.
I opt not to watch Sleepless in Seattle. I don't want anything to interfere with the originality of my actions or comments towards Tim when he picks me up in San Francisco. I'm filled with nervous energy as it is and just simply desire a distraction to keep me from thinking of him. I end up watching a film about relationships within a family with Angelina Jolie and Sean Connery. Fine. That will do the trick.
The movie ends. About another hour until we land. I get up to go to the ladies room. My feet are killing me! What a dumb idea to wear these boots on the plane! I thought of black ankle boots. I even tried them on last night. However, the over-the-knee suede boots just looked so much better. But now my feet have swelled and are killing me! Especially the left foot. My left foot is bigger than my right one. Makes sense that even though these boots are comfortable for evening wear (I don't think I've ever really worn them in the day, and certainly not in an airport where you have to walk miles and miles to get to your gate).
Walking up and down the aisle doesn't help my foot. I get back to my seat and decide the left boot has got to come off to give me some relief. I struggle to unzip the side zipper. The gentleman beside me must be wondering what the heck I am trying to do. I get the boot off ... AHHHHHH. So much better!
I'm terrified I won't be able to get the damn thing back on. I let my foot breathe for about ten minutes and then shuffle and wiggle it back on. Thank God! That's all I would have needed to show up in this sexy mauve dress with one black boot on. My left foot thanks me. I'm okay.
The plane is starting its descent. My ears are giving me some trouble. I drink the rest of my Evian and hope the pain fades.
I have one last thought before I collect my coat and purse and make my way to meet Tim: When really did this crossover from friends to prospective lovers start?
For me it began last summer.
Sometime around mid July I received an email from Timothy Blumefield asking if I would be in the city in the upcoming week and would I like to meet him for a drink?
I said, "Sure! When are you coming to Toronto?" He said he would let me know a.s.a.p. as he was going to be in the area on business and visiting family and would love to see me. I told him I would love to see him too! Maybe the following Friday?
It would be a welcome relief to have a visit with Tim. I had hit an emotional low.
The past year had been a difficult one for me. I had been solo. No relationship, which is highly unusual for me. I like having a boyfriend!
Last summer, the summer of 2012, looking back now was a turning point. My family was suffering the loss of my youngest brother's wife. Holly got hit with three inoperable brain tumours and was gone in six weeks. It happened so fast my entire family was in shock and sorrow all at the same time. But the Highland tribe banded together – Mum, Dad, brothers, sisters, kids, nieces, nephews. It made me proud of how everyone pitched in to help in any way they could. Sometimes it would simply be a phone call. Or a visit to the hospice. Or a lunch with one of the kids. We were all there for each other. I'm lucky to be a part of such a family. I felt horrible for my brother as he lost his soul mate. She was only fifty. Holly lived a wonderful life. It just ended twenty-five years too soon.
I as well had been questioning the integrity of humanity. My last relationship (with the sixty-five-year-old CEO) had ended abruptly and horribly the previous summer. A phone call. One disgusting telephone message ... a voice mail to boot ... informing me that his secretary would deliver my clothes left at his country estate to the concierge at my condo.
Nice! Is this how an established businessman ends a relationship with a woman he proposed marriage to on the first date? All because I wrote a note in the middle of the night telling him he needed help? Guess he didn't like my note.
Forget what we were fighting about. It doesn't matter. What matters is that he couldn't look me in the eye and discuss the problem. He chose to simply excommunicate me from his life. He fired me. Exactly the way someone is dismissed from a giant corporation: fired and then escorted to the door by security on the very same day with all their belongings, never to set foot in that workplace again.
It took me three months to get past the injustice of it all. I couldn't believe that a man of his stature – a former judge – could possibly behave this way with good moral conscience.
Hoi Chi Mein had seen me on the golf course. He had been sitting on the terrace of the men's lounge when I was hitting off the first tee. He saw me hit (I guess I must have hit a good one) and said, "Who is that?" I asked him later why I drew his attention and he told me, "Elizabeth, you have a lot of presence on a golf course".
I don't know if the man is a serial dater or what. He certainly had me fooled. Swept away. He swept me away with dinners, trips, wanted me to move in with him right away. And on and on and on. 'The big we'. We would be married at the country house ... a pre-nup of course ... the majority of his estate would be left to his children. If he predeceased me I would be well looked after. Very well looked after. He even took my parents out for an expensive get-to-know-you dinner.
I on the other hand was not so quick to say yes and not ready to move in with him. I had just moved to my condo in a young, hip part of town and was settling into my new apartment and enjoying my own adventure. Was it nice to be squired about after supporting half a block of people in Peru? (Remember the fisherman?) Yes. Absolutely. What girl doesn't like having a man take her out – and pay the bill?
It's nice to feel taken care of. At least I enjoyed that feeling of being protected.
But it's not so nice to have a man lower your self-esteem slowly but surely to gain control. To dominate. To make you a subservient doormat. Not a partner. He told me once, "Women are here to serve man".
Really? Hoi Chi Mein was definitely entertaining. We never had a problem making conversation. I felt a strong connection with him right from day one. But why? Why the connection? He couldn't figure it out either. He thought I was bohemian.
Anyways ... when Timothy's email popped up in early July it felt like a breath of fresh air. An after-work drink with one of my oldest pals. A pal who had stuck with me through my embarrassing divorce and my travels to Peru to visit with the fisherman. Tim had a wonderful sense of humour. He would write to me during my tenure with Juan Carlos and ask, "How's the flounder?" One day I wrote back, "I sent him to sea".
A week passed and no specifics from Tim as to where to meet, so I emailed and asked if he was still coming to Toronto.
What arrived back sent my head spinning. Tim had put together a lovely letter informing me that his wife and kids were off to Budapest for the month of July. He would be alone and was wondering if I would like to join him for some adult time in Las Vegas and then fly up to the Grand Canyon for a few days. He put together a video of a Frank Sinatra Broadway-style show playing in Vegas and a picture of the majestic rock formations of the Grand Canyon.
I remember looking at his invitation on my computer screen and being mortified. What was he asking me? To meet him in Vegas as a friend? To meet him in Vegas as a lover? His wording of 'adult time' was a little confusing, to say the least. If I was coming as a lover, was he paying my way? Or was I just supposed to hoof it out there to hang out with him as a friend? Two rooms or one?
I presumed he meant two rooms and I would pay my own way. We would enjoy our friendship and laugh and laugh as we always do when together.
Because we are friends – and friends talk to each other – I wrote him back and questioned him as to whether he was asking me to have an affair ... over the Internet?
His reply was candid and supportive. No ... he wrote that he had far too much respect for me to ask me for an affair over the Internet. He had always admired me from afar and enjoyed my company and was simply wondering if I would like to take a risk and spend some one-on-one time with him. And ... he was wondering if I felt about him the way he felt about me.
I was blown away. What? I had always just considered Tim a friend. Never had romantic feelings crossed my mind in regards to him. He was married, for God's sake. I don't look at married men as available options for romance. It's a closed door.
Now I did know that Tim's marriage was not a good one. I'd heard through the grapevine that he had left his wife about six years earlier but that he had gone back. Probably for the sake of his children. I had never discussed this with him. I had visited Lake Tahoe where he had a home about three years earlier. My son was in a snowboard race so it fit that I could watch my son and ski with Tim and some of his friends. I never met Tim's wife that trip. Tim even organized a dinner party in a restaurant for me. She was not there. One of our mutual pals confided in me his marriage was not great.
We wrote back and forth that July. I told him he should get out of his marriage if he was unhappy and that his wife deserved someone to love her as well. I also told him that even if I wanted to go to Vegas I could not at this time as my sister-in-law could pass away any day now and that I was trying to get back with the CEO I had been semi-engaged to.
When he heard my sister-in-law was dying he wrote me one of the most endearing comments. He said my positive energy would light up the room when I went to visit her and that I would be of great comfort to my family.
Holly left us late July. The rest of the summer is a blur. We were all so sad.
I did not get back with the CEO. I tried to communicate with him but found him emotionally restricted and bound in chains ... yet I still felt some form of connection. I was having dreams of his country property. Beautiful, haunting dreams.
September is my favourite month in Toronto. The leaves change colour yet it is still stinking hot. Humid even. We Torontonians are in summer clothes but shopping like mad for the new fall fashions. We can sit outside at night on boulevard cafes and the odd day here and there add a sweater or a riding boot to our ensemble. Our summer baskets and garden flowers are flowing over. It's simply divine. Magical.
My emotions had quieted down. It's tough to lose a family member. Really tough.
Excerpted from The CHRONICLES of ELIZABETH HIGHLAND by Elizabeth Highland. Copyright © 2013 Elizabeth Highland. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
In Closure, 355,
Reference Page, 359,
About the Author, 361,