3. Train Whistles


After I found out about the infidelity and after James was acting disinterested, I took relationship matters into my own hands and, embarrassingly, became a Myspace creeper (circa 2007). Browsing the hotties in nearby cities made me feel less empty. One completely lonely night, I ran across his profile.

The profile of interest portrayed a well-established businessman with his shit together. There was life in his eyes, money in his pockets, and confidence in his voice. There was also an email from me in his in-box.

There are times in my life when I wish I was able to pull a conversation from my memory. Unfortunately, this memory is sketchy and my email was deleted. I’m sure it looked something like this:

Dear person:

I stumbled across your profile tonight and I’m incredibly intrigued by what you’ve said. My name is Sarafina and I’m 25 years old. blah blah blah = I’m reeling your stupid ass in. I’m smarter than you think and I’m playing the ‘girl next door’ card combined with the ‘please take care of me daddy, I’m vulnerable’ card. You’re hooked already and you haven’t even seen my dimples in real life. Anyway, I just thought I’d send you an email. I hope you’re enjoying your evening.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

He replied within an hour. We exchanged emails for about a week before he asked for my phone number. I gave it to him.

We hadn’t met, but our phone calls lasted for hours. We discussed grandiose dreams and hopes for our futures. I spilled that I’d always secretly wanted to be a writer. He told me about his kids (he was 4 years older than me) and being a dad. We overexposed our flaws. For the first time in my life,  I didn’t skip around with my past. Perhaps that was because his past was far more controversial than mine. Two kids with two different women? No, not a red flag at all.

In the earliest stage of our relationship, Ike did something for me that nobody else could in even later, meaningful stages of those relationships. He taught me how to forgive.

My previous relationship, as I’ve briefly mentioned, ended because my ex was unfaithful. I was devastated by this; my whole life revolved around helping my ex. I gave him money to start school (for which he never enrolled), I encouraged him to look for a new job (when his bosses were ready to give him the axe), and even though I wasn’t really in love with him, he was my favorite rescue mission.

My mothering pushed him into a warm hole named Stacy (who I not-so-lovingly refer to as ‘Racy’) and I was pretty heartbroken. My heart wasn’t sad that he was gone, it was sad that this relationship proved you could sacrifice so much of your happiness for someone else, in hopes of making them happy, and all you end up with are two miserable people. I still had a few pieces to pick up when I began interacting with Ike. He was eager to help.

Should I have taken his eagerness to help a girl he barely knew as a red flag? Probably. I didn’t.

Ike talked to me about peace, kindness, gentleness, self-control…you know, the boring stuff. He encouraged me to forgive my ex. He swore that by doing this my heart would open even more and I’d be free to love more deeply. He was great with relationship propaganda.

So I tried. Initially,  I tried small things. I forgave people for making grammatical errors on Facebook. I forgave the guy in the car in front of me for driving like an asshole. Eventually, I moved on to bigger things. I forgave my best friend for making me waste $3,000 on a wedding for a marriage that lasted 3 months. Then, I pulled out the big guns. I tried forgiving my ex for his infidelity…and I did.

It was one day on my way home from work. I blared my favorite song, shed a few tears, called the ex and said, “I forgive you,” and left the animosity on the highway behind me. What I’d learned was that it wasn’t worth holding on to the anger. I would never date this man again. Why allow myself to remain hurt by someone who wasn’t going to mean anything to me in the long run? Ike taught me how to do that. For that, I’m thankful.

I called Ike to tell him that I’d forgiven my ex for being a cheating bastard. Forgiveness was more freeing than bitching him out or announcing to mutual friends that he’d cheated on me. Sitting on the front porch, I clamored, stuttered, and boasted of the events. In far more detail than you’ve received, he got the beginning of the story. And then I heard the train.

The tracks were a block away. They made it almost impossible to hear anything on the other end of the phone line when the train was ripping through town. To avoid making him repeat himself, I said, “Hang on a minute, a train is coming and it’s really hard to hear you.” But right before the whistle was upon me I heard him say, “Weird, me too.”

And then, right before I could say, “What?” the train came through.

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15 thoughts on “3. Train Whistles

  1. Did the ex ask for forgiveness? If so, and if he was sincere, maybe he deserved it. If he didn’t, you’re more forgiving than I would have been.

    • The ex didn’t admit to his infidelity until he was caught red handed. By that time we were no longer a couple. He does ask for forgiveness much later in this story, but that’s another blog for another day! Keep reading, I’ll get there!

  2. OMG im sooo intrigued by ur stories…ur gonna have me up all night, trying to catch up lol. and hmmm i read a couple later titles…and the name Ike…its not his real one is it?? lol

    • Ha. No, his real name isn’t Ike. Even though he’s a total douche, I’m trying to protect him (on some level). I figure it’s my story and he doesn’t deserve the notoriety.

      Thank you for reading 🙂

  3. You’re a really great writer. 🙂 Just like sadeternaloptimist, I’m going to be trying to catch up.

    This is only after I’ve learned my lessons, but when Ike was teaching you forgiveness and giving you advice, I would’ve run. He already sounds creepy, soon-to-be clingy, and a little bit psycho.

    I’m going to have fun reading your blog 🙂

    • Yes. He was (and probably still is) all of those things.

      That was my problem. Lots of red flags that I overlooked. Putting blinders on is dangerous. Unsure why I allowed myself to do that, but I did. Lesson learned. 🙂

  4. Gosh, the more I read the more I like this. It’s like I’m reading my own journal… from 8th grade! Man, it is so great to reminisce my past vicariously though a stranger as nice as you!

    Really, I’m dig’n this more and more. There are words I want to say to express emotions that will fade in minutes, so in the end you are just left hanging with this period.

    Fan of your secret identity,
    Justin Kunst
    @justinkunst

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  7. “I’m playing the ‘girl next door’ card combined with the ‘please take care of me daddy, I’m vulnerable’ card.” you had me at “please take care of me daddy” 🙂 Great writing. I feel like I am right there.

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