What Happened to Paul Carter? VOL I. The very true story of love, passion & a Hitman. Chapter 7

Chapter 7

February 12. 2014

It’s 8pm and I have just given a stranger my number. My phone rang immediately. That threw me a bit. I thought he would wait a bit, even if only to play the game. The ‘I am not desperate game.’ Instead, he dove straight in.

Two of my closest friends had been nagging me to get my act together and start going out with age appropriate men and settle down. I put a profile on a dating site. It read.

Black and white

Looking 4 that initial potential 4 a future wonderful

Need my coffee

No smokers

Genuinely believe its better to b the nicest u can just because!

Live w laughter & love first

I’m scruffy, elegant, compassionate

No one’s fool

Marshmallow encased in concrete

U hav mates 4 huntin fishin campin

Im a girl

Painfully shy w strangers – we all have our thing

Logic & reason not hormonal irrationality

No casual 1nighters

Players-i’ll out wait the game

Dinner not couch

Real gentlemen only

They say put it out to the universe. I think I did. A specific profile for a change. I’m told it culls the extreme inappropriates and undesirables who don’t meet the criteria. That being said, I have met some genuinely beautiful friends through dating.

So with my experience, rules and preference for freedom, I did not see Paul coming. I was definitely not desperate, instead I had been happily single for years. I preferred men who were honest and transparent. Safe. No possibility of hurt. Respectful. “Mature” men like to be players and talk about relationships they have no intention of pursuing beyond getting you into bed, worried about you getting your claws on what’s left of their garnished wages. I have no interest in that game. I prefer carefree.

I had prided myself on my rules; my ethics. I could pretty much say them by rote. They kept me safe. My poor clients. I would tell them. “Stick to the rules.” It kept things easy to handle. They helped sort out players from the men who were genuinely interested. I had found Paul because I refused to settle for less, only for him to be taken away. Why did I wait for the right one? What was the point. All the wise adages. Better to have loved and lost than not at all. Blah, blah. Better to curl up in a ball.

I have so, so many, many rules. Some, once broken, are instant deal breakers, some are accumulative. Three strikes and you’re out.

  • Do not be forward or disrespectful towards me.
  • Do not send cock shots. In fact, I’m not even interested in your chest. If I met you organically in a bar with friends, I wouldn’t know what your chest looked like unless I was about to sleep with you. So no, I just don’t want to see it.
  • Be single. Not married. Not separating, not separated, divorced and after a rebound then you can call me.
  • Be honest, transparent
  • Live a policy of do no harm.
  • I will not accept second best.
  • Do not live in hope. Never, ever live in hope. It either is or it isn’t.
  • Never ever chase. If he wants you, he will come.
  • Do not want someone who does not want you.
  • Never ask a question if you really don’t want to know the answer.
  • NEVER EVER play the “why” game. Why did he do that, why did he leave, why wasn’t I enough. This is a guaranteed slippery slope to pity party land. None of your friends want to play this with you. DON’T EVER USE THE WORD WHY? You can take a fun afternoon and wreck it in seconds playing this game. It is for losers, whiners and tears.
  • Never be involved on any level with another girl’s man. If he wants to cheat on his woman just to be with you then he doesn’t have a moral  compass. If you get with him, you get what you deserve.
  • I will not tolerate abuse, manipulation or power play.

And then there are my beliefs

  • How it starts is how it ends
  • I am a woman. That does not make me stupid.
  • I hold the power. The power is the word “No.”
  • There is no power in the word yes.
  • A man must value add. This is not a monetary thing. This is as, apposed to bringing grief into my life. My life brings enough drama and shit randomly. I do not need to have a man do it.
  • Once penis meets vagina, they generally want to hang out more. True  perception goes out the window so take your time on that one.
  • If I choose to sleep with you early, It’s because I do not see a future with you, and there will never be a future with you because I chose that path. This isn’t up to you.
  • Me NOT sleeping with you, is up to you though. If you are disrespectful, uncouth, sleazy, plain stupid, racist or do not try to flirt with my brain, then you will be finishing that drink on your own and sleeping with Mrs Palmer.
  • I may sleep with you in a casual arrangement if you are honest. If you are not honest, I won’t sleep with you at all.
  • I applaud players. Very few are any good. The two that have put in that much effort just to get me into bed, I have had the privilege of giving a standing ovation to. I’d also like to note that neither were that good in bed.
  • I do whom I want, when I want. This may mean you are in the queue for years. It also means I may not get any for ages as well.
  • Many of the best men I know are my friends. I value them to much to risk losing them. I hope they realise that.
  • I am master of my own destiny within the parameters of the randomness of the universe.
  • “The One” is not the one who just broke your heart. – clearly.
  • You are not spontaneously available. You are a desired plan worthy of  effort.
  • Your first date should be your best foot forward. Let’s face it, I do not want you burping at the table or having road rage on the way to dinner. If you can’t try to put your best face on for a few hours, I do not want to know how bad you can actually be.
  • Respect!
  • First impression / gut reaction will always be true.
  • I am happy on my own. I do not need a man. Period. You are sometimes nice to have around like puppies or grandchildren. Best when you can return them. I believe there are a few exceptions. We call them the keepers. They are like unicorns.
  • Do not waste your time. There are plenty of friends, people you chose not to hang out with, acquaintances etc out there. Why add another one? If they don’t measure up, then…. NEXT!

Needless to say, “NEXT” is my most common expression. I really don’t want to settle for less than what I want. I’d rather be on my own. It’s not an arrogance. I use my rules to keep safe. Safety and security are my cravings.

We all need rules, especially nowadays. The internet has opened up the opportunity to meet people, but it also meant there are just so many frogs to meet before finding your Prince. When I met Paul, everyone was excited with me.

My friends, Dianne and John, had been constantly ear bashing me about settling down with an older man. They wanted to see me happy. I thought I was, but to humor them, I went home and limited the age parameter to 38 – 55 years of age.

I rejected copiously and swiped right on four.

One was a picture of a stunning beach side house. I love property. Nothing to lose. Swipe right. He was a developer. We messaged for a bit and knew mutual friends. For no reason, it didn’t progress further.

Next was a doctor. Cocky and far too flirtatious.

Another was a father to three young ones. In the suburbs. I’ve done this. I love my son and he is enough for me. I’m not prepared to contemplate it. Know your own limitations. Next.

There was a man leaning back in an office chair. He looked familiar. His profile said he was a gentleman looking for his Princess for a fairy tale ending. Well travelled. Self employed. It was his time.

We exchanged a few inane messages over the next few weeks.

‘Hi, how was your long weekend?’

‘Good, caught up with friends

        & hung out in St Kilda. You? 

Yesterday had lunch in Williamstown

with friends and later a dinner at

Vue d’Monde to celebrate the

completion of a 70 property housing

development.

Too many Louis Cristal magnums!

Exhausted.

Going for a jog around the tan

before brunch in Sth Yarra.’

I remember my head registered, “sure, ah huh….. whatever…. Pretentious, name dropper.

Most of what is said online is over exaggerated, enhancements and embellishments of an average life. Not many have the courage to be honest or post ugly selfies, or status updates, which reflect a life that isn’t always perfect. It can be a fake world, so I take what I see and hear with a grain of salt. No one really knows anyone. We only know the version of others as they wish they were.

Then he and I so happened to both be online at the same time. Messaging banter, witty one liners, light flirt, followed by complicated ideas and emotions. We began to regularly catch up online. And then it became a month, and the conversation had morphed into lengthy conversations and personal disclosures. Literally hundreds and hundreds of messages. He still only had my attention if I had nothing else to do.

“Katherine, I’m stuck in a hotel in Bendigo after a big day checking my properties and sorting some contractor issues. I think talking to you, not messaging with your crazy typos and corrections, should be my reward and it will finish off my day beautifully.”

He asked for my number and as I felt his frustration at my incessant text fails and bizarre auto corrects, I couldn’t think of a tactful avoidance so I gave it out and now we finally heard each other talk.

His name was Paul. His voice was deep and commanding, with an Aussie twang.

He was easy to talk to and seemed open. I quickly confessed that I thought we perhaps had met before. His photos seemed familiar. He assured me it wasn’t likely.

“I only just got online the week you and I matched. I’ve been single for a long time now; 8 years and my son, Andrew was sick of me moping around. So he loaded tinder on to my phone. He said it was the best way to meet someone. I was about to delete it, to be honest. It wasn’t working. I told  Andrew it was a waste of time and he gave me that look. You know the one where they roll their eyes at our technological incompetence.”

I laughed. “Yes, as a mother, I do know that look.”

“So, apparently you have to swipe.” He chuckled.

He laughed at himself easily. “I was really hoping you and I would match. I don’t normally go for blondes but your smile; I wanted to meet the woman of that smile.”

I checked my own profile pics. I don’t like my smile at all. It would be the last thing I would be attracted to. “Well, you haven’t met me yet, but you have my number now and to be honest, I have a bit of work to do before I finish tonight, so maybe we can chat again another time?”

He took the hint, but before he said good night, he asked me out.

“Come on Katherine, grab life by the horns. I must meet the charismatic and talented lady behind the smile. How about this Sunday for lunch? I’ll pick you up?”

“Sure.” I’d replied. “I can meet you somewhere local. How about Polly’s on Brunswick St?”

“Done 12.30. I’m not a serial killer Katherine. You will be safe if I picked you up.”

“No, It’s all good. For all you know I could be the psycho axe murderer. See you then.”

Yes, this was the start. In hind sight, I think I owe Diane and John a bottle of something to drink, as a token of my belated gratitude.

I remember how strangely excited I was before our first meeting and how I was aware that it was unusual for me to even remotely care about someone that I hadn’t even met. How had that happened? I never get excited about meeting guys. Ever! It defied my logic. Why would I care, and yet, I had gone shopping with a girlfriend and spent money on a wardrobe. Not just an outfit, but options. Casual. I don’t do casual at all and I was all over the place trying to figure where this guy fits. Why did I even care? Slacks, genie pants, tops, a few dresses. What the hell? I spent $250 in a chemist. How had that happened? Tan, lipsticks, Apparently my brain was aware that each optional dress code required a different shade of lipstick.

It continued…

Brow pencil, mitt, two foundations. Where had I gone? I don’t even wear make up. My skin is flawless, and I hate the feeling of congealed crap on my skin, caking into my pores. The piece de resistance. Hair dye. My roots needed some high lightening. The assistant assured me the color would match.

I was shocked at the total as I handed my card over. I parted with, how much? For a guy I didn’t even know.

Now curled on the mattress, propped with a plethora of cushions from the reception chairs, to keep me warm, I pull back from the realization, that I lost myself in Paul, before I even met him. It shocks me to realise that his charisma, his intellect and desirability had seeped down the phone line and begun morphing me into his dream woman, before our first date. It was a fascinating observation. Was it power and weakness, or souls finding their counterpart, as he said?

I realise it’s getting light, and admitting defeat on finding answers, and still aching from the centre of my bones, I pull the blankets over my head, and shut my eyes, managing only a few hours unpleasant rest before I woke. Disturbing dreams. Half fog thoughts. A million questions.

Sleep is eluding me so I angrily sludge my way slowly to the little cafe table by the window of my shop. Normally the curtains are pulled back, but now they hang heavy and dark. I’m motivated purely for the cigarettes sitting there. That’s what my body wants. Genuinely scared, I’m too sick to leave and I don’t want to tell anyone what’s going on. I’m afraid they will think I’m crazy. I feel alone.

I need to figure out what’s happening so I can protect myself from it. I need to understand so I know how to feel, so I can start reacting and coping with everything. I don’t know whether I have the tools in my skill set for this. I don’t know what I’m dealing with.

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