Feb 28, 2011

What’s a Bitter Trolley and why am I the conductor?

Welcome aboard the Bitter Trolley, and since I’ve collected your tickets and everyone is comfy, let’s get the BT underway.

“So what is the Bitter Trolley?” you may be asking. (Then again you may not be asking, but I am going to speak for you in this case as way of introduction to this entry. No hard feelings I hope.)

The Bitter Trolley dates back to 2003, when my life had just taken a severe hit, and then I had the greatest high I’ve known, other than the days my children were born. In Aug. 2003 my ex wife and I split, it was her decision and I tried to keep it from happening, but there was no saving the marriage.

In Oct. of the same year I met someone, and she was, well, in a word, amazing.

She was younger than me, a lot, but one of the wisest, funniest and most amazing people I knew then, now or will know.

I was at her apartment, and she asked a question, and when I gave my reply she looked at me, laughing her amazing laugh and said, “Whoa! Whoa! Back the Bitter Trolley out of the station there!”

I laughed and said something to the effect, “Me? Bitter?”

“Oh hell yes, you bitter!” was her reply.

See, it seems I can be quite acerbic and snarky. But I think that only happens when the situation warrants such measures. This, truthfully, is about every 10 minutes in my world.

So from that day forward if I was in a mood, she would tell me the Bitter Trolley was leaving the station, and that I was the conductor. The time I was with her was really the best time of my life as far as understanding love and being happy and committed to someone. I loved her deeply and truly from my heart and soul.

Then I came home from Iraq on leave, and it ended. The worst 14 days of my life. I returned to Iraq for the rest of my tour, but I will admit, the Bitter Trolley was running in Iraq. I got home from that 15 months and resumed life, rebuilding and trying to make sense of what I thought I knew.

But in those dark days, even after it ended between us (again, not my choice and something that still tears me up to this day) I always thought of her and the Bitter Trolley when I found myself in a bad mood.

Well a few months ago something really odd/funny/bizarre happened. I was on Twitter, hadn’t been on long, and someone started tweeting me – mocking me and asking me some really odd questions. As I tried to figure out who this person was (even after looking at the profile, I still did not know who the mystery person could be) I finally asked.

It was HER.

Five years after I last heard from her, five years of missing her and thinking about her, there she was, contacting me again.

Now maybe you are picturing the run through the field, her dressed in white, me in something slimming so I look good, meeting in the field and embracing, me twirling her around as the love theme form Titanic played.

Uh, no.

See, for five years I’d referred to her as “she who shall remain nameless” and did everything I could (quite unsuccessfully) to not think of her. I was hurt.



And yeah, bitter.

But realizing some things that had happened since we last spoke, I had to make a decision right then and there (RIGHT NOW!) – am I going to ignore her now and forever or was I going to respond and see what she wanted and talk to her?

We wound up tweeting until about 3 a.m. We talked long, and openly, we talked on the phone the next day, we laughed, cried and opened our hearts to all that had happened in the last half decade.

And in the first minutes of our first phone conversation in five years she replied to something I said with, “Wow, the Bitter Trolley is still in service I see!”

I laughed so hard it was amazing.

We not only speak now, but are also good friends again, and I care for her as much as ever, even with the knowledge that we won't spend the rest of our lives together. I accept it, sadly, but I do. Better to have her in my life than not, I am a better person for it.

So I am the Bitter Trolley Conductor because of a very special woman, who will always, no matter what, have a very special place in my heart and soul. I don’t think it gets any better than that.

If you’re still on the Trolley, thanks for reading this installment. Next time I’m gonna talk about the relative merits of superhero bedding, and why some are way more interesting than others. I kid, I kid.

Thanks for riding the Bitter Trolley, and please, remember us for
your future travels.

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