06/29/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Sexual Chemistry -- Is it a Trap?

Part 4 of a serial, "Sex Love Enlightenment." Previously: First date with Billy is hot, but a ski wreck keeps me from the second. His anger while I'm recovering makes me dismiss him. Click here to read past installments.

Billy showed up at my house the day before Valentine's Day. It had been a month since my ski wreck, I was still strapped in a brace and unable to sit up for more than 30 minutes without pain.

There'd been no communication for weeks and Billy was completely off my radar when a strange email arrived:

"Dear Sara. The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days, and I feel impelled to write a few lines that may fall under your eye when I am no more. If I do not return, never forget how much I loved you. Nor that when my last breath escapes me, it will whisper your name."

What the...?!

It turned out to be a letter written by a soldier during the Civil War, who was going into battle and writing his wife Sara to say goodbye. At the end of the letter, Billy wrote, "I'll pick you up at 6 p.m. on February 13 and have you back home no later than midnight. Just send directions."

I emailed back: "I must say I got scared till I figured out this letter was from someone else to someone else. You're the romantic, that's for sure." I said I was still in a lot of pain. "I see the doc again tomorrow for more xrays and prognosis. Let's talk after that, if you'd like."

He shot back an email saying: "Can't you just say yes or no to a date without talking to a doctor? I'm offering you six hours of thinking about something other than yourself. I really don't know if you can do that! You are not in the worst physical condition of anyone with a broken collarbone. Quit feeling sorry for yourself. I wanted to see you, I wanted to know you, before I heard your tepid, vague, inconclusive response. Do you always have to control with procrastination? Are you capable of answering a single question? Do you want to see me? Yes or No?"

I was surprised at how enraged this email made me. I didn't care about the man, I thought he was nuts, and presumptuous, and in need of anger management. There's no way, I thought, any human could respond to such an email other than saying "No," which I did.

Then came the final email. "I'm sorry to learn of your decision but pleased you've made things clear. My email that offended you was not hostile, as you suggested. It was blunt and provocative. I would rather push you to hot or cold than linger forever in tepid. Since last November, you've been constantly making excuses, telling me:

Wait till I finish this article
Wait till after Christmas
Wait till my "friend" and ex-lover leaves
Wait till I am healed.

I didn't like being left dangling as a remote possibility for you and didn't want that any more.

I would have quit dating anyone else to explore our possibilities.
I would have cared for you after your injury.
I would have introduced you to my children.
Without any hostility, only disappointment and best wishes and a prayer for your healing and happiness, with love, Goodbye. Billy.

I should have left it at that. But I re-read his emails and thought, he does have a point. I did put him off for months before meeting him.

I told my friend, Claire, I was thinking of calling him.

"Why?" she asked.

Something was making me unsettled. "Some small doubt... like, maybe I shut the door on something that might have had a glimmer of possibility?"

Claire looked dubious.

I called Billy and said, "I hate to end things by email. If you're going to be in Boulder, why don't we talk in person?"

A few days later, he called and said he was driving up for the Boulder Film Festival and would be staying with his sister. When he arrived, driving a Lexus hybrid, I'd forgotten how attractive he is: tall, lean, with large blue eyes and a playful, teasing manner.

Most surprising -- and disquieting - I felt the same jolt of energy pass through me that I'd experienced that first night at the Grisly Rose. My entire body wanted to connect with his. We eyed each other, cautiously, like two animals. After lunch, we talked about what had happened since the accident. He'd felt rejected and dismissed, and I'd felt he was unreasonably angry and quick to lash out. He didn't understand why I had to be so inactive with a broken collar bone. "If the bones are in the same area code, they'll connect," he said. I told him my doctor had said it wasn't certain that the bones would connect without surgery, which I wanted to avoid because I have phlebitis, which makes any surgery dangerous.

As he left, he gave me a full body hug, and the chemistry was mighty. He said with some surprise. "I thought you wanted to break up with me in person."

"I think we should keep the door open," I said.

To Be Continued...

Please leave a comment. How would you have responded to Billy's emails? Have you had a relationship that started badly and ended well? (what I was hoping for) Did chemistry ever lead you astray?

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