DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I'm in love with a man I see every day, but cannot touch. We were lovers once, and parted painfully because he was a busy medical student with aspirations to specialize, and no time for a woman. At the time I was a new nurse, a few years older. Our special times together were very intense -- intellectually, sexually and emotionally. We were like moths to the fire when we saw each other, any time and every time. (I remember an exciting incident in the hospital parking lot.) Finally, he went off to another city. Now, he's back years later, working out of the same hospital as I work. I see him here and there and my heart pounds. Yesterday I ended up hiding in a big closet in a sweat, because of his nearness. Touching my bare arm when he said hello caused me to break out into a sweat. I was OK with his being back until I heard he was unattached, though "maybe not for good." I was brought up in the church with good morals and would not try to seduce him if he was still trying to repair his marriage. But, to be honest, he is all I think about. I see him and I am startled and heated up every time. I know it's got to be obvious to him. He acts awkward with me too, but maybe because I am busy dropping things and acting like such an idiot. Please help me. -- Crazy For Him, Winnipeg
Dear Crazy: It's painful to work beside an old love when the feelings come crashing back in big waves. It's interesting how the old saw "time heals old wounds" is just pifflebunk when actually faced with the person you thought you'd buried in your mind. Let's look at it positively, just for a moment. Did he know you were working at this hospital when he came back? Maybe this is the time to get close enough to find out what's up in his life. Maybe he couldn't care less about you anymore, but maybe he feels the same, and doesn't know how you feel. Or perhaps he just thinks you're clumsy. Is there a reliable pipeline, somebody you could ask who wouldn't have any investment in the answer you get? If he's trying to sort out a recent breakup, of course you'll have to stay back. But what if it's well and truly finished, and this is a second chance? It's worth finding out.
Questions or comments? Write Miss Lonelyhearts c/o Winnipeg Free Press 1355 Mountain Ave. Wpg R2X 3B6.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I ate a bad meal at a restaurant recently and went home with my girlfriend and started being sick hours later, and it was awful. She insisted I go back the next day and berate the restaurant owners and I refused. Someone else would have told them, and surely I didn't need to do it, too! She says I am a coward and irresponsible because that food was bad, and food poisoning is serious. She won't get off the topic! Today she said if I don't phone them she will. I feel this is NOT her business. And, do I really want to be with a woman who would call me a coward? In all other ways, we get along beautifully. She took me off guard when she smiled, and said sweetly, "Would this be our first fight?" as if she expected it. I don't know what to make of her. -- Stay or Go? Fort Garry
Dear Stay or Go: She's a bold woman, but not a tactful one. Bold is fine, but she could have quietly called the restaurant and said her poor darling was ailing after their name-the-plate menu offering and they should be aware that it appeared to be food poisoning. Restaurants do want to know. It's bad for their reputations to have people complaining around town and not getting their anger out on the restaurant instead. While it's understandable you don't want your partner to be calling you names, this first fight is a good chance for you to get out your feelings and state your boundaries. First squabbles can be instructive and lead to a better understanding of one another. A first fight over something like this needn't be the end, unless you're looking for a good excuse. In that case, it will do nicely.