Part Thirty-Six: The Love of My Life

We’re going to jump forward a little bit here, or perhaps more than a little bit, because something specific is on my mind.

I met a woman a couple of years ago who changed everything for me. She knocked me off my feet in a way that I couldn’t have conceivably seen coming, in a way that I can confidently state that no other woman could.

It started innocently enough, with a night of fantastic conversation that neither of us wanted to walk away from. It was only a couple of days after the New Year, and I still can’t imagine a better way for that year to have started off. New Year’s Eve had been a disappointment for me, as the girl that I had been involved with was too busy drinking in the bars to even visit me long enough to wish me a happy new year with a kiss. I was in the final stage of a failing relationship which sorely lacked in connection and communication; so that night, losing track of the hours in captivating conversation was a blessing that I wouldn’t have dared hope for.

It began with something so simple, a friend request on Facebook from a woman I knew of but didn’t actually know. She had been involved with a friend of mine almost a year before and was previously married to an acquaintance of mine who I hadn’t really seen since before they had gotten married. In addition to those connections we had numerous mutual friends, so I had seen her pop up all over the place for quite some time online, though we had never been properly introduced and had never met in person.

I had always thought she was incredibly beautiful, and I do very much mean it when I use the word “incredibly” as a modifier there. I never had any occasion to contact her because there was no reason for me to suspect that she would even know that I existed…or to care, even if she did know. We know about my crippling self doubt and insecurity already, so there is no reason to explain why I felt that way with respect to her. It should come as no surprise.

It startled me to receive the friend request from her, if only because I had entertained the thought of trying to establish contact with her so many times before just to try and get to know her. That initial shock was nothing compared to how startled I was at how well we seemed to hit it off. We talked for hours, like I said, discovering that we had far more in common than either of us had with anyone else who had come into our lives, and I was beyond captivated with her.

It’s strange to imagine that, had she not taken that first step, I would never have had the nerve to try talking with her. As silly as it seems for a man in his 30s, I am (and have always been) intimidated by beautiful women, and she was certainly no exception, being so exceptionally beautiful to me that she took my breath away (and still does on occasion when I first catch a glimpse of her). It was astounding to me that, after talking with her for that whole time, that she could turn out to be such a perfect match for me.

My self doubt manifested itself when I began to suspect that our apparent connection and enjoyment of each other’s company was a one-sided thing when I didn’t hear from her again for a little more than a week after that first conversation, and I had made a couple of small attempts to touch base in that silence.

I started to think that I was right to assume that there was positively no way that she would take a real interest in me. I didn’t know how hectic her life was though, not at the time, and that her internet connection at home was far from reliable. She did indeed reestablish communication though, and we ended up talking for hours all over again quite a few times over the following days and weeks. I was enamored of her before I even knew it.

There were a couple of hurdles though, where my admiration of her was concerned. She seemed so unbelievably perfect for me, but I was still tacitly involved with another girl, which made it impossible for me to really delve into this amazing thing that was happening to me. The other hurdle came in the form of some mutual friends she and I shared who were feeding into my insecurity by reinforcing the fear in me that I could not possibly be what she would want in a man…they amplified my feelings of inadequacy. These were not insurmountable difficulties, but it was the issue with my insecurity that would prove to be the greater of the challenges.

There came a night, not too far down the road from her getting back in contact with me, when this spectacular woman invited me to her house. We had been talking quite a great deal and were already growing quite fond of one another. That first meeting was all it took for me to be entirely won over by her. We sat in her dimly lit bedroom talking for a couple of hours that night, about whatever came to mind, and joking with each other about things that polite company would find horrifying. I perused the books she had stacked upon her headboard and smiled to see so many of the same ones I had read for myself or intended to read. That would ultimately be one of the things that she cited as the sort of thing that made her so happy to have found me; that I was not only literate, but also intelligent and a writer myself.

There was something distracting though, about the fact that she was wearing nothing but a sarong when I arrived. There I was, sitting next to this enthralling and intoxicatingly lovely woman, with nothing but a thin piece of cloth covering her. If she had been trying to seduce me, she would have been hard-pressed to find a better starting point. It was undeniable that the chemistry we’d felt when we were simply talking with one another was even more profound in person. If you believe in love at first sight it could be argued that I fell in love with her right there that night…I certainly couldn’t frame a satisfactory argument to the contrary.

All that we shared that night, beyond the excellent company, was a kiss. I certainly wanted more than that and so did she…but I knew already that I wanted to be hers and that she felt the same way about me. I wanted to start things the right way between us, which meant that I needed to end things with the girlfriend I still sort of had. I didn’t drag my feet about it.

It didn’t take us long to be together and she was amazing in every way I could have dreamed as well as numerous ways I wouldn’t have thought to dream about. Everything about her served to draw me closer and closer to her. I won’t describe the intimacy here, but I would actually love to do so just to relive those experiences in my mind. We were insatiable for each other though, whenever or wherever the opportunity presented itself. We couldn’t keep our hands off of each other even during the breaks she had between classes when she would stop by my house to see me. I must admit that I miss those days, looking back…and I wish my memory was well-developed enough to allow me to close my eyes and relive almost every moment I spent with her up until today, the good and the bad.

And there were indeed bad times and fights. She wasn’t good at communicating her feelings about things and I had a tendency to push far too much when there was conflict, which triggered a fight or flight response ingrained in her since she had been involved in an abusive former relationship. I should have treaded more carefully in those cases, and I wish that I had, if only to know that I’d made things easier on her rather than more challenging when she was already in a negative state of mind. We could have avoided many of our fights if I had been more respectful of her problems concerning confrontation. That isn’t to say that there were a lot of fights, proportionately speaking. There were too many, for sure (but I would likely insist that one fight with her where I made her unhappy in any way would be too many), but I have been involved in plenty of relationships of my own and witnessed many others (both successful and not), and we actually fought less than what I would have to perceive as the average. If we had worked together to develop better habits for communication, a lot of those fights could have been easily avoided…maybe all of them could have been.

After starting my current job (less than half a year into our relationship) we developed a routine that I still reminisce about. I would spend the night at her house on Wednesday and Thursday nights while she and her children would stay with my own children and me on Fridays and Saturdays (and longer if there happened to be a day off from school for the kids on Monday). We would snuggle up in her bed on my nights out there and watch movies together until we fell asleep or until we couldn’t bear to keep our affection for one another held in check.

On Saturday afternoons, between my split shifts, I would drive to the bar where she worked and we would have lunch together. The routine was both comfortable and nice. I was happy. For the first time in my life I was happy without reservation…and she felt the same way.

During the summer months and Christmas break, she and her kids would crowd into the house here and we would have more time together. Our children bonded far better than either of us could have hoped for (something that we remarked upon plenty of times) and both of us were readily accepted by each other’s children as well. I won’t claim that life was perfect, but it was so much closer to perfection than I had any right to believe I would ever find.

You could easily guess that we started talking about marriage, and she was even the one to first bring up the topic in conversation, after I caught her looking at dresses and rings one day. Neither of us had the best opinions where marriage was concerned when we first got together, our previous experiences being less than stellar…but here we were, ignoring all of those predispositions and discussing our getting married in such a casual and optimistic way. It was all I could have hoped for, and she was everything I could have wanted. I knew that I would be spending my life with her, I had no doubt that she was the right one for me, and I didn’t even believe in that sort of thing.

There were ups and downs, like with every relationship…but for me the good always outweighed the bad. Maybe I will go into further detail on that aspect of our relationship later, when I come back to this topic. There will be more to write about where she is concerned. She is the love of my life, after all.

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