- Gender and Relationships
The Beginning Of Us
Bear meets Turtle Tail
When I was younger I was a serial monogamist. I didn't date guys, I had multi year relationships with them. This started when I was only 16 years old and lasted until I was 25. That's when I had my quarter century epiphany that I didn't want to be defined by the man I was with, I wanted to define myself. My new definition included a new address, from Orlando, FL to Springfield, IL. For the first time in my post pubescent life I was actually happy in my own skin. I was happy having nights alone and not feeling like something was missing because there wasn't a man by my side.
So of course, that's when I met David...or perhaps re-met is a better term. What's that people always say about when you stop looking for something is when you find it?
David was a boy I went to school with. In our tiny graduating class of less than one hundred students, he was the handsome, smart, athletic, golden boy. I was the skinny, long haired gypsy who didn't really fit into any of the cliques high school is notorious for. We were friendly to each other without actually being friends. I never thought I would speak to him again after our graduation day in the summer of 1997. How was I to know that almost ten years after our high school days were through we would reconnect, on MySpace of all places.
That brings me back to Springfield, IL where I was figuring out who I was sans my downfalls of men and alcohol. Oh it was a fabulous time in my existence. I had run away from my life in Orlando in an attempt to escape another failed multi year relationship and in an effort to break free of my drinking habit that, if fully divulged in earnest, would make my Momma weep and have my doctor putting me on the transplant list for a new liver. What better place to head to than the spare room in my big brothers house smack dab in wholesome, central IL. I showed up at my brothers door with a U-Haul trailer (that was bigger than my entire car) hanging off the rear end of my Fords bumper, about $200 to my name, a case of wine in my trunk, a hangover, and enough emotional baggage to keep the luggage carousel at Laguardia airport busy for a week straight. Like I said, it was a fabulous time in my existence.
I'll save you the painfully lengthy story of my rock bottom mornings, my "come to Jesus" midnight revelations, and my actual moments of peace found in the midst of the chaos. That will bring me to April 2006 and an evening of me and MySpace and the night I re-met my future husband. Our class president had put up a 10 year reunion page for myself and the rest of the graduating class of 1997 to join. I've never been very big on school spirit, heck I didn't even go to my high school commencement ceremony, but I joined the group for shits and giggles. It was in this magical, online forum that I first got a glimpse of the golden boy turned hot as hell man.
We started chatting with the casual coolness of any two people testing the waters of romantic interest. "Really?! I cannot believe you are not married or dating!" Said each of us to the other in similar but not exact terms. "You drive a Ford Focus too?!" "You only use Apple computers too?!" "You like to watch abnormal amounts of soccer on TV too!?" "Your Dad died and you haven't fully dealt with the plethora of emotions that go along with such a huge loss too?!" OK, that last one was never actually stated, but it was definitely understood.
Before I knew what was happening, I was falling for this guy I hadn't seen in years and only communicated with via the tapping of keys on a keyboard. Perhaps that is what I needed. To begin a relationship when I didn't actually want one and to have the honesty that is allowed us in the world of cyberspace. There were no awkward dates or physical intimacy too soon, that can distract you from connecting to a new partner. There was instead, sharing of lives lived, regrets of the past and hopes for the future. There was excitement at the opening of my computer and at the sound of Fergie singing "London Bridge," ...my ringtone at the time...Don't judge. There was waiting and anticipation that didn't just last until we were off from work, but until the weekend after next when David would drive thirteen hours straight to spend 24 hours with me before driving the same exhausting route back to Rochester, NY.
We fell in love so fast and so hard that neither of us could believe it. We actually had a conversation where we asked the other if this was real? Is it possible, for a scientist and a biologist to end up in the exact romantic situation we had always assumed were false in the great love stories we were forced to read in high school? Our questions were answered in a goodbye we shared at the Buffalo, NY airport. We lingered at the brink of the security line and stood face to face, holding each other as tightly as our bodies would allow. We knew it would be a month before we could touch, or smell, or kiss the the other person. We stayed in our embrace, staring into each others eyes without speaking while the world dropped away around us. In that moment it was just our hearts beating, only the sound of our breathing, and simply our love that filled the space around us. It felt unreal and amazing. That was our love in that moment. New and passionate and fast and all consuming.
Almost eight years, two kids and a dog and cat later, our love has evolved in a million ways. It is a deeper and broader, it's intensity ebbs and flows. And we have moments when the newness we once reveled in washes over us and reminds us of where we started, the people we were, and how far we have come.