I can feel myself softening — and what is wrong with that picture? — my resilience toward you, softening. I should say, “my will is weakening,” but I don’t want to admit to a “negative,” instead I choose the euphemism, “softening.” It is an easier pill to swallow that way; however, it also turns the entire situation into a white lie of sorts. But it’s “just a little white lie,” I tell myself.
Intellectually I know that this is the case, it is a lie not meant to mislead or deceive you, but a lie because I am downplaying the reality of our situation. I am subconsciously finding ways to forgive and forget your transgression against me, that betrayal that sliced through me like a lightning strike splitting a tree in half. My world was rocked by the visceral agony I felt coursing throughout my body. And yet I catch myself consciously trying to find an excuse to allow myself to believe it is perfectly acceptable to let you back into my bed… perhaps even the “right thing to do.” I mean, we are in love, aren’t we? Still? I know I am still very much in love with you: mind, body, and soul.
Now, however, resentment has been added to our relationship. Mistrust has now replaced absolute safety and neither one of us knows what to believe about where we stand in this world in relation to one another and, for me, in relation to every other human being walking on this planet of ours.
From the first moment I saw you fourteen years ago in that stairwell, me in a rush to get to a deposition and you in your fancy shoes, beautiful silver suit, blue shirt and coordinated tie stepping aside at the bottom landing so that I could pass, in those few seconds, just a brief moment of time, I was wholly in the here-and-now of my life. I was 100% present at that encounter, and acutely aware that the world had stopped turning on its axis and the clock had stopped ticking forward. Though my body was in motion, my mind and soul stood up and took notice that time for me had literally stopped. I was keenly aware of my brain taking a snapshot of that moment. Our words were brief. I did not even pause but walked right past you as my head turned toward you and I said, “Thank you.” That’s it, nothing else but your reply in return, “You’re welcome.” We made eye contact for less than a second and shared a conversation that totaled only four words, and then I was outside the building with the door separating us locked firmly behind me.
And in those first moments as I walked to my car I felt suddenly happy, I noticed a spring in my step, the contagious smile that was spreading across my face and the smell of the air as it travelled to my lungs. It was a wonderful day and the skies were blue. I did not know or understand what the source of my euphoria was, I only knew how I was feeling.
I arrived at my car, hefted my court reporting machine into the backseat, got in and closed the door and I just sat there, keys in hand, knowing in my soul that my life had been intrinsically altered. I didn’t understand it and I didn’t try to. I also didn’t know how or why, but my life would never be the same again.
And then, after a few moments of wonder, as I breathed this new life in, I began the car and went to work. I did not think any more about it, but I began paying more attention to the subtleties of my day-to-day life, watching and waiting to learn what life next had in store for me.
Two months passed before I saw you again. It would be at my newest neighbor, Jaime’s Christmas party. I knew very few people there, but it seemed almost like the exact moment you walked through her door I could smell the aroma of your presence. My heart began racing, butterflies flew wildly all around my stomach and as I turned my head toward the stairwell there you were, ascending into my view. And it was that moment when all of the pieces of the puzzle I hadn’t even realized I had been subconsciously working on fell into place. I understood what had changed and why life for me would be different. It was you!
I felt nervous, giddy, and excited because there you were mounting those stairs in the home of your friend, a woman I barely knew, a woman whom I had no idea was connected to you. When Jaime introduced us and I finally learned your name, I thought it was the most beautiful name I had ever heard. Bells rang and a chorus of angels sang. When that subconscious symphony played I knew beyond a doubt that you were my future. You were the person I would fall in love with. You were the person who would love me in return. We were chosen for one another and our fate lay ahead.
Romantics might say I experienced the phenomenon referred to as love at first sight. Heck, for many years that is how I described it to others, it was just easier to explain that way. I would say something to the effect of, “For me it was love at first sight. Time literally stopped and I was aware of my brain taking a snapshot, [the shutter behind my eyes closing and then re-opening as if in slow motion to capture that oh-so-important first encounter: the beginning of our epic romance.]” I knew, heart and soul, that we were inevitable.
I don’t remember much about that party as I was so caught up in the whirlwind of physical and emotional excitement and wonder that I was secretly experiencing. What I do remember is that it felt very surreal. It was warm and cozy yet exciting and fun. It all seemed so foreign to me, the people who were there, the sights, the sounds, the tastes, it all seemed otherworldly (picture the Labyrinth ballroom scene and you’ll get the idea). And I was happy, confident and oh so very flirtatious. My coquettish behavior was unlike I had ever been before or since. I did not want the party to ever end and so I stayed until the very end. I know you remember because your visual memory is far superior to mine.
I have no idea who it was, but with only six of us remaining, three men and three women in our late 20s, early 30s, having had drinks throughout the evening, the suggestion of what to do next was spoken out into the universe and everyone agreed it would definitely be fun. And so we sat in a circle on the floor, Jaime with an empty wine bottle in-hand and we began the age-old game of Spin the Bottle. A game I was extremely nervous about playing because, firstly, you were there and secondly my understanding of the game was entirely different from every other person sitting with me.
I had not played Spin the Bottle in ten years and apparently the way I had learned it was not the standard form of the game. I thought if the bottle landed on me I would have to remove an article of clothing… first person naked loses (and just for clarification the game would end there… it wasn’t about swinging or hooking up; it was about being drunk and getting a thrilling peek at whatever rested within one another’s clothing). After the first spin it was immediately apparent that I did not know how the game was played and everyone had a good laugh… yes, even me! Eventually, the bottle landed on you, and when it was your turn to spin I had the advantage of sitting beside you. I reached around and pinched your butt… suddenly I had your full attention and we shared our first kiss. And wow, was it a doozy! FIREWORKS!!! My lord you know how to kiss! I have never been kissed by anyone as expertly, passionately, softly, or deeply as I have experienced in all the years with you. No matter the mood your kiss came through as, it was always sweetly perfect (even when the kiss itself was not “sweet” in nature).
Our “romance” was not to be epic but the loving relationship and strong bond was indeed grand. Romance was not the priority; communication, companionship, respect, trust, and emotional support was. And although our relationship priorities sound rather proper, our physical passion and desire for one another, as well as the bond and connection we shared with one another, went far beyond anything I have ever experienced in my life. And I cannot imagine ever experiencing something so amazing in my lifetime again… it was as I imagine Heaven to be: Beautiful.
Thank you for the wonderful times. Thank you for the fun and the friendship. Thank you for the respect and the support throughout these many years. And thank you for teaching me the thrill of unbridled passion. And mostly, I want to thank you for teaching me what it is to be truly in love.
I was correct all of those years ago, my life indeed was changed by you. I will never be the same as I was before you came into my world.