I want to state, unequivocally, that if I could watch my life from some third-person perspective right now, I would have to laugh. It’s certainly not getting simpler…or maybe it is.
The plan yesterday was for TB to arrive around 7:00 for our date. Yes, an honest-to-goodness old-fashioned go-out-for-dinner date. We’d talked; we’d established that we would like to see each other again; he assured me he didn’t feel like I was twisting his arm; plans were made. And the plan was that he would come, we’d go for dinner and we’d see where things went from there: no expectation that he would or wouldn’t stay.
So, I decided to go to a nearby city yesterday for a little shopping. I know myself; I’d try to get some work done, fail miserably because my mind would be skittering all over the place and end up stressed to death by the time he arrived. Some retail therapy seemed in order, especially since I’m still changing shape and requiring clothes to match. I scored a fantastic pair of boots, a few dresses, several tops and a pair of trousers before I hustled back home to get ready. Naturally, I was running later than I wanted to so I was hitting frantic level when TB texted to say he was running late. My first thought was “of course” but that was quickly followed by “be glad, woman, you’re nuts right now” so that worked out nicely. I had time to get ready, finish folding my laundry, do a little cleaning and be sitting on the sofa reading a book when he arrived.
That initial interaction is always the trickiest – until it actually happens. As soon as he stepped in the door, we both just smiled, he pulled me into his enveloping hug and everything was fine. I had dressed up a bit, as I’m wont to do; he was in jeans and a t-shirt, so I laughed and went to change. Again, there was that flicker of irritation and then there wasn’t; that’s not how we are. We’re casual and comfortable: jeans and a sweater it is. Because this was a real date, he drove (and opened the door for me) to dinner, and we had a lovely few hours over our sushi. We didn’t talk about anything important, just laughed and enjoyed each other’s company. When we left the restaurant, I offered that we could go elsewhere if he didn’t feel like going back home yet; there was a very long pause as he looked at me, then said how about going back since he’d brought a DVD we’d talked about.
Turns out, he wanted to kiss me in that pause, standing on that corner under the street lamp. He related that fact a little later when he pulled me in for a hug: “I wanted to do this outside the restaurant but I was too much of a coward, so I’m going to fix that now.” As soon as lips met, sparks flew, and I knew he wasn’t going anywhere.
There are many things I like about this guy but one thing that just melts me is how he pulls me into him. When he hugs me, I’m enveloped in arms the size of my lower thighs (seriously) against a chest as solid as a tree trunk. When we sit on the sofa, he reaches out an arm and gathers me up against him. When we’re lying in bed, he tucks me against his chest while we talk; when he’s asleep, he has a hand on my shoulder or an arm around my waist. Somehow, that physical connection seems to embody the connection we have in this relationship.
We talked a lot last night and this morning (amongst other things). Many things were said, many of them important things, but one of the most important was this: We are drawn to each other, we have amazing chemistry, we enjoy each other’s company but, over everything, we are connected as two people who care deeply for each other. He realized during our conversation this past week that he didn’t want to lose that, that I meant too much to him to lose that friendship. After telling him not to freak out, I told him that I’ve loved him for a long time; I’m not in love with him – huge difference – but I care for him so very much (don’t worry, he got it). Part of my frustration with his constantly breaking our plans was that it was symptomatic of how little he cares for himself, and he deserves better than always depriving himself of what he wants by putting everyone else first. And then I followed that up with my other big observation: he’s so lonely. Not single, not alone, but deeply lonely and somehow isolated.
He said what I have always felt was true: I know him. So very well. And he finds a comfort in that, in knowing that I see him for who he is, without judging him for his (often imagined) faults. He lets his guard down when he’s with me; he stops fighting so hard and just relaxes into the space we occupy. In some funny way, I think he finds a sort of peace with me.
And so, he left around noon today, with an assurance that he’ll see me again. And he will, whenever that might occur; I believe him. It doesn’t matter when, really, and I won’t pressure him one way or the other. Because I’ve found my footing in this relationship, interestingly enough.
TB is very special to me. Whatever does or doesn’t happen, that won’t change. I care about him; I want good things for him; I worry about him; that won’t change, either. Somehow, nine years ago, this boy found a chink in my heart and he hasn’t shifted in all these years. We’ll eventually go our separate ways, and that’s perfectly fine; it won’t change how I look back and think of him. That all may sound ridiculously overblown, I know, but it’s how I’m making sense of the last 24 hours. And I think I’ve finally got it right.