And then, just when I thought that it was all over, Love Beckons.
I met someone a year ago. It was an average Monday, I had no inkling that it would be the beginning of a new adventure. Our kids were being tutored in the same place and while they were in classes, we made each other coffee and talked. We talked for hours.
The following Monday we did it all again.
And as the weeks went past I found myself taking time to dress better, to do my makeup. I found myself thinking about him more and more. If I got to the car park and his van wasn’t there, I felt my heart sink. I hadn’t yet begun to believe that it could be something, but the times that we were together were the highlight of my week.
Everything about him amazed me. He was funny and attentive and kind. He had the best tales and his life fascinated me. As the weeks turned into months and we got to know each other better, we opened up about our pasts. He was honest and his story tore at my heart. It was clear that he had been burnt, but the way that he had chosen to walk through the fire and come through the other side inspired me. He had looked hell full in the face and it had only made him stronger.
We had begun talking about meeting for a drink but his life was so busy and full that it seemed as though it would never happen. He was always so unavailable and part of me was relieved. The other part of me, a part that I was refusing to acknowledge, was beginning to dare to dream. I wanted to spend time alone with him. I wanted to be able to talk to him free from eavesdropping ears.
The truth is I wanted him. I just wasn’t ready to admit that to myself yet.
The turning point came when we were forced into new surroundings by the necessity of the kids’ exams. We went and got coffee and although it had been weeks since I’d seen him, we slipped straight back into the easy conversation that had been the hallmark of our friendship so far. It wasn’t until we were back at the college, sitting in his van and waiting for the kids to finish that anything unusual happened. He showed me some racing data on his laptop and as I leant in closer to look at the screen, I felt a surge of energy. It was like being struck by lightning. All those walls that I had spend so many years constructing, he slipped past them like a magician. In those few seconds I could see why spending time with him had meant so much to me. My heart jump started back to life and it scared the hell out of me.
I began babbling. The nerves overtook my brain, words tumbled out of my mouth before I could stop them. Every edifice of normality crumbled into nothingness. I told him I hadn’t had sex in five years and if someone tried to get close to me I’d probably run as fast as I could in the opposite direction. Inside I was cringing at what I was saying but I couldn’t seem to stop myself. He had broken through my defences and I was trying to plug the panic anyway I could. I told him I was done with love.
And then he said something which had a profound effect on me. He said, ‘I think you are looking at it from a glass half empty point-of-view.’
It so many ways it was a completely innocuous thing to say, but I drove home thinking about it. And in the days and weeks to come when the lulls in life allowed me time for reflection, I found myself replaying those words over and over again. They forced me to confront a couple of inescapable truths. First, I had to stop feeling sad over what I thought I’d lost and start waking up to the fact my life wasn’t over. Second, I desperately wanted him to be a part of it. I wasn’t sure how either of those things would be possible. But my heart had started to beat again. It had started to believe again.
Maybe, just maybe, the magic did exist after all.
It took almost six months for the drink to finally happen. Life, Russia and everything got in the way.
When it finally happened, quite frankly I was a little pissed off. By then my life was together, I had a routine. I was occasionally dating complete non-starters. Safe people with whom I knew there was no future but they served to break up the routine of my otherwise mundane life.And then he messaged me.
I knew there was no choice but to accept.
I played it cool in the build-up. I put off having a bath and getting ready until the last moment. I refused to shave my legs (or other parts) because I thought, well dammit he’s waited this long he obviously just wants me as a friend. I hadn’t seen him for weeks. I thought I was over it. And then I saw him at the station and I realised I was oh so wrong. I still wanted him. Now more than ever.
The sight of him was like the first drops of rain in a desert. My soul drank in the feel of him and began to bloom.
By the time we reached the bar, I felt like we had never spent a second apart. He was the harbour in the tempest of my life. Spending time with him was as natural as breathing.
We drank too much, I confessed all that I had to give. And he didn’t flinch. I thought it would be too much. I thought that the beautiful mess of my life would be too much for someone who had already walked the inferno. I thought I would be too complicated, too broken, too fucked up. I threw everything at him. Daring him to run, daring him to back away, daring him to admit I was too much.
He stood immovable as a lighthouse. Guiding me home. Telling me that it was all ok.
All my defenses came tumbling down.
At that point, the fact that we would end up spending the night together was inevitable. I had wanted him for too long. Playing it cool was no longer an option. Playing any kind of game was irrelevant. I gave him my truth and he returned it in kind. I wanted him and to my amazement, he wanted me too. Even now, right now, typing that makes my soul sing.
It was everything I wanted and more. That evening is burned on my skin. His kindness is seared into my heart. It brought me back to life. I thought I had understood what it had meant to feel alive before. I was blind. Waking up with him that morning was like the dawning of a whole new universe. His skin against mine, his hand in mine, his breath caressing me. I have never felt so safe.
To be secure in my own skin is a whole new world. I don’t feel that I need to change to be good enough. He has seen me at my worst and he doesn’t care. And I know that come what may, I will always be there for him. I know now that as much as I had tried to fight it, as much as I didn’t want to be emotionally invested, it is already far too late.
I am his.