"i love you for sentimental reasons..." --Nat King Cole
Six years ago on this day, I met the man I once thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with. It was a sunny SoCal Sunday; I was coming from church and he was heading there. I was distracted; it was a memorable day for other reasons. And even though I was still coming down off a bad trip with a mess of a man, and even though he didn’t really seem like my style, something made me give him my real number, and something stuck with me about him all week, and something made me call him back and go out with him. We happened upon each other.
And since then, in the years since our thing slipped down the drain of big ideas and good intentions, I can admit I’ve made love the stepchild of my priorities, the sliver of the pie chart you can barely see. But this day makes me fully contemplate that chance encounter six years ago, assigning it all the magic it deserves. Unlike a restaurant or a friend’s house or any of the other places I’ve met someone, the serendipity of us depended entirely upon a series of uncharacteristic choices and a three-minute window. I remember the electricity in our first kiss on a balmy April night, the vibration of which I'd heard tell of but never experienced in any relationship before and certainly none after. It was pure magic--I felt like a key had turned inside of a lock deep within me that I didn't even know was there and opened a door I didn't even know had closed. And since the moment after when I opened my eyes, I promise I have never been the same again. I was altered by that connection, made permanently drunk by whatever concoction we created in that moment.
Unlike my previous long-term romance, which was peppered with betrayal and manipulation by a sociopathic megalomaniac (yes.) and rooted in my own poor choices and dreadful behavior, the one that washed ashore in my life six years ago today was equitable and fair, decent and kind. When I met him, I had grown used to the heart-wrenching surprises and calculated disappointments that characterized the eventual overgrowth of the ‘worst of times’. In my early twenties that kind of drama was welcome, a clear exchange for the radical highs hot on its footsteps. But the downside of that episode was that I had been conditioned to act out, rehearse the crazy, turn up like a madwoman and break down like a child. I thought conducting myself that way was how women were heard.
But this time, with this man, there were consequences and repercussions for every choice. It was natural, fluid; form followed function. There was no confusion; it taught me how to look at myself and my behavior and evaluate who I am and what I do as a woman, as a person. We treated each other with respect and honored each other even when we made mistakes. Even my most cringe-worthy blunders were not deal-breakers and I discovered what it felt like to be safe. I learned how to communicate and be honest.
I discovered reconciling passion with love.
Ultimately, obviously, it did not last. Life, careers, and choices took a front seat and I looked up to find that we had slipped through my fingers. And even though I know there were things we both could have done differently, there was no shame in the loss. Even when I see him now, there is a still that spark, a quiet smile that we share created by respect, nourished by passion, and sustained by well-wishes.
Even as the fire has faded and different paths have been forged, I always think of you, my love, on this day. It will always belong to us, and every year I thank God you found me that day in history, today in history. Before you I was insipid and after you I was profound. And I will never, ever be the same again.