By the end of that evening, phone numbers were exchanged between this new man I had just met two days prior and by the end of the week, we had gone on our first date. Within a week’s time, we had become inseparable, introduced our children to each other and vowed we were “going to do this differently than either of us had in the past”. What we meant by that was, we won’t rush into anything. We will take the time to get to know each other. Until our humanness got the best of us and the marathon sex began. I think we lasted almost two months, but to this day we have remained friends.
“Would you like to share tonight?” I heard the words and was nudged on my arm by this new man sitting next to me, “your turn”. Quickly I was brought back to the present moment, “yes, hi my name is…”. I can’t recall the topic that night or even what I spoke about, but when I was finished, he was next. As he spoke, I heard more than words coming from his mouth. There was wisdom and a surety in his voice that was refreshing to hear. I thought to myself, now this is a man who is working it and walking it, not faking it and talking it. All my preconceived notions of his motives and intentions disappeared.
He stayed on this side of the wall for the long haul. His dedication to recovering himself was very attractive. He was getting it and it showed. I saw him more often as he became a grateful, faithful member who warmed a chair weekly and shared his heart. I found myself looking forward to not only hearing what he had to say, but seeing him across the room.
At some point, the flirting began, but we didn’t take it beyond that. Could this truly be a divine connection? Is this actually how a healthy relationship is formed? I had no idea and I was starting to think neither did he, but the attraction certainly was there. This man was not coming at me, sexually charged or playing any games to fuck with my head. Week after week it was apparent he was showing up, same as I to dig deeper into the process of healing and healthy choices.
He was offered the phone list, which also contained email addresses. It started with an email. “I hope you don’t mind, I just wanted to say hi.” My heart raced. He took the time and effort to reach out and connect with me. “I didn’t want to use your phone number without first asking you if I could call you.” I was hooked. It had been a long time since a gentleman had stood in front of me.
The emails while he was at work quickly transitioned into regular daily texts. “You make my day float by.” “I love to soak up that peace and serenity you have.” They went on from there. We were now getting to know each other on a personal level outside the place where we share ESH, pain and the like with others. Were we establishing a friendship? Maybe this is what Mr. Dreamy, as I so affectionately called that last one, were wanting to try but failed at.
This was all strange to me because I only ever knew what it was like to jump right in and be in a relationship. He had me at, “You always look so peaceful” and I was willing to wait this time to see what we could really be.
There was a big speaker/potluck meeting coming up and we both wondered if the other was attending. For whatever reason, we didn’t make a plan to go together, but instead committed to going. This taking it slow arrangement, though it was unspoken, seemed to work for us. However, I was becoming impatient, as my old behavior would dictate. We saw each other and immediately hugged, because that’s what everyone in the rooms do.
The night went on as we listened to the shares of the presenters tell their stories of what it was like before recovery, how their lives have changed and what life is like today. I almost felt like I was back in high school, waiting for the cute boy I had my eye on, ask me to dance so I could go home, dream of him and write his name all over my binder at school.
Well, there was no dancing this night and it was quickly winding up, while I had hoped we might make a coffee date to end the evening with. The large crowd soon thinned out and we found ourselves outside with a few lingering bodies. It was in that instance I realized this man is more timid than I imagined as he approached to hug me goodnight, I thought, “that’s it?”
He got in his truck and I in mine. I saw he had a friend with him to take home and I did too. There I was, sitting in my truck wondering what to do. I decided I had nothing to lose and maybe something to gain, so I shot him a text, “coffee after we drop our obligations home?” Without a hesitation his immediate reply came, “I’ll pick you up in thirty.” Now I really did feel like a school girl again.
Just short of kicking my gal pal out of my truck at the bottom of her driveway, I raced home to freshen up, just as I saw his headlights pull up. By now it was ten o’clock and I couldn’t have been more excited. Was this finally our first date? I had no idea what to expect and I didn’t care. Here it was again, fun to be had.
We kept up the pretense of getting that coffee and then went for a drive. Talking for hours as he continued to drive across the county line and back again. By now it was midnight and we stopped in one of our small towns to walk around. Gratefully we found one open bathroom and as we got to the door, he insisted on checking the stalls to be certain no one was in there. I got the green light and while I was in there, I couldn’t help but think how amazing he was and how safe I felt.
He opened the door for me and we climbed back into his truck once more. “Where to now” I asked. “I don’t know, but I don’t want to take you home yet”, he said, and we drove into the night. We had stopped for gas and before we knew it, the clock struck three a.m. Regretfully he announced he was meeting his daughter early for breakfast and should probably get some rest. A walk to the door, a big hug goodnight and there it was, a warm soft kiss. Walking up the stairs to my room I thought once again, is this what healthy looks like? I’m sure I don’t know, but I had hoped to find out.