For the first time in nearly a quarter of a century, I’m dating again. I myself cannot believe I’m saying it. When my marriage ended, I thought for sure it’d be years before I’d even consider letting a man in my life. The last thing I wanted to do was to give up any of the sweet freedom I had desired, coveted, dreamed of for so long.
Then I met this incredible person. I really wasn’t looking. I was bored and web surfing one night when I found him. We got to talking. We chatted some more. And more. And even more. We then decided to meet. I chose the place. I chose badly. Once upon a time it had been casual dining, but it had just undergone a major overhaul and become trendy. A little too foo-foo for a down-to-earth kind of guy. Still, the chemistry transcended my unfortunate choice of dining establishments.
After years of being put down and trampled upon, this gentleman lifts me up. Instead of making me feel like dung, he makes me feel like a queen. He thinks he’s difficult to be close to–he has no idea what I had to put up with for the past half of my life. Well, that’s not entirely true. He’s seen me when ugly scenes in movies hit a little too close to home and bring up awful memories. He’s held me as he gently coaxed a cathartic purging of all the pain, doubt, and defeat I hid inside for so long. That’s the beauty of this guy. He is the one person in my life around whom I don’t have to be strong, tough, or “one of the guys.” I adore him for that.
He’s generous beyond measure and sweet. He can tell me when he needs his space without being petty and condescending. The last person I lived with couldn’t tell me to pass the salt without being petty and condescending. As for me, I’m learning how to be close to someone who isn’t needy. It is a learning process. He is understanding and encouraging, though, and in the process of teaching me how to enter the life of a self-styled “feral,” he is making me a better person.
My mom and dad have met him and don’t give me grief, so I take that as a good sign. The kids haven’t met him yet, but that is more because of inability to coordinate hectic schedules than anything else. It is interesting how the kids react, though. Joe has already accepted him. They’ve heard each other via the speakerphone in my car. Joe was won the minute he found out about the motorcycle that bears a word that is a recurring theme in his favorite theatrical song–the one he’s always longed to perform. He was also grateful for the assistance and support in starting Joe’s new passion: a bass guitar. Tina is quietly happy for me, but in truth I think she is much too busy with her own life to think too terribly much about mine.
Alex, though, is reserved because he hasn’t met this new man in my life. He is Rottweiler-protective. I can’t really say I blame him. He and I have spent his entire life protecting each other. When I had no one else’s shoulder to cry on about the bad times over the years, I cried on his. He cried on mine in the days before he towered over me. We have always been each other’s lifeline and old habits die hard. He’s still gotta protect his momma. I love him for that. It is a gift money can only cheapen and tarnish.
Where will this go? Who knows. I dare not even label it for fear of going too far too fast. I am content to take it one day at a time; sometimes, only one phone call or email at a time. I do know, though, that hearing from him always makes me smile. His touch sends me into the stratosphere. And when I’m with him–whether on the phone, emailing/chatting back and forth, or actually in each other’s presence, there’s no place I’d rather be. And it’s a wonderful feeling indeed.