1. 1. Who can stop what must arrive now?
I honestly believed that there was some sort of essential flow deep within me that had rendered me unlovable. I know that even the writing of that specific sentence seems a bit absurd, filled with the ridiculous, but since the implosion of my marriage, finding myself a pile of tears and collecting broken pieces of my own shattered heart on the sidewalk, waking up in a brand new salty city filled with more tears and more frustrations and more misunderstandings and just more of everything that seemed so incongruous to who I believed that I truly was and what I wanted to be in this world, I did believe, I truly did, that there was a spigot of uninvited toxic pathogens flowing deep within that others could absolutely feel and see, that repelled even the very kindest of strangers.
I continued to always go all in, to love in the only ways that I knew how, in the ways that I always do with abandon topped with glitter, but it wasn’t working for me and you can only keep splaying yourself naked across the universe hoping for love to find you so very many times, over and over again, before even your own inner voices mention, or demand rather loudly, that maybe it is time to retreat.
And so I found myself for days that became weeks that became months that became years, even, where I was the person who had no people. I convinced myself, or pretended very well to convince myself, that I was someone who just did not need anyone else. Ever. Never. Amen.
Then he arrived. My professor.
It is always impossible to know for certain the day that will be the first day of the rest of your life. That precise moment he arrived, when he said hello, the shape of my heart changed and with it the very rest of my life.
2. 2. Dark as the night
You’re still by my side
I was prepared to be nonchalant about all of it. I was even prepared for him to tell me he was married and was just intrigued by the photos he had seen in my online profile. I was prepared for only one dinner. Nothing more.
I was not prepared, at all, when he told me he had googled me and already knew that I was Nakedjen. It actually sucked the breath right out of my lungs when he said it and I had to take a few moments to sort out what to do next.
“Well, I suppose the fact that you showed up for dinner means that you don’t find it offensive, so at least there’s that….” I trailed off still trying to sort out exactly how much he had read and how much he had seen and what he possibly could have thought of the eight years of truly naked information that I have poured from my soul?
“You write really well,” he shared. “And your pictures are just stunning.”
“It’s not a porn site,” I stammered. “I hope you were able to at least sort that out. Perhaps why I do it?”
“Oh, no, I realized it wasn’t porn. The pictures are not even sexual. They’re just beautiful.” He smiled across the table, his blue eyes sparkling at me in a way that made me trust that he really was sincere. Still, there was just a touch of mischief glinting at the edges of his smile and I could tell he was just a little proud of himself for his discovery.
“Well, at least that’s out of the way,” I continued. “Usually, I have to sort out the how and when to share all about my blog and the explanations sometimes send men running, literally, but since you know, we can talk more about you. I want to know about you. Since I didn’t take the Google path of discovery.”
We share our stories over tapas and he’s a perfect dining companion.
I can’t imagine ending the evening. Not yet. I can’t quite let him go, so I suggest coffee. If this is going to be my only night to share with this truly lovely man, I really do not want it to end. I’m trying to pay close attention to the intimate details he so willingly shares, to listen, to remember all the very tiny moments, but I find myself continually getting lost in the azure blue of his eyes.
I can’t believe it is nearly midnight and something in my heart forces me to ask him if he wants to spend the next day together? I never ask these things, ever. Especially with first dates. My heart, though, is doing the talking and I’m just hoping that he will say yes.
We walk together back to my house. Not touching, but all the cells of my body, the hairs on my arms, the pieces of my heart are aware of every facet of him. Crickets are still singing their own evensongs of late summer and when we get to my door, I resist the urge to invite him inside.
Small talk about possible plans for the Sunday, the next day.
Then, suddenly, no talking. His lips are on my lips. My heart unfolds, refolds, and becomes something new entirely. It changes its rhythm. It beats differently. Just.like.that.
3. 3. Life may be sweeter for this, I don’t know.
Feels like it might be alright.
And so, well, this is the start of my next forever. Actually, truthfully, this is the start of our next forever. With my professor.
That Sunday, for the curious, I went to his house for the very first time and when I walked into his backyard there were beets growing. Beets he had planted long before he ever knew that I even existed.
He tells me, now, that it is as if I fell from the sky. Like a star.
He also tells me that we just fit. Our brains, our bodies, especially our hearts.
We do. It’s as true as anything else that I have ever known.
There are far more very unusual and remarkable synchronicities in the tale of the colliding of our hearts, but what is important for you to know right now, Internet, is that I really needed to be standing in my little black Doc Martens on that particular Saturday evening and not a moment before for all of this to happen exactly as it should.
I’m absolutely certain of that much.
I’m also absolutely certain of him.
He wears glitter oh so very well.