Tomorrow, my life changes forever. It’s not every day you can say that.
Sometime after 7:00 PM Saturday evening, Tara will be pulling up to my townhouse. Not for a visit this time, but to stay. This is the culmination of a long friendship that led to a wonderful, perfect relationship. The fact that we successfully pulled off a long-distance relationship often amazes me, and makes me very proud. Most of those fail. I know from personal experience, and yet when it came time to try with Tara, I never even hesitated. The moment our lips met for the first time last August, I knew we had something special. Call it chemistry, or destiny, or whatever you’d like (and it doesn’t necessarily have to end with a y) – but what I felt in those wondrous seconds was complex and passionate and amazing. Kissing her felt right, in a way that I have never experienced before, and nothing else in the world mattered after that. There were a thousand obstacles to overcome, but I knew we had something worth pursuing, and when things are meant to be, nothing can stop them from happening.
I guess I’ve never really written about that evening. I’ve touched upon it, but never with much detail. It almost didn’t happen, for one thing. We were originally supposed to meet eleven days earlier, for dinner and a concert. Just friends. Only our friendship had taken a turn in the days and weeks leading up to our August get-together. We’d always flirted with one another, but that had seemed like harmless fun. The tone of our conversations changed as her visit drew nearer, though. It became clear that there were feelings involved, and that revelation both surprised and scared me. Before our first kiss, sure – I had doubts. Not because I thought Tara was anything less than an amazing person – it just seemed like having an actual relationship with her was a farfetched idea that was too good to be true, like a really amazing dream. It was a really amazing dream, in fact. And then, if we did get together, what about the 837 miles separating us? And my kids, and her job, and and and…it was just best not to think of such things in any realistic way.
The morning of the concert, I discovered through a Facebook post that Tara had been admitted to the ER up in Seattle, where she’d been visiting her mom. She’d had a gallstone attack and would require surgery in a few days. Reluctantly, she cancelled her trip down to Portland. We were both pretty bummed that night, and we texted nearly nonstop while I drank wine. That was when I realized the extent of what that night might have brought, and suddenly those walls that I had put up didn’t seem so strong. Fate had stepped in however, and decided the night was not meant to be. We cursed it and called it cruel, but neither of us realized at the time that Fate had a backup plan.
I recently finished a Stephen King novel called 11/22/63. It’s the story of a man who travels back in time in order to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Terrific concept, and I found it absolutely riveting. I consider it Mr. King’s best novel in years, and rank it right up there with The Stand, The Shining, Misery, and his other classics. One of the themes explored in the book is the idea that the past harmonizes, and will fight its hardest to ensure that whatever course of events was meant to be plays out. Well, here’s the thing. I sort of believe that life in general works that way myself. Here’s an example: one day two weeks ago, Rusty borrowed his mother’s car and was able to drive he and Audrey to school himself. Normally I take them, so this gave me a rare break from making the 45-minute round trip. Only a few hours later Audrey’s school called – she was sick and needed to be picked up in the middle of the day. The lesson learned? I was meant to make that drive one way or another, and so I did end up doing it.
And that is why, on August 22nd, Tara and I did end up meeting. Post-surgery, on her way home, she wanted to swing by so we could go out to dinner together. I was nervous as hell. I’d told her that nothing could happen, nothing should happen, because I was technically seeing somebody, although we hadn’t actually seen each other in almost eleven months. The truth is, I’d been clinging to something that had died a long time ago (and, I might add, wasn’t meant to be). It was the flimsiest of excuses, and though she agreed with me, neither of us had a will strong enough to resist.
Life harmonizes, remember?
She arrived that Monday evening. First time she’d been to my townhouse. We hugged, and chatted briefly. Went out to dinner at a Mexican restaurant down the street. The conversation was great, the food, terrific. The margaritas were excellent. Just friends. That’s all we were. Still just friends.
And then, back at my place, the kiss. It took me by surprise. Tara might have initiated it, but I certainly did not back away. One thing led to another and then another, and now – nearly eight months later – she is moving in with me. We’re much more than just friends now, of course. We’re a couple who are madly in love and eager to begin what promises to be an amazing journey together.
I’m happier than I’ve been in ages. The years following my divorce were often a struggle. I dated a few women, had a couple of sort-of serious relationships, but nothing ever felt like this. It’s simply incomparable. Twice, I had opportunities to live together with women. Both times I backed out, could not go through with it, and that’s got nothing to do with me being a commitment-phobe. On the contrary, all I’ve ever wanted was to share my life with somebody else. I simply had to find the right person. Being single has its moments, and my freedom allowed me to accomplish an awful lot over the years, but I am ready for the next step. It’ll be an adjustment, but one that I am happy to make. With Tara…because she is the one.
Welcome home, baby.