In the middle of my divorce, my nerves were shot. Change is hard even when it is necessary. I was trying to stay strong, tall and emotionally sane amidst all the awful that was happening. Lawyers are intense. I have to pay someone to argue my side? I will sum it up like this: I did not feel represented. I have used our MSA (marriage settlement agreement) often for reference and been told over the past few years that it is as generic as they come. I paid a small fortune for a rote document that barely holds any weight. Every time I have wanted to go back to court to iron out a detail surrounding my kids, it has been suggested I don't, as the vague wording could blow up in my face.
The stress took its toll. I hardly felt attractive or inviting. I was wrecked, emotionally and physically. Pretty sure I would never have sex again, let alone flirt or make-out. The thought of being naked with anyone was terrifying. Nope, could not even imagine it.
I spent a long time trying to figure out the best way to create the flower arrangements at our restaurant. I wanted them to look amazing and I knew I would not likely be satisfied with a store bought pre-made version. I remembered the boxes of gardenias mom would buy years ago for family events. I wondered if the place was still around and open for business.
I found the flower shop a year after my divorce, where I met Bruce, the owner. He was kind and friendly. He liked his job, knew his flowers and was a great storyteller.
I was getting ready to teach yoga one morning and I was thinking about the small deck of my rented apartment, how potted dahlias could look really stunning lining the rail. Who could I ask about pots? So before my students showed up for class, I gave his shop a call to see what he knew. I honestly can't remember what he said exactly (he reminds me often that I never listen), but I do know this was the beginning. I made an appointment to stop by and discuss.
Once his number was in my phone it became easy to reach out and connect. I began purchasing flowers for the restaurant once a week. I would drive over early in the morning, just at opening time, to peruse my options, I liked being alone with him, so we could chat without interruption. He carried a wonderful abundance of unfamiliar flowers, so my arrangements were quite stunning. Our conversations grew over time, they were fun, interesting, light and meaningful all at once. We talked about my kids, work, customers, family, stuff, everything and nothing. I felt a pull toward him. I can definitely say this became a favorite ritual, one of the highlights of my week, I looked forward to it and I couldn't wait for the next time. Soon I decided to get flowers on Mondays AND Thursdays, twice a week. Duh. This way, I rationalized, the arrangements would be super fresh, and I would get to see him more often, it was a quality move on all levels ;-).
I had my kids only a few days a week, taught yoga most mornings and worked for our family business Mon-Thurs. Bruce and I grew our talking/texting more often. There were times we would speak for hours on the phone. We had a real connection. I cannot explain it, won't even try, just know I craved him. I really knew nothing about him (figured he was married) and could not imagine why he had all this time for me. I had no idea why he wanted to talk with me, what he got out of our conversations, and guess I was okay with that because I never really asked. (We did talk about this later and he admitted full attraction) These conversations were fulfilling. All I wanted to do was speak with him, see him, and laugh. One day, in his shop, he accidentally leaned into me and his arm brushed mine. My body went electric and I lost my balance. When I righted myself, I wanted him to do it again. The feeling was amazing, unbelievable.
He would call me during his drive to work, with an hour commute, so we had a great start to our days. Sometimes I would be walking my dog and looking at the dark morning sky. The stars were out and we would talk about them. This time of day is still so precious to me: the quiet in the night before it becomes day, there is a stillness here that can mesmerize. The crisp air holds an innocence that brews possibility. This became our time, for sure.
When I was moving out of my apartment, I couldn't get a shelf off the wall. One crooked screw was making me crazy. In sheer frustration and hilarity I took a photo and sent it to Bruce. He immediately asked if I needed help. I said yes. He showed up within thirty minutes, tools ready. He told me months later that being near me and keeping my company made him happy. He got the shelf down and we grew our friendship a little closer.
When I moved into my house, Bruce was there to help. He did all the stuff I I couldn't/wouldn't: he mounted the curtain rods, the towel bars in the bathroom, hung my pot rack (crawled through my attic), and fixed my garbage disposal. These moments were precious to me, sharing my reality, trusting his presence and depending on him was both new and comforting. We walked through my garden as he told me all about my plants and offered "If you can envision it I will build it". He would shop with me for anything I thought I needed and he went places he said he would never go, IKEA comes to mind. This ability to bend is such a wonderful feeling, especially when it spawns from sincere yearning. Wanting to be with someone can feel so special. Daily, we were looking for reasons to meet. He joined me for school functions, helped me with bikes, school pick up and drop off, nothing was off limits. This type of involvement carries great meaning. I had never known this type of connection, it had only been something I had dreamed. It lived in fantasy and now it was real.
We went on dates. Weekly. This man would take me to dinner or breakfast and we would talk while chewing. We tried going to the movies once, but I couldn't stand sitting so still in the dark, this was a first. We left early so we could come home and be together in private ;-) There was nothing superficial about us. What we had was not just new, it was important. I tasted, for the first time, being in love. His patience and understanding was very grounding. I shared everything as it felt so right. No secrets made me vulnerable in a different way. And his ability to hold me, all of me, was powerful.
We laughed OFTEN.
This love story was magic. The delight, eagerness and eventual passion was simply amazing. We met in the mornings for breakfast, conversation, possibly a nap and much kissing. To be wanted by this man delivered me confidence. I don't know how else to say it, his desire made me feel GREAT.
We would embrace in sleep, wrapped in each other's arms. Oh, and we fell so hard, we were always so surprised at how rested we felt after the depth of our slumber. He told me once that he believed while sleeping our souls left our bodies to dance together among the stars. I am moved by his words, this visual makes me really happy.
He taught me a great deal about relationship and more importantly about myself. We were like teenagers in love, we couldn’t remember to put gas in our cars: "Gas? Who needs gas?" We consumed each other even when we were apart. Together, we buckled down and watched all the sweet movies that could help me design a new story. He helped me move beyond some of the awful I experience in my past. His presence invited me forward, I became willing to let go. He loved the sound of my voice, to hear me talk. When I was unsure, maybe shy because I felt unpracticed, he would say: “Trust your body, it knows.”
He could feel the change in my temperature when my cycle would begin. He downloaded an app on his phone to track it. He helped me pay attention! I have never enjoyed such appreciation.
I got to meet his mom. He told me growing up his best friend was a horse named Goldy. (Hope I remembered that right). His grandparents, mother's side, were very special. Their love was immense. I hoped we could be like them, friends and lovers, inseparable.
The flower shop got sold and my guy went with it. Perhaps my life with kids and a challenging ex was too hard. He did not like the way he felt compelled to champion, it created struggle for him. I suppose he thought my kids just needed their mom, as I am enough. It is difficult for me to accept as I have never felt so connected with another human being, our intimacy was powerful. I know I said often: "We are better together." I still believe it. The magic was mesmerizing. Our love is still strong today. I can be sad of course. I choose to be happy because I have experienced wonderful. I have been loved for me and deeply cherished. I am a lucky girl.
He was my first gentleman. And I miss him every single minute of every day. Oh how we laughed. The beauty of our being together is a delicious flavor.
We are no longer together in person, however we do text and talk over the phone sometimes. He is strong in my imagination and memory even today, four years later. He is my true love to date and a man I will never forget. His adoring illuminated my world and opened the portal to the self-love I am growing now.
Always and forever