I didn't know her that well. We had been vague Internet acquaintances for some time, but not close in any way. But I needed to talk to someone like her. I had friends helping me deal with what I was going though. I needed those friends to help me recover from the past year and make sense of my new life. I still need them.
But I also needed a friendly voice and ear who wasn't immersed in all of that. Someone with whom I could talk about the present and the future, not the past. Someone with whom I could, however temporarily, forget about all that was troubling me. Someone with whom I could be myself, whatever that had become. She quickly became that person. But as the small talk grew larger, it became clear that something else was going on.
The random coincidences piled up. We shared the same interests. The same humor. The same temperament. So much of the same past. We didn't, as the old cliche goes, complete each other's sentences. We spoke them as the other formed the very thought. It was all light and casual and friendly on the surface, but I found myself talking to her all night and into the early morning. I found myself thinking about her more and more.
Then one night:
Am I allowed to wonder aloud what's going on here? Or does that ruin it?
I'm glad she said it before I did. It was so soon after my life spun out of control that I didn't know if I trusted myself or my feelings. I didn't know if I was misreading it all. It turns out I wasn't. And her wondering aloud didn't ruin it. It ignited it.
We spent four days together in Dallas in December. I just got back from spending five days with her in San Antonio. Every time I go away someplace I get a feeling of relief when I come back home. Happy to be back in my own space and in my own bed. For the first time ever I've not felt that same relief upon returning home. Being with her was so comfortable. So natural. I felt at home.
I know all of the objections those who care about me will raise. I'm not ignoring them. I know all of the obstacles we face. I'm not denying them. All that matters to me is that she brought me happiness and joy at a time when I figured I'd never feel those things again and that those feelings have outlasted the initial euphoria that often accompanies something new.
And all I know is that last week, at 6:30 in the morning, I woke up and for a moment and I didn't know where I was. Then she stirred. She wrapped her arm around me and kissed me softly. And nothing ever felt so right.