I remember going with B to her brother and sister-in-law’s house for a BBQ and drinks one summer day. We had gone a few times before, but this was the first time that you had been there when we were. My eyes must have lit up on the first sight of you – B hated you from the start. Your hair was long and red, your eyes a pale blue0green. Your milky tone made both your eyes and hair stand out. I’d only seen beauty like yours a couple of times in my life, one was a singer and another was an ex of mine. Your genuine smile and laugh were a breath of fresh air to me. There was a genuine and sincere air about you. You came to the party wearing scrubs, having come right from work to the party, and even those looked beautiful on you. We never spoke directly, but we’d see each other at later gatherings. You’d later tell me that the one time your laptop was acting up was an excuse to stand next to me while I worked on it. I had no idea that the attraction was mutual, given that I’m oblivious to such things.
Every time there was a gathering where you were in attendance, as soon as we got in the car to go home, B would start picking you apart. She would tell me things about you that she had heard second-hand from her sister-in-law – one of your closest friends at work, or in private life for that matter. Things between B and I had already started to turn sour. I had told her a couple of months after having relocating to this part of the country that I wasn’t happy and that I wanted to leave. I told her this a few times before I had met you. When I was ready to demand that we split and one of us move out, B was laid off from work. She was beyond devastated. Her depression was far too deep to be situational about the job, especially after a few months. It was evident to me that she wasn’t even attempting to find work, and why would she? Unemployment in that state paid very, very well for our income bracket. At my urging to see someone, B was finally diagnosed as being Bipolar I and started medication. She wasn’t compliant. A little over a year went by from when I was completely ready to split and when I finally told her that one of us needed to leave – that I wanted to move on with my life. The relationship had been completely dead for months anyway, and I was rather certain and would have it later confirmed that she had started seeing someone. B would end up moving out a couple of days after we agreed to split, but she left a lot of things behind that she hadn’t moved with her brothers for whatever reason.
Friends and family called a lot to see how I was doing right after the split. I was surprised to get an email from you though. You just asked how I was doing and if I wanted or needed to talk. This was only three days after B and I had split. You said in another email that you prefer to talk as opposed to exchanging emails, so we agreed to meet up the coming weekend to go into the city to go to an art museum. We both knew that we both likes art. That’s about all we knew. I didn’t think anything of it, but I was nervous about meeting you. I had already resolved to stay single, or at least not to have any more long-term relationships. I had a rather established track record of failed relationships after 2-3 years and just didn’t see where it was worth it anymore.
We agreed to meet at the commuter rail station near my house. Do you remember? I was nervous at this point. I was attracted to you, but never had any intention of letting that be known. I walked the couple of blocks from my apartment to the train station and was surprised to see you standing in the parking lot leaning against your car. That train station was nearly an hour drive from your house and there was a train direct from the city closest to you. It struck me as odd, especially since you had worked the entire night before and hadn’t slept yet. We didn’t say much at all before getting onto the train together. Finally a few minutes after the train left you asked me if I was going to talk to you or not. I was shy and nervous – something very odd for me. I’m far from shy and can deal with nerves. It became immediately obvious that neither of us have much use for smalltalk – which was good, I’m not good at small-talk. I could give two shits about most of what most people talk about. Within minutes the conversation started on what we each felt to be important in our lives. That started a conversation that lasted for hours as we walked the city. It was so hot out. We vaguely knew what direction the museum was that we were going to go to, so we walked that way for a long time. We stopped to get some lunch at a place that I knew and we talked over appetizers.
We waited for our meals to show up and there was an odd silence. We just looked at each other for a long time. You said “You know, this could get real serious, real fast” (pause) “I know”. We ate saying very little, but exchanging glances every so often. We left the restaurant and proved that neither of us actually had any clue as to where the museum was. I offered to pay for a taxi, but you scoffed at the price. You’re practical like that, even through we both had bad sunburns at this point. You wrapped your arm around mine as we walked. I could feel my heart pounding. I was so nervous and excited… I caught myself asking if this was real – if you were real. It’s not that we mostly wanted the same things in life and in a relationship, they were exactly the same. Every little detail. All of it. Neither of us led the other, but we were finishing each other’s sentences a lot. We both had an honesty with each other that I’d only experienced at one other time in my life.
We finally made it to the entrance of the museum – ten minutes after they closed. We laughed and started walking back toward downtown. I saw a place I had been before for a party that had bowling and pool tables and we decided to go in there to escape the heat and sun. We decided to bowl, and you were awful. We laughed pretty hard at all of the gutter balls. After I bowled the final frame I turned and you were standing there holding your drink. That look in your eyes… That same look still gets me when I see it flash through every now and then. You asked if I was going to kiss you or if I was going to keep you waiting all night. It was electric. For a couple of minutes it was just you and I in that crowded noisy room. We walked back to the train station barely saying a word along the way, just holding hands, or you wrapping your arm around mine. That first touch with someone is such an amazing feeling. We arrived at the station and saw that the next train back toward home was in nearly two hours. We managed to get one of the benches in the station and just held each other, kissing much to the dismay of those around us. Yeah, we were those people.
We woke the next morning to the sound of a key in the lock to the back door of my apartment. I glanced at the clock and it was 6:30am – on Sunday. That could only mean that B had caught wind that you had gone to see me and didn’t return home. The sister-in-law was two houses down from you, so a phone call must have been made. I didn’t even have time to get dressed as I heard hurried shuffling in the next room. I met B in the doorway to the bedroom, me standing there naked. B went off on a tirade that I’m sure could be heard through every apartment in that house, and likely the adjacent houses. She yelled and screamed for at least a good ten minutes. I said little – what would be the point? I was actually taken back by how upset B was, given that she had agreed that the relationship had been dead for a long time and that even she had moved on in many ways. You had gotten dressed while B was still yelling and the thought had crossed my mind that I would be standing naked between two clothed women as police would surely be there if this continued for much longer. I wasn’t embarrassed, but I did smirk when I thought of this. That’s not something to do when an angry ex is yelling at you. Finally B was quiet enough for me to tell her to go wait in her vehicle while you and I left. Do you remember going to breakfast at a nearby restaurant, both of us with obvious bed-head? Once the intensity of the situation wore off a little we both laughed a little. Not at the expense of B, but the situation in general.
You were right, it did get very serious, very fast. We married a month after having officially met. That first 18 months was bliss. You were in an intense nursing program and I worked over an hour away from home. As per usual one of my depressions hit hard and you started to become withdrawn. There were a number of issues surrounding intimacy, both physical and emotional. You said some terribly cruel things to me when I begged for an explanation. You later realized that you were suffering from your own depression for awhile, but were too busy with school to have realized it sooner. My depression got far, far worse… It nearly tore us apart a few times within a couple of months. When I went into the hospital you nearly had your own nervous breakdown. You’d be diagnosed as having bipolar II while I was inpatient for a week. I would be diagnosed not long after that. Do you remember when we had only been married for a few months? The night I woke you because my heart was racing and I felt a lot of pressure in my chest? You took my blood pressure and drove me as fast as you could to the nearest emergency room. The doctors had a hard time keeping my blood pressure down and admitted me for a week until it dropped to an acceptable level. You were so scared that week. You wouldn’t leave my side. The midnight charge nurse on the ICU let you stay in my room and sleep on the bed with me, you in my arms while hooked up to all of those monitoring devices. Here we had found each other in the madness of this world, and just like that I was nearly gone.
The last year was so hard on us both. I’m glad that you’re getting help you need with the things that you are having a hard time getting through and I’ll be here no matter what you need of me. I’m doing well again, and with any luck, it will stay this way. I hope we can stay as we are now.. Things are real good with you and I. I’ve missed us, so, so much. I still wait up for you most nights, though it leaves me with little sleep. I’ve always said and meant that the best part of my day is curling up with you to sleep. On my best days, it’s bliss, and in my darkest days, it’s the only peace amongst the storm I feel. Tonight I’m too exhausted to stay up, so I hope you wake me when you get home.