Irony. It’s something alright.
Would you believe that I am anti-love? It isn’t that I am not for love, but that I didn’t believe in it. I’ve never believed in happily ever after even as a child. I certainly never believed in love at first sight. There isn’t such a thing as soul mates. No pheromones. No destinies.
Growing up, I was the nerdy smart girl who chose to not get involved with boys and go all silly over them. Oh, I dated a little, but I had very firmly in my mind that this was absolutely not the guy I would be marrying. He was not forever. He was for the moment. When it was break up time, I didn’t miss a beat. It did not upset me in the least. It was not love. I was not going to be one of those sappy girls crying at the prom because my date wanted to dance with someone else or hang out with the guys.
And I can proudly say I wasn’t.
I’m still not that way.
However, and this is where the irony comes in to play in a sneaky kind of way, I saw West (Other Half) at a Pink Floyd concert when I was fourteen or fifteen years old. He was walking up the stadium in the distance and caught my attention immediately. This man was the be-all-end-all for me physically. Much older than me, but that is the way I dated.
My date caught me staring at him. Awkward. So, did the other guy behind me who had wanted to date me. More awkward. And my date told me, “Oh that is West.”
He knew him. The guy I was drooling over in an obvious way when it was not polite to do so. I did not think of any of that. My only thought was that I had a chance to meet that guy who was so far away from me at that moment. He’d never be interested in me, but I had to see what he was like. Admire him from afar.
Fast forward a year or so. I am diagnosed with NHL cancer. I look like death at room temperature. My hair has fallen out to the extreme that I do not even have eyebrows. I refuse to wear a wig because really, who would that fool? I’m paler than usual and that is saying something. I can’t stand up for more than five minutes without collapsing. I was stuck in the hospital so much that when they did let me out into the world for a break, I lived it up with my friends despite how I felt. Life was short.
This time I was with my date from the concert and his friend West suddenly shows up. Oh yeah, lucky me. The drool worthy guy of my dreams is going to see me at my absolute worst. There is no way on this Earth I can possibly make a good impression. I wanted to fake being very tired and run and hide, but decided there was absolutely nothing I could do about my condition. I should not be embarrassed by it. It was who I was at that time. Besides, by the time I had run all these thoughts through my brain, he had already seen me.
Shock and surprise hit me like a freightliner truck hauling an overweight load. He seemed eager to meet me. My concert date introduced us. I waved hello and did my best to appear indifferent. He leaned in and asked me, “What made you notice him and want to go out with him?” West pointed to concert date.
Wow. No hello, nice to meet you type of intro happening here. He was different. He wasn’t self-conscious. His question threw me off guard and out of balance. I wasn’t prepared for this. I didn’t have a good answer. At least not one that could move around the lump in my throat that had formed after I lifted my jaw from the ground. That was the extent of our first conversation right there. I had no idea what to make of it. Part of me thought maybe he asked so he would know if he had what I had liked in my concert date. Part of me thought he wanted to know because he couldn’t believe I would date such a guy as concert date guy.
Fast forward some more.
I recover finally from my cancer and it is time to enroll in college. I don’t spend time with West much. He isn’t interested in me. He’s quiet. He has other girls he’s dating. I’m about to go off to college and while it isn’t far away, it won’t make any relationship easy. I’m moving on to the next chapter in my life. I do not have time for guy of the moment, even if it is West. Plus, he is moving over a thousand miles away for his job. I told you, love like in the movies does not exist.
Fast forward a tiny bit more.
I get a job as a radio disc jockey for late night radio. Out of nowhere, West calls me up to make a request. Yes, from over a thousand miles away. He can’t even get my radio station.
It was history after that. He drove the thousand miles after work Friday so we could have our first date. Then he drove back a thousand miles Sunday night and went straight to work Monday morning.
He did it because he thought I was worth it. I was worth waiting for. I was worth spanning a large distance. I was worth the age difference. I was a “keeper” unlike the other women he had dated. He told his friends, “She’s the one.”
I moved in with him, by coincidence, on my nineteenth birthday. Please over look that I thought my friend who decided to marry after high school was a moron. I knew their relationship was doomed to fail. They hardly knew each other and were committing to one another way too young. Such ideas did not apply to me, because I did not believe in love like that. I was way too practical.
I was very impulsive and spontaneous. My parents had no idea what I was doing. If I had told them I was moving for a guy, they would have committed me or claimed that aliens brain washed me. I left everything behind. I had this feeling deep inside that I could make a relationship with him work in the long run. He would endure time. I could work with his personality. We could make this work.
He never forgot about me over those years. I never forgot about him. Our paths crisscrossed a lot over our youth too. He worked where I worked and we never noticed. If he had meet me before my cancer, I would have been a completely different person. One I doubt he would have liked. If he had been with me before he moved, we would have ended right there.
I don’t believe in fate, especially in love. I don’t believe in love at first sight. I don’t believe in eternal love.
Those are foolish things that only happen in Disney cartoons and in romance novels. Believing in such things will set you up to be the one crying at the prom. They will break your heart and you will end up in a divorce.
I am however, glad that he believes in such things. I believe in a good man. If I have a good man, I can make anything work.
There you have it. My anti-love, love story. We’re still together. I’m still not interested in anyone else for a mate. We still snuggle up. We still go on dates. We still pick at each other in humor. We cook dinner together. He takes care of me when I’m sick. He treats me like gold, like I am something rare and precious. He still tells me that he loves me almost daily. More importantly, he shows me almost daily with little acts like cleaning the kitchen or sending me flowers. The L word comes really hard for me. I choke it out from time to time.
We’ve never tied the knot in any kind of way. I suppose I have trust issues and I don’t believe in love. I want to make it easier for him to leave me with out any red tape. One day this man is going to realize I am not “the one” and do the practical sensible thing. He’s going to realize we got together too young. I was still growing up and deciding who I would be. I’ve changed and I am not the same person I was when we met. He’ll decide that my life has too much baggage now with my family. I’m a cat person and he is a dog person. He likes comedies and I like horror movies. I like country music and he likes classic rock.
I don’t believe in love like his. I will be ninety-three years old and I doubt I’ll ever believe that a relationship or love like that is even possible. He could continue to chase after me (and he does) for the rest of my life and I may still not believe.
I wasn’t a romance reader until last year. I didn’t mind that some stories had romance elements, but I was never into the chemistry of two characters. I liked the other parts of the plot. I don’t believe in that rubbish remember?
I’ve come to realize all those tension building moments in romance literature climaxing into finally getting together against all odds, well our story is just like that. We had some serious tension building can’t be together moments. We each desired the other but did not confess or act on it for a long time. So we had the mental obstacles as well as environmental ones. After a long wait, we end up together. It really is that sappy. So much so, it is almost unbelievable or makes me want to roll my eyes.
Add in more irony and I discover that I have fun writing romance. If I can put a tiny bit of the magic that we seem to have into my writing, then I will be a happy person.
West, thank you for being my mate. Thank you for being my forever. Thank you for continuing to prove me wrong and you know how much I hate to be proven wrong…