Tuesday, June 14, 2011
When I left home for college, I moved 600 miles away. I left everything that was comfortable and familiar. My parents. My sisters. My friends.
And my boyfriend.
I didn't want a long distance relationship. I had seen a friend who had tried that, and it had ended in disaster. Plus I wanted to break out of expectations that had cradled me, find out if I had what it took to be on my own and find contentment. I knew I wouldn't be able to do that if I had a safety net that tethered me to my old self.
My ex and I survived the breakup. The distance actually made us better friends.
Fast forward eight years. I was back in Kansas City and finally at a stage in my life where I felt confident about who I was. Physically. Emotionally. Spiritually. I knew what I wanted in a husband, and I was keeping an eye out for him without being on the hunt. It was a liberating feeling.
My old boyfriend and I were still close friends. Actually, closer than we had ever been. We spent a lot of time together and spoke on the phone at least once a day. Gradually that summer I could sense that his intentions were on a different level than mine. I tried to back off a little bit. He said he wanted us to try dating again. I was shocked. Perplexed. Confused. Uncertain.
I told him I needed to think about it.
He was patient. He was kind. He was protective, trusting, hopeful and persevering.
A couple of days later while we were hanging out watching TV together, I was lying on the couch. He sat down, put my head in his lap, and stroked my hair. This man who wore bravado every day and felt awkward hugging family and friends let down his guard. Let his love flow through his fingertips. Let me begin to feel love for him in return.
And in that moment, I knew we would spend the rest of our lives together.
This post was written in response to a prompt from The Red Dress Club: "This week we would like you to write about how the show of affection has played a part in your memory."