My knees were shaking and my palms were a slimy mess. I could see Andrew’s bald head peeking out from between the cars, but that was it. I will never be able to put my finger on what was surging through me in those moments, but I know this. It was divine. And right. And terrifying.
I stepped out of the car, and turned around. There he was. I remember thinking these five things at once as I stepped toward him for the first time: I love his shoulders. I know him. I know his eyes. I think I’m taller than him. I can’t do this. I want to do this.
He chuckled in this low, gravely way I’d already come to love, and said, “okay, can I give you a hug?”
We were both shaking.
Here is where I will tell you that I know what it is to be loved. I knew already. I knew what it was to be rocked by knowing someone and having them love you. By loving them. I knew what it felt like for the universe to show you a piece of yourself, a reflection coming to you, out of nowhere and revealing all of yourself in your reflection in another. A mirror. And I knew what I was looking for.
I knew that if I didn’t feel it, that way, now, I would be happy and I would be filled with joy and love for myself and my kids, but I would choose just that. I would never choose halfway, convenient love again.
It was clear we had been feeling all the same things, all day. Andrew couldn’t stop shaking. Mirrors.
He nervously gave me a little gift in lieu of flowers, and we began to walk inside.
The energy coursing between us was so strong and so intense I felt like I was walking in space wearing those clunky space boots, holding me to the ground, but barely allowing me to move. I was in a daze, almost drunk, but stone cold sober, paralyzed, but floating.
He opened the door for me, and we were led to the smallest table I’ve ever seen. We ate dinner at an end table, in the dead center of the room. Which meant we were so close to one another that I could not move without brushing my leg against his, and I couldn’t breathe my newly needed deep breaths without blowing out the candle resting between us. Twice I blew it out. And twice the server came back to light it again. This also meant when my chicken arrived fog-horn-leg-horn style, it took up three quarters of the table.
The vibration was so high around me it was an extra being at our table. The energy causing my ears to hum and vibrate so loudly that I was certain my head might have popped off my shoulders. Thank God we were able to laugh about it. How nervous we were. I’m not sure either of us would have stayed if not for this.
In fact, when I excused myself to go to the bathroom, Andrew was convinced I would not be coming back.
Heart thumping, a contrarian to his fears, I walked back to the table. He asked if I’d like to go to a jazz bar, and my face and my voice and my heart said yes, while my mind screamed, NOOOOO. We. can’t. Do. this.
Sensing my anxiety, he reached over and took my hand, and said, “you know, if I was your friend, I’d tell you to go on home. We don’t have to go.”
Electricity between our hands, but….
YES. That’s right.
There was so much relief and sadness running through me at once. It was as if everything I was afraid of in this world, but could not possibly put into words was staring back at me, within him. Mirrors.
Terrifying me. Calling to me.
Just by being.
We walked outside and suddenly, a weight we both clearly carried, lifted. He asked if I would feel comfortable sitting in my car to talk. And we talked. For quite a while. It was as if the space boots inducing coma was lifting and I was lighter, my words flowing easy and my body relaxing into the comfort I had come to know in him.
And then things got hard again.
Panic. Fear. Shallow breaths. Frustration.
For both of us.
The thing about some love is this: It is comfortable always, seems easy always, and feels immediately safe. Or it comes as a natural progression in knowing a person. I’ve loved this way. In my years of painful becoming, though, I have known a different love. This love is a gnawing, a fire, a slow burn deep inside of you. It brings to the surface all you have feared, all you have known, and all you have longed for, and beckons you to question it all. It begs you to be more and know more and see more. To truly see. The world shifts a little for this love. And it is the only love I had any further interest in. It is the love that comes from the deep place within your own self, a rising up of all that you are and want to be, and an invitation for another to join you. A recognition of souls.
Eventually, in a fit of frustration that night in the car, Andrew looked at me and said, “ugh, I have no idea how to do this or what to say, but can I just kiss you? please?”
I didn’t speak. I nodded.
He kissed me.
And the world shifted.