Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Snowy Kisses and What If's

It was almost a year ago to the day that I sat in this same booth overlooking the river and the city waiting for his arrival.  I remembered which beer he liked and ordered it along with my drink.  Memories of last year flooded back quickly and how nervous I was then to finally meet the man I’d been talking to and texting for several weeks.   Our conversations were fun, meaningful and had just crossed over to flirty before our first date.  The excitement to meet each other grew because I had to postpone our first date a few times. Unfortunately, the chaos that was my life a year ago made it difficult for me to get away.  When I finally did, we had a great time, had a couple more fun dates, but not as much as he would have liked.  He wanted to spend more time together and he began to grow impatient.  It ultimately became the end of “us” last year.

His life moved forward and so did mine.  I witnessed his new relationship unfold and evolve on Facebook last year.  I felt some moments of sadness and regret seeing his life move forward with a cute divorcee.  As the months went on, my life improved drastically and I had a summer for the record books, happy and free.  I was caught up in a summer romance with a younger man I met and had a goofy grin planted on my face through most of the heat of the season.    My heart was light and I let go of any “what if’s” I accumulated. 

He and I had remained distant friends, and I was saddened to receive his call just before the holidays that his relationship had ended abruptly.   The woman he dated had a mean streak that she had kept under the surface and she lashed out at him, breaking his heart.  I was genuinely saddened for him and shocked that things ended so badly for them.

Tonight, as I sipped on my drink and waited for him, I wondered how this evening would go, would he try to rekindle our feelings or was I playing the part of compassionate friend?  I didn’t know what to expect but I did know I was excited to see him again.   We had a comfort and could be ourselves with each other from the moment we met and I looked forward to catching up with him.   I kept my expectations realistic and was just happy to catch up with him. 

He found me and greeted me like he always did, he said “hello pretty lady” as he swept his arms around me tightly.  He held me close, planted a kiss on my cheek and smiled knowingly at the cold Heineken waiting for him.   As he began to speak, there was a sadness in his dark eyes and he reached across the table holding my hands while fighting back tears.   He asked about my children, new job and we caught up on the past year.   My questions to him were careful, and he began to share his heartbreak with me. He went on to tell me about how his happiness suddenly unraveled and also how the relationship with his children had eroded beyond repair. 

He choked back tears as he spoke but the sadness was obvious in his eyes.  His hands gripped mine tightly as he confided in me that although he hadn’t made his final decision yet, he was probably moving back to his home country to be near his family.   I listened objectively and tried to persuade him to heal the broken relationship with his children.   Now, I was the one fighting back tears because this reminded me of my distant relationship with my father.   I pleaded with him to stay here and mend this brokenness.

I was honest and spoke candidly about his situation.  We both enjoyed the conversation although it was a difficult one, we could be authentic with each other.  The comfort that we felt was obvious and talking with him felt familiar and safe.   As the evening slipped away, we paid our check and left the restaurant.   The evening’s winter chill jolted us as we stepped outside and as if on cue, snowflakes began to lightly fall from the sky.   The trees were lit with white twinkly lights and the flakes of snow seemed to dance in the air as they fell.   He slipped his hand in mine as he guided me safely to my car.  

Once we found my car we lingered over our goodbyes.   I told him that I would miss him and that I hoped he found happiness.  Our eyes met as he grabbed my face and pulled it towards his own as his mouth found mine.   As our kiss ended, my tears began to fall softly down my cheeks.  My face was dotted with melting snowflakes and tears as I struggled to find the right words to encourage him to do whatever he felt was right.   He wiped away my tears and felt guilty for being the reason for them.  His arms held me tighter as I buried my face into his chest and vowed to myself to not cry anymore in front of him.   He planted a tender kiss on my forehead as I searched my pocket for my keys.

I left with a wave and a promise to let him know I made it home safely.   I chose a long route home to see more of the river and to think.   Inside the privacy of my car and the darkness, I started to cry again.   Crying and driving in silence, fortunately somehow my car seemed to navigate itself through downtown.    

As I crossed the bridge, I couldn’t help but think about how things could have been different and how unfair it all was.   I was sure that this man and I would have loved each other if we’d had the chance.  The timing of everything seemed so cruel, so unfair and although I tried, I couldn’t help but feel bitter about it.  Everything was so different a year ago and although we both had feelings for each other, we’d never know what could have been.  This heartbreak changed him and I know it will be a long time before he can be vulnerable again.

Like the time that passed, he was slipping through my fingers and there wasn’t a damned thing I can do about it.   Finding love can sometimes be like catching lightning in a bottle, you can have every possible variable in place, yet if the timing is off, it’s impossible to capture it.  It’s just past the tips of your fingers - no matter how far you stretch to reach for it.   Love can be as fragile and precious as a perfect snowflake but no matter how much you ache for its beauty to last, it just can’t.

Thank you for reading and I hope you find AND keep love.  Happy Valentine's Day!


The Single Mom