Yesterday, Alan and I went to the registrar’s office to give our Notice of Intent to marry. It seemed surreal. Getting married…for the third time…was not something I ever planned to do. I was the romance writer who had given up on love and marriage. Oh, don’t get me wrong; I believed in it. But not for me.
(That is the song we have chosen for walking down the aisle as man and wife.)
I was broken. After two failed marriages, six children, several failed relationships, and way too many ‘lovers’ to mention, I had lost hope. So, I poured all my lost dreams into writing. Giving happy endings to my characters.
At my very lowest point, when I was beaten, I did this truly Crazzy thing. I reactivated my OkCupid account. I was not looking for love, a relationship, or even sex. I just wanted a friend to go to movies, museums, or take a walk with on Sunday’s when PanKwake was with her carer. As usual, I had my share of the fakers and takers. But if nothing else, it was fun answering all those quirky and sometimes thought-provoking questions.
OkCupid would randomly match you with people based on those questions. One night this profile popped up. We were an 87% match. That is about my ideal, because any higher and you would be too much alike, that would be boring. The kicker: in his profile pic, he had the kindest eyes.
Except he did not message me. I waited. I read his profile more in-depth. He was a widower. The way that he spoke about his wife made me cry. Oh, to be loved like that! And intelligent? The man had that too. If the eyes and his very long and detailed profile were not enough, he had answered over four thousand of those questions. Yes, >4,000! I thought my 750 was good, but I had never seen a guy on there that came even close to that number.
Then I discovered the reason he had not messaged me. He did not have a problem with single mothers but felt that needed to be local to him for it to work. I was not. I had a dilemma. My rule was: I never message a guy first. Men should do the chasing. But this one had a good reason for not messaging me. Still, I could not get those eyes or his words out of my mind. I took a risk. A chance. One final Hail Mary if you will. I sent a message telling him how impressed I was and even if it were only friends, he was someone I would like to get to know. He answered back. And we started emailing.
Less than two weeks later, he told me that he would be coming to London. We arranged to meet for coffee…and perhaps go to the London Alternative Market. Then I had told him…IF things went well, he could come back to my flat for lunch. You see there was no use in my mind of another man in my life who could not handle my PanKwake. And I had sworn off casual sex. Of course, what I only found out months later was…I was the third and final date of that weekend. The one he was least hopeful of working out.
I got lost. I, who had chosen the coffee shop where we were to meet, who lived in London, got lost. I roamed the streets of central London on a sunny Sunday morning, cussing, swearing that I would not go on a second date with this man, that we were cursed, if he had not come all this way to meet me, I would have gone home (ha-ha, jokes on me as I was only one of three).
I finally found the right Costa. He hugged me in greeting. Actually, he cwtched me, as I was to discover the Welsh call it. We chatted for a bit then walked to LAM. We did not stay long as neither of us really like crowds of people. We took a bus back to my flat.
When we walked in, PanKwake was chasing her big sister around with a can of fake pooh. Yes, I said FAKE POOH! I stood in the doorway thinking, ‘He was a really great guy. I wonder how long it will take him to make an excuse to go. Ten minutes? Fifteen?’
He did not. He stayed for lunch. In fact, he stayed the night. Something I had never allowed around PanKwake. But I felt sorry for the poor guy. He had spent two nights in expensive London hotels. It was a holiday weekend. He had missed the last train back that day. Finding another hotel would be even more expensive. So, I told him that he could stay with us. If PanKwake did not mind. But we were NOT having sex on the first date!
He stayed. As for the other…well, that depends on how you define sex. When he left to go back home, I figured that was the last I would hear of him. Since he was really a nice guy, perhaps he would email me to tell me that my Crazzy life with an autistic daughter was too much.
He came back. The following Friday. Four days later, he pretty much moved into our dingy, tiny London flat. In the three and a half years since then, we have only slept apart a handful of times.
Yes, that is fast. Even faster given that his wife had been dead for less than a year. His friends thought it. My children said it. But we did not care. It felt right.
(That is why this is the song I will walk down the aisle to.)
Besides, in my case, it was life imitating art. After all, Jill and Daniel married after only a week; Sven, Mikael, and Bjorn kidnapped Kirsty; and Esther hopped on the back of Mike’s motorcycle.
Dating never made sense to me. Spending precious time and money, pretending for months or years to be someone you are not, just so that someone else will love someone that you aren’t? Does that make any sense? Companies get in trouble for such false advertising.
The thing is…as you get older you realize the importance of being who you really are. One of the things that I liked most about him…he farted that first night. Yes, farts to go with fake pooh. There was no pretending.
And as you age, you also realize just how precious time is. When something is right, you know it. Why waste that precious time just to please other people? To meet some societal expectation?
This is the exceedingly sappy song that he chose for the wedding. We will sign the papers that bind us legally as man and wife to those words. But that piece of paper is just that…a dead tree. Our souls already are bound forever as friends, lovers, and partners.
I admit I was a bit shocked at the song he chose. He is intelligent, affectionate, and funny. But he is not particularly romantic. My presents are usually practical. Heck, my engagement ring is a treadmill. Since neither of us believes in blood diamonds and besides that treadmill can keep us healthy and perhaps, if Fate and the goddess are kind, give us more days and hours together.
Our love story is my favorite, even if it is so unbelievable that no one would buy it if I did write it. The best part of all is that…finding that one you want to go through time with. That is what I wish for all of you. It is a feeling that defies the most eloquent words though I shall keep trying.