How it all began

11 Jun

Several months after packing my life into checked baggage and moving halfway around the world by myself, I started dating a guy named Barry. I don’t know why I went out with him, to be honest.  I had met him on the Internet and liked him, but when I met him in person there was absolutely no chemistry there.  Physically, he was not really my type, and his personality didn’t gel with mine.  Even after I had seen him a few times, he didn’t exactly rock my world.  Don’t get me wrong, he seemed like a nice enough guy.  I didn’t like him, I didn’t dislike him.  I was indifferent to him – I could take him or leave him.  And yet, I somehow found myself dating him for six months.  Looking back, I can only assume that I did it because I was alone in a new country, with no social support structure, no friends, no-one to talk to at the end of the working day.  I was – there is no other way to say it – unbearably lonely.

In retrospect, my relationship with Barry was very odd.  We hardly ever actually went out together.  Twice a week, we would get together – usually at his immaculately neat apartment – and we would have dinner.  To give credit where it’s due, the man was outstanding in the kitchen.  Whether it came to mixing martinis or cooking, he was practically a male Martha Stewart (in fact, he was like that when it came to decorating as well).  After dinner, we would go through his library of DVD’s (“collection” is not an adequate enough word), and we would select a movie to watch.  I would stay over, and we would go our separate ways in the morning.  What was odd about this was the unrelenting regularity of the arrangement.  We had assigned days of the week for getting together (Mondays and Thursdays).  We never saw each other on weekends; we hardly had any communication with each other between “dates”.  I think we spoke on the phone twice during our entire six months together.  The whole thing was very regimented.

After six months, the whole thing abruptly went pear-shaped.  First I discovered that Barry was not technically single, he was divorced.  That I could live with – people don’t necessarily want to be splashing that kind of thing on their Yahoo profiles.  But then I discovered that he wasn’t actually divorced, he was still married but separated from his wife. At this point I started worrying about what else I was going to discover, and we got very weird with each other and started sending off angry emails to each other (because we never talked on the phone, remember, and we were only allowed to see each other twice a week).  He went off on a camping trip to Algonquin and I didn’t hear from him again.  It was an ugly, ugly breakup with a lot of unanswered questions.

Two weeks later, I decided to take a walk in a park.  I was feeling very unhappy and sorry for myself.  OK, so I had never been in love with Barry or even felt particular affection for him, but I was still hurting.  I was lonely and confused, and my self-esteem was nowhere.  To be honest, I was surprised at how the breakup with Barry had derailed me.  So I took a walk in the park one gorgeous summer’s evening, to clear my head and try to regain some perspective in my life.

I sat down on a rock just outside the park entrance, to let the last of the day’s sunlight wash over me.  As I sat there, a man came up to me – a complete stranger.  He sat down on the rock beside me, gave me flowers purchased from across the street, and said to me, “You have beautiful eyes”.  To say that I was speechless would be an understatement.  I sat there and stared at him.  Partly because of the boldness with which he had approached me, but mostly because of the instant connection I felt with this man.  The electricity passing between us could have powered a small city.  I could not speak; I did not even want to move for fear of breaking the spell.

He asked me if I would like to go for a walk; I nodded dumbly and rose to my feet.  As we walked along the road bordering the park, the cat released its hold on my tongue, and I chatted with him about nothing and everything.  At some point we must have exchanged names.  He bought a burger for a homeless man, and then we had dinner together.  It was a magical evening; I felt as though someone had wrapped me in a quilt of happiness, and I didn’t want the date (for that is what it had become) to end.

People told me it would never last, that I had fallen into this while on the rebound from Barry.  Barry?  Within moments of meeting this new man, Barry had receded into the depths of my memory.  It was the equivalent of being in a space ship and traveling away from a hostile planet at high speed, watching it become a speck in the distance.  What I had with the man in the park was real, and I just knew it would last forever.  Sometimes these things do happen in real life.

The rest, as they say, is history.  Despite the predictions of many people, Gerard and I are still very much together.  We make a great parenting team, I support him in his business, he supports me in my running, we are finally getting down to planning our wedding.

Sure, we have had some tough times through the years.  We have had good times and bad, and we have overcome some pretty big hurdles together.  No matter what life throws at us, Gerard will always be my man in the park.


2 Responses to “How it all began”

  1. Mrs. B June 11, 2010 at 4:06 PM #

    Awesome story, looking back on the moments you first shared with the one you love is great, because you remember how much fun it was getting to know each other.

  2. Michelle June 11, 2010 at 5:19 PM #

    Love it hun. what a perfect story!!!

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