It started as a romantic conversation. We were sitting on the couch as he held me in arms. I was in a content and peaceful place, my safe place, looking up at the giant picture of the Eiffel Tower on his living room wall. It was beautiful. He talks about eating crepes by the Eiffel Tower and it sounds like a fantasy world. Then he says: “Wouldn’t it be fun to travel together to Paris?”
I have wanted to see the city of Paris since I was a little girl. I chose to take French in high school when most other people chose Spanish. What are the odds that I would ever need to know any French? Slim to none but I always found it beautiful and wanted to be able to speak it. Would I like to travel there? Hell yes I would! Did I think we were really going to go? Not really…at least not any time soon. It was fun to talk about though. We talked about the things we would see and do “when” we go there. I didn’t want to get my hopes up and think that this was really going to happen just to have my heart broken and to feel the disappointment. We have not been dating very long; just about a month. It is a romantic dream and hopefully I will see it come true someday. So the conversation and dreaming continues: “Yes…I would love to see it someday!” Then he kisses me and tells me that he will make it happen….and I melted.
It was March 17, 2019 when we met in person for the first time. I had been divorced for over four years and created a good life for myself and my kids. We have a beautiful home that I struggle to maintain but we are managing. I have a nice car and a job that I love. My children make good decisions, have a great sense of humor and do well in school. I see them doing wonderful things in life. The only thing missing was love and companionship. An open and honest relationship. Someone who wanted to know the real me and knew how to nurture my delicate and scared girl on the inside while understanding my need to be independent and strong on the outside. He has proven to be all of those things. He is fun, kind, generous, and loving. He takes care of me and is always making sure that I feel safe, secure and happy. He also knows when I need him to take control. When my mind starts swirling into a tornado and I start to feel overwhelmed…he knows what I need to calm that storm. He is my safe place. Mon amour.
We met online. It was a basic dating website that I have been on before. I had just decided to open up an old account again and he was one of the first people to send me a message. He actually had a picture of himself as his profile picture and a profile that sounded normal. If you have ever spent much time on a dating site, you know that this can be a rarity. He sent me a message and I responded right away. He was nice and it made me smile to read his responses. It didn’t take long for us to decide that we needed to meet in person. It was St Patricks Day and we decided to meet at a Starbucks for coffee halfway between our homes. It wasn’t a short drive and part of me almost cancelled due to the long list of things I needed to get done that day. It was a Sunday and I was trying to prepare for the week; get groceries for lunches and dinners, a couple loads of laundry and some general cleaning. I really didn’t have time for a coffee date but I was drawn to him and just needed to see if he was as wonderful in person as he seemed to be online.
I was nervous as I approached the parking lot. I really wanted to like him but my experience this far tended to be disappointment after meeting in person. There is rarely any passion…I wanted to feel a connection. I certainly never expect something out of the movies. I should be clear about that. I never expect to be swept off my feel in some kind of fairy tale whirlwind of happily ever after. What I truly wanted was to feel a mutual energy, a conversation that was not awkward and painful, some shared interests, an attraction and a sense of comfort. Maybe I was setting the bar too high? No. I will not settle for anyone who isn’t right for me. I have made that mistake before and have learned so many lessons. I stepped out of the car and walked across the parking lot to meet my date.
He was really nice. He smiled and gave me a hug as he greeted me. We ordered our coffee, he spent an eternity making his just right, something I giggle about as I think back on that day. We found a table and before I knew what happened, an hour had flown by before I realized what had happened. It was already time to go…I still had all those tasks to complete to prepare for the week. I needed to go to the grocery store and before I could stop my mouth from opening, I heard myself say: “Hey, do you want to come with to the grocery store?”
What have I done? That was so weird and so random. He is going to think I am crazy. Then to my surprise, he said yes. Off we went to a nearby Woodman’s grocery store and had an absolute blast! Up and down the aisles, adding items as we walked and talked. I talked about the ingredients I was getting and the things I needed to get which led to favorite meals that we liked to cook. He talked about a favorite meal he cooks, Chicken Marsala, and how he would make it for me some time. Some of the foods would trigger stories about childhood, foods his mom and aunt would cook for him, and of course the crepes that he loves to make on Sunday mornings. I learned so much about this man in that one hour in the grocery store and I was excited about the plan to see each other again soon. He gave me a huge hug in the parking lot after helping me load all my groceries into my car. I felt safe, happy and calm. It was like I was where I belonged. We agreed that we definitely needed to see each other again. I can not believe I almost cancelled this date. It would have been a huge mistake.
It wasn’t long before we had a date planned for the following Friday. I was nervous and super excited. We were planning to go out for dinner. I normally want to meet at the restaurant for that first date but he insisted that I drive to his home and we ride together. I am not going to lie. This made me nervous. I was taking a chance that I would advise my friends not to take but I ignored my fear and agreed to the plan. It was stupid in theory and I was lucky that he was a good guy that genuinely wanted to drive me to the restaurant like a real date.
After work on Friday, I got myself all fixed up for our date and headed out to meet him as planned. My hands were shaking as I pulled up his driveway. He walked over, smiled and gave me a big hug…at that minute I knew everything was going to be OK. We climbed into his car and headed over to the restaurant for dinner. When we arrived, he planted a kiss on me that made it difficult to stand. Was there chemistry? Hell yes there was. I thought to myself, buckle up girl…this is going to be one hell of a ride!
We enjoyed a wonderful dinner with lots of laughing, flirting and continuing where we left off in the grocery store less than one week ago. I enjoyed his stories of growing up in France and Morocco and was drawn in by kindness, his attention, his concern about me being happy and of course, his accent. I was happy and thoroughly enjoying the evening. I absolutely didn’t want it to end. I sensed that he felt the same.
After dinner we returned to his car and headed back to his home where my car was. He invited me inside and I absolutely accepted, hoping for the best and praying that trusting my gut was the right thing to do. He had a lovely home. Neat, clean and sparsely decorated. Not at all what I expected from a single man. I was pleasantly surprised and felt quite comfortable from the start. He offered me a drink and we sat down on the couch to pick a movie to watch. He asked if I had seen “A Star is Born”, since I had not, he said that I needed to see it. I happily agreed and then he started the movie. It was a love story with music that I really enjoyed. I was snuggled up next to this man and felt completely at ease, happy and safe in his arms as we watched the movie. That’s when he kissed me for the second time and is also the exact moment that my life was forever changed for the better.
He paused the movie and took me by the hand to his bedroom. I will not say that we made love because there was nothing gentle about what we did in that room. What we experienced was pure passion, energy and raw animal instinct. He took me hard as if he knew that it was exactly what I needed. He told me that I was a good girl and my heart melted. He then reminded me that we had a movie to finish so we got dressed, he started a pot of tea and we settled into the couch to continue the love story that we started watching. When she sang the song “Always Remember Me this Way” he whispered in my ear that this was our song. We needed to always remember this night. He held me tight in arms, gave me the occasional kiss and asked me if I was happy. When I told him that I was very happy because I was in my safe place, his response was a simple “good” and kissed my forehead. I fell in love with this man with that kiss.
By the time the movie was ending it was nearly three o’clock in the morning. This was partly my fault due to my employment. I was on call and of course received a complicated page that required me to work while at his home for about an hour. He was so kind, understanding and patient. He paused the movie for a second time while I worked. We drank our tea while I dealt with the emergency at the hospital and when it was finally resolved, I apologized. I felt so bad for having to do that during our date but I was not able to let it wait until morning. He just hugged me and told me it was okay. I told him that I probaly should go home, even though I really didn’t want to leave, since I had a long drive and it was really late. He wouldn’t let me leave though. He was worried about me driving home that late and wanted me to stay. I was exhausted and it was late so I agreed to stay for what was left of the night. I climbed into his bed, snuggled into him and instantly fell asleep with a smile on my face.
Who is this incredible man? All I knew was that he had stolen my heart that night and I definitely did not want that first date to end. When morning came…so did I…several times before I went home. I knew without a doubt that this was just the beginning of many adventures together.