A year ago I remember standing outside Bella Napoli's waiting for Michael to show up for our first date. I was early. I am always early. I stood under one of the big Ginkgo trees that lined the sidewalk with my head buried in my phone, pretending to look busy with important phone things. As it grew closer to the time we'd agreed upon for meeting, I started to panic. A wave of anxiety washed over me and I sent a text to Chad saying that I feel like I'd made a terrible mistake. In fact I was just on the verge of bolting when Michael showed up. I don't think I ever told him that. I might have mentioned that text I'd sent to Chad, but not the part about almost running. Any way...I didn't run. I stayed. A few days later he took me out for what Talaura calls a "wow" date with stargazing at an observatory and conversation lasting until the wee hours of the next morning. The date would just continue on into the next day. Chad called me while Michael and I were tooling around an antique mall near the City Market that day. He asked me how the date went and when I replied with "we're still on it" I had to pull the phone away from my ear because Chad's laugh was so large and loud. The next week I left for Oklahoma for Amy and Roger's wedding. When I came back I got a text from Michael basically saying that he needed space and had moved too fast with me. I felt so stupid because I'd spent all that time in Oklahoma telling every one that I'd met a guy that I thought I might really like. I even gushed a little over it all. The whole thing left me smacking my forehead at how stupid and naive I was. And to be fair, my ego had been seriously bruised. This was a new brand of rejection for me and something that I hadn't been prepared for. No matter. I'm a tough girl. I got up and brushed the dirt off my pants and hopped back on that proverbial bike of online dating. A few weeks later he sent this: "I've made a terrible mistake. Please meet with me and let me explain. Please at least hear what I have to say." I honestly didn't know what to do and I told him as much. "Please just listen to what I have to say." And he said all the right things. He owned up to his stupidity, admitted he was wrong. After listening to him I knew I'd give him a second chance at this, but I had every intention of keeping him at a distance. I would keep him at arms length. He'd be that guy I felt comfortable enough with to see me naked and go to movies with, but that's as far as it would go. We'd be friends with benefits.
I want to laugh so hard at that now. I want to laugh at how I was so not going to budge an inch on this. When he started talking about buying a scooter, I was adamant that he not buy a scooter because of me. I wanted to say to him, without actually saying it out loud, this would never be anything more than just two people hanging out enjoying each other's company. Here I am, a year later with a commitment ring on my finger, him completely moved in, and talks of buying a house happening in our near future. A year later and I have fallen. I am a sap. I know I should have seen it coming. I've never told the internet Michael's last name, but I can assure you that the similarities between mine and his is like a smack in the face. Remember Lindsey's bouquet landing on my feet? The Gods already trying to tell me something. Amy was the first person I talked to about Michael. We sat in a booth at a Chinese buffet in Duncan. I told Amy all my fears and guilt about things, but I told her that I was pretty sure that I really liked this guy. I opened up my fortune cookie and it said "change comes through suffering" and Amy and I started crying. Not because we were sad. Amy said that ever since Chris all of her feelings just leaked out her eyes. We spent the rest of the weekend with leaking eyes. That was the beginning.
I had to scroll back through pictures to figure out this date. That's the benefit of taking a picture every day. We decided to celebrate by returning to Bella Napoli's. Someone joked about celebrating the first date. My thought was that we almost had to. We didn't have time to take note of official dates, the first "I love you", the day he moved in. All of those days meld together. All we could do was hold onto the raft as we tumbled through the rapids. And here we are. A year later. I am still amazed at how life just flips. Like magnets or coins. I'm still reeling from this last flip. When I look back at the past year and the circumstances that lead me and us here, my head swims. Though I'm sure if I scrolled back through old texts and blog entries I'd figure out some sort of timeline, but why not start at the first point. "Let's start at the very beginning. It's a very good place to start". (Points to those who get that.) When I talk of my life with Chris, I can honestly say that I have no regrets in our time together. When I look back at the last year with Michael, it's assuring that I can say the same for this relationship. Love honestly and completely with no regrets is a motto I've been unknowingly living all these years.