When I was going through the divorce from my first husband, I met a man named Tom. I met Tom in a bar. I was wild and crazy back then and the only time I knew how to let loose and let my personality really show was when I was completely and utterly drunk. My youngest brother had told me something really vile, something I won’t say here out of respect for my brother, my readers and myself but what he told me came flying out of my mouth the moment I met Tom. He was standing at the bar, holding a beer, wearing a crisp shirt and dress pants.
I said to him “My brother told me (insert vile thing here)”.
He looked at me, appalled but curious about my brazen personality.
He proceeded to order me a drink, a Yager Bomb I’m sure. And we talked. And we laughed. And we made out like teenagers under the bleachers. Even in my drunken stupor, I felt something that I had never felt before. I was there with a big group of friends, the friends I used to party all night with, and despite the begging and pleading, they wouldn’t let Tom take me home.
But Tom was pretty slick.
Tom gave my friend Daniel his phone number and told him that when I was sober to call him. My friend was having a party that following night and as I was pining away for the guy in the crisp shirt, he told me that he had his phone number and that he wanted me to call him.
And call him I did.
Before I knew it, a love affair had begun like nothing I had experienced. It was so full of passion, romance and all of that star crossed love you see in romantic comedies.
But, all of a sudden, he stopped calling.
One lonely Sunday afternoon, I sent him a text message and told him that if he wasn’t that into me, he could just tell me so. I eagerly anticipated the rejection or the singing praises of his love. But what I got back was something I had never expected. I got back a text telling me that he did in fact like me but that he was married.
He was married with two children he had just adopted only a few months before and he was getting a divorce (insert blaring red lights here).
I was relieved. He actually liked me, who cared about all that other stuff. I told him that I was going through a divorce too and we talked for hours. We made plans, it was meant to be. I just knew in my naive heart that it was meant to be.
And then, just two days later, I got the worst phone call of my life.
My mother called to say that my brother, not the same brother I previously mentioned in this story, was missing. And within a couple of hours, I got the call that my brother was dead.
I called Tom.
He tried his best to comfort me in what was the most horrific pain of my life but we barely knew each other and it wasn’t his place. Thankfully, one of my girlfriends came to my side and waited while my sister in law drove from North Carolina in the middle of the night. I spent the next couple of weeks in North Carolina, with my family. I don’t remember any details except a few but I do remember that when I was coming back to Virginia, I called Tom.
My mother gave me a peace lily from my brother’s funeral and I didn’t want my cat to eat it since peace lily’s are poisonous to cats. He told me he would keep the plant in his apartment. From the moment I walked into his downtown apartment with that peace lily, we were inseparable. The passion and the romance flying around like nothing I had ever felt or even seen in the movies.
And then, he told me something else about his past, something completely unbelievable. But, by this time, I was madly in love with him and we were living together in my tiny house. We were making plans and talking about the future and I professed that nothing he could do could drive me away from him.
But eventually, he did. He had to move back to Detroit to take care of the personal business he was facing. It was really intense, court proceedings, lawyers and even at one point just before he left we had private detectives following us around.
And what was to come taught me a great lesson in my life.
Despite him telling me that we would find our way back to one another eventually, he wanted nothing to do with me once he was gone. Oh, and how I pined for him.
I cried. I text messaged him, I even bought my very first computer in hopes that we could somehow stay in touch. He would go through periods of wanting me and not. At one point, he even flew me to Detroit to spend four days with him and his family. But never, ever, did he really seem to want us to be together, not in that way that seemed so destined the year before.
I was devastated. My heart shattered. I thought he was the love of my life – the kind of love that only comes once in a lifetime and I often told myself that this was just like in the movies – we had to overcome this great trial before we could be together.
I wanted him so badly but I could not have him.
Eventually, almost a year after that trip to Detroit, I met my now husband. And I began to see what true love was really like. I began to feel passion in a new, more gentle and loving way. I began to feel what truly being cared for felt like. I began to know that despite what I had always thought about my relationship with Tom, that I really had no idea was love was until I met my husband.
But then, a few months into my relationship with my husband, Tom emailed me out of the blue.
He professed his undying love for me and told me that he always knew we would be together again. He was moving back to Richmond and wanted us to get on with our lives together. Our love had stood the test of time.
After all this time, almost two years after he’d left, I could have him.
But I did not want him. I wanted what I had found on the other side of him.
Tom was like my relationship with food.
Once he was no longer forbidden, I didn’t want him anymore.
I wanted something more.