Yesterday, I got on the elevator with a small, bespeckled woman carrying two large bouquets of roses.
“What floor?” she asked.
“Ah,” she said. “Me, too.”
I motioned to her flowers. “Those are gorgeous.”
She nodded. “Where are you going?”
My cheeks flushed. “Ah…therapy.” I gave her a sheepish grin.
As the doors began to open, she reached down and pulled out two roses. “Here,” she said. “I have plenty.”
And for a moment, as I sat in the waiting room gazing into the beautiful faces of my new friends, Fear took a step back.
Reason #1,457 I need my husband to come home: he would never let me leave a sandwich shop with basil in my teeth.
When Tim first visited me in Seattle, I dragged him around the city because I wanted him to fall in love with it like I had. Pike Place Market was at the top of the list. He had to see the flying fish, of course, but most importantly he had to eat a gyro at Mr. D’s Greek Delicacies.
His pita was filled with meat, mine with veggies and feta; both were the kind of messy you don’t plan for on a date. But they were so delicious we just had to laugh. When I was done, I turned to him and flashed a toothy grin. “Do I have anything in my teeth?”
He looked surprised, as though he wouldn’t have anticipated that kind of familiarity. His surprise surprised me, because being together just felt so simple. So easy. Like I didn’t have to overthink everything like I was so used to, especially around guys. He felt like an old trusted friend, not the romantic pen pal who had once kissed me and was now following me around my city.
But this dichotomy wasn’t new to us, this strangeness and familiarity all blending together. He was my missing piece, my long-lost friend, my other reader, the one I had been waiting for.
He grinned right back. “Gross,” he said. “You should probably find a mirror.”
He was teasing me, which I soon learned was an act of love.
Eight years ago this week, Tim kissed me for the first time.
It was a risk for us both: I asked him to be my date. He drove across two states.
It could have been the most awkward weekend of our lives. He didn’t know my friend who was getting married. He didn’t know my parents, who were also there.
The day of the wedding we decided to look for the beach. Pre-smartphone, we never found it. We just drove and drove and talked and laughed. The hours flew.
We ate burgers at a diner and before our first bite he asked if he could pray. He thanked God for friendship and prayed a sweet blessing over my friend’s marriage.
It sounds crazy, but in that moment I knew.
We danced all night, fueled by poppyseed cake and vodka tonics. We sang show tunes in the back of my parents’ car, and later, after more dancing and much laughter, he kissed me.
The next morning he drove back home in a snowstorm and I flew cross country to rainy Seattle. I waited and wondered what would become of us.
And then he sent me an instant message. And another. And another. And then an email with entire soundtrack we had danced to that night.
We waited to see what that kiss would become, and it became everything.
Yesterday I skipped my weekly therapy session so I could sunbathe, swim, and belly laugh with family.
We drank tropical drinks. We buried our toes in the sand. We took silly pictures. We shared smoothies and brownies and inside jokes.
We stayed out until the sun went down on Waikiki.
My heart and soul craved connection. Levity. Beauty. And that’s exactly what we found.
Sometimes you gotta dive deep, and sometimes you gotta chase the sun. Yesterday, I think I did both.
My therapist will be proud.