As we drove away from my house, we settled into the ease of our friendship, talking about what we did that day. I looked over at him with disbelief, how can a person’s heart feel so much pain for months, feel like it was broken beyond repair — then in a given moment transcend. The two feelings collided, creating a hurricane of thoughts and emotions ready to explode like a shaken soda bottle.
We arrived at an ice skating rink, which was a surprise to me. I had only been skating once in my life, unless you count the times growing up where I had put on old skates and tried to skate down the gravel road next to my house after an ice storm. He had played hockey growing up, so skating probably came second nature to him like riding a bike.
We snapped our skates on tightly and walked to the ice. I went on hesitantly, but soon was skating with some comfort. I watched as he gliding around the ice, lapping me a few times. Then he came up behind me, grabbed my sides and pushed me along. His touch on my hips sent tingles up my back and this assured me that the feeling I thought I was having was most definitely true. I had feelings for him beyond our friendship. We skated around, laughing and enjoying ourselves. In those moments, I was able to wipe away all the anguish that had consumed me and there was even more hope in my journey and in my life story.
Hunger called and we left the rink to eat. During dinner, I decided to start the conversation that I had been waiting to have for some time now. I told him how I felt and that I never imagined feeling this way about someone after Mike died.
I thought that those possibilities of love left the day Mike took his last breath – that my heart would not mend and be capable of love again.
He looked back at me over his salad and we discussed a line that would get crossed. A line that he was not sure if he wanted to or would be able to cross. It was about brotherhood, about respecting Mike and about what was right no matter how he might feel about me.
This invisible line was hard for me to understand and took me time to really “get” what he was saying. I knew though, that I needed to be patient because committing to me would be a decision that needed to be weighed in his mind. He was a man of respect and integrity. He needed to be all in and make that leap with confidence. I had adoration for that. This is one of the reasons I was drawn to him.
Leaving dinner that night, I was a bit confused. I was not sure how this would turn out in the end. I knew that I wanted him in my life. He had helped my children and me through some of the hardest moments. I just preferred it be more than a friendship, but I was willing to compromise if I needed.
It was a quiet drive home. The sun had set and darkness had fallen. I began to fall asleep. I think the emotional struggle I had built up drained the energy out of me. I reached over and grabbed his hand into mine. I was hoping for a sign, either he would embrace it or shy away. With delight he held my hand back. This was a turning point and I knew that our life would begin together in the near future.
“Love isn’t love until we share it, but the real fulfillment in life is finding love and sharing it with someone who can freely and without any conflict love us faithfully in return.” – Joe D. Mango