Well. It happened. I fell in love.
And now he's gone.
We knew the relationship had an expiration date from the very beginning. He's in the Air Force and was going to be getting orders within months to move to Texas for a couple years. We both decided to just go with the flow, and enjoy each other's company as long as we could. There were other factors that made the match, for me, one that was never likely to be a long-term compatibility. Namely, stages of life.
Something about the fact that I wasn't *trying* and as a result, was much more open and vulnerable with him much quicker than I typically am with men, helped us to fall in love over the past few months. And it was great. It was exciting, it was warm and fuzzy, it was enchanting. It was completely satisfying to be fully "myself" in a relationship, logical and practical at the start, then morphing into more and more gooey, sappy cheese and romanticism. I cooked him a goodbye meal for our last date before he left, leaving no stone unturned, with every single choice from menu to plates to gifts and letters, being highly personalized and specific to him. It's what I do. And he so deeply appreciated it. As he appreciated everything about me from our first meeting. I felt so cared for, adored, and cherished for all of those little things, seen and unseen, that I tend to do when I really like a man - but which are usually not acknowledged and not appreciated. But he understood that all I did was in gratitude and appreciation of what he did for me, and how he treated me. Driving all the way from another State to pick me up, walk me to the car and to my door, on every single date... I have been on a lot of dates with a lot of men, and he is the ONLY one who did this consistently. Following through on any and every suggestion I made about what I'd like to do or try - we went axe throwing, shot pool, went to see a baby sloth, went to my favorite restaurant that I only allow myself to go to every few years it's that special, went wine tasting, etc and so forth... he was always a good sport, even when I made him try an appetizer I KNEW he would hate, and he wouldn't have done it under any other circumstance but he did it for me...
He was a blessing in my life, I believe at a time I really needed him. I told him this, as well. It was above all else so refreshing to be with somebody who felt the same way and allowed himself to show it. It was refreshing to look into his eyes (which, in the beginning, I was scared to do for too long... and he called me out on it), and to see him looking back at me, and know that I was the only one there reflecting back. I was the #1 woman in his eyes, on his mind, and in his heart. I truly cannot describe what that was, for me, nor how I so desperately needed it. It was the greatest gift this woman's heart could have asked for.
I have long said, to my friends, that once a man occupies my heart, a piece of my heart will always belong to him. Of course, through the years, my heart grows in its capacity for love. And with every heart break, it heals stronger, and bigger. This time, I told "J" at the beginning that I was not going to let fear of heartbreak stop me from this relationship. I knew my heart could handle it. She has handled much worse. And I am so very thankful that I did. Because while I am hurting, now, and a part of my heart is breaking, the whole of my heart was revived by "J" - and I learned that my gifts, my talents, my love for another person that I can truly see and understand - they are deeply appreciated and honored by the right person. And aside from his love, he has left me with hope. Hope that I can and will find this, again.
And in gratitude, he will forever hold a place in my heart.