There we were … gazing at each other from across the room. He had dark hair and had sparkling blue eyes, and me – well, I was a brunette with green eyes shining from behind some speckled eyeglasses.
Watching him walk close to me, his hands behind his back, and a smile on his face, I nearly melted in the middle of the floor. The butterflies were swirling around like the merry-go-round at the playground, and I could feel my hands sweating. Odd thought – it was then and there that I wondered if I smelled OK.
He was right there. His dimples blossomed out as his lips – glorious lips – slid into a grin. “Hey, Becky. Happy Valentine’s Day. This is for you.” In his left hand, he had produced a medium sized red envelope, with my name written in carefully-penned block lettering.
I swallowed, “Thank you. Happy Val…al .. entine’s Day to you too.” I took the card. “Um, I have one for you too.” I reached into my bag that was next to my chair, and handed him a smaller white envelope.
He smiled, and then he leaned down and kissed my hand. “Thank you. Um, I will see you later.”
Jeff Clark was his name. We were eight years old. We had known each other since we were toddlers in the nursery at the First Baptist Church in Plano. One day, toward the end of second grade, he did something that made me really think, I was going to marry him one day. He shared his dill pickles and chocolate chip cookies with me at lunch.
We moved the summer after third grade to Georgia. I never heard from or saw Jeff Clark again. But he was only the beginning … I love men. Wait, that makes me sound like a slut-puppy. Sorry, Mom, Aunt Lynn … Keep reading.
There are some men who are very attractive – physically, emotionally, spiritually, etc … After 20 years, my type is – mix in a little of this, a lot of that The perfect guy would be a smothering of Sheldon Cooper, Ross Geller, Steve McGarrett, Theo Huxtable, any character Tom Hanks, George Clooney and Tom Selleck play and J.J. Watt
During my journey of life, I had the physical intimate experiences, without being crude and because my family reads this, with a man that a woman has, and they were nice.
I have had the experiences of date night with a special fellow, and road trips and all the right stuff.
I was in three relationships as an adult – one was short-lived with a guy who fixed appliances, another was my longest relationship – problem was he had more than one relationship going at the time and there was a culture difference that would have impacted any relationships we had with others, and there was another one – this time was a man 10 years older, who actually asked me to marry him. I first said yes, then I said, no.
What? I said no to marriage. I was in my mid-30s, and most of my classmates had been married for years, or were on their second or third marriage by then. He was a nice enough man, a Christian and we had similar interests. He said he loved me.
At the time, when I first said yes, I was trying to fit into the mold of what I thought was expected; to smash rumors about my sexual orientation; to not be alone anymore and to have someone else care for me.
I liked him. But I didn’t love him. Then I said no.
It was then that I realized, not that I was not ready for marriage or couldn’t handle a boyfriend, that I didn’t actually want a marriage. Oprah wrote something in her magazine’s ‘what I know for sure’ column that really hit home. She was talking about love and why she never married.
She said she didn’t actually want a marriage. She wanted to be asked. Then she added, “I didn’t want the sacrifices. I didn’t want the compromises, the day-in-day-out commitment required to make a marriage or such a relationship work.”
Oprah and I share the same birthday, and apparently some of the same thinkings. (Now, I don’t always agree with her, but she hit home with this.)
Why did she write that? She said her show was her priority. My life as a newspaper journalist was my priority, and later, after ‘retiring’ from it, my life as a writer was my priority, I was always after the stories – still am even at age 50.
It was during a reflection after reading her column that I realized who my “husband,” my “boyfriend,” my “lover” and my best “friend” has been and is.
Writing … Writing offers the one doing it much the same, and even more than, a physical or emotional relationship can offer.
My love of words and the ability to put them together in sentences and paragraphs to share a thought or a rambling or story has seen me through the good, the bad, the happy, the sad and such in life.
Writing for me has not been a fair-weathered boyfriend, shoot … it has stood by me even when friends stopped calling or texting.
I have tried to break up with writing several times, especially when times were hard or difficult. It can be both frightening and wonderful how the putting together of words side by side can impact our lives so.
Sounds like a relationship with a boy or a girl you love, right?
We all fall in love. We have all had our crushes on celebrities and non-celebrities. I have had and always will have a crush on George Clooney and Tom Selleck. I do have one friend – a male friend – who if he came to me right now and said, let’s get married, I might forget writing for a minute. (We have not seen each other in eight years though. So no worries, George, Tom, I am still here.)
There were several male classmates, and even a few male teachers, that I thought were hot, and I might have daydreamed about being a couple with one of the hottest boys at school – what girl didn’t?
But when we find that one love – the love that stands the test of time, that stays with us even in spite of us – well, that is true love.
To most, ‘writing’ is nothing more than, as the dictionary defines it “a concept or the activity or skill or marking coherent words on paper and composing text.”
To me, writing is the Ross to my Rachel, the Sheldon to my Amy, the Mr. Darcy to my Elizabeth or the Gatsby to my Daisy.
And for that, I will always be ever grateful, just like I am thankful for that last chocolate chip cookie and dill pickle Jeff shared with me.
Happy Valentine’s Day!