July 18, 2007
Just over a year ago, around Independence Day, I joined eHarmony in hopes of finding someone to spend my life with. I could write volumes about my experiences there, and about how utterly happy I am that I took that step. Instead I’d like share a blog posting that I wrote and only shared with a very special woman. I wasn’t ready to openly share my relationship on this site then; I am now. Allow me to introduce you to Sibylle through a recounting of our first meeting, which happened the weekend of August 12 - 13, 2006.
Barefoot in the Fountain (originally written August 14, 2006 @ 6:42 am) Over the weekend, my relationship with Sibylle deepened; it stepped from the online world into the real world. At the same time it is wonderful, beautiful, and scary. I am one minute numb and the next tingling all over. Thoughts of her steal in to my focus and suddenly I’m smiling. Then self-doubt creeps in and makes me afraid again. I’m all over the map emotionally - and I wouldn’t trade a minute of it for anything else in the world.
On Saturday she had to be in town to pick up a friend. We agreed through email that if she came early we could meet before hand. Both of us posses a fear of “dating”, of that first conversation. For me it is a fear of rejection, a fear that the troll I feel like inside will creep out and I’ll be shunned. So rather than meet or have a date her idea was to simply be in the same place at the same time. Sit quietly together. Read. Not talk. With that thought in mind I set off for the airport and our first time in the same place at the same time.
Since reading was a part of the plan I had a new book with me. It might have well as been writing in Swahili, for while I could read the words my mind wasn’t capable of putting sense to their meanings. The designated meeting spot was terribly noisy so I didn’t hear my cell phone ring, but suddenly I noticed a new voice mail had been left. It was her. Calling to tell me when she’d arrive. I listened to the message again and again just to drink in her voice. It was beautiful. Then I got a text message asking me to come find her. Walking down the concourse my heart was pounding so hard I couldn’t hear anything else. Seeing Sibylle sitting, then standing and walking towards me left me shaking. As if we were too old lovers reunited, or long-lost friends together again, we hugged each other for the longest time. It was one of the warmest embraces I’ve ever felt. I think both of us were shaking a bit as we sat down together.
Any pretense at not talking, of just sitting quietly together was gone We spent the next several hours sitting quietly, or talking. Taking walks up and down the concourse. We tentatively held hands. Once or twice she started to put her head on my shoulder. I felt alive and numb, as fragile as freshly blown glass, and carefree as a leaf blown on the wind. I would have stayed seated there next to her forever had she asked.
On Sunday I drove to where she lives, and we spent the afternoon together. I was just as scared, maybe more so, this time. What if she’d changed her mind after seeing me in person the previous day? What if the previous night had just been a dream? Was I really here, was I really about to meet her for a second time? I ate something for lunch but cannot remember what now.
Our afternoon was beautiful, surreal. We walked through a park, Sibylle slipped her shoes off and waded in a fountain. We visited an old friend of hers, who teased her, and she gently covered my ears and told me not to listen, while smiling. Later she playfully pulled me out of the friend’s house as he had started teasing again. The casual familiarity felt wonderful. Sure we were both as nervous as long tailed cats in a room of rocking chairs, but there were moments of calm and clarity that felt oh so good. Even the nervousness felt good, in a way. Sibylle showed me her studio and home. It was eclectic and warm, a new facet of her personality - I felt honored that she would trust me in her space.
As was becoming our habit we started and ended our time together will a long, warm embrace. It’s like being bathed in sunlight and feeling a cool breeze at the same time. Holding her in my arms while being held in hers is simply amazing. I cannot wait to see her again.
In the months since then we have traveled thousands of miles, exchanged hundreds upon hundreds of emails, text messages, and phone calls. I am thrilled, honored, and beside myself with happiness that Sibylle is a part of my life, and I hers. And I am pleased to introduce her to all of you.