Friday, August 22, 2008

One little word...

I can't believe it's been nearly six months since I've posted on this blog. Life has been full...

So, it's the 4th weekend in August, and Chris (aka Pookie Bear) has applied for his dream job - working for a well-known RC hobby company in Champaign, Illinois. In emailing with a friend recently, I wrote to her, "I cannot believe, btw, that I am considering moving again. Such is love, I guess." She wrote back, "Ah, so we’re calling it 'love,' are we? I guess we haven’t discussed the status of your relationship with Chris, though it did seem to be going well."

That's what we're calling it, all right. Only because that's what it is...

There are days when I wake up, and still can't believe this is happening.

For the first time in my life, when he says, "I love you just the way you are," I don't automatically assume there is an unstated "...but..." involved. In the 9 months we have known each other, my complexion has been at its worst; my weight has yo-yo'd up and down; the insulin shots I have to take sometime leave really attractive bruises on my stomach (yes, I've found a way to minimize that), and I still sleep with my CPAP breathing machine, probably one of the least sensual pieces of bedroom equipment one could dream of. In short, in the eyes of most of the world, I would definitely be in the "throw-back" category, rather than "a catch."

He can't wait to see me. And to be honest, I feel exactly the same way about him. He's adorable in a way I never thought I'd feel about anyone. It's an amazing experience.

We have vastly different interests. He's a mountain/road biking enthusiast; I haven't been on a bike since seminary (and it wasn't that successful when I was on it then). He loves his Yamaha WR426 dirt-bike; I have no desire to be on a motorcycle (although I have developed an absolutely-genuine interest in AMA supercross and motocross racing, and can't wait for the next race!)

He is a very talented remote-control flyer; it's all I can do to keep an RC plane flying flat and level, let alone taking off or landing (though I have the desire to learn - have had since I was a wee little one). He's a neatnik; I have lived with messes so long, it's definitely been an effort to do the cleaning-up, and I will never be as fanatical about the condition of my cars as he is about his truck and bikes.

He's fascinated by what goes on at my meetings in recovery; he's been to several open meetings (and one admittedly long-and-rambling speaker meeting). I could sit and read, or write, or blog for hours; he has very little use for books, but has developed a great affection for storytelling tapes and CDs. He enjoys what I write, and is one of my cheerleaders. If that book ever gets started (let alone finished), it will be because he'll be kicking me, all the way.

I could go on and on about how our interests dovetail, but are anything but in lock-step. When I have something going on (AA meeting or something), he spends time working on stuff he enjoys. A couple weekends ago, we had plans to go to the Monroe (MI) Jazz Fest - but it was simply an absolutely perfect day to ride his motorcycle - so I sent him off to the Maumee State Forest, and spent time with my family and catching up on work. We have lots of common interests, but that's the very least of it.

Chris and I are soul-mates.

When he's at work, I'm thinking about him, hoping his day at the Son of Evil Empire goes well (or at least not badly). I get phone calls and messages from him; occasionally I'll send him a "luv u" text just to remind him. We literally love to spend time together, doing just about anything - or nothing, as the case may be.

He's caring, and a true cuddle-bear. We're definitely past the "have to be hand-in-hand all the time" stage of the game - but we certainly enjoy it when we are together.

And I've found that intimacy between us - what I was most afraid I'd do miserably at, because of my size, age and health issues - has been a wonderful experience. I've re-discovered romance all over again - my iPod is loaded with all kinds of "cuddle songs" and what my professor Tex Sample would call "belly-rubbers" - the kind of songs where you want to be dancing real slow and real close. Usually, by the time he gets off work (he's working 2nd shift, 3-11 pm) it hurts to stand up long enough to be dancing. But we have wonderful cuddle times, just sprawled out together on the sofa watching the Olympics.

It's not anything like I thought it would be - and it's everything I hoped it would be.

So when he got the word that there might be a place for him at The Company in Illinois, there wasn't any question of "would we go together?" I can no longer imagine any kind of joy in life without this man by my side. I know it's going to be tough; but living with my sister and brother-in-law hasn't always been a bed of roses, either. And living with my landlord and his dog underneath me in Chicago, and living in seminary housing with a room-mate, wasn't always grins-n-giggles either.

There was a moment, about a month ago, where I thought I might be having heart problems. I woke up, heart racing, breathing heavy, dizzy, you name it. I took the medicine I have for panic-attacks (which I sometimes get), and nothing happened. For an hour, in fact. Lying there, freaking out, part of me didn't want to disturb my partner - he'd had a particularly hard day at work that night.

But I simply couldn't risk anything happening to me and not letting him know how much I loved him. That - more than any concern I had for myself - is what made me shake the poor boy awake.

In October 2006, when I first moved here, I was glad I could help out my sister - but I really didn't have any joy for life left. I saw my term-life-insurance policy as the only real value I had left to my life. A year later, I met Chris - and life has just never been the same since. There are parts of my life that I can get terrified about - especially about finances, and the various kinds of insanity that addictive people are prone to.

But I have a lot more will to keep on living - because I want to see, as Paul Harvey says, "the rest of the story...." And, as Stevie Wonder said, "For once in my life, I have someone who needs me."

So yeah - it may very well not be "love." But it's close enough that I'd take it, for the long haul. After forty years, we'll see if he wants to exercise the escape clause - until then, he's stuck with me.

The target for the move to Illinois is October 31. Packing and "trimming-down" has already begun.