He was tall, dark, and handsome and he lived four hundred miles away. Perfect, I thought. I didn’t want someone close to home. My life was busy and I wasn’t ready to jump head first into a relationship. We could get to know each other slowly. Distance was on my side.
We met on the Internet, (something I swore I’d never do). It seemed harmless. I didn’t believe a few e-mails between strangers was going to create a relationship, but it did. His responses were always thoughtful and intelligent. He was interesting and had a colorful life. He had teaching experience at a university, he ran a sound and lighting business, and he created sets for television commercials and the local theater. In addition to that, he took care of his elderly mother, which showed me what a kind and gentle man he was. He had a strong sense of responsibility and I knew I could always count on him. He was starting to reel me in.
I wanted to know more about the man behind the words. We agreed to have our first phone conversation a month into our e-mail relationship. It went well. There was none of that awkwardness I was dreading. The conversation flowed. It was nice to hear the voice that belonged to all of those thoughts that he shared.
Another month passed. There was a mixture of e-mails and phone conversations and finally we agreed to meet. Now I was nervous. What should I wear? Would he be disappointed? Did I look like the picture I had sent? Did he? I was making myself sick. The only thing that was making it better was finding out that he had the same feelings.
One hot Friday in June he drove nearly four hundred miles to meet on my turf. The moment had come. It was time to see if the chemistry we had developed would materialize once we actually saw each other, or fizzle away.
The tension I felt dissolved once the door opened and I got to meet the man behind the voice. He was shorter than I had anticipated and thinner, but not in a bad way. Pictures never give the whole story. I knew that. I only hoped the differences he found in me were acceptable, and the warmth in his smile told they were.
We laughed and talked until the early morning hours. I didn’t want him to leave. This was a man I wanted to spend time with and he lived an entire state away!
We made a plan. We’d take turns traveling. The distance was manageable and it was providing us with a wonderful opportunity to get to know each other slowly, savoring the intimacy that was developing.
We knew the odds were not in our favor, long distance relationships were hard even for seasoned couples, so we agreed to be completely honest about everything. It was our only shot. Any question I asked, he answered. He was patient and understanding, addressing all my concerns one by one.
There was no room for jealousy. We were making a choice to be together and that’s what we chose to focus on. He made his feelings for me known in such a way that dispelled any doubts that I had about being the one for him. I wasn’t threatened by his job taking him to rock concerts with thousands of screaming women and he didn’t doubt my professionalism as a massage therapist. Work was work. The relationship we were creating was between the two of us and nobody else. We chose trust, and it was working.
It was working beautifully until I stepped foot into his house for the first time and found out that my prince was a packrat. He didn’t seem the type. The vehicle he drove was immaculate, his taste in clothing, refined. He ran a business and kept a tight schedule. I didn’t expect to see thousands of DVD’s lining the walls, autographs on another. There were backstage passes, press releases and tickets. There were stacks of books and mail surrounding the couch and a tv, so buried in stuff; I wouldn’t have known it was there until he turned it on. A blanket of dust covered everything, and cat hair was on top of that. My beautiful, thoughtful prince had some issues with clutter and I was a clutter buster, a recovering perfectionist. This was going to be hard, maybe even impossible, to overlook.
I had allergies. The cat hair, and the cat, were going to be an issue. I could see it now. Would he choose me or his quiet, furry, and faithful partner of many years?
It wasn’t just the cat, this was an issue of sharing space, of prioritizing. I lived simply, without clutter. I valued organization. How could we possibly share space?
He was a sensitive man and intuitively knew this would come up, after all, he had been to my house several times. He knew how I lived. We hoped it would work itself out, but that one difference gave way to others and still more until one day in late August we decided to call it friends, and friends we are. Lucky for us distance is not an issue for friendship.