I said I was going to write, and by God, I was going to. What I didn’t plan on was getting into the website and realizing how much shit really wasn’t ready and, in fact, starting from ground zero.
I have barely rescued the blog, but I rescued it. Like all the way back to day one in 2011, rescued it. There are a lot of broken links to images in a lot of those posts, but I rescued those too and I can fix them. It will be a long and tedious process to do it, but I will
Things have changed, so much since that miserable beginning back in 2011. The blog wasn’t miserable, I was. I have been up and down so many times since then (and that’s clearly visible if you read all the posts from start to now).
But . . . .
I have reached a place. A very good place, and it has been consistent and has had more longevity than any other portion of the last 12 years.
I have a job that has paid me well for the last 2+ years and I’m back in North Carolina where I know I need to be, at least as my environment. Politically, this state can go fuck itself.
Like DP go fuck itself.
I’m not going there tonight.
I have found stability and happiness and most importantly, myself.
It’s been a gradual process. I did not magically become a new human 2 years ago. I got an apartment that I loved and have found that I really enjoy living alone. I mean, yeah, I like living alone, but let me say that differently. I am comfortable in my own skin, and actually need to be alone to recharge. I need that peace with myself. If I can’t have peace with myself, I can’t have it with anyone else either.
I have learned to be alone, but not lonely.
They are two very distinctly different things.
I’ve had to move out of the apartment and am now moving into a house. No, I didn’t buy one, but I’ve rented a place I’m very happy with. There is a story there, but I’m not telling that tonight.
Hell, I didn’t think I was going to type this much.
I have more to type and I’m going to, but I have to get up to pee and when I do, I’m going to kiss the love of my life on the shoulder and she’s going to say “I love you” or “You make me happy” or just “Hmmmmmmmmm” and she grins in her sleep. She’ll be asleep. She’ll have no idea she said it tomorrow and her only evidence will be this blog post.
Yep, that’s the real news and I’m going to give you a quick summary of that situation.
But for Chrissakes, lemme pee first.
Thank you. That’s better.
And no, she woke up and asked me if I was still writing. I said yeah and she said, “Ok. You write as long as you want.” and then she drifted back off.
Let me rewind a little bit. For the better part of the last two years. I have been living alone, working, started to collect vinyl albums, played my video games and otherwise enjoyed having an 1100 sq ft apartment with an actual kitchen with a stove and shit. You may recall I ended up in a 250 sq ft box with no kitchen in Tampa for the little over a year before I finally left.
I was doing ok. I was comfortable with where my life was. I had money and a nice place to live and I was doing what I wanted to do. Answering to no one and just living life on my terms.
Then one day back in November, maybe October, I don’t know, in mid COVID, don’t get near other humans time, I sent a message to Holly on Facebook. I won’t get into the details of the message or why I sent it, but it was a friend reaching out to a friend from way back.
It was a message. She acknowledged it kindly and it kind of faded for a bit. A couple months later, we messaged again and decided to get together and sit down for some food and a drink and catch up. After all, it had been 36 years since she had given me my first kiss behind the gym at a school dance at Athens Drive High School.
We spent a couple hours together that night, just sitting and talking and we probably should have had masks on at that time, and we did, they just didn’t last long.
We texted each other every couple of days after that and maybe 6 weeks later, we got together again at her house in Roxboro. We ate, we talked until 2 or 3 in the morning and we went to bed. Her in her room and me in the guest room. I went back home the next day and continued on with my daily life.
We didn’t text every few days after that. We texted EVERY day and ALL day. We never said anything about how this was unusual or maybe it was a sign of something. Neither of us wanted to go there. We were both determined we were good single and we were going to stay that way.
That lasted about 2 months. We didn’t see each other in person again, but we talked every day. If one or the other of us had a busy day and we had not talked all day, we still texted just before bed because it just didn’t feel right not to talk to each other.
Then me . . . the never gonna live with another person again, I’m done with relationships guy . . . confessed that I had fallen hopelessly, madly, BACK in love with her.
I say BACK in love with her, because I fell head over heals in love with her back in 1983. Yes, she was my first kiss. I did everything I could to be near her in school, even though she was a Junior and I was a Sophomore. She broke my heart and ended up dating another Senior in her Senior year. She was always very sweet to me, but I saw very little of her after that.
I even ended up dating another girl that year, but it still shredded me just to walk past Holly in the hall. I don’t know what it was about her, but she was different, and over the years, I just attributed it to my 15 year old brain.
I have followed her every now and again since the invention of social media. In fact, once I discovered that was a thing, Holly was the first person I looked up. There was not a a year in my life that she did not cross my mind at one point or another and social media gave me a new window to look into.
I found her. She was happy. She was with good people. I left her alone. I just peeked in every now and again and was happy that she was happy and clearly the Holly I had known in 1983.
Her situation had changed, and that was when I reached out. It was truly a sympathetic and sincere note and she appreciated it.
I had no idea what I had started, and neither did she.
Sorry, I have skipped around a bit. While this is a story I want to tell, it’s coming out in a stream of consciousness.
Let me roll back to “I confessed”.
In a single night, I wrote a long, confessional text to her. I mean, I typed this shit out in notepad first, edited and proofread it. Read it through at least ten times, and then emailed it to my phone where I copy/pasted it to a text message at 3 in the morning and laid down and acted like I could sleep.
I got up and went to work the next day and was scared shitless at the response I would get from her. At 52 years old, I felt like the terrified 15 year old I had been. I have been through a lot. Rejection from the women I married and cheated on, by both of them. Cries for me to change my ways and then zero support when I tried to do so. Completely reconfigure my life for one, and still cheated on.
My hopes weren’t high because my past was still beating me down. As happy as I thought I had made myself, I was still in the trap. I convinced myself that rejection was inevitable.
I was so, SO wrong. She finally texted me back, and the extended wait for the response turned out to be for the exact same reason. She typed it out, proofread, edited and then finally sent.
We were in sync.
There was one caveat.
I was still smoking, and she straight told me that if I ever wanted to kiss her again, I would have to be a non-smoker.
On Feb 7th, 2021, at about 11:30 pm, I smoked my last cigarette.
The next weekend, I went to Holly’s, and 36 years later, I kissed her for the second time. It’s lame and it’s cliche and it was not designed that way, but Valentine’s Day, 2021 will be our Anniversary from this day forward.
I stay at her house every weekend in Roxboro. She’ll spend some of them with me once I move into the house. We are each other’s partners.
I’ve learned something new from her.
I can still be Eric.
I can still have days or weekends to myself because she recognizes that it recharges me.
We don’t have to agree on everything, and in fact, we can find amusement in the things that we don’t and still love each other.
We could live together in the same house, but we recognize the need for each of us to have “our” space.
We will encourage each other in anything we want to do. It might be possible, it might not or it might take both of us to pull off, but we’ll help, because that is how we support each other.
She surprises me every day, with the things she says and does. I’m not used to support and encouragement, not just from previous relationships, but from my childhood as well. I am having to get used to positive reinforcement, because I’ve had very little of it.
She makes me feel like a hero just for cooking her dinner, when all I did was cook some food.
She takes interest in things that I do that she would otherwise ignore, and is genuinely interested in learning about them. She has made me feel the same way about things that she does.
She has helped me see that we don’t have to be the same, like the same things or even agree on everything.
She has shown me that we can love each other and don’t have to fit the “model” of people that share the same interests and, in fact, it makes us more interesting if our interests are different from each other.
I had no idea it could be like this.
She has actually shown me what love looks like.
I thought she was “the one” in 1983.
I was right.