Coming a long way baby!
July 30, 2010 § Leave a comment
On our first date Paul said it was only fair that we met halfway between our houses. He lived in Irvine, I lived in Los Angeles. So clearly I was confused when he said, “let’s meet at the Block” since the Block is 20 minutes from Irvine with traffic, and 45 minutes from Los Angeles with no traffic. Given we would meet during high traffic time, I planned to leave my house 3 days prior so I wouldn’t be late.
My first inclination was to say no. What kind of guy would suggest meeting for the first time on the other side of the earth? But I agreed. Maybe it was because 3 days earlier I was on a terrible date with an LA douchbag who told me he was too good-looking for me. After coming off a dating low like that, I was in the mood for a date that wasn’t with someone from LA and who wasn’t likely to bring a headshot to dinner. Or maybe it was because I spent hours on the phone with Paul for two weeks leading up to our first date rendezvous and I was anxious to meet the guy who changed me into a “phone person” when I was a staunch “not a phone person” before. Surely someone capable of such a transformation was worth the “not anywhere near to being half way” drive.
But my point is, that was the first moment I forced myself not to run. I had a tendency to scare easily in relationships and at the first sign of potential trouble I would run for the hills. ”You say you were married before?” “You like ketchup on your peas?” “You and your mom are really really close?”, “You pee sitting down?” Check, PLEASE. But, running meant going against my newly coined policy of, “date with an open mind at any cost”. So, I met Paul for that first date and it was perfect. We didn’t do anything exciting, we met at a restaurant for a beer, I ordered the hummus, which was terrible, and is the reason why, almost two years later, Paul will not eat anything resembling hummus.
The second time I wanted to run was the night before he planned to drive all the way up to LA for the weekend to stay at my place. This sent me into a frenzy of despair because it meant I would have to reveal something I was hiding from him. It meant I would have to admit I told him a white lie when he asked about my previous relationship. The phone conversation went something like this:
Paul: “So when was your last relationship?”
Me: “Um,” face turning red as I surveyed the current state of my house. “I’d say…,” struggling to decide if I should lie, “Well….”, wondering if I should reveal that I was currently talking to him while lying on an air mattress in the spare bedroom because my ex left unexpectedly in the matter of one afternoon when I was out running errands. While his speed at cleaning out all the contents of an entire two bedroom townhouse was commendable, it certainly wasn’t the “grown up man” thing to do and I decided the grown up woman thing to do was to lie, “I think it was about six months ago.”
Since Paul had the gift of sight and common sense, I knew he would be suspicious when he saw my place. He would either think I was, A. robbed at gunpoint by robbers with a U-Haul, B. recently filed bankrupcy and had all my furniture and electronics repossessed or, C. a lying liar who lies and using him as a rebound. I could have lived with him thinking choice A or B, but I knew most likely, he would determine I was liar, that he was a rebound and he was done. So, my fear sent my into a flurry of activity, much like how I would reposition the food on my plate when I was a kid to make it look like I had eaten the vegetables, I decided the most reasonable thing to do would be to rearrange the 2 pieces of furniture in my house to make it look like I was into minimalist decor. Then, I went to Ikea to buy a couch because it would be rude to expect him to sit on the floor. And the night he was coming over, I sat on my new Ikea couch and rehearsed what I would say. The words weren’t important, nor can I remember them, but the general idea of the speech focused on convincing him I was totally over the relationship months before it even ended, which I was. The truth was I waited a long time for someone like Paul. I trudged through lots of jerks, I waited by lots of phones willing them to ring, I almost got married to someone I wasn’t in love with. I had gone through too much to lose the guy I felt right with, to a little misunderstanding.
Obviously that weekend worked out just fine because in 2 months I will take his last name. Which reminds me that I should start practicing my new signature on my Trapper Keeper. In fact, he laughed at how nervous I was over the whole situation. That was the first time I realized how he balances me. The things in my mind that tell me to, “run!!” are the same things that in his mind are no big thing.
But I say all this because I am thinking about our vows-what I want to say to Paul in front of 150 people on our wedding day. Thinking about those words is a gift, because it makes me reflect on all the moments we’ve had together and all the moments we will build tomorrow. But how do you put into words, “Thank you for tolerating sleeping on an air mattress with me for the first three months of our relationship.” It’s difficult to find the words to express how hopeful it made me feel the first time he said on that air mattress, “In 10 years we will laugh about this.” In our vows, I know I want to tell him that he has changed me for the better, that he has taught me about love. That he’s showed me that love is tolerant, forgiving, humorous and unwavering. And I of course, will make sure he knows that he’s the best rebound a girl could ever hope for.