I met my ex when I was twenty five years old through a mutual friend who thought that we would be the perfect couple. I don’t know if we were the perfect couple, but we were perfect for each other for the time we shared.
From the moment we met we were inseparable. We grew up together and most of our life experiences and mistakes were a team effort. I always knew that no matter what was happening outside the walls of our home, there was always a soft place I could fall back on.
I remember the first day I met him. I had just picked my two children up from daycare and had been waiting by the entrance of the school doors for my friend, Janet and her boyfriend John to give us a drive home.
I noticed him right away, as he stood there facing me. We made eye contact but neither of us said anything. He slowly slid down the wall, into a stooping position. He was cute and his eyes were intriguing.
My youngest son has always been a very sociable child from the moment he was born. I used to worry constantly about someone kidnapping him because he would go up to strangers and become their best friend. My son walked slowly over to this man that was standing there, and plopped himself on his lap. He began to touch his face and began a conversation.
I watched the exchange between the two new found friends and both seemed to disappear into their own world. This stranger and I exchanged a few friendly glances at each other.
Janet and John pulled up in the car outside. I told my son to say good bye to his friend and I grabbed both of my children’s hands and pushed the door open and headed to the car. As I looked back I saw this stranger following us to the car.
John got out of the car and he and the man, began to talk as me and the kids piled into the vehicle. This stranger had been waiting for Janet and John to give him a ride home.
As the kids and I got out of the vehicle and said bye to everyone, I would never had imagined that I would fall in love with this man and spend the next sixteen years with him.
My friend Janet went to work on arranging a date for us the very next day. She began to tell me about the man I had sat next to in the car the night before. He was an ex fire fighter and was new to town. Finally, I told Janet that he was cute and that “he could put my fire out anytime.”
At break time, Janet went outside and I sat at my desk trying to catch up on my work since she had talked my ear off for about an hour. Janet returned from her break and plopped herself down next to me with a grin on her face.
She had told him what I had said to her earlier and I could hear the excitement in her voice. I turned to face her, with a twinge of irritation. I demanded to know why she would go tell him what I said. I told her I told her that as a joke and felt embarrassed.
Janet then told me that, “he thinks your cute too!” I looked at her for what seemed like hours and turned back to the computer I had been busy looking at. I thought about what she had just said to me with a little bit of relief, but still humiliated that I may have to run into him one day. I had no real dating experience or strong relationships with any man I had ever met. My children’s father was the only real boyfriend I had and I was twenty-five years old.
A week later I sat across the man I had met in the hallway of school waiting for a ride home. We both looked at each other and said a silent hello. He ate his fries and I sipped my pop. We never knew that our journey would take us over close to two decades.
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