My "series" of poems are based on this true story *revised*
|Let me tell you a story.
It starts almost seven years ago. I started talking to this man online, I will call him Drake. He was intelligent, funny and great fun to talk to. Many things in common, including music and professions (we are both accountants,) made it easy to find things to talk about. We hit it off right away and became fast friends. Eventually we started talking on the phone, and so began this epic tale of friendship, love and so much more.
There are some things I need to tell you first, to give you background and context. I was pregnant when we started chatting, having been put on bed rest because of complications. One of those complications was the fact that the man I had been dating, the baby’s father, cheated on me and I found out. We separated. The psychological stress added to the physiological issues and I had to stay in bed.
Ok, where was I?
Ah yes, Drake. I was quickly falling for this wonderful, creative man from California. We continued to talk until after I had the baby. That is when a chance circumstance led to our meeting in real life. He was going to Alaska on a fishing trip with his father and brother, and he happened to have a substantial layover at the airport close to where I lived in Washington State. There was no question as to whether we would meet face to face.
The day of the meeting arrived, and I was both excited and nervous! My baby was only a few weeks old then, and getting ready to meet Drake while taking care of him was a challenge. I was already late getting to the airport, and of course the baby needed to nurse as soon as we got there, compounding the issue.
But as soon as I saw him standing there in the terminal, none of that mattered. When our eyes met and we smiled at each other I felt instantly at ease. He was so cute! We hugged hello, and strolled around the airport with the baby, talking and flirting up a storm. It was like we had known each other for years and just happened to run into each other at the airport.
The physical and emotional chemistry was palpable. He held my hand, put his arm around my waist and even sneaked in a little kiss here and there. And when I had to stop and nurse the baby again, he sat close with his arm around me to help shield us from view. I felt so warm and protected. I even heard him mumble something like, "what an opportunity, to be involved in the baby’s life from the beginning." I was on top of the world. He helped me change the baby in the airport’s “family restrooms,” which were much bigger, and more to the point, private. It was there I discovered what a great kisser he was, and how good it felt to have him hold me in his arms.
Eventually his plane was due to board and he had to go. Those goodbye kisses are permanently etched in my memory. I watched him get on the plane, and even stayed there until it took off, with tears clouding my vision. It was a long, lonely walk back to my car.
It is at this point in the story where I make a colossally bad choice.
My baby’s father wheedled his way back into my life, making promises I would later find he had no ability or desire to keep. So, with the noble, albeit futile, intention of trying to make it work for the sake of the baby, I lost touch with Drake and went on with my life. I will never counsel anyone to stay in a bad relationship for the sake of the children. It is definitely not worth it.
Fast forward 6 agonizing years.
My best friend had moved her family to Texas a year earlier and bought a house. I was miserable with her being so far away, and the opportunity came up for me to move to Texas with my two boys and live with her family. She had plenty of room. It would be beneficial to all, as our youngest boys were best buddies as well, and we would be helping each other out in many ways. Talk about a culture shock, but that is another story altogether.
Periodically throughout the years I had thought about Drake and tried to find him online. Well, once I moved to Texas, I tried again and was successful! I was so happy to reconnect with my old friend! We started chatting online, and then talking on the phone again. It felt great, kind of like old times. We found out that much had changed in our lives and spent time catching up.
Unfortunately I discovered that Drake had met a woman that he wanted to marry, but she left and he was heartbroken. I hated to hear how down he was, and wanted to help him through it. It took him awhile to open up, but eventually he did and we became even closer than years before. I even wrote him a poem about how I felt about him and my regret about what “might have been.” And he wrote one for me in response, it was wonderful. Through a series of events, best left to die the proper death that high drama deserves, we ended up planning a trip to Las Vegas.
Viva Las Vegas!
I was thoroughly excited to see Drake again. Even still recovering from pneumonia couldn’t dim my enthusiasm. The old chemistry hadn’t died, just smoldered, waiting to be fanned into a raging fire once more. It was my first time ever staying in Las Vegas. We had the most amazing time there, we went to a Cirque du Soleil show at the MGM Grand, saw a cover band and a water show at the Bellagio, and even went to a karaoke bar called Ellis Island. He has the most amazing singing voice, I was captivated. He shared a few other “firsts” with me, introducing me to sake, sushi and chocolate crepes as well as this wonderful concoction called a margarita!
But the best part of the trip was the intense connection we felt. All the old feelings were still there, and we had a wonderful time discovering just how truly compatible we really were, on so many levels. We were always touching, kissing and holding hands, which was a bit of a challenge with the cast on his left wrist. I have never met someone who was so attuned with me, he sincerely desired all the affection I gave and returned it with enthusiasm.
I was amazed at how much we actually had in common and how we thought similarly about so many things. We even have the same penchant for venti white chocolate mochas from Starbucks. It didn’t matter what we did, as long as we were together we had a great time. That same “known each other forever” feeling was there, and we were supremely comfortable with each other. I was hooked once again. I already loved him dearly as a friend, but once we were together in Las Vegas I realized I was falling “in love” with him too. And it wasn’t completely one sided, I felt it from him as well. He even traced “I love you” on my skin while we were holding each other in bed one night. And eventually we got up the courage to actually say it to each other. He helped me experience what it felt like to truly love someone. It was the best “first” ever!
So, we just all move to California and live happily ever after, right?
If only it were that simple. Those days and nights in Vegas were magical, but we were living in a vacuum, with no outside influences to intrude on our fantasy. I eventually had to go back to Texas, to my kids and my responsibilities here. And he had to go back to California, to his cats and his job and all that entails. Did I mention he has nursed his one of his cats through cancer and chemotherapy? He loves his pet so much that he would rather take the time and money to keep him healthy than to just put him down.
Rest assured, at the time I would have jumped at the chance to start a romantic relationship with Drake. But even then I knew there were things that would make it difficult, aside from logistics. Not impossible, but improbable under the circumstances. Disconsolate doesn't even begin to describe how I was feeling.
Knowing there were issues didn’t stop me from feeling the way I did though. And I was dying a slow death wondering how he felt about me and the situation we were now in. As soon as I got home I wrote him a heartfelt email, admitting I had fallen in love with him, that I wanted desperately to have what we had in Las Vegas on a permanent basis but also recognizing that there were some valid reasons why it may not work. He wrote back that he felt the same way too.
We talked on the phone a lot, sent emails back and forth, but never really addressed the issue head on. He had to travel out of state for work the day after he got home from Las Vegas, so he was busy, tired and distracted. I felt like I was on the world’s largest rollercoaster. My desire to declare my undying love and to make a romantic relationship work battled with my more rational desire not to scare him off and lose this wonderful man, my friend, forever.
I started writing poetry and posting it on this fantastic website called writing.com. Nothing was spared in these poems, my heart just overflowed into words that were raw and full of emotion. Eventually I forced the issue and had Drake read all the poems. He was moved to tears by one of them, and told me that the connection I described between us was the one he had been wanting all along. But something was holding him back, and for better or worse, it is something we cannot seem to overcome. We had a tearful telephone conversation, and agreed that we loved each other but that we must remain close friends only. After we hung up I had a nice long cry, and wrote yet another poem. My heart is sore, but not broken, because I still have Drake in my life, as my friend, and that is what matters most. He has been amazingly patient with me through this, and I love him for it.
If I could communicate anything to Drake now, it would be that I wouldn’t trade our time in Las Vegas for anything. I got to feel and experience things I wouldn't have otherwise. And I got the opportunity to be as close to him as another person can. I will always love him and be there for him, whatever he needs. And I would ask him to continue to be patient with me. The last thing I want to do is push him away and I am still learning where those lines are.
And the moral of the story is……
I am not sure if there is a moral to this story. I felt the need to write it, to express in words what I feel in my heart. Everyone should get the opportunity to feel as wonderful and loved as I do. It is a special thing, one to be cherished and shared. If you take anything away from this, I guess it would be this:
“I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all."
From Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem In Memoriam:27, 1850
It may sound cliché, but it is true nonetheless.