Wednesday, July 14
A Little Love Story... ♥
*Please forgive me for the lack of proper grammar or editing on this post...it is just me talking as if you were in my living room here.*
A lot of people ask me about this, so I thought I'd share it here.
Back in 1997, I was a divorced mom to my then 6 year old son, and at that point, had been in a wheelchair for 10 years. I worked for a company called Atlis Publishing -- no, not Atlas, Atlis, editing medical journals. Yes, it was a thrill a minute. (Not really.)
The last thing on my mind was a relationship.
Back then, everyone was using America Online for social networking, and I don't even think the phrase "social networking" was in use. Regardless, I had the standard profile, which listed my profession as "Editor" and would receive the occasional question about writing, to which I'd reply that I edited medical journals and was probably not the kind of "Editor" they were seeking. One such inquiry came from a guy who asked if I would just look over a little of the story he'd written, and if nothing else, give him my opinion as a reader. Since I was a voracious reader, I agreed.
It was really good and left me wanting to know what had happened to the main character, "Fully Wexler." In volleying back and forth over his story, I found out he lived in Myrtle Beach, SC, a place I'd enjoyed visiting several times since I have lots of family in the Carolinas. We ended up chatting online quite a bit, and at one point he sent me a funny photo of a recent sailing trip he'd been on. It was a ragtag group of guys on a boat, one of which was him, and I got a kick out of seeing it, and returned a photo of myself and my cousin on a recent trip to Deep Creek Lake, MD. I captioned the photo "Not bad for a crip chick, huh!" Since I was sure we'd discussed my disability briefly at some point and I tend to laugh, rather than cry, at some of the more tragic things in my life.
He replied, "What's that supposed to mean?" Then I put 2+2 together (I was actually reclining in a lounge chair in the photo, so no wheelchair!) and realized I hadn't talked about being disabled! Then I wondered why it mattered, or why I should disclose something so personal to a "stranger" -- but by then, was he still a "stranger"? Anyway, so I just went ahead and told him what had happened and that I'd been in a wheelchair ever since. He expressed that he was very sorry I'd had to go through something so difficult, then we moved on to another topic, and it wasn't brought up again.
Around Super Bowl time, he said he'd be in the Washington, DC area for a Super Bowl Party Weekend with some people he'd attended college with, and asked if I would like to finally meet face to face and have lunch. I agreed, but was a little hesitant to meet someone from the internet...it was all so new to me at the time. I told my sister all I knew about him, and when/where we were going to have lunch, just in case.
Then the day arrived, and when my doorbell rang, I went to it and before opening the door, jokingly asked, "Should I let you in? You don't have a gun, do you?" He laughed, and I opened the door, and at that moment, I literally felt my face burning with redness...I was BLUSHING! I offered him a seat, and then we just kind of sat there, staring at each other. It was so weird. *I am laughing while recounting this!*
To break the awkwardness, I asked him to come look at something on my computer in the other room, he pulled up a chair to my desk, and I was next to him, and then HE KISSED ME and it was like this huge EUREKA moment. It all suddenly hit me that I'd been falling in love with him all this time, but denying it, and apparently the feelings were mutual. I will say that a kiss was all that happened that day, as he is the most perfect gentleman in all the universe, but we've been "an item" ever since. I found out he'd researched all he could about spinal cord injury right after he found out I was disabled, because even though neither of us had expressed anything romantic, he'd already had a crush on me and wanted to find out all he may be getting into, falling for someone with my condition. I found this so touching, as I had been married to a man before, who met me after my accident and yet hardly ever asked me anything about being disabled.
We lived 7 hours driving time apart, so it wasn't always easy, but he drove to see me every chance he got. Even one time, around my 30th birthday, when my washing machine broke, he drove the 7 hours to fix it for me.
When he found out I hadn't been swimming since before my accident, and that I was now deathly afraid to, he took me to the pool, and picked me up, then slowly got in, holding me the entire time. He walked around, keeping me in his arms, while I became accustomed to how it all felt. Little by little, one trip to the pool at a time, he helped me shed my fears, and finally, I was SWIMMING and he was genuinely happy for me. He'd given me so much already, and now he'd given me back something I'd missed a lot.
This has been his way from the beginning, and still to this day. One by one, he gently helps me overcome my fears, never making me feel like a loser, or a scared baby; simply like someone who's being held up by love. He makes sure I know he's there to support me, while encouraging me to find my freedoms, defeat my demons, and live life to the fullest. There's so much more, but it's late, and I'm sleepy. Suffice to say, he and I are now living our "happily ever after."
Posted by Team Chastain at 5:46 AM