"This is stupid," he said, looking down and a little away from me.
I turned to look at him, stumped. We'd been sitting on a hill overlooking the Wild Basin for an hour, having a lovely conversation and listening to some music from the battery-operated jam box sitting behind us. "What's stupid?" I asked. There was still a slight chill in the air, although it was an evening in mid-April in Austin, a time when it could go either way, hot or cold. I had half a dozen goosebumps on my arms.
"Because I want to kiss you," he said. This, coming from my pal of 2 years, the guy upon whose shoulder I had cried several times, over some OTHER guy (or four). This guy who had platonically cooked me a lovely meal that evening, and taken me out for a drive into the hills to look at stars and hang out, talking about game theory and whatever else came up in conversation. The guy my friend Marni and I always thought would make someone such a nice husband someday. Just not us. Because he was just too nice.
I contemplated this for a second. It really wasn't much of a second, either. It was more of a frozen moment in time, in which God said, "Hey wait, Peter, hold up a second. I have to intervene in an issue on Earth. It'll just take a sec." He came down and saw that I was possibly in jeopardy of tossing away a FINE opportunity to live happily ever after, all because I was hopelessly attracted to the wrong type of guy (read: morose, artistic, abandoned by his mother or recent girlfriend, self-absorbed, unable to emotionally connect), and not attracted to the right kind (read: happy, cheerful, with a FUNCTIONAL family, lots of friends, and no blatant emotional issues). And that is when God, real quick-like, tossed a lightening bolt at me and went back to his conversation with Peter.
"Well, why don't you give it a shot?" I finally said. Something in me had clicked, and the thought of locking lips with this sweet, happy friend of mine didn't seem so bad. So he did. He wasn't the most experienced kisser, but his kiss was tender, and genuine, and respectful. "You could do that again, " I said. From that moment on, we were an item.
I remember driving home from his house he rented with some buddies, back to my apartment one night about two weeks later. It occurred to me on that drive that I fully expected I would marry him. I did marry him, about 2 1/2 years later. And that was over 10 years ago. White picket fence? Well, not exactly. There's one next door, however. But I am happy, I am fulfilled. I can pretty much guarantee that if that night hadn't happened, and I went about my business the way I had prior to this, I would not be in a happy relationship. I might be happy, but my guess is that I would be alone and happy.
The source of my previous attractions were always passionate guys. The type who would leave me thought-provoking, often sensual or dark poetry under my windshield wipers. Writers, artists, people with a deep, dark well worth of emotion that came out in usually very vibrant and beautiful ways. And I usually fell into the role of savior, voice of reason, rock of Gibraltar. But it was always about them. Their issues, their feelings, their inability to give back TO me as easily as they could take FROM me. My sympathy for their plight would make me reluctant to ask for what I needed, and I would feel empty and worthless when eventually the relationship would end. Maybe all of this is a function of being 20-23, but my guess is that these guys either got their asses kicked by someone with more issues than themselves, or they are still spiraling inward. I am a lucky one - I chose something greater than the raw passion, lust, and infatuation I experienced with these others. I chose to be with someone capable of being my FRIEND as much as my lover. The romantic part of our relationship is great, but it's not the center of it. We just enjoy each other's company and presence as companions, and that is the focal point for everything else. It's based on respect, and that flows outward into all the other aspects of our life together - parenting, working on our home together, traveling, arguing, being romantic, dealing with difficult family issues from time to time (my family, not his. Nothing about his family is difficult!). It doesn't have the peaks I experienced before, but it also doesn't have the devastating valleys either. Some would prefer to suffer with the valleys in order to get that euphoric high that can only come from the peaks. But I, on the other hand... I am so happy that I chose this type of relationship, one that is not volatile, where I do not question the future of it, or wonder why I put up with the things I do. I am blessed and lucky to have such a wonderful man as my husband. He is a great partner and wonderful father, a brilliant provider and supportive friend. And I thought I should write about him, since I haven't said much about him to date.