By Lynda C. Wharton
I can remember the first time I saw him. Well, maybe not. But, I can for sure remember the first time I looked into his eyes. They were beautiful, and you could see something special was there. Pure magic. The first time he really looked into mine, like he was peering into my soul. I knew right from square one that he was off limits. Look but don't touch. But you know how that goes. I guess rules are meant to be broken because somewhere between those gorgeous browns and that Latin tongue something inside me began to churn.
Now I can say I truly tried to stop it, but it was impossible, like trying to put shield up against the freezing wind at Broad and Market on a blustery January day. He was all enveloping and completely endearing. His life seemed all simplicities but his thinking was all complexity. He was cloaked in intelligence and charm and amazingly, in our differences, there were hidden similarities.
This man. How could I have gone so long without noticing him? Perhaps it was because I'd decided that love was no friend of mine. Maybe because the worlds we came from were so different. I was spiritually grounded. I knew what I wanted from life and what I expected from myself and others. On the other hand, he didn't put much faith into anything he couldn't see and while he had some very definite stances -- on things like his love for me or his obsession with the Oakland Raiders -- at other times he seemed to be just blowing in the wind. I couldn't help but fall in love with his free thinking and idealism but deep down I always worried that his inability to be decisive could mean he would be unable to be assertive when he needed to be. A concrete paired with an abstract. We were an irony. I suppose the fact that I was of a mixed heritage with English as my native language and he was Puerto Rican with Spanish as his didn't help either. Isn't it funny how hard it is sometimes to keep true reality separate from what is the reality of what we want. Well, I wanted him badly. More so than I could remember wanting anyone or for that matter anything for a long time. So as romance often goes, I lost track of why I was holding out in the first place and agreed to go out with him.
He was wonderful, kind and sweet. He held my hand and told me I was beautiful. And funny? If he was talking I was laughing, or smiling. To be honest sometimes I'd blank out of our conversations. I'd think to myself, slow down. Hold onto your heart because you ma'am are sliding and slipping and tripping. Hang on because you are for sure falling in love. He'd talk and I'd be thinking how manly his chin looked or how perfect his lips were or how well my hand fit into his, my body inside of his when we embraced. He knew a lot about a lot and enough about everything else. He was so opposite of my waste-of-space ex and enjoyed everything that makes men... well, men. Like a lot of women I enjoy sports but there was just something about watching him get all aggressive about it. I'd challenge him just to watch him sweat. I loved my cello. He loved his car, but passion is passion. And what's better than a man who can fearlessly exhibit love and passion both?
As always though life set in and so did the reality of reality. It wasn't that we were from different worlds that would trouble us, it was our similarities. We were two pieces of the same puzzle for sure but we hadn't taken the time to connect all the pieces. We were damaged people full of mistrust of the world and shame over the particulars of our pasts.
He was such a beautiful person. He was so honest, so warm, such a gentleman, but, sometimes he fell so short of self- value. I found it impossible to reassure him that he deserved to be happy regardless of his previous mistakes.
We were both on the injured list. Our kisses were electric and our hugs could go on forever, but, we couldn't connect our naked hearts because we were both too afraid to disrobe them, so these days we are only close friends. Even so, I have to say this love was the purest of my life. There were no lies or deception. It was the rawest. The most necessary. Forever, I had been running from my past, my mistakes, from me. But somewhere between the first time I looked into those eyes and reality setting in, I realized I was no longer winded, searching for air. I had beaten my ghosts. I was standing still and with each life providing breath I knew I was inhaling and exhaling him. If only I could be the same for him. They say true love never fails. We will see.