Back in 2008, I was heartbroken and living in Baltimore, Maryland. Let me give a tip to any heartbroken young 20-something’s: Baltimore is not the best city to run away from it all. (Unless you enjoy multitudes of drugs, SWAT team apartment invasions, and dead people on your front doorstep – but those are different tales for another day.)
My boyfriend had tragically passed away from septic pneumonia. At the time, I didn’t honestly believe that people, especially 25 year old’s, could even pass away from household-discussed illnesses. But it happened and every piece of me was shattered. The emptiness and dizziness that swirled in my head for months are feelings I can never truly articulate; I still pray like hell that no one I love ever has to experience said feelings. I spent a blurry, empty-stare-filled nine months after his death attempting to put together a life plan. Seemingly out of the blue, I decided to up and move to Baltimore, work on my career, and become a city girl.
Fast forward one year and one extreme healing process later. I was ready to leave the city and get back to myself. Despite the desperate urge to go back home, my brain kept picking at thoughts of returning to that level of comfort. Everything at home was the same, except my boyfriend was gone. After mulling over the choices ahead of me, I decided to throw caution to the wind, move back home, and start a whole new life.
But, where oh where does one find new friends and a new life in a town that is so familiar you could trace every street sign and stop light with your eyes closed? A co-worker suggested I hop online, surf MySpace (Facebook was so not the rage yet), and contact some new people in my area that shared interests. I did exactly this, and in a few days’ time, I met him. My Michael.
We chatted online for the month that I was preparing to move home. The conversations were casual, discussing music, life, and the importance of feeling your soul on fire with passion and creativity. I felt irresistibly drawn to him, craving more discussions and deeper thoughts… but the timing wasn’t right. I was moving home and still reeling from my boyfriend’s traumatic passing, and he was working through some personal life issues as well. I received an email from him a few days before I moved home saying we should meet up for drinks and a chat. I drove the ten hours home with excitement and intrigue in my mind. I made a new friend.
Before I could even blink, I was home for a few months, became wrapped in my old life, and began dating random “men” (read: idiotic fools) in attempts to fill the time gaps I had. Michael and I chatted on and off, with emails stretched across several weeks. When I would log online and see a new message waiting, my entire day would change. The sun shone brighter and the birds sang sweeter.
By Valentine’s Day 2010, I had officially sworn off dating. I foolishly stumbled through too many bad dates and I had come to the realization that I truly enjoyed my own company more than others’. Good riddens to bad rubbish, as my Mother would say. I was content and peaceful. My free time was spent reading books, talking long walks and adventures with my pooch, and focusing on my career and family. After flicking through countless romantic comedies on television Valentine’s night, I picked up my cell phone and juggled the idea of texting Michael. Thank God, I went ahead and did just that.
The online discussions had reached as far as they could go, so I skipped to my bedroom, made a cup of coffee, and gave him a call. The next week was filled with five, six, seven hour conversations. We stayed up all night talking and texted throughout the day. One day, he finally asked when we were going to put the silliness aside and meet up. So, that’s what I did – that very night.
Despite the original intentions of friendship, through the course of our discussions and our connection, we knew our first “meet up” was actually a date. We drove through countless cities, small towns, and circled the beach. We just drove for miles and talked, talked, talked. We were inseparable from day one.
By the end of our first month of dating, he moved in with me and the rest is history. He is the first person I see every morning and I thank God for him daily. The sound of his heartbeat and breath at night fills all the holes that once existed in my heart. He’s my best friend and every good quality that I am missing. He makes me a better person, a stronger woman, and a more delicate soul. He evens out my rough spots and kisses the bruised spots.
Every day we talk about our future, getting engaged, getting married, having kids… hell, all the way up to retiring and traveling cross-country in a RV. Every moment of that adventure sounds like the greatest tale that one could dream of.
And the funniest part of all? In the end, every love cliché is true. You do find love when you stop looking for it. The right man is always the last one you expect. And real love doesn’t take hard work, it just comes natural.