I gave up believing in the perfect person years ago. It was a complex lesson, but it was a much needed lesson.
And at the end of this lesson, I understood what unconditional love really meant.
I came back to New York for a ‘maybe’.
This is my ‘maybe’ story.
According to text books, I should not have moved to Louisiana after the death of my first husband, Eric.
I don’t always choose to follow text books recommendations.
Sometimes I follow my heart. It is a path that not all understand.
We shared a lot of stories long distance. I spoke to him on the phone from time to time. We were good friends.
He knew Eric had died. He knew I had to leave.
I remember the day he called me and told me he was coming to visit me.
“I think I’m gonna come visit you.”
I laughed and said, “Okay, come on down. I will take you to New Orleans. It’s not that far.”
Honestly, when he told me he was coming down; I imagined he may actually come in about six months. It wasn’t like him to jump on a plane and come half way across the country to see a woman on a whim. He is a practical man; most of the time.
His next words surprised me. I remember being surprised.
He told me he would be coming down in a few days. I had no idea he had already purchased tickets. I was shocked, but I was excited.
I picked him up at the airport in New Orleans. We talked a lot. He worked on my bathroom. I remember him helping me install a new floor.
I had known Aaron all my life. I knew his story. We had graduated together years before; a whopping graduating class of 16. We had some history; not much, but some.
I had seen him casually that fall of 2000.
Neither of us wanted commitment. Neither of us wanted much from each other. I was waiting for a miracle. I think he was too.
I remember the moment. It shocked me.
He tackled me; laughing. He hugged me and said, “How does Christine [insert his last name here] sound?”
It was a game changer.
I remember I got upset at first. I sat up. I told him that wasn’t something to joke about. An impromptu proposal wasn’t a joking matter; not at this point in my journey. There was a lot involved with that idea.
I asked him if he was serious.
He said “Maybe…..”
I remember taking him back to New Orleans to catch his flight back to New York. We spent a few days there. We had a lot of fun walking around that old city.
He constantly kept asking me what time it was. He had his watch off. It was lying in the console of the car. We were driving around; wasting the last of our hours together.
Perhaps it was my learned obsession with clock watching, but I did the opposite that day.
I threw his watch out the window; on the streets of New Orleans.
He laughed. He called me crazy and he held my hand.
His missed his flight that day.
We went back to my house. We tried to figure out what came next.
I remembered his ‘maybe’.
We had a long talk about the future. I was not comfortable moving my children halfway across the country for a ‘maybe’. It was a huge risk for a lot of people that were involved.
He told me that he couldn’t commit at that moment to forever. He told me he had come to Louisiana to know for sure. He wanted to take our relationship to the next level; we both agreed on this, but there was also honesty; and a maybe. I have always loved his honesty.
I sold my house to friends quickly. He helped me pack. We got a Ryder truck. Things came along easier and faster than either he or I anticipated, at first.
Within a few days, Aaron and I embarked on a cross country road trip with my four children.
I came home to New York for the final time; for a maybe.
There are a lot of memories from this road trip. There were bad storms.
I remember the tornados. We saw the funnel clouds form as we drove down that interstate.
He drove the Ryder truck. I followed him in my car.
I remember thinking I was nuts.
Who does this? Who drives across country with four children for a ‘maybe’ through tornadoes?
I did. So did he.
I called him on my cell at one point. The emergency broadcast system was on every single radio station. I couldn’t escape it. My fear was running rapid. I begged him to stop.
I remember all of the cars under the overpasses. I remember the fear.
Things flew in the air. A huge chunk of wood hit the Ryder. We pulled over for a while.
We made it through that storm, but it wasn’t the only challenge.
We stopped at a gas station to fill up. I drove over one of those little holes where they put the gasoline in storage underground. It caught on my exhaust system. Almost six feet of pipe came off from the under-rear of my car. It is the only time I drove a Harley.
We made it to New York within a few days.
I wouldn’t classify it as easy. He doesn’t either.
He told me from the get-go. He told me he wasn’t sure. He told me he needed to know for sure. This is why I chose to give it a trial run; this is why I chose to come home for a ‘maybe’.
I understood his point of view. I had a lot of weight on my shoulders – we both knew this. It was a big decision; a huge commitment.
About a year later, he proposed.
We have been married over ten years now. It wasn’t perfect. It was challenging at times. We both made mistakes. We have had struggles. We separated twice.
The first time was when I lost Christa (She was my step-mother). She died of a rare terminal disease. She was not supposed to die. I did not believe she would die.
Emotionally, I fell off a cliff with that loss. It threw me into a tailspin. I questioned every value I had, every value I had been taught. I questioned faith. I questioned life. I questioned myself.
We separated again mutually a few years later. We thought we were just too different.
It never worked though; our separations. There was a night that he had come over late at night; one of many. I remember the words.
“What are we doing?”
I really wanted to believe in him. I wanted him to be perfect. I wanted him to magically restore my belief in love.
I held a high bar. I set the bar too high honestly.
I was afraid of being hurt. All he wanted was to love me and be loved in return.
Truth is, there is no such thing as perfect. Even the most ‘perfect’ love hurts sometimes; I believe this. I realized that somewhere along the way. I took down the bar. I loved him. He loved me in return.
It hasn’t always been an easy road; for telling you that would be lying. But I can say that it has been all worth it. He is not perfect. Neither am I. But our love is imperfectly ‘perfect’.
Sometimes, “Maybe” is worth the risk…..
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