I remember when "The One" and I returned from our April trip. He to Chicago and me to New York. We waited a full three hours before we started talking about our next trip.
I swear I thought that we would leave each other that April weekend and probably stay friends, but nothing else. That's not true. I had hopes that I could ignore what I felt.
Then I asked him where I could send him a birthday present. He said to send it to his house. Gasp.
His house? He laughed at me. Over the years, he did that a lot. Laughed at my naïveté about how he felt for me; laughed when I pushed; laughed when I tried to shut down. Laughed at my inability to see where he already knew we were going.
But that April morning, when he laughed, I cried. I had no idea where to go with 'us'. I just knew that I had to try to figure out how to make a lot of people happy from that point forward. Well, a lot of people excluding myself. Years later, when my then-husband and I were filing for divorce, he asked if I was happy.
It is hard to be happy when you put everyone else first. There. Now that I've said it, you can see why I have been seeing the same therapist for two years.
"The One" and I talked every day from that April trip, onward.
We made plans for me to visit him in Chicago that June in time for "Taste of Chicago". I laughed because I thought we could get away with seeing each other every three months or so. He laughed, too. I thought that was enough. Then I couldn't wait and he flew me out to see him for Mother's Day Weekend.
And that began two years of crying each time I had to say goodbye to him. Especially when I left him on an amazingly beautiful May Sunday in 2008 and said, with tears in my eyes, 'when can we see each other again? Three months won't work. I'm sorry I suggested it would.'
I wrote my first love letter to him on the plane ride home that morning. And then I allowed myself to breath. I knew exactly what would happen if I ever had to make a decision to not see him.
I knew there was no way I could do it. Not willingly. But I tried to resist everything that was abnormal about our 'lives' together and instead, focused on raising a teen ager and keeping a husband who couldn't see me unless we were in a crowd, happy.
A few weeks later I was back in Chicago for that "Taste" weekend and again, I could hear my heart break when it was time to say goodbye. I think that is when I started considering that not only was I in love but that nothing had ever been so scary to me before then.
Sometimes, when I allow myself to think about it, I wish I had never understood what it feels like to have that much love given to someone or received, in return.
It's made the past year all that more difficult.
(no rhyme or reason to the choice of images, other than I heart Chicago and the Bean. And so does Kanye).