I don’t know if I would classify this as the “wisest” decision I made this year, but rather a series of choices I’m glad I made. And they were wise. I think.
I said I wouldn’t do it. (Ever again.) But one late night I found myself alone in a hotel room, snow swirling outside, staring at the florescent glow of my computer screen. I typed quickly, probably because I knew if I thought too hard about what I was doing, I’d talk myself out of it. Twenty minutes later, I hit “Enter” and my profile was created.
A few weeks later we were “matched” and again, I said I wouldn’t do it. I was not–was not–going to email first. “Oh get over it,” my sister said. “Just email him.” And I found myself typing quickly, again for fear I’d retreat from my moment of bravery. And what do you know … He replied. And then I replied. And then he replied. And well … that’s how it went day after day.
It was what I got out of bed for. The one thing I looked forward to. When everything else was uncertain and difficult and unstable. When the grief (though I didn’t know that’s what it was at the time) was gray and paralyzing. There was this person, who, though I’d never met, I began to care about. And the emails just got longer and longer. And more and more honest.
After two months I heard his voice for the first time. We picked up right where we left off as though we were already friends. And I suppose we were. Night after night I spent hour after hour laying on my bed, feet propped against the wall, smiling, at times like a 16-year-old, happy just to talk. To him. And I thought. What if I hadn’t done what I said I wouldn’t do. I could feel myself opening up in ways I hadn’t in so long. So long.
Three months later I saw his face and held his hand and kissed his lips for the first time. And it was fun and it was giddy, the way all new relationships are. But that was just the beginning of the end. Things in person weren’t the same as they’d been over the phone and email. We were at different places and needed different things from each other.
And so one night I said, “I can’t do this anymore. I think this needs to be the end.” And he didn’t argue.
I’ve wondered in the six months since then if all the time and effort and money were a waste. But mostly I’ve wondered if the honesty I gave and vulnerability I allowed were worth it. And the conclusion is yes.
The choices I made that led me to him, though reckless, were wise. And all the experiences that followed as a result, allowed me the opportunity to feel and learn and grow. I was alive, in a way that I hadn’t been in so long, even if only for a few months.
But in the end. It was also wise to be done.
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