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The next Friday, he was waiting outside the Crisis Center when I finished my shift, wrapping up on time for once. Even though we’d talked almost every night since we met, it took my breath away, seeing him standing there, leaning on the hood of that battered old Volvo, smiling when I walked out like Christmas was coming early. Or was that just what I was feeling?
We stopped by my place just long enough for me throw a few things in a bag for the weekend. I hadn’t had a chance to cut the labels off the sexy new underthings I’d bought in a fit of optimism. I stuffed those in my old backpack, along with jeans, and the usual weekend gear.
I paused at my bedside table, where a book by my spiritual teacher bristled with bookmarks. I was plowing through all his works, morning and night; studying, contemplating, journaling, logging my dreams and re-examining my life from all kinds of fresh angles.
My hand hesitated I as reached to pick it up. I took a second to observe that arrested motion, and asked myself the question behind it: What was this going to be? Was it an either-or choice? Romance or the inner life? I’d always held my inner self so secret, always so aware of how I seemed to be out of step with the world. I didn’t like being that furtive person, the outer me pretending the inner me didn’t exist.
Come to think of it, I was absolutely sure Bob would never have walked into my life if I hadn’t already taken the steps I had, trusting that the Universe actually did hold possibilities like this.
I grabbed the book, and my journal, wedging them into my little backpack right next to the new blue silk nightie, smiling happily as I yanked the zipper shut. It felt like there was a very complete woman stuffed in there.
Have you ever been lost in love? I hadn’t, not until then. With Dale, it had been all about the appearance of love, the idea of being in love. Only now could I see all the energy I’d expended convincing myself I was in love.
But that first weekend, with Bob and me, we were fully engulfed in that divine madness. In bed, rising to half-dress and dance our way around the kitchen, scavenging for food just to keep our strength up, music wafting through Bob’s high-tech stereo system. He was in an Al Green phase, and the song that’s never left me, that was so perfect for that moment, in my life, and in Bob’s arms, was “Love God and Everybody else.” I felt like my inner teacher was right there with me, reminding me that when it comes to the Truth, there’s no “either/or”. You haven’t lived until you’ve danced across a kitchen with the love of your life at 2 a.m. to the music of Al Green.
Or there we were, lounging in giddy silence, me reading while Bob tracked the world on his ever-present laptop. It was what he did, an organic part of him, and yet, our bodies were rarely out of touch.
And there was no need to make a big deal about rising early to do my morning contemplations. He was up ahead of me, bringing me coffee, insisting I take his prized Eames chair to settle into my practice, while he headed down to the beach for a run. He said it was his own way of clearing his thoughts and connecting with his own version of the Source.
By the time I staggered into work Monday morning, short on sleep, sore from lovemaking, high on dopamine and norepinephrine, the chemicals of love, I was a beautiful mess. I couldn’t believe the effect he had on me. Bob was nearly 10 years older than I, but it felt like I was the one who’d been worn down from life.
Not now, though. I couldn’t believe my luck. I felt revived, young, energized. I felt like I’d won the lottery.
I felt guilty as hell.