This part of the journey has been the most difficult to write. Reliving some of this has not been fun, but as I work through it I've been able to box it up nicely in my mind palace where it need not be disturbed again. Not a day goes by where I'm not thankful for David, but going back through this and our journey to one another makes me appreciate him that much more. I don't know anyone else who would have been so patient or kind. I am one lucky lady. David, I'm sorry you've been reliving this because of my need to write, but thank you for understanding I needed to do this. You just get me. *loves*
The journey continues...
I was free from a relationship that was not healthy for me; it was finally completely behind me. I was getting ready to start my final year of college, which was a big deal considering there was a time when I never thought I'd finish. I was surrounded by people I wanted to have around me. Change was all around, but for once it was all welcome and I embraced it to the best of my ability.
My living situation changed. Jayne made a really tough decision about her future. She decided to relocate and change schools. We had been through a lot together and I was sad to see her go. She had warned me months in advance that her relocating was a possibility so I had been able to talk to people early on who might be interested in rooming with me. When she knew she was really going to do it I had a few people I could talk to. It turned out one of my friends from my first year at WOSC, Ellen, was also in need of a roommate at that time so we decided to move in together. Ellen was attending a different college so we thought we'd look for apartments in Salem.
Living in Salem was great! We were closer to all the things we used to leave campus for. It was not uncommon for us to spend an evening or two at Border's reading or people watching. It was also a more central location for us and our different colleges. The only downside was it took longer to drive to campus for classes, and I had to deal with parking and killing time between classes. But when I was smart I used the down time at campus as forced study time, and the drive home as a chance to unwind from my day. A couple of days a week I hung out in between classes with Hagitha, who lived in some apartments near campus. The rest of the week I spent time in the student center were I caught up on reading and people watching.
When I wasn't hanging out with friends on campus or reading at Borders I was online chatting with David. I would log in to the chat program specifically to talk to him, it had become an important part of my day. We'd usually chat in the evenings, I was a night owl and liked to be up late listening to music and surfing the web. David would listen to how my day went and he would tell me about his. We had been chatting for at least a year at this point and he knew me in a way I don't think many other people did. I could tell him anything and know he wasn't going to tease me about it or tell everyone else. I felt safe talking to him. He knew the good and the bad, and he was still there almost every night to chat with me. He played a big part in helping me rebuild myself after Fenton.
While Fenton may have been out of my life, Cestus was not. She couldn't seem to get that Fenton and I were over. I had to tell her that if we were going to remain friends she had to stop bringing up Fenton because that chapter of my life was over. When she wouldn't listen I would just block her on chat for a few days. Cestus was also still talking to David. There was still talk about the two of them meeting, and he told me he wanted to be able to hang out with me as well. I told him that might be hard because Cestus tended to take over and run things, and she would plan and monopolize his whole visit. He assured me he wouldn't let that happen. She was still keeping him at an arms length, so he wasn't even sure if or when a visit would happen. I think he was on to her game at that point. I had filled him in on her relationship with Mark, doing my best not to say anything bad about her. The friendship David and I had was at the point where we were talking because we wanted to, it had nothing to do with Cestus.
One afternoon when I was in the car running an errand with Cestus she was going on and on about what a great guy David was, but that he wasn't Mark. I told her she couldn't really compare them because as long as she was clinging to Mark she wasn't giving David a fair chance. She didn't get it of course, and I was really annoyed with her because she talked like it was completely okay to string David along and keep him around to fall back on. She had no idea what she was doing, or what an amazing guy she was walking all over. The way she was treating him, and thought she could go on treating him, pissed me off. I hated the way she talked about him. I hated that she talked about him. I hated that she talked to him at all. And then it hit me, did I have feelings for David?
I told myself I didn't and tried to forget about it but I couldn't. We would chat and I would feel so good after talking to him, and then Cestus would log in and talk to me and I'd get pissed off and block her. I'd look at my chats with David, and found myself wondering if he could have feelings for me. He was always there when I needed him, and always with a word of encouragement. Was he interested in me or was he just incredibly kind? And this brought on a whole new onslaught of feelings. He wasn't exactly available, Cestus hadn't closed the door on him yet. And as far as I knew he was still interested in seeing if there was anything there between them. Also, he was so out of my league. David was this sweet, kind, patient, amazing man. What could I offer him? And that is how I convinced myself I was the only one with feelings. And I stuffed those thoughts way down deep. Mostly.
We kept chatting, and I kept thinking how amazing he was. Cestus was being aloof and unresponsive to him (ignoring emails and staying offline). At that point I had the feeling he was just about done with her games. He was talking about a work function he had coming up, and asked if I'd ever consider going to a work party with him. I said yes without hesitation. Then of course I started over thinking, and again wondered if he was trying to say hey I'm interested or if I was just crazy. I again tried to tell myself there was no way, and that I wasn't good enough for him, but I couldn't stop thinking about him.
I went on a vacation with my family, we drove out to the mid west for a family gathering. On the drove out I happened to mention David to my mom. It was just in passing, something about talking to him online and disliking the way Cestus was treating him and not being sure what to do or say about it. She didn't say much except that it was for them to figure out. She was right of course. He was on my mind, and I was again over thinking things. Was I getting in the way of he and Cestus? I didn't want to be the friend that came in and wrecked things for either of them. Instead I made things a crazy mess in my head which I made it worse by sending David an email. I told him I was anti-relationship/dating and how I didn't think I was ready for any of that yet. I regretted it after I sent it, and I felt worse when I read his response. I thought I was trying to protect myself because I was convinced he couldn't like me, but was afraid of what could happen if he did. I didn't have the guts to ask him if he was interested, or tell him that I was. When I got back home from my vacation I could tell he was kind of down and I believed it was my fault. I had hurt my friend. He had decided to hold off on any plans of meeting. But we kept talking, and I kept falling for him. He never waived, he was constant.
Just as things feel like they are normal again with David (after my stupid email), Cestus started talking about him more. I don't know if she was being her usual self or if I was more annoyed because of how I felt. Regardless of what it was it was pissing me off. It was getting harder for me to hear her talk about him because she was being awful to him. I was a bit snappy with her about it, but I didn't think she would think anything of it. I just started to regularly log off/block her when she'd start talking about him.
That was all fine and dandy for online, unfortunately I couldn't block her like I could online when I was hanging out with her. I was trapped and had to listen to things I would have logged off to avoid. This became a problem a few weeks later. I had plans to go to a concert at the state fair with Cestus, and then I was going to Canada the next morning with Ellen and her mom. I had been looking forward to the weekend but the day of the concert I started coming down with something. My tummy didn't feel quite right, food was not sitting well with me. I decided to go to the concert anyway, I didn't think I was contagious and it wouldn't be a very late night. Cestus picked me up a few hours before the concert so we could walk about the fair and get a bite to eat. The weather was great, it was a nice evening for an outdoor show. It was not a good evening for me to have to hear Cestus talk about David or Mark. Being ill, my filters and tolerances were low and as the evening progressed I was feeling less-well and less patient. As she prattled on and on, I was starting to get a little snippy and speaking my mind. I was defending David, rather than biting my tongue, and talking about him more than I normally would. I think she picked up on my lowered tolerance right away.
She caught me off guard when she asked if I had considered dating David. I can't imagine the look I must have had on my face. She went on to tell me how she and her mom had talked about it, and that they both thought he and I were a much better match. The direction the conversation took made me uncomfortable, and at that point I was trying to be blunt and shut her down. I told her that even if I did have feelings, I wouldn't act on them because I believed they still had unfinished business between them and I wouldn't interfere. She said she didn't think he was right for her, but that she cared about him as a friend and still hoped to meet him. She told me she wished Fenton and I would get back together, but understood that I didn't see that happening. She said she wanted me to be happy even if it was with someone else. She dropped the subject, much to my relief, and we enjoyed our concert. By the end I was pretty wiped out and not feeling good, all I wanted to do was get home. I didn't give a second thought to our conversation, I was too busy trying not to be sick.
When she dropped me off I crawled into bed and wished for death. I was sick all night. It was the kind of sick where you would lay back down after using the bathroom only to have to get back up and go back to the bathroom. This happened all night. At some point in the night, in a delusional and dehydrated state, I was attempting send various body parts to the bathroom for me so I could get some rest. It obviously didn't work and I slept horribly. The next morning when Ellen came in to see if I was awake yet she took one look at me and determined I would not be going to Canada. She brought me some water, and I went to sleep for a few hours. When I woke up I felt a little better. I had the apartment to myself, but no comfort food. I decided to get online and see if I could talk someone into bringing me some gentle tummy friendly food.
I connected to the internet (can I just say I don't miss dial-up at all!) and logged into my email. I email from David and Cestus, her subject line said "Please don't be mad at me..." I opened David's email first and connected to my instant messenger. David's email was not happy. He wrote that he had a very upsetting conversation with Cestus and needed to speak with me. He asked that I call him as soon as I saw the email. David was online and messaged me as soon as I was connected. I told David I was home sick and that he could call me if he wanted because I wasn't sure how long I'd be able to sit at my computer. I told him I had an email from Cestus that I would share with him so he knew what I was seeing and then he could call me. I read the email and could not even process what she had done. Basically Cestus had initiated a conversation with David that she said was on my behalf because she wanted him to know where they stood so he and I would feel free to pursue a relationship if we wanted to. The problem was, besides sticking her nose in something she shouldn't have, she was mean and nasty to David and said things that could never be taken back.
He called me, and I think he felt bad when he heard how crappy I sounded. I told him I was recovering from some intestinal virus that had taken hold last night. He was upset because he had no idea what was going on, understandably, and why she was attacking him. He was also upset because she had told him she was sending me the conversation but not all of it, and he was concerned what kind of censoring she had done. He patiently let me explain the conversation I had with Cestus, and in the process I had to admit that I had some feelings for him that I had been afraid to express. Then we talked about that, and how I was being incredibly daft by trying to convince myself I wasn't good enough and how he thought he had been obvious about how he felt. Well, he had been but I was too busy telling myself I was crazy and not good enough. I only wish I had not been so sick for the conversation because looking back now it is a crazy blur. I was livid with Cestus, as was David. He was completely done with her, he blocked her on chat and wanted nothing to do with her and asked that I not discuss anything about us with her. I had no issue with that. I didn't even know what to say to Cestus so rather than deal with her I blocked her. She called and left a few messages but I ignored them.
Now that our feelings were out in the open I was online less. Talking online wasn't good enough any more, we were talking on the phone as often as we could. I loved hearing his voice, and his laugh. This as all uncharted territory, I was excited and terrified. I didn't want to say something stupid and scare him away. I was afraid of losing the friendship we had built over the last year so we agreed to take things slow and just keep talking. We talked about anything and everything, including the fear of losing a friend if we met and it didn't work out. Things just felt so right. I loved talking to him, and look froward to his calls and the evening chats. Things were going so well it seemed like the only logical thing to do would be to finally meet. What were we waiting for? What were we missing out on because I was so afraid of a slim chance that we wouldn't hit it off? When he talked about coming out and meeting me I was over the moon! He had some encouragement from a co-worker and a dear friend of his from across the pond who wanted him to be happy. It was lucky for me that they were so supportive, I had some amazing strangers in my corner that I would have to thank properly if I ever got to meet them.
In September David made plans to come out and meet me in October. We had about a month to wait. I was ready meet him, show him around, and introduce him to my friends and family. My family was supportive and looking forward to meeting him. Ellen was happy for me, but hesitant and I felt discouragement from her more than anything. The only friend who seemed genuinely happy for me was Hagitha. She told me I was silly, and should see where things led. When I told her how amazing he was, and how much he meant to me she didn't make me feel crazy for feeling the way I did about someone I had yet to meet.
I did eventually have to talk to Cestus. I told her I understood what she had tried to do, but that she went about it completely wrong. I told her I wouldn't be discussing David with her and that she had burned that bridge completely. She didn't understand, and seemed to think that they could still be friends and suggested I could smooth things over. I told her I wasn't getting involved, and that David and I were completely separate from her and my relationship and that there would never be anything between the two of them. We talked less, but we still talked because of the fan club. She backed off somewhat when she realized I would avoid her if she pressed things I refused to discuss.
It seemed like the wait to meet David was longer than it really was. We helped that by talking as much as we could, and sending little notes in the mail. For my birthday day he sent me:
(and yes, that is a growler on the left, back before they were trendy)
All the talking we were doing, and the fact that I had classes to attend did help the time go by (eventually). On the big day Hagitha drove me to the airport to meet him. I was so nervous and excited, I fretted about what to wear and what to do with my hair. Hagitha picked me up early that morning and we stopped at McDonald's for breakfast on our way out of town. I could hardly eat. I was acting the total spaz. I managed to spill Dr. Pepper on the crotch of my jeans. At the airport I was even more anxious. We didn't have to wait long for his flight. His plane was on time, and we arrived at the airport at the right time. I remember watching everyone come off the plane, looking for him. Then I saw him. He was looking for me and when he found me he smiled this sweet nervous smile that melted all my fears away. Hagitha had her camera and snapped this picture of our first hug.
|First of many hugs|
His visit, which ended up being two weeks, went by so fast. By the time it was over we knew we didn't want to be apart. He was already planning his next trip out, and my trip to visit him after that. I knew during that first hug I was going to marry him. He said that hug was when all the cosmic tumblers fell into place; that's where I got the idea for my blog name. It was a long journey to David, but worth it. I believe all the things we went though separately and together have made for a very strong foundation in our relationship. We talked and worked through things other people might have walked away from. The day I walked down the isle I was truly marrying my best friend. We learned the importance of communication and honesty and that is part of the foundation of the amazing relationship we have. Totally worth it!
Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3
Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3