Thursday, June 03, 2010
It was August 2006. I had just started a new job and was figuring myself a pretty big deal since this new position was in my field and finally paid more than poverty level in Chicago. I was working on my first big project that involved calling around for a bunch of quotes on some new equipment we were looking into purchasing and meeting with contractors who were coming out to pitch their latest and greatest models. That's when he walked into my life.
My back was to him when he actually walked in since I was busy on the phone, but when I turned around I was struck... love at first sight - I don't know what else to call it. It had never happened to me before and it hasn't happened again since. I tried to keep my palms from sweating and from batting my eyes at him as he described the equipment he was selling. Get yourself together woman - you're supposed to be a professional! Professional or not - I was done for. I would have bought ANYTHING from him right there and then.
Luckily for me, his company was also the least expensive, and a few days later he was back in my building, going over a proposal to install what we needed. It should have ended there and then. But for whatever reason, he thought I was fun to talk to and we sat in the theatre after talking about the proposal and chatted about everything from families to jobs to plans for the rest of the summer. I was melting into a puddle in front of him. Completely smitten.
Our conversations continued over that fall and to my surprise, he seemed to find excuses to call me to catch up, always asking about business first, but then cracking a joke, or slipping in a personal anecdote of some sort. Our emails and phone calls back and forth turned into breakfast meetings about once a month. There was no one else in the world I would get up that early in the morning for. It felt as though he was courting me...except when he would inevitably break into talking about a pending contract with my company, or when I would argue to pay the bill because he had picked up the last 3. "We" had our favorite breakfast places. I knew what he took in his coffee. My heart started to beat faster when I saw his name on my phone. Haha - It's doing it again as I write this. I wanted him with every fiber of my being.
He was the perfect guy for me. Tight with his family. Sporty, but down to earth. Cultured, but not anywhere close to the over-cultured, theatre-type I was used to dating. Wealthy, but frugal. Ruggedly handsome and boyishly cute all at the same time. We liked the same things, the same kinds of people. It would have been a match made in heaven as far as I was concerned.
But I was a 5'2", pushing 300 pounds, previously married & divorced woman with a ton of emotional baggage and an addiction to food. How could this perfect specimen of a man possibly love me?
So I stood back, and refrained from pursuing a romantic relationship with him because I was embarrassed. I was embarrassed for me, but I was more embarrassed for him. Even if he did like me, I wouldn't subject him to being seen with me. His type did not date my type.
We continued to brunch and lunch (and sometimes dinner), and attend sports games, and hang out after work to grab a beer for two full years. Both of us single. The attraction (at least as far as I was concerned) inevitable. I met his family. His whole family. He introduced me to his grandmother unexpectedly one evening after work when he surprised me with a "what are you doing right now?" phone call. I loved all of them, and as far as I could tell, they loved me too. I became friends with his sister and her husband and started hanging out with her apart from him. I was SO in. But I was still so fat.
It was August 2008 when he called me to ask about my new relationship with my current boyfriend, as he'd heard I was dating someone. And it was then that he told me he'd met someone too. I'd had my suspicions. At our most recent breakfast date he'd ordered an extra meal to "take to someone". In the car on the way to a family cookout at his sister's place, he mentioned that he and "someone" had gone to see a particular show that I liked. And even though I had just gone FBO (Facebook Official) with my current beau, I was dreading this talk like no other. I knew it was the end. The end of the fantasy about what him and I could have been if only there were less of me. I congratulated him on his new lady-friend and then went home and cried for 2 hours.
For the past two years I've been negotiating my own relationship with a wonderful man who loves me for who I am. But for the past two years I've also been watching his relationship with the love of his life bloom and grow and solidify. I watched them contemplate moving in together, then buying a house, then getting a dog. I listened to her talk about the first time he told her he loved her. About the trips they were planning together. The life that they were building together. My heart breaking more at each meeting. I watched all of this because "they" are now my friends, not just him.
The last time we went out to eat together, she came too. He asked me first if it was ok - it's nice to know he still honours our little tradition. But I knew then that it was going to be him and her from here on out. If only I weren't such a coward. She's perfect for him - beautiful, active, tall & slender, kindhearted, and a doctor to boot. Everything I wish I were - but most of which I will never be, because that's just not who I am.
Yesterday, she flashed me the most beautiful diamond ring - designed by him, just for her. I shrieked with excitement. I'm really, seriously happy for them. I didn't realize it at the time, but I had helped him plan his engagement. On that most recent lunch outing with the two of them, they were asking me about travel destinations for their upcoming anniversary trip. I suggested a few, and they eventually decided on Portland, which I told them was simply breathtaking in beauty. And it was there, over this past weekend, that he proposed to her on bended knee during a hike behind a waterfall. A perfect proposal for two perfect people.
Someday I will have all those things. Someday I will be the person I know I am inside and out. Someday the love of my life will sweep me off my feet and we'll run off into the sunset!
But I know I still have a long way to go before I get there. Not only in body, but in spirit as well. I feel like this time I lost the perfect guy - but in all honesty, it's because I really wasn't ready for him anyway. None of us are really perfect - but I'm going to keep working on myself and plodding ahead on my journey for my own idea of perfection (which is really as imperfect as it gets). And next time when someone "perfect" comes along who really IS perfect for ME, I will be ready - with open arms!