A TRUE LOVE
Lurking about at Kos' place (again). But the diary I just read has me in tears. Tears for the diarist's loss. Tears of joy at what the diarist celebrated with his beloved Lauren. Tears of hope that I met a man who loves me the way the diarist loved his wife. I hope he won't mind me sharing excerpts of his diary here, and I hope you will head over to Kos' and show him some love.
Fifteen years ago, on an ordinary March night in an ordinary town, I opened the door to an ordinary pub and first laid eyes upon the extraordinary woman who would change my life forever. I’ll never, ever forget the first time I saw Lauren: those beautiful cornflower blue eyes and her long, curly auburn hair made my heart skip a beat, or maybe two, and a strange feeling came over me; a feeling that something important had just happened.
She happened to be sitting with some people I knew from school, so I sat down at the table, across from her, and it was then that I got to hear for the first time that lovely, lilting English accent. I felt smitten, and I proceeded to spend the next hour or two flirting shamelessly with her, trying to make her laugh, and sometimes even succeeding.
Over the next few months a deepening friendship developed between us. I noticed she had the gift of making others feel comfortable with themselves; she had an infectious and generous smile; she had a serenity about her. As the months passed and we drew closer, I found myself opening up to her more and more; I felt like I could tell her anything about myself, and she made me feel like whatever particularly unflattering detail I might reveal could never lower her opinion of me. Lauren had an innate understanding of the inevitability of imperfection and this allowed her to see past faults and to focus on the good side of people.
As that year drew to a close, Lauren neared the completion of her master’s degree, which meant that her student visa would soon expire and she’d have to return home to England. As her last couple of weeks here passed by, I felt sadness over her leaving, but the sadness puzzled me; I hadn’t yet realized I’d fallen in love with her.
Two nights before she was to head back home – Saturday, December 19th, 1992, for the record – in the deep, late night quiet of her living room, we finally both gave in and confessed our true feelings to each other.
So began a very long distance love affair, her in northern England and me in upstate New York. This was the early 90’s, remember; the days before email and cheap long distance. A couple of two to three hour phone calls every week, even if made during off-peak hours, could eat a big chunk out of your paycheck. So we’d write these long, long love letters to each other. Lauren would scent her letters with her perfumes, and oh, how my heart soared when I smelled the arrival of a new letter in the mail. I’d hold the letter up to my face to breathe in the perfume, and then I’d tear open the envelope and read the letter over and over and over again.
Four months into our affair, in April of 1993, she came out to see me for two weeks and those two weeks were, without a doubt, the best two weeks of my life to that point. And when those two weeks ended, I took her down to JFK to see her off, and after she walked away from me and through the doors marked passengers only, I sat down and cried my eyes out, because I knew, for certain, that I had found the one thing I truly wanted in life.
A year and three months after that painful goodbye at Kennedy, me and Lauren married, on July 23rd, 1994. A gorgeous and magical day on the shores on Lake Windermere – right out of a movie, my father always says – that set the tone for the next thirteen years. We honeymooned in the Lake District and then I had to come home and wait for Lauren to get her green card, and a long wait it was; nine months in fact, and she couldn’t travel here during that time, and I had just started a new job that I needed to keep to prove to the INS I could support her, so we did not see each other once during those nine months. When that wait finally ended, we treated ourselves to a second honeymoon, a week in Maine in April of 1995.
But truly, for me and Lauren, the honeymoon never ended. Our love for each other never stopped growing. During all the time we spent apart, we always used to say, in letters and over the phone, that ALL we wanted, ALL we cared about, was being together. And when the time came for us to be together, we savored it. We truly and deeply appreciated the gift of being present with each other.