Five years ago today, I went on my first real date… ever. It was with, I would later find out, the love of my life. He was kind, charming, polite, an utter gentleman. We went to Olive Garden, the fanciest restaurant I could think of when he asked me where we should go. He opened my car door when he picked me up and opened my door at the restaurant. He paid the tab. He expected no “funny business” after we had dinner.
He was working two jobs at the time; first as a closing manager at the grocery store we both worked at, his shift being 4pm-12am. Then he would go buff the floors at a different store from 1am-6am. I had a lot of respect for him; he was working two jobs and taking two classes at the local community college. We talked often during his freight shift which eventually turned into talking during work and whenever we were apart.
He kept me up most nights, well, I kept myself up most nights in order to continue talking to him. I was starting to trust him and tell him some of the adversities in my life that were only known to my family and my therapist. I had a fear that he would lose interest and would just… poof! Disappear…
As the weeks turned into months, we would meet in the parking lot of another grocery store nearby and we would talk for hours outside of our cars. Eventually, he would say he had to go to the 24 hour gym which led to us working out together regularly. We would either go to the gym so he could lift weights or we would go walk his parents’ dogs or go for a run since the summer months were here.
We ended up doing a 5k together and ran faster than him! Granted, at the time, I was in really good shape but that’s besides the point. But the important thing was we had fun and it was a blast training with him. One night, we were running by the schools when the sprinklers in the fields went off. I told him we should take the dog and run through the sprinklers! So that’s exactly what we did. We laughed til we cried, we were so jolly and merry. It felt good and freeing… to be in love.
I told him on a run after that one that I loved him. I don’t remember what he said, but I don’t think he said it back. I was crushed. I felt like all of my efforts had been wasted, however, it was just the beginning of this relationship.
Months turned into years, we still worked together and were inseparable. So much so, that we got our first rental home together. It was exciting, having a place all to ourselves with no roommates besides each other. It was fun turning a house into our home.
We fought like cats and dogs and most arguments ended with me in tears. Usually the problem was my fault but he went about things in a particular way that made me cry without fail. But the love was strong. Through my mistakes, we tried to make things work, but couldn’t. We parted ways and I moved out of the house, planning to end our lease in a couple months so we wouldn’t get fined.
After time and hopefulness, we got engaged. And then I ended it. And for nearly two years after that, we were on again, off again.
Now you must be thinking, “how does this end? Where does Diego come into play?”
Well… the love of my life mentioned above is Diego. And the story is still yet to be written. See, our relationship has never been linear, like most are. There are a lot of ups, downs, sideways, and loopty-loops. I often referred to us as two moths drawn to a flame. But I like to think of it now as someone who is meant to be in my life, someone who I am meant to keep. It’s just a sign from God that it is His will that we come back together.
I can’t say this ride has been easy, but it has been fulfilling and I couldn’t be more grateful for that and to have God’s grace and Diego’s good graces by my side.
Happy anniversary, kinda sorta, to my lovey!