I always liked nerds. You know, the kind of guys that obsess over boring, intellectual stuff, believing their work will actually change the world? Glasses are also a plus. Blue eyes and blondish hair are also a plus. Check, check, check. He had it all going for him. In the looks and personality department, he was my kind of guy.
My life story is complicated, too complicated to tell now. To get you up to speed, I’ll start here. I’ve lived a crazy, adventurous life, one that guarantees looks from my listeners. I didn’t grow up wealthy or popular. The odds weren’t in my favor but I found love, and love has changed my life.
I started my own organization at 22 and acted like a boss for three years until I traveled half the nation, a few years later, as a wandering missionary all on my own. Needless to say, I was tired. So, I went home. And I rested...for two years. And just when I couldn’t possibly rest anymore, I found an opportunity that changed my life.
A stranger gave me a ride to the Capital, where I told him to leave me. Without a car, money, or connections, I met another stranger. He needed a ride to Nashville. Good luck, was my reaction. However, it was meant to be. Fast forward, we met some more strangers, all in a course of three days, and they put us on a bus back to my SC home. I got my car and I took the boy to Nashville.
I had no idea what Nashville had in store for me, and why I was even there. I knew nothing happened by coincidence, at least not in my life. I certainly didn’t expect to meet him though. Oh no. That was the last thing on my mind. Boys? Marriage? Who has time for that?
But we met. And little did I know, he was not someone that I would easily forget. His hair was neatly styled, semi-chic/semi-geek. He rocked the glasses and his plentiful hair was a nice, sandy shade. I’d been drawn to him. Invited to a party where I dropped the kid from D.C. off, I didn’t see him until the end. I’d met some really interesting people but he was the most.
It felt like a force beyond my control lured me to him. Why hadn’t I seen him sooner? Never mind though, for as soon as I laid my eyes on him, I was enchanted. It felt like I knew him, like I recognized him. The best way I can put it, is that he had the face of the person, the person that I had always been looking for and never even knew it. He was adorable! He was perfect. He was...married.
I looked down at his finger, which by the way I NEVER do, and there was a ring. Oh well, I thought, so much for that. But we spoke and he seemed to be enchanted by me too. So much so, that when we all went to leave, he looked right at me and said, “hope to see you guys again soon.” Yeah right, I’d thought, that’s not happening.
I was wrong. The next night I happened to be alone, offered a night at an Airbnb by a new friend. As I sat on the sofa in the living room, I took a deep breath. It felt good to have some peace and quiet, and a place to sleep for a night. What was I doing here, anyway? Then, my phone went off. I looked down to see a message.
It was from him! What did he want? He had added me on Social Media and now he wanted to talk? Was he a cheater? That was my first thought. Was he just a flirt? Maybe he was just friendly. I took another deep breath and decided to give him the benefit of the doubt.
I would tread lightly, very lightly. Caution was my friend here. I did not want to get wrapped up in some unnecessary drama with a cute guy. Plus, he gave me all the feels, something I wasn’t used to experiencing. Yeah, definitely going to play it safe here.
I didn’t want to be rude, so I replied, my response short and to the point. We ended up hitting it off and you know what? The strangest thing happened. I began to feel like I was in love with this guy! A total stranger! I know, weird right? I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed with this warm, inner sensation that felt like love.
How can you love a complete, random person though? How can you feel a sense of peace and comfort that feels insatiably strong and perfect, at least with someone you don’t know? I don’t know, but I felt it. I felt like I was in love. You can call it hormones or endorphins or whatever. Just know one thing about me though. I don’t easily fall in love. In fact, I’ve never dated a guy and been in love with him.
To try and fully describe the perfect “feeling” that I experienced, after just a few minutes of totally, normal conversation would be impossible. All I know is that I went to bed that night, feeling like I was smitten, like I had been touched by an angel.
Maybe it was supernatural. It sure felt like it. Nevertheless, he was not a single man...not even close. I was not that type of girl either. I was a good girl, labeled that before. I was a rule-follower. I was a clean, morally sound, never-breaks-the-law, kind of deal. I was as pure and “innocent” as they come.
I never did drugs, slept around, drank lots, partied, even cursed. I tried to be a decent person who made wise, healthy choices. Trust me when I say, I was not that girl. I was not the girl to get caught up in a marriage. Oh no. Never in a million years. So what did I do? I did what I would always do. I went to bed and figured, as amazing as our simple conversation had been, we’d never speak again.
Wrong again. One night passed and we didn’t speak. I didn’t expect to. After all, our online conversation was very vague. It was just a friendly, it was nice to have met you kind of chat. But it was now Friday night and I had nowhere to go. All the way in Tennessee, I still couldn’t help but wonder about my reason for being there. Time was ticking away and the time to leave quickly approaching.
I’d made plans to attend a bonfire I’d been invited to. Maybe I would meet someone that would take me in for a few nights. But it was raining. I looked down at my phone and to my surprise, I saw a message from him! What does he want now? I thought. Why is he trying to talk to me? Why, God, why?!!!
It was an invitation to a different, indoor party. I slipped my phone away but couldn’t shake the feeling that I was supposed to attend this instead. I asked my new friend if we could change our plans, and she didn’t hesitate to say yes! So, we went to the party. I didn’t even respond to his invitation, but as soon as I walked in, there he was. He immediately looked at me and his face lit up, as he goofily grinned from ear to ear. Oh God...not again.
I purposefully walked the opposite direction to the other end of the kitchen. It was game time. I had to find a place to crash, at least for the night, and I wasn’t about to waste any time. I talked to some people and they were nice enough but nothing seemed to really be coming out of it. I wasn’t clicking with anyone or feeling it.
Occasionally, I would look up and see him looking at me. What a curious person, I thought. I just don’t get it. Where is his wife even at? One by one, people left the kitchen and mingled into the living room. I was still talking though, so I stayed put in my “safe zone,” away from him. Sure enough, everyone left except myself, another guy, and him. Why is he still in here? I thought.
Admittedly, when I had walked into the party and saw him, I had felt something intense. Again, it was something I can hardly put in words, even now. It felt good though, really good, like you are being overtaken by this heat and it seems to warm your whole, once cold, body. I continued to talk to a random dude but that changed.
Before I knew it, my “friend,” let’s call him “Ray,” was walking towards us. Come on, does he really need to talk to me? He seems way too excited to see me. I know I’ve lived a wonderful life already but he doesn’t know that. What could he possibly see in me?
“You made it,” he said. God knows what I said. All I remember is that the three of us chatted for a few minutes before the other guy vanished into the living room. Now it was just Ray and I. How did we get here? How did this happen? I still didn’t want to be rude.
You can probably guess what happened next. We talked for a while. It felt like forever. I actually remember feeling extremely nervous. I don’t know what was more nerve-racking though, the fact that he was a married man singling me out, or the fact that I felt like I was turning into a pile of mush and really liked him.
I honestly believe that he didn’t mean any wrong by it. He genuinely struck me as a nice guy with a friendly nature. But I couldn’t help but wonder, just wonder, if there was any chance at all that he was feeling, whatever it was, what I was feeling.
But it was wrong though, right? Wrong to feel abnormally connected to a stranger, especially a married one? I couldn’t help what I was feeling. I had been avoiding him. I had been running away from him. Yet, he was still here, face to face with me now. And he was smiling, a lot. Man, why does he have to be so freaking cute?
I couldn’t tell you what we talked about, probably about the not-for-profit work that I did, since I remember him being intrigued by that. Nevertheless, what I remember more, is the bond that we seemed to instantly share, for better or worse…
Suddenly, I knew. OMG. He is going to offer me a place to stay. You are going to stay with him, a voice in my head told me. No! I argued inwardly; I can’t. No way. That’s a bad idea... “So, where are you staying?” He asked me. Why, Lord, why, I remember thinking.
Needless to say, I told him I actually didn’t know, and he immediately, without hesitation, offered to go ask his wife but assured me it would be fine. Weird. He came back, nearing the end of the evening, smiling and told me I could stay with them. Oh boy.
We drove to the convenience store separately, on the way back to their house. I pulled up beside him in the parking spot and looked over to see him smiling and waving at me. Really? I didn’t understand what his deal was but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like it. I did.
When we walked in the door to his apartment, I was overcome with a feeling of peace and a greater feeling of home. It felt like I was home. It felt right. It felt like I was exactly where I was meant to be. I can’t explain that. All I know is that his door opened.
For the next four weeks, I stayed with Ray and his significant other. However, she didn’t seem very significant to him. In fact, I only remember seeing them act like a couple once that entire month. All the other days, they seemed just like ships passing in the night.
I witnessed the strangest “marriage,” as I saw them ignore each other, fight when they did interact, and ultimately act more like roommates than anything else. It seemed to me that their marriage simply consisted of splitting the bills and the meals. Tragic.
Not to mention that he slept on the couch. Oh, and did I mention, that I slept on the other couch? It was the only place available to me, but don’t ask me why he chose to sleep on the other couch, in the same room with me, just a few feet away. Questionable.
It was certainly hard to miss the obvious. He didn’t seem happy. He barely seemed married. From watching her, she seemed absolutely miserable and unenthused about life in general. I obviously connected more with him than her, which made things, hard.
Hard is an understatement, uncomfortable is the better word. I was nice to her, as nice as I would be to anyone, but I just couldn’t relate to her. She always seemed down and emotionally dead. She appeared complacent and indifferent about life. I didn’t get it. I’ve always worn my emotions on my sleeve and been a passionate person.
For better or worse, I’ve been motivated to go after the big dreams that have inspired me, whether or not I look crazy in the process. It has always paid off. I could see that in him too. He was like me, in that way. Wildly driven and determined to make his life matter, to leave a legacy, to leave the world a little better.
But before I learned any of this about him, I could feel it or maybe it was sense it. However you say it, this is the truth, that I just could not stop thinking about him when he was gone. And I felt him too. It’s like I felt overtaken by this deeper, greater sensation; I would feel like I was on fire around him. It was good.
It was something I had never experienced before or since. It’s hard to explain but I literally felt like he was taking my breath away. The crazy thing was that he wasn’t even trying to. He didn’t have to be in the same room as me and I would still feel bombarded with this. It wasn’t dirty or sexual. It was something else.
Passion, love, chemistry, a divine connection, all of the above, I still struggle to explain it. What I do know, is that I barely knew the guy. We had just met and I immediately, from day one, felt that extreme amount of something towards him. Crazy right?
It’s like there was no explanation. I had no other choice but to believe that maybe this was fate; I sure knew that I wasn’t doing it. I wasn’t asking for it; I wasn’t looking for it. It seemed bigger than me and bigger than him. It honestly seemed out of our control.
But what do I do about that right? What do I do when I feel this powerful connection to a complete and total stranger who happens to be accounted for? Well, I prayed. I prayed a lot, in tears, that God would give me an answer. Why was this happening to me? Why?!!!
He smiled at me all the time, and not the friendly, fake smile. No, I’m talking, “the I see you and you matter to me” kind of smile. It had been a long time since a guy had looked at me like that. Not to mention the questions, oh the questions. He always asked me about myself, and we ended up going out to different events together.
His wife was there but not really. It’s like she just existed for his comfort, and to help him survive by not running out of money. I wasn’t the only one who noticed that either. Nevertheless, he would always look at me from across the room and wink. Again, who does that? At night, as I would be falling asleep, I would always look over to see if his feet were dangling off the end of his couch.
There was something reassuring and strangely comforting, knowing that he was right there. I even cried one night when he went to sleep in the room. What was happening to me? He even invited me to come to work with him, and have Thanksgiving with his family!
My life was changing and I was beginning to fall for a total stranger. But this couldn’t happen. He was taken. I had a crazy dream that seemed real that left me waking up in tears. Strange things were happening. Every time I tried to leave town, my car would break down.
It seemed we were meant to be together, I couldn’t deny that. But, God, I remember praying (more like begging), how can this be? He’s married, and surely, you don’t endorse divorce? The only way that we could ever be together is if he got a divorce.
Little did I know what I was saying. A few days later, we went to my new friend’s house, and without knowing a single soul there, he announced to all three of us girls that he had been thinking about getting a divorce! I had to do everything in my power to not let my jaw hit the floor. I wasn’t asking him to get a divorce, well…
A small part of me couldn’t help but feel relieved. Maybe I wasn’t losing my mind, maybe there really was something there. Only time would tell.