There was pure magic between us the day we finally met. I proudly blush when I remember the compliment he gave me a couple of days later, when he rang me to ‘debrief’ after our first couple of dates. He said: “You are an amazing kisser!”. It’s always good to hear, but to be truthful, I don’t think it was me. It was us.
At some point, when we were making out, I felt like something had taken over us. Our kissing was so intensely beautiful, it was unlike anything I had ever experienced. I caught myself thinking in the moment: “Oh my god, what is this? It’s insane, it’s so good!!”
When I first went down to meet him, at the bar of the hotel where we’d set up our first date, I felt flushed. Nervous. He picked up on it in a heartbeat. We sort of kissed-hugged hello. In this hybrid embrace, his body so close against mine, I was surprised to feel the strength of his full presence .
A couple of minutes later, a sort of a “whoosh” came me over me. Like some kind of heatwave, a steamy body-breath rushed from head to toe or toes to head, I’m not sure. I instantly felt the need to kiss him. Or for him to kiss me.
The place was busy so we were lucky to find seats at the bar. He ordered a couple of glasses of wine and we started chatting. The conversation was easy, he was very much who I had imagined him to be. I felt as attracted to him in real life as I had been to him since our first phone and text exchanges. I was smitten and completely unaware of it.
We kind of knew we were going to have a great time together. After all, we had been waiting two months to finally be face to face. By that point, we were pretty besotted with each other, talking and texting every day, him in Zürich, me between Geneva and Rome. Little did I know then.
After dinner, back at the bar, perched on tall stools, he made his move and we shared our first kiss. Opening our eyes, we found ourselves beaming at each other. Just then, I realised that we were holding hands in an awkward lock. Our lips might have come apart but our hands were gripping at each other, on either sides of his leg. There was something essentially so out of our control in that moment, which felt incredibly auspicious to me. In that gesture, our limbs were expressing a form attachment that we would not have dared put into words.
This first embrace felt weird. Because it felt completely normal. I even said so then. Weird to lock lips with this stranger who wasn’t a stranger at all. Kissing each other felt like breathing, like something I’d been doing all my life and was at once natural and necessary.
This might be a bold statement but I feel that I am a pretty good judge of character. Because I know who I am, I feel that I know energetically, emotionally, intellectually who I can trust, who I am attracted to, who I can give my heart to.
Despite our ups and downs and the fact I am still hungover from our kisses, this love I feel, hung up on the lack of closure after a year of things not working out; even with all of that, I feel safe and secure in myself.
Why you ask? Well here lies the beauty of it all, the reason why my heart opened up to him in the first place, to his voice, his touch: it’s because I know his heart. I know who he is.
Every time his action let me (or us) down, every time we tried to work things out, including every time we failed, I got to know him and understand him (and myself) a little bit better. To my surprise, pretty late in the game, I realised I loved all of him. And all of me too.
The harder we fell, the more we tried, the more I loved us, especially when we admitted our faults, as awkward, painful and hard as it was to communicate, especially with the distance. I found sheer beauty in our flawed efforts and in the intimacy it created.
I fell in love with us, I guess. And I would have been ready to love us for the rest of my life.
Recently I started doing some work around my «Shadow» self and yesterday morning, I was able to recall parts of the dream I had just woken up from.
Bear with me, it’s quite something:
Early in the dream, I helped a spaceship that had crashed nearby (a la Star Wars) and I protected it and the crew onboard by becoming a giant white and red Transformer. Later I came to this scene:
I was standing, waist-deep, in the clear turquoise water of an indoor swimming pool. I felt a current, mild waves generated from an invisible force moved against me. Naked, my hair tumbling down my back, I found that I was quite naturaly sharing the pool with a nude alien. I identified him as “other” since his form wasn’t completely human, including his skin being very different from mine (in the dream, my mate was an interesting shade of baby blue, not unlike the main character in Luc Besson’s “The Fifth Element”; in reality, me and my man had very different skin tones indeed).
For some reason, my alien served me a snack by the side of the pool, handing me a plate of neatly cut gluten-free toast, which I bit into rather delightfully; meanwhile he was ready to dive into plate of earthworms and assorted other gross creatures that I cannot quite remember.
As I put pen to paper first thing in the morning, it often happens that the more opaque and mysterious parts of my dreams offer their deeper meaning, the paper and ink acting like a revelator. And this time was no different. Suddenly I could see the change in me much more clearly, the dream becoming an effective translator in my waking state.
Nothing about this “him” felt scary, or alien, or like an “unreal other”, despite his unusual form. The earthworm situation didn’t feel disgusting. He was simply indulging by being himself in front of me and I loved him for it. Furthermore, his attraction to what could be construed as repulsive, I even found endearing.
So here I am, the Transformer, that morphed from small self to grand loving entity, discovering my new superpower: loving this person fully, becoming acquainted and accepting his shadows, including all those I don’t know: the self hidden from view, from himself and from the world. In the wholeness of love discovering real freedom of heart.
Of course I cannot help but question, how am I able do that? How has this come about? How can I imagine loving the darkest parts of another (parts I remind you I might know nothing about for now). And why now?
Well the reason might be that somehow in this relationship, I got to see a lot of my own Shadow Self. She raised her head from the far away corner she had been relegated to many years ago. At first, looking at her and being near her felt uncomfortable, sometimes a little worrying or even scary. But with lots of love and compassion (and of course greatly helped by my Metta practice as well as my meditation and mindfulness studies), I made room for this other Me. It turns out she is lovely too. Of course she was a little scruffy, malnourished and scared, in need of care and attention to make up for the time spent shackled in the basement of my mind. So I made peace with her existence and somehow I integrated her into my life, into me, no longer pushing her into the darkness.
“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.” Brené Brown
Thanks to this beautiful yet conflicted man, and our rare or unusual relationship, fresh sense was made for me of the teachings I had read earlier in the year from Thich Naht Hanh. In his book, True Love, he says:
“Training is needed in order to love properly; and to be able to give happiness and joy, you must practice deep looking directed toward the person you love. Because if you do not understand this person, you cannot love properly. Understanding is the essence of love.”
In my case, it is myself I needed to understand, to reveal, in order to accept fully all the pieces of my soul, bringing the invisible and the hidden out into the light of our relationship. Daredevil that I am, I showed all of me to him.
Because in falling in love with us, I had also fallen in love with me. Shadow self and all. And I can honestly say, I am in love with both of us.
If that is not pure magic, I don’t know what is.
On that first date, and on many other occasions after, I believe that me and him felt the same thing. Love was there, gripping both of us by the hands, driving us into each other’s arms. Arms that I wish could be around me now. No amount of miscommunication and bad timing can take this away from us.
Today there is a hole in my life in the shape of him. No one will ever fill it, no one could, it’s not their place. And that’s okay. I said to him sometime ago that there will always be room for him, with me, next to me, in my life. I guess in its essence, it was my way to acknoledge that he is simply irreplaceable.
As I turn the page and start to dip my toe in the dating pool, even if with little enthusiasm, I am happy to be able look back and admire us for trying, for being ourselves, flaws and all.
If you enjoyed this, maybe you’ll enjoy one of my other stories…
On Loving Kindness, or Metta Meditation
“The mind creates the abyss, the heart crosses it.” Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj