Me: “I’d love to fly one day. Actually break free of Earth’s gravity under my own power and just take off.”
Sam: “We should jump out of a plane someday.”
I’m not a religious person; more of a spiritual one. I believe in karma almost as strongly as I believe in God; every last thing we do, in this life, or the next one, we will answer for. I know this as surely as I’m writing this blog.
I figured that part of my karma was watching people all around me settle down in permanent relationships. I’ve always thought it was the most awesome thing in the world; to have someone know all of the worst things about you, and love you anyway.
Samantha once told me that she loved me because of my faults; they made me who I am.
And then I’m reminded; almost nothing is unforgivable, and everyone deserves a second chance. We just have to earn it.
Samantha and I met six years ago; despite being, well, whatever I was, with no fixed address, I still thought I had what it took to be a husband and father. Anyway, we were states apart when we met by chance, but that first conversation we had was epic; we chatted for nearly four hours (which is funny, because I can’t talk to anyone for four hours) about everything ranging from our favorite football teams (she’s a diehard Packers fan) to our unifying faith in God. A deeply religious good-girl with a wild streak and weakness for bad boys, Samantha had a smile that was visible from across the world and eyes that see straight through you. Those eyes scared the hell out of me, back then; all of those walls I had spent years building up had come crashing down in a single day.
Keeping Sam at a distance wasn’t as easy as I made it out to be, even across the country. Nothing about me frightened her; I told her the worst thing I had ever done in my life and she didn’t even blink. I wanted to scream at her; CAN’T YOU SEE HOW BROKEN I AM?! RUN! GET AWAY! GET AWAY NOW!
But she didn’t. No matter what I said, no matter what I did…she was right there, never further than an email or phone call away. I honestly think that was the first time in my life I had known complete and total acceptance from the opposite sex. Yeah, I had absolutely no idea what to do with that.
Although we didn’t become a couple for years, we managed to stay friends. Finally, three years ago, unable to stay in Michigan without getting arrested and having burned everyone I was close too, we finally met.
The first night we met, she cooked for me; sour cream chicken. We stared up at the stars and asked each other what we wanted out of life.
And although the circumstances were all wrong back then, we decided to give being a couple a shot.
Things were not all bad, nor entirely our fault; Samantha has a beautiful daughter I quickly bonded with, and she spoke to my kids over the phone. But the beginning of our relationship marked my going straight; I had no idea how difficult the adjustment would be. Plus, the rug was yanked from under her after her family fell apart and her mother, decided to leave the state. I was working overnights, she was working during the day, we barely saw each other on the weekends, and when we did, we usually took the chaos of our lives out on each other. But our fights were never hateful; we never called each other any names…just two very intelligent, very passionate people with similar beliefs and different pathways battling it out.
Still, the good times were awesome, although I couldn’t see it back then. Sam’s humor was very G-rated (I likened it to Disney) and it used to grate on me. She could meet someone once and years later, they’d still remember her. I didn’t like it because I wished I could connect with people like she did. I rode the emotional roller-coaster harder with her than anyone else, even becoming engaged for a moment.
She was the only woman I ever came that close to marrying.
Still, in the end, with us unable to come to any common ground, we reluctantly called it quits.
And then, something amazing happened; we got ourselves together.
She moved to Texas, continuing to raise her daughter and pursue the same dream she’s been after as long as I’ve known her. She lost weight. Her confidence went through the roof. She gained the ability to see the world through other’s eyes.
And me, well, I (somewhat) got over myself.
Put all the anger away. Made peace with my family. Saw my kids. Began resolving my diabetes. Figured out what I wanted to do in life. Even *gasp* maintained employment at the same job for more than two years.
When my last relationship collapsed (which was more my fault than I’d like to admit), I reached out to Sam, just to see what was up; I hadn’t talked to her in over a year.
Occasional conversations turned into an every-night thing (Skype rocks) as we filled each other in the happenings of our lives. To be completely honest, it didn’t take long for old feelings to reach the surface again. So when she made plans to come up here to visit old friends, I offered to let her stay at my place. The rest is history.
Samantha is crazy and she’ll be the first person to tell you that. She’s stubborn, hard-headed, a little too intelligent for her own good, extremely driven with an unshakable faith in God that guides everything she does. Plus, she doesn’t realize it yet, but she really doesn’t believe in fear or excuses. And don’t ever, ever lie to her. Trust me on this, please?
I honestly didn’t think I’d ever get a second chance with this woman; after everything, I didn’t think I deserved one. And with us living, once again, states apart, nothing is guaranteed and we both know that. We also both believe in earning what you want, so I look at it as God throwing down the gauntlet and asking me; “How badly do you want this?”
I’m not self-destructing this time. I’m not falling back into the same patterns that cost me everyone else. So here’s hoping.
And for now, I’m glad I got a second chance at The One That Got Away. J
Thanks for reading.
(c) Avery K. Tingle for Akting Out LLC
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