A series of coincidences put me in the right place at the right time. I got referred to the security job while brainstorming at the employment office with the job counselor. I got fired at one site for being a whistle-blower. I worked in another city for a month and a half, then heard about an opening in my town from a friend. I'd met this friend, Shelly, at the site I was fired at and she'd left too. She'd moved on to a different site, where he worked, and so she knew about the opening there. I called the company and got an interview.
He was the trainer for my position. He worked the same job on another shift.
He almost wasn't open to a relationship. He broke up with his ex a month before. She'd strung him along for two years. Even though she kept saying that they were "just friends" he'd kept on hoping for more. Every embrace, every night of passion kept him hooked. Finally, she had ended it.
I never quite know whether I wish to strangle her for mistreating him or thank her for being such a fool as to let him go.
He told me, after we'd dated for awhile, that if he'd still been with her he wouldn't have said yes when I asked him out. I had asked, curious. I shuddered at the thought that I might have missed out:missed out on his body, his heart, his humor, his tenderness--his love.
I almost didn't write the card. It expressed my attraction and requested the chance to get to know him better. I gave it to him at work.
I was afraid. Being alone was safer. I knew how to get by. Aching for a romance that never comes seemed easier than getting over a romance forever lost. I wasn't sure I could risk again. Gripped by fear, I even questioned the strength of my attraction. Did I really want him in particular? Or was it the force of loneliness--or lust?
I teetered on the edge of indecision for days. I can't even say exactly what pushed me over the edge, in the direction of risk. But over I went.
Into his arms.
But he almost didn't say yes.
He'd heard about my card in advance. Supervisors told him: If you're not comfortable with this, tell us and we'll put a stop to it.
He'd also heard that I was bisexual, fourteen years older, and a witch. Fortunately, this intrigued him.
Nevertheless, hurt, weary of being used, he was not sure he wanted to risk again, either.
One phrase decided him in my favor: "I admire your intelligence, your kindness and your sense of humor--and your gorgeous eyes!"
I almost didn't write that.
I agonized over what to write, once I decided to send the card. I sat there with it in front of me at work, frustrated, for hours. I wanted to write something wonderful, profound. I was a writer, after all. I felt pressured. And my mind was as blank as the inside of the card.
Finally, exasperated with myself, I grabbed a sheet of scratch paper. Willing myself to forget about writing deathless prose, I tried to write about the facts: I had been wanting to ask him out. I was too shy, worried about making our work situation awkward and uncertain.
Almost as an afterthought it occurred to me that maybe I should tell him why I found him attractive. I had to stop and analyze just why I was so interested--something I really hadn't done--and then frame it into words that might move him. Somehow the words I chose were just the right ones.
We hit it off as soon as we started dating. The day he called to respond to my card we talked for two hours. From the beginning we got along quite well, and it made me optimistic about the future. And as every month passed we grew closer and closer. Our discussions began to focus on a shared future. Eventually we talked of rings, a wedding, a honeymoon.
It's scary sometimes to think of the "almosts" that could have kept us apart. We could have missed the chance to share this incredible happiness together.
But I tell myself it's true, what my mother always said: "Almost doesn't count."