Wednesday, August 26, 2015

He Likes It

17 years ago today I met a young man.

We became fast friends, almost immediately drawn together, like we had known one another our entire lives. Of course he was cute, but that was not at all what drew me to him. He was nice, very gentlemanly, and sooo funny!

He knew my host sister, and was in the same class as her then boyfriend. He worked at a little store that was only about a block from my host family's house, and I would go, almost everyday, and visit him. Very often I would spend two hours there talking with him. Apparently I had quite a reputation at the store. Ha! No, they just all knew who I was.

I didn't realize at first, and then later tried to deny, that I had totally fallen in love with him. It took me so long to realize it because it was just so natural for us. We were what we were. We were good friends who, through copious amounts of hand gestures and a broken mix of Russian and English, would talk for hours, sometimes in the store, and sometimes going on three hour walks.

He was the first, and probably only person, around whom I felt completely comfortable. For the first time in my seventeen years I didn't feel self-conscious. I never thought about how fat I looked or what anyone else thought of me. And somehow, even though my Russian was almost non-existent and his English was not very good, we still understood each other. It's almost like we understood each other on a cellular level.

Well, after about three months I gave in to the fact that I was smitten, but I never knew if he felt the same. I knew that he really cared for me, but I didn't think it was as more than a dear friend.

Fast forward 17 years.

Of course we wrote letters and talked over the years, except for a period of about five years where we kind of lost touch. When we picked up again, I knew that I still felt the same, I had always longed for him, but figured like a tragic book, it was not meant to be. Then we started writing again and things were a little different--I got little hints that maybe he felt more then friendship.

So, I'm a little conflicted at the moment.

Up to this point I had not been able to get out of him what his feelings for me were exactly and what he wanted for us, if anything, in the future. I have really been enjoying talking to him for hours at a time a couple times a month (continuing our history of multi-hour conversations), and being able to call pretty much anytime I want. But, I felt like it was not really going anywhere. I was looking at it from the view point of being in a relationship, but had no idea how he felt, so to me, it was a relationship going nowhere.

I talked with my counselor on a Friday and that evening I had pretty much decided that I needed to move on. I called him that evening and it was evident that he had been drinking--I could hardly understand him. Of course I was disappointed, but he said it was the first time since I left that he had had a drink, and I had not had any evidence to the contrary, so I am cautiously optimistic.

I called him the next day and he was better, though obviously still not recovered from the previous night. He was very apologetic and when I tried to say I would call a different time he said no, he wanted to say something. It was obvious that he had been kind of depressed, and then he said "do you love me even though I'm shit?" After rolling my eyes and thinking "I'm in love with a drama queen," I said "you're not shit, and yes I love you anyway." He said something about how life was no good and I kind of snapped and said "it can be better, why don't you just try and do something to change it?!" Probably somewhat taken aback he said, "Ok, I'll try."

He then went on to say that I was such a good person and how he didn't want to lie to me, that he didn't love me right away and it was only after I left the first time that realized he cared for me as more than a friend. He also said that there had been other girls, but at some point he realized it wasn't love, it was just sex and he didn't want that any more. He said that he realized I was the only one he could give his heart to.

Then, he apologized for doing this over the phone, but he asked if I was coming in December to visit and I said yes if you want me to, and then he said "If you come in December, would you be my wife?"

With tears in my eyes and twenty different emotions swirling through my body, I didn't answer right away and he said I didn't have to answer now, he asked again and I said "of course."

O.M.G.!

What just happened? He asked me if I would take him as he was and if I would be his wife. He asked me about 5 times.

Did I just get engaged?

He asked if I would stay there with him and I said that I can't because I have to finish school (and have income...) but I said that we would figure it out. So, there is still a lot to figure out and to think about, but at least I finally know how he feels. AND as if all my dreams were coming true, he said to me that he knows I have issues with my weight but that doesn't mean that I'm not attractive. I almost melted.

And now I've been going around singing to myself "He likes it and he wants to put a ring on it!"

There is still a lot to work out and I don't know how or what will happen, but wow!




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