It’s hard to believe that it’s been fifteen years since that sunny Valentine’s Day when I fell in love. I’ve told the story before. It might be the one post I’ve ever re-posted. But it’s still hard to believe how the world can change so quickly.
I’d been jealous before. I don’t think it’s possible to grow up without experiencing some form of romantic jealousy. Maybe it’s seeing her with another guy. Maybe it’s seeing him looking at someone else the way he should be looking at you. Maybe it’s hearing a story that translates to you as a missed opportunity or worse, betrayal. It doesn’t matter. In one way or another, we’ve all been there.
I’d also fallen in love before. Once it was an idealistic vision of something that I was utterly clueless about. Once it was a resigned acceptance of that which I knew wasn’t going to happen. In both cases, I reached for the star. I tried. But it wasn’t to be. Again, chances are we’ve all been there or will face it someday, in some form. .
I thought the jealousy came first, but I was wrong. The jealously revealed what was already there, even if I hadn’t admitted it to anyone, least of all myself.
A day and a half later, as I sat in my dark living room, it all became clear. I had no need to be jealous, or, for that matter lonely or searching.
I’d had a dream, not long before. It was my wedding day. My family and friends were joyfully greeting me in a parking lot. But my bride was nowhere to be found. I was not concerned. I watched a white van drive past, and I knew she was in there, whoever she was.
In that living room, in the dark, the identity of that woman became crystal clear. It was Alissa. It was always Alissa. I’d felt an attraction to her in our first email communications before we’d ever met. We’d both had to grow up a lot, and travel our individual journeys, our paths intersecting and paralleling each other before merging.
But our paths did merge, fifteen years ago with flare of the best kind of jealousy.
We don’t consider Valentine’s Day our anniversary, but it certainly represents a critical moment for us because that is when everything changed. That’s when I knew I wasn’t alone, and the world never looked the same after that day. I was not just me. I was half of us.
So what else is there to say to Alissa, my love, who challenges me and supports me and makes me a better man?
Alissa, fifteen years ago, I realized that I was in love with you. I still am. Thank you for being all that you are to me. Thank you for taking my hand and journeying with me through life. I love you.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
And Happy Valentine’s Day to my reader’s as well.