While the chemistry between us could not be ignored, I knew that chemistry alone would not sustain a relationship. It was too early to know if the budding relationship was going to be sustainable, but one thing I knew was that I liked this man, liked who I was getting to know.
For one thing, he was smart enough to connect with me intellectually without stumbling into some dark, cerebral woods and getting lost, never to find his way out and maybe falling asleep after wandering around a while. He would not get lost in conversation. Of this I was sure. We didn’t necessarily have the same knowledge base, but that actually had its advantages. We could learn from one another. I was definitely willing to learn from him. It remained to be seen how willing he was to learn from me.
I was only beginning to develop a sense of whether there was intellectual and spiritual depth to him, and I was looking forward to conversations that would give me a better sense of that. But a couple of text exchanges were telling. In response to a comment I made about the power of Mother Nature, he texted back that he just wanted to go paddling on a huge flooding river, feel insignificant compared to the force of the water, and find a bit of satisfaction in not trying to fight that force but instead, make it work for him. Another time, we traded texts on a Rumi poem I had e-mailed him. He liked the poem and made reference to his own human longing. I replied that the most fundamental human longing is for connection with the divine and the return to Oneness, to which he replied that it was hard to find that without death. That, I thought, could be the beginnings of a very interesting conversation.
I liked the fact that I could not get much past him. He picked up on everything, even simple things. During one text exchange, he asked what I was reading, and I told him I was reading mediocre fiction that I had nearly finished. He texted back that he was guessing it was a romance novel since I hadn’t named it. He was right, and vey few people I knew would have been astute enough to catch it.
The fact that he was a reader was appealing. Books are important to me, and I could not imagine having a meaningful relationship with someone who didn’t read. When Derek was not working, blazing trail or hiking it, kayaking, playing pool, riding his Harley, or otherwise engaged in something active, he was often reading. He didn’t watch television. Instead, he read.
That he was into double entendres also delighted me. They slipped back and forth between us easily and usually without comment. But we each knew that the other was on to them. The subtlety was delicious.
Hugely appealing to me was his level of activity. Apart from the weight room, which we had in common, we were active in different ways, but he was definitely active enough to keep up with me physically. Could I keep up with him? The very fact that I had that question made me take notice because I rarely had that question about a man.
I found myself smiling when I looked at any photo of him, smiling before I met up with him, smiling when I was with him, and smiling after our time together. I was smiling a lot. Just thinking about him made me smile. In my mind, a man you smiled about so often was a man you might want to keep around. It has been said that a woman should find a man who doesn’t ruin her mascara but instead ruins her lipstick. Derek was that kind of guy.
I loved that his family was important to him. He practiced kayaking rolls with his daughter and danced wildly with her to loud rock and roll in his living room. He needed a regular dose of contact with his stepchildren and grandchildren, and the photos he sent while he was visiting them enchanted me. One featured him on a yard swing with a granddaughter being pushed by the other granddaughter. Grinning grandfather in ball cap, tattoos visible on a luscious bicep, with a sweet, beautiful little gril in a flower headband right next to him and another with a grin much like her grandfather’s pushing the swing. Another photo featured the girls playing a board game. It seemed to me that a grandfather like him was every little girl’s dream. It certainly would have been mine as a child.
Of course, I also liked how open he was with lovely comments. Even though I am grounded in self-love, I am not immune to a man’s appreciation. He told me I was a hard body. It was hyperbole, but I was more than happy to accept it. He said that I was gorgeous, commented on how small my waist was, and marveled at my soft skin. During one conversation, when I pointed out that I had the body of a woman in her sixties, his immediate reply, in a tone of voice that suggested awe, was, “If that is the case, I wish I could have seen you when you were thirty.” That he found my body anything but the body of a woman in her sixties made him my hero.
During one text exchange, as we were planning to get together for lunch, I asked if he wanted to meet at a restaurant somewhere or come to the house. His reply was, “I want to come to your beautiful house and see you, beautiful.” And after one such lunch at the house that included a bit of nuzzling, he texted me that he could smell me on him once he was back at the office. He liked that, and I liked that he bothered to tell me about it.
He didn’t cook and had dangerously little knowledge about nutrition. That was not ideal, but then, I didn’t know that many men who could cook. That he didn’t even seem all that into food might have been more of a concern, but he did seem to appreciate my cooking. And the fact that he was careful to maintain a healthy weight was very good. Could he be enticed into the kitchen to cook with me? Both of the women he had been married to had been housewives. Did he want a woman who would be a housewife and just take care of him and the mundane things in life so he was free to play in his off-work hours? Did he simply want a woman to adapt to his world without him having to adapt to hers? I didn’t yet know.
In fact, it remained to be seen whether he would want to participate in any of the things that were an ongoing part of my life. I wanted to participate in things of interest to him: hiking the trail he had cut, shooting at the range he had created on his property, riding behind him on his Harley, and even playing pool if he was willing to teach me. Would he want me to participate in those things with him? I wasn’t sure. Would he join me in some of my pursuits? I wasn’t sure about that either.
What I was sure of that Saturday night after the dinner guests had left and after the reading of my shamanic journey and telling of his vulnerability were done was that I wanted to invite him into my bed.
And I did.
Note: The name Derek is fictitious and has been used out of respect for the man involved.
Copyright 2016 by Melanie Mulhall