I met the man of my dreams over the internet. No, not that way. We met because I was looking for an affordable medical illustrator for my job. I’m a photo editor at a publishing company. This, it turns out, involves other visual stimuli aside from actual photographs.
He did some illustrations for me for a few months, and I enjoyed the ease with which we communicated. This was a welcome relief from the typical ‘slam-your-head-against-a-brick-wall’ type of negotiations I was used to! We shared a similar style of prose, a similar wit, even though his was decidedly English while mine was necessarily American.
That Christmas…I want to say this year will be 3 years, can that be right? That Christmas I sent out an e-mail greeting portrait of my daughter, my cat, and I from my personal e-mail account. I sent it to all the people I worked with as well as some friends. Apparently this email came at a very pivotal moment for our hero, as he was in the midst of a depressed state out of which my greeting roused him!
Our story begins there, because it was from that moment that we began our friendship, a friendship of e-mailed letters sent regularly--long musings on life, the universe, love, and everything in between. He was in a relationship; I was still nursing the wounds of my last one and trying to get back ‘out there’. I told him of my dates, he encouraged me, made me laugh. He wrote to me of his doubts and fears, I supported him in kind.
Last February I had to go to a wedding in London, and he was going to be visiting his girlfriend in the North. We decided to meet. I was very nervous, even though I kept telling myself that we were just friends, there was nothing to be nervous about! He came to meet me at my hotel and we head out into the frigid London weather. I was worried about our ability to communicate with our voices, after all the writing. We tend to be much more open and ‘talkative’ when behind the safety of a computer.
We had no trouble at all. We talked, we laughed, and we made fun of artwork. We got coffee and talked about ‘soul mates’, never once acknowledging that we were perhaps wondering that about each other. We went to the science museum. We went to dinner. And then we got hopelessly lost trying to find the way back to my hotel so he could get a train and I could get ready for a pre-wedding party. We laughed about being lost the whole time, as it started to snow, and we continue to joke about it to this day. Freud, anyone?
It only took a couple months after that for us to realize we were in love, and had been for some time. He took the plunge first, in an e-mail of course, and I admitted that for as long as I could remember I had said “I love you” out loud after reading his e-mails. A visit was in order! But first things first, he had a girlfriend!! He lives on the other side of the ocean!! We spent the next few months working these things through. He ended his relationship with his girlfriend, knowing this was no guarantee we would end up together, we asked lots of questions and he indulged me with every neurotic freak out that I had when I told him he had to stop saying he loved me for a little while!! I was very scared, and very in love.
He came to visit this past August for one week. A couple days into it and he was saying he wanted to marry me—that he’d ‘be the biggest fool in the world if he didn’t try’. By the last day, I was hooked. More than that, it was obvious. I have never felt such certainty about anything in my entire life. Anything.
All the clichés about love came true, and I was in awe. At 36 years old I was getting the fairytale ending I had only dreamed of but had given up on years ago. I just knew. And holy shit, how I hated hearing people say that over the years. I honestly thought they were kidding themselves. Yet here I am, engaged to a man I love completely and who loves me. And you know what? I have no doubts that he loves me, and I’ve NEVER had that before. Not only that, I’ve never felt that someone actually loved every part of me, good and bad and just plain weird. It is one of the best feelings in the world, to feel loved, and safe in that love. I have someone who writes things like this to me:
“I love you so very much Sarah. Not because I needed to love someone this much, but because I met you and simply couldn't help it.”
We had our official engagement on October 9th, my 9-year sobriety anniversary. We went to NY and saw Carmen at the Metropolitan Opera, and I got the ring I helped design using my great-grandmother’s diamond. It was a magical night.
I’ll tell you more about it sometime.