Ouch

“The pain you feel today is the strength you feel tomorrow!”

I’m not sure where I originally heard that saying but it’s always stuck out in my mind.

It’s in the same vein as old stand by’s such as “no pain, no gain”, “pain is temporary, pride is forever”.

They all resonate the same sentiment: working out is gonna hurt!

Before our trip to San Fransisco, I’d gotten lazy with regards to my workouts. Only doing the minimum amount of work each day.

My running had almost completely stopped and my daily ritual of abs and push ups slipped to a “when I remember” routine.

Since being back, I’m back on track. And let me tell you… I’m sore!

I don’t use weights very often but when I do it’s to help strengthen my knees. I tend to get too bulky from strength training so I stick to the muscle, strength and endurance workouts I learned in the Army.

This past weekend I’ve increased the intensity of my strength training. More push-ups, more leg lifts, more crunches, more squats.

My legs are feeling fine, which surprises me, but I’ve discovered my lower back and even my lats are screaming at me!

I’m pretty proud of myself. I’ve managed to get myself back to the level I was at when I left the Army. 30 push-ups, 50 sit-ups and 2 miles in less than 20 minutes.

It may not seem like much to a person who pushes themselves to an extreme every day, but considering that just 8 months ago I couldn’t squat down on a bridge deck without my inspector helping me get back up? It’s amazing!!

I’ve dropped over 30 lbs and plan to drop at least another 20. Or at least another 4″.

Julie commented on how small I’m getting and when she pulled out old pictures of the two of us from high school, I could easily see that I was a bit on the “pudgy” side compared to her toned physique.

I feel pretty good about my progress.

My former ethics professor, Warren, has recently started running again too. We’ve talked about how we plan to meet up twice a week to run together at the school. They have a terrific trail that goes around the campus which is adorned with gardens, fountains and other landscapes that make a daily jog worth the effort.

I’m enjoying my last week of “vacation”. Classes start back up Monday. My Chem class has been moved from 12:30 to 10:00 am which will cause some serious logistical issues regarding sleep, but as I told Warren, I’ll figure it out.

So far, I’m still on track. I’m in the honors program and have secured a few scholarships. I’ve been offered a position on a research team for the Texas Transportation Institute at A&M, which will help offset the tuition there AND give me the opportunity to be published (a noteworthy accomplishment in any field).

Julie has had 3 offers on the house and it’s not even on the market yet. Because of that, we are looking at a mid June move instead of July.

I head up to Illinois next weekend so we can both look at apartments and lofts.

All in all, life is on track.

As I look at our original time table, I feel like it’s all a million years away: Until I start living it. Then I wake up to discover that time has slipped by and I can’t recall ever experiencing it.

Today, I’m hopeful and optimistic. I’m sore but focused. I’m happy. Happy in a content sort of way that I haven’t been able to experience in a very long time!

What if?

Do you believe that some people should be alone?

I used to think that I was one of those people. Not because I couldn’t find anyone, but because I never seemed to be able to make a relationship work for more than a decade at most.

Until I met my ex, I’d never tried one of those dating sites. I have always been pretty social so I found myself in situations where meeting women was fairly easy.

I played in a gay softball league, played football for a pro women’s league, attended an open church, frequently went to gatherings that were hosted by the cops I worked with, etc. add in the fact that I have always been a staple at town hall meetings, city council meetings and throw in the occasional interview for the news, all due to my work duties and I have never been a stranger to crowds or being recognized.

What made me try a dating site?

I assumed I must have a “broken picker” as my friend J Will says.

I’d find women flirting with me and I’d always stray from the ones that, on paper, were a better match to me than the typical femme, petite girls I was attracted to.

I went for the high maintenance, hot mess, types.

So, my train of thought was that if I filled out the questions honestly, posted what I was looking for, the magic of internet dating would do it’s stuff and I’d find happily ever after.

Let me just say… I almost ran for the hills!!

I met one woman who couldn’t stop talking about how she had cheated on her ex and realized how it was the biggest mistake of her life. (Not over the ex… NEXT)

Then there was the one who was a “one upper”. No matter how good my day was, hers was better. Regardless of how heavy traffic was during my commute, traffic was worse for her. (Too competitive… NEXT!)

And who could forget the one that made me feel like I needed a shower after we met for coffee?!?! The entire conversation revolved around talking about her kids, friends, work, etc. All in all, pleasant. Then, as I’m driving home I start getting texts from her telling me how the entire time we were talking she was fantasizing about all the different ways she wanted to violate my body. Of which, she decided to share with me. (Ick.. Just ick!!)

My ex was a fluke. She was sweet and shy. She wasn’t the best looking girl I’d met, but by this time if decided that a new friend was good enough.

In the beginning I honestly had no reason to pursue anything romantic with her. Then my friends all chimed in.

“She’ll be good for you!” “You need a good girl!” “You’re focusing too much on the outside!”

So, I went with it. Things went well for a while. Then all the things that I worried would come between us did.

Her family and their attitude towards her sexuality. Our differing parenting styles. Our inability to compromise. Her insistence that arguing in a relationship is unnatural.

As time went by, I started to see our lives falling apart. She started making excuses to not be around me and I tried to maintain some semblance of family.

Finally, after weeks of her going back and forth about what she wanted I finally said, “I’m done!”

And that was it. 2 weeks later I moved out and we haven’t spoken since.

When I reconnected with Julie, I thought she was happily living with her partner. She didn’t admit to me until about a month later that they were divorcing.

We became friends.

Something we hadn’t been in almost 30 years.

I enjoyed getting to know her on that level. Hearing her talk about her day, chatting about basketball or school, debating philosophy and religion.

At some point I felt a crush developing, but again, I had resigned myself to the fact that I was just one of those people who wouldn’t have that happily ever after scenario.

I had decided that I could enjoy a woman’s company from time to time but the notion of losing myself in another relationship held no appeal to me.

Then Julie and I did the unthinkable! We found ourselves in love with each other again.

I still spend way too much time worrying about the “what ifs”. What if her family puts her in a position to choose between them or me? What if she decides that I’m too rough around the edges? After all, she’s a well respected, successful Ph.D. I’m a tattooed, abrasive, big, glorified construction worker.

Even the little “what ifs” creep in to my head.

What if she decides she can’t stand the way I throw my socks on the floor by the bed? What if she’s a “make the bed” nazi like my ex was? What if I suddenly decide that the way she organizes the pantry makes me crazy?

I know…I know…

These are all little things that we can sort through. But, these little things have all added up in my past relationships to be used against me or us at a later date.

I’m still planning a future with her. A life that I hope I am able to provide both of us the happiness and security we deserve. A part of me thinks that ignoring the differences is foolish and fool hearty. Another part realizes that this is the only woman I would do anything for in order to see her smile.

We’ve talked about how differently our lives would have turned out if we had stayed together.

I’ve argued that our lives were too different for us to have been successful back then, but the truth is, I led the life I did because I’d lost her.

I went full time into the Army to run away from the fact that she was gone. I was reckless and destructive because I didn’t see any reason to be any other way without her. I was indifferent to the women in my life that wanted to be close to me because I didn’t want to feel the pain I had felt by losing her.

Kids?

That has always been a biggie. Or so I thought.

Last night she told me, “I wish we could have had kids together. I think they’d have turned out pretty awesome!”

I sat there for a long time. Confused. “You always said you didn’t want kids?”

She then began to explain that before she met Milly, she had realized that she wanted to be a mom. She wanted to be responsible for this tiny little person. She wanted that unconditional love that comes from and goes towards having a child.

She then said something that made me feel so very sad for the past 15 years of her life…

“I wanted kids. I just didn’t want them with Milly. I always knew she was too selfish to ever put a child’s needs ahead of her own.”

I’ve seen how she comments on the pictures her friends post of their kids. How she talks about going to see her niece so she can “squeeze” her before she gets too big for that.

I can see how different both our lives would have been had we figured out then what we’ve figured out now.

How the two of us might have been able to have it all. Family, home, careers, love.

But this is where we are.

Trying to put the past behind us. Trying to focus on the future. Hoping and struggling to keep these demons at bay long enough to form a unified front against them.

I will always be afraid of losing her again. Maybe that’s a good thing?

If I know what I could lose, I’ll try even harder to hold on to it.

One thing I do know for certain…

Julie is the best part of me.

Hard work

Every once in a while I get flustered and frustrated with school and work.

Too many tasks and not enough time.

It’s those days of trudging along that I have to force myself to stop and look at the bigger picture. Focus on why I’m doing all this.

My journey to better myself, become more self aware, follow my dreams, started before Julie and I reconnected. It started while I was ending my last relationship and I have to keep reminding myself of that.

Why?

Because if I lose sight of why I started down this path, I’ll find myself lost and confused again.

I didn’t begin all this so I could have a life with Julie. So I could move to Illinois. I started this so I could finally be the person I’ve always known I was capable of becoming.

Julie was just a pleasant, albeit distracting, addition to my plans. A helpful motivator to push me forward when I feel like throwing up my hands and saying, “Fuck it! I’m done!!”

What has me feeling a little more optimistic today?

Well, grades for this semester have been posted and yes, ladies and gentlemen, I made an A in that God awful Algebra class!!

I also got an A in comp/rhetoric but only a B+ in history.

My overall GPA is now a 3.8 but I can live with that.

Seeing those numbers. Knowing I did it on my own with the support of Julie, my friends and co-workers and all while having to rush up to Illinois to deal with a douche bag of a stalker makes me feel pretty good about myself.

In a few days we are going to San Francisco. Julie is having a friend stay at her house to sit with Murphy and keep an eye on things and Louie will be here to hold down my fort. (I hope she doesn’t burn the house down!!)

When we get back I have a trip to St. Louis for work then I’ll meet Julie in Illinois to start looking at apartments.

Then it’s back to the grind. 6 weeks of Chemistry and Technical Composition. After that, Trig and another History class.

Yes, my plate is full. But so far, things are working out the way I believe they should. Even if it’s not as quickly as I’d like.

Should I celebrate my mom?

Today is Mother’s Day and I am having mixed emotions about it.

I have my own children now and have already received a breakfast fixed by Louie and a thoughtful text from Huey.

Both made me smile and feel as if I am appreciated, or at the very least, deserving of my own day of celebration.

But, today has me thinking about my own mother.

As we’ve discussed, my own mother was a far cry from the loving and affectionate woman that we see portrayed on the endless stream of candy, flower and jewelry ads this time of year.

My mom was hard. She was judgmental and cruel. She self medicated with Vicodin and alcohol to help her cope with the demons that she had inside her own self. She tried to martyr herself to persuade me to her will. She was constantly reminding me that I was lacking as a dutiful child no matter how many times I tried to be what she wanted, I always fell short of the mark.

She was emotionally and physically abusive. In fact, I can still remember over hearing Julie’s dad telling his wife, “she must not have a very good life at home.” At the time I was insulted but looking back, I can see how my actions screamed this to the world.

I think my mother loved me. I think she did the best she could considering the hand she had been dealt in life. That doesn’t take away all the pain and loneliness I felt but it does help me to understand why she would act the way she did towards me.

That being said, my mother did teach me a lot. If nothing else, she taught me what I wanted and how to not treat my own children.

I think every child has thought, “I’m not going to do that to my kids!!” but I truly had call to feel that way.

My mother would lash out at me, physically. A belt, a wooden spoon, her hand, fist, even a dining room chair one time. I was riddled with bruises and scrapes throughout my teen years. Back then, people could see the tell tale signs that a child was being abused but chose to look the other way.

These episodes of harsh discipline taught me that physical pain subsides but the anger and resentment never goes away.

I’ve only struck my children twice. Once I “spanked” Huey when I caught her choking her sister when she was little and once I “smacked” Louie because she was screaming and yelling at me about how I was too lazy and selfish to let her go out with her friends.

I still remember the look on my children’s faces when I did this. They were shocked that I’d done this because I’d never raised my hand to them before. I felt horrible afterwards but knew that a simple “time out” probably wouldn’t suffice.

I have also lived my life carefully using words of commitment. Phrases like, “I promise” or “I’m sorry” hold little weight when they are delivered with no more conviction that a benign hello to a stranger.

I’ve spent countless hours and money taking my kids to this event or that because their dad or even my mother had “promised” them they could go and then never delivered.

I remember one specific trip to South Dakota. Me, taking 4 days of vacation time and driving for 23 hours straight just so my kids could see Mount Rushmore. I was broke and had to shuffle money around to pay for the gas, hotel and food. All because their dad had spent a week promising them a grand adventure, only to tell me later that he decided to go to Vegas instead.

As a child, I remember getting excited because I’d been promised this adventure or that. Waking up and dressing for a day of excitement and fun, only to find mom sitting in her chair, medicated and unable to deliver.

I’ve also learned that sometimes my children need to stand on their own. As a teen, I lashed out. I was out of control. Each time I got in trouble, my mom would bail me out by flashing her last name. (My stepfathers family was a big deal in our little town)

She didn’t do this out of love but because “you always want to bring shame to our family! Isn’t it bad enough that you want to be gay??”

So, I let my kids fail. Not because I want them to hurt or be disappointed but because it took me years to realize I wasn’t becoming a responsible adult because of her actions.

I dust them off and pick them back up when life knocks them down. Confident in the knowledge that they are wiser and stronger because of the experience.

The last several years of her life, and the first several years of my young adulthood, I was alienated from my mother. She didn’t want me around because I was selfishly choosing a life with women instead of choosing to be celibate. I had turned my back on her and God.

Today, Huey has an uncanny knack for causing me to face palm but I get up every day and send her a text saying I love and miss her. No matter where I am or what I’m doing, when my children call, I answer. I remember walking out of class one day in the middle of the lecture because Huey called. Nothing was wrong, she just had a question.

No matter what path they choose, I will always love and support them.

So, as I look back at my mother, today, I can’t help but feel I do owe her a lot.

She taught me how to love unconditionally by withholding her own love. She taught me how to be patient by her own impatience. She taught me self sacrifice by her own selfishness. She showed me how to be a strong, independent adult.

I’m here. Alive and well, in no small part to her.

For that… I owe her a lot.

Wake up call

I took my last final of the semester today. Algebra. While I’m fairly confident I did well, I won’t know my overall grade until Tuesday.

When I got home, I was exhausted and delighted to finally be done with another term! I called Julie on my way home and went to bed around noon.

When I woke up at 5, I fixed my coffee, checked my voicemail and browsed through Facebook.

Let me just say… Somedays I miss the time when we didn’t have every moment of our lives documented and put on display for the world to see.

Right there in my newsfeed was a picture of my Julie and her ex, Milly. They were smiling and posing in that typical “partner” pose. One arm wrapped around each other.

For a brief moment, my heart stopped. Why would she be with her?? Why is Milly wearing her wedding ring?? Holy shit?!?! What the hell happened while I was asleep??

I clicked on the photo and was able to read the heading, ” Taken a few years back on Mother’s Day. I miss having all my beautiful girls with me during this time.”

It was posted by Milly’s mom and Julie, Milly and who I found out later is Milly’s sister, were all tagged in it.

For years Milly and her family were the only family that Julie knew. They loved and accepted her as one of their own. Milly’s mom called her one of “her girls”.

I read some of the comments and they were all very benign. Milly simply “liked” one of them that mentioned how it had been a great day with both sides of their family getting together.

Julie didn’t comment or like any of the comments or the photo.

I read into things too much. I’m very conscious of my habit of doing this. But, being aware of a flaw and addressing it are two different things.

Some days I feel like my relationship is so fragile that I have to protect it like I’d protect my own child. Others, I feel as if there isn’t a force on this earth strong enough to come between us.

Reading that caption and looking at the photo made me realize just all Julie has had to give up this past year.

Yes, she ended a relationship that was dysfunctional, at best. Abusive at it’s worst. I sometimes catch glimpses of the Julie that had to walk on eggshells to avoid a blow up over something petty, simply because Milly had a “bad day”.

But that was the easy part, for her. She lost a family. Parents, siblings, nieces, nephews. Picnics and barbecues. Family photos and celebrations. She had to muster up the strength to walk away from the only love she had felt in a long time.

I sometimes catch myself thinking, “why didn’t she leave a long time ago?” and then I’m reminded of this.

In the photo she looks happy. The two of them standing together, dressed in their Sunday best, smiling for the camera. Arms wrapped around the other.

Photos can be deceiving. I looked back at my Facebook photos to see pictures of me and my ex. I’ve had friends ask me why I haven’t removed them and all I can say is that I can’t erase my past. Those years helped shape the person I am today, even if I’d never want to go back to that life.

As I browse through them I see our last vacation together. The two of us sitting close, her arms around me, smiling for the camera. Laughing and joking, trying not to remember that our lives were falling apart. Trying to hide the fact that we were no longer in love and pretending didn’t make that fact go away.

I asked Julie about the photo. Asked if she ever talked to Milly’s family or if she felt awkward doing so. She told me that she still chats with her niece from time to time and even her sister, but mostly the line has been drawn in the sand.

Hearing her say that made me a little sad for her. I can’t offer her a mother, father, siblings or cousins to help ease her loneliness should her family decide to pull away again.

Have I doomed her to a life of isolation? One where family no longer means an extension of our life, but just the two of us?

She is going to brunch tomorrow with her mom and dad to celebrate Mother’s Day. Her brother is bringing his daughter down to visit them in the afternoon. All in all, she will have a pleasant day celebrating the woman who loved and protected her for so many years. But, I wish I could give her more.

Holidays filled with decisions and stress, trying to squeeze in time with everyone. Celebrations where everyone blended together bound by our common bond. Moments where we could sit in complete bliss and exhaustion because we had been surrounded by family from near and far.

I don’t know exactly what our family will look like. Her mom has asked if I’ll join them for dinner when I go back after our trip. She said she wants to “catch up.”

Her dad is also an engineer and has mentioned that he wants to “pick my brain” about some structural issue in their basement.

Hopefully, I won’t walk in with my tattoos and rough exterior and make them wonder if she’s made a horrible mistake in taking me back.

Whatever the case, I’ll do my best. My best to give her love and support. Encouragement when her family slips back, ever so slightly, to the place they’ve been for so long.

And I’ll look at that picture of my beautiful girl and know that on that day, she was surrounded by people that loved her. I’m ok with that!

Finals, finals, finals

So, the last of my two finals are this weekend.

Algebra on Saturday, and my History paper is due by Sunday night.

Have I mentioned that I am so happy this semester is almost over??

I have registered and paid for next semester which will be a challenge. The summer is split up into two 6 week sessions or four 3 week sessions. Depending on how you plan to tackle it.

Me? I’ve opted for the two 6 weeks sessions.

What are my classes? Trig, Chemistry, U.S. History from 1877, and Technical Composition. Sounds riveting doesn’t it?

Well, it is what it is.

Today and tomorrow I plan to spend up to my eyeballs in reading, performing this equation after that, and so forth. My goal is to finish my history paper and have it edited and submitted by midnight tomorrow so I can head to the beach after my final on Saturday morning. A little reward for finally making it through.

This morning I got a text from my former Ethics professor, Warren. We still chat from time to time and she’s now fervently trying to convince me to move to her tiny town when my lease is up here. It is midway between work and the school I plan to transfer to so I’ve considered it.

Right now, I’m leaning more towards staying here. Signing a year lease there just to move about 5 months into it so I can go to Illinois doesn’t sound ideal, at all.

I was told yesterday that our contract with the State may be extended for another year and a half also.

All these little things are just constant reminders that if for some reason I don’t move to the Midwest when Julie and I had originally planned, at least I won’t be floating in limbo wondering what to do.

I’m still being contacted by “head hunters” for different jobs. If they aren’t located in Illinois, though, I pretty much dismiss them.

Life is on track. Scary at times, but I keep moving forward and that’s always been the main focus of this journey.

My work outs have been more sporadic than I would like, but I’m in a lazy mood so I’m not too worried. After our vacation in a couple weeks, I’m sure I’ll be ready to take on the world. At least that’s my hope.

All in all I guess life is good. For both Julie and myself. Next month we put her house on the market. She has contractors finishing up the final touches hoping to get the most out of her equity. She’s seeing her attorney today to draw up the documents to send to Milly to finalize the last little bit of their shared properties once the house is sold.

I’ll be heading up there for about a week after we get back so we can look at apartments and decide where “we” would like to stay until I finally move and we get a house.

Then there’s work. I’m busy and so is she. I’m going to take a break from nights for about 2 months during the second session at school and she’s trying to get all the finishing touches put on the applications they have for next year.

I hate being so far from her. I hate having to check and recheck my calendar to squeeze in time to spend with her. But, it’s the life we chose to live for now.

There have been ups and downs. Luckily, more ups. We are learning that if we work together, we can unpack all the baggage that we’ve accumulated over these past two decades.

I keep reminding myself: even when doubts and fears creep in, I don’t want to have any other woman in my life. I’m happy with the thought that someday we will be old and frail but we will have each other to lean on. I’m excited to be able to finally start the life I wish I’d been able to build with her so many years ago.

All in all, I’m smiling.

I’m busy and I’m frazzled but there is a prize at the end of these struggles that’s worth every minute. Because of that, I feel blessed.

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Your imperfections make you perfect.

I could look at her face all day long. Sometimes I stare at her while she sleeps. Taking in every tiny detail.

The tiny lines at the corners of her eyes. The funny “dip” on the tip of her nose. The way the gray frames her face now. How she hasn’t got a single frown line in her brow.

Me? Well my face is now weather worn. Deep lines in my brow and forehead from years upon years of scowling. Scowling at people and scowling at life in general.

My body is riddled with scars. Tell tale signs from struggles that I’ve had to endure. The scar on my right bicep from when I was shot while in the Army. A perfect little “hole”. The large square scar on my left forearm that is almost unnoticeable now. I received it when I was younger.

The scars on my knee from surgery because I managed to tear this or that time and again playing softball or soldier.

The marks on my neck from standing too close to the welders as they secured the beams of this bridge or that.

And then there’s the gray hairs. Scattered throughout my head but most noticeable on my temples. Grays that I hide with the occasional trip to a stylist.

The sun damage from being outdoors, the unconscious way that I limp from fallen arches that I keep stuffed in work boots for too many hours.

Then there are the scars no one can see except Julie and I.

The way I tense up when she talks casually about is buying a house. They way I catch my breath when I notice her looking at rings. The subtle way I find ways to be close to her when I’d otherwise be content in my own space.

“I’ll cut that squash while you marinate the chicken.”

She tells me that my imperfections make me perfect to her. That I have less baggage than most who have endured the life I have.

I don’t see me in that light.

I’m aggressive and hard. I’m sarcastic and blunt. I’m struggling to be happy when inside I’m scared to allow this joy to take root.

My fears aren’t without merit. I’ve been hurt and abandoned. I’ve learned to only rely on myself and have become the rock that others lean on because of it.

Deep down inside, where no other person is allowed to venture, is this fear that cripples me. This fear that stops me dead in my tracks when I let my guard down long enough to feel overwhelming joy.

A picture in my mind.

Me. 41 years old. Standing in front of a selection of drinking glasses and silverware. Trying to decide what I need. Trying to wrap my head around the fact that I’m starting life over. Alone.

Trying to retrace my steps to discover where I strayed so far off path that I should be punished by losing my home and family.

A picture of me sitting at my office. Filling out a schedule that includes me working twice as many hours as usual so I don’t have to spend anymore time thinking about what is now behind me instead of looking at what’s ahead.

A thought. The thought that I will always be the person I am and that person had been told time and time again that she isn’t good enough for forever.

I love my Julie. Her beautiful smile, the way she will try to stifle a laugh by biting her bottom lip. The fact that life has never been so cruel to her that she is riddled with scars and lines across her face.

But, I always find myself wondering. Will she one day decide that I’m too hard to love? Will I settle into another life of happiness and peace only to come home one day and be told, “you need to leave.”

I’ve started over so many times that a part of me wonders if I could do it again if forced to. I’ve gotten so jaded that I wonder if living in my own world of self sufficient melancholy is better than temporary bliss.

This cancer scare woke up a lot of feelings inside me.

I remember once standing firm at my partners side when the world seemed to have turned it’s back on her. Giving her unconditional love and attention to help fill that void.

Then I remember being pushed away when the world decided she was worth being a part of it again.

How would I survive this type of betrayal again?

Rushing to Illinois. Putting my life and dreams on hold to care for and protect the love of my life. Then someday possibly finding that my devotion and attention was no longer desired?

I spent several hours last night talking to Julie about all this. All my fears and all of hers.

She too is afraid. What if I hadn’t been strong enough to stay if this had been cancer? What if I moved to a place where I had no friends, no family and only her and a job to look forward to. Would I grow to resent her? Would I loathe my new home?

These feelings, fears and demons still take up residence inside us both. They still try to guide and steer our decisions. They still try to make us remember that when everyone else left, they remained. Like a loyal friend.

I loved her when I was young. When I thought the world was at my feet and I was invincible. I thought the love I felt could easily be replaced. I was wrong.

Finding that she still holds my heart has made me even more afraid to lose her. Knowing that this is the type of love that I am only capable of sharing with her. No one else.

I don’t want to ever find myself without her by my side. But as hard as I try, I sometimes find myself wondering if I could survive losing her again even if the time we are together is perfect.

My Julie isn’t perfect. She too has doubts and fears. She assures me that this time we know what we have to lose so there will always be a way to fix what’s broken and mend what’s torn.

I love the fact that she is so sure that this time it’s forever. Because the knowledge that it might not be makes me so very afraid to give myself over to her completely..