Yesterday on our drive home D and I were chatting, as we do, and talked turned to past relationships. We shared stories of how relationships started and ended, what we had learned from each relationship, funny stories and such. Now anyone who knows me, knows I am incredibly sentimental, I tend to remember things forever and love looking back now and realizing the value in past events.
I remember the boy I was ‘going out’ with when my dad died, his name is Michael, same as my dad. I was totally devastated following my dad’s death and he was the only person who was just there for me, without stupidly trying to say the right thing, without having any expectation. He just held my hand, let me snot cry on his t-shirt and still stared at me adoringly all the while. He made me feel so special and so pretty. I can remember him taking my face in his hands one day and staring into my eyes and telling me I was the most beautiful person he knew, both inside and out. He sang to me, all out of tune and stuff but it was so sweet, think, ‘A blue eyed boy meets a brown eyed girl, oh oh, the sweetest thin’. We were so young and so innocent. He was not my first love, it was never that serious but I sure did like him a lot.
When I was in standard six, there was this boy in matric. Tall, dark, beautiful and he was a musician and he wrote poetry and did art and I was besotted. It was Valentines day, I was standing talking to him with a friend, all my red ribbons pinned all over my shorts, trying to make the small talk seem casual. In a burst my friend just blurts out, ‘You know she’s crazy about you right?’, my face was more red than the ribbons on my shorts, I just stared at the ground wishing it would swallow my whole, I could hear my heart beating in my ears, it was as though the world stopped. Then I heard him say, ‘That’s ok cos I am mad about her too’, my heart stopped, I looked up and he was smiling at me, his beautiful, moody smile. We were boyfriend and girlfriend for about three months, that’s a long relationship in high school. He wrote me long letters and I swooned in his company. The standard eight girls hated me and the rest of the standard six girls were so jealous. I learned I could get the hot guy and it was great. To be fair though, he was 18, I was 14, that’s a lifetime at that age, we stayed friends. He now has a beautiful wife.
Then there was my first love, the guy who forever changed everything where relationships are concerned. He called me beautiful, he challenged me on every level. He was wild. A lot older. He drank and did drugs. He had tattoos and listened to heavy metal. My dad had recently died, I was on a path to self destruction, he fuelled that. We went to clubs, we drank, we did drugs, we hitchhiked, we slept at random people’s houses, we fought, we made up. It was all so intense. I was 15, he was 21. Yes. Recipe for disaster. I got pregnant. We fought. He moved out. We got back together. He was arrested. (long story for another day) I cried myself into labour literally. We welcomed our beautiful baby boy on a cold day in May. We fought. He threatened to take my baby. I tried to commit suicide. We broke up. We made up. He hit me. I felt worthless. Wash, rinse repeat for roughly seven long years. This relationship taught me what I wanted by being everything I didn’t. I refused to let this define me, I was not going to be that women too afraid to leave and do better. I left and never looked back.
The next serious one was IT guy from Cape Town. Me met online (hahahaha)we chatted, we had a few visits, we had feelings we agreed to explore. Now if I am to be completely honest here, and I will, there were never any warm and fuzzies with this one, no passion, no great love. It made sense on paper, he has a high IQ, he has ambition, he doesn’t drink or smoke, he had his own company and could support himself. Like it balanced in terms of stability. He is emotionally retarded. Still today. He has zero concept of what an adult relationship is, he is cold and without feeling, without a doubt the worst s*x I ever had which makes it that much sadder that I got pregnant. He tried to force me to have an abortion. I bled and though I was miscarrying, he broke up with me before I even had confirmation from the doctor, classy like that. We fought. I told him I was keeping the baby. He threatened to take my baby. I fought back. I moved back to Joburg, he decided he wanted nothing to do with the baby, he signed away all parental rights. I was ok. I got a beautiful baby. To be honest this break up hurt me very deeply, I was adamant I was done with love and men. I did learn that one cannot build a relationship on intellect alone, feelings matter. A lot.
While I was still in Cape Town, I had posted a Facebook status update, something along the lines of how some men should not be allowed to father children, not related to my situation btw. And I got this message to my inbox, from a guy I went to school with, he was older than me but I remembered him. Mr spoiled rich kid, who I had a crush on at a stage. The jock who played first team sports and was so popular. His message was along the line of how he would love to be a father one day. Little did I know, sitting at my desk in Sea Point, feeling sick from the smell of Thai food from downstairs, what with morning sickness and what not, that my life was about to change, in a big way.
Messages kept going back on forth. I kept pushing him away, I told him I had too much going on to entertain new friends. He stuck around. Cell phone numbers were exchanged. There were smses that made me smile, phone calls that kept me up. I told myself not to like him, I told him not to like me. There was something there. I visited Joburg and we hung out, he had amazing lips, and deep blue eyes. He kissed me like I had never been kissed before. I left and we agreed to be friends.
I moved back to Joburg at the end of March, we hung out, a lot, we stayed friends. Something was simmering below the façade. I had my baby. He was the first to visit. He claimed my little boy as his own and not long after we decided to stop pretending and got together.
From that day until now, nearly three years later, we have spent only three nights apart. We are engaged and have added a beautiful little girl to our now complete family. Each day I fall in love with this man who looks at me like I am the only woman alive all over again. His chest is the best place for my head and his arms make me feel safe when they are wrapped around me. Even after three years, every kiss is magical and I know I will still love him fifty years from now.
I guess the point of this rather soppy drivel is that I have realized the reason we work so well is because we had both been hurt and been loved before. We both lived enough to know what we have is real. We have both walked a path to this day.
I asked D last night what my label would be and where I’d fit in, like ‘first love’ etc and he said, that’s easy my baby, you are the redeemer. Yes. And he is mine.