Okay, so I have been in this twisted relationship for 11 years.
Wait! It is NOT as bad as it sounds!
Let me explain.
I met him 11 years ago. Online. In a chat room. Just two people being nice. Nothing but idle chit chat. Nothing over any lines. I was married then, he knew it, but never told me that he was. Really, it didn't matter, because we were just chat buddies. Laughing over silliness together, enjoying each others company, but nothing too serious, nothing too personal. After about 6 months we exchanged pictures. I sent him the only picture I had, a picture of me holding my nephew, a few years out of date. He sent me a picture of himself with his son, but as he never discussed a wife, I figured he was divorced. Though again it was of no consequence either way at that time.
We stayed chat buddies for awhile. I introduced him to my husband. They chatted occasionally. But, I will admit, I kept his picture in my email. I kept it because I loved his smile, his eyes. Just looking at him made my tummy flip flop. But it was just a really nice picture of a sweet man with a really beautiful smile. That's all.
Then one drunken night, we were all (he, my husband and I) chatting together and he made a comment about being lonely overseas. My husband actually suggested that I "cyber" him to help him with his "loneliness".
Perhaps here is where I should explain that I was in a very emotionally and often physically abusive marriage. I was very unhappy. Very lonely. Very ALONE. And usually took my husbands suggestions as orders, so as not to upset him.
My husband left the room, closed the door, and left me alone with a man who was far away and who told me I was beautiful, and smart, and funny, and all the things that any woman wants to hear, and especially one in that kind of hell. And he was safe. Far away. Never a threat. Always kind, and I allowed myself to become someone else for a little while, and say things to him that I would never have had the ability to say if I hadn't been drinking, if he hadn't been just some words on a screen.
And it was nice. Very nice. For one night.
And the next day I told him that I was uncomfortable, and could not do it again. And he was so kind, and said that he never wanted me to feel a moments discomfort from our friendship. And he NEVER went back to that night. Never brought it up. Never treated me differently. Just was my friend.
And we stayed friends.
And I enjoyed his company. A Lot.
And then September 11th happened.
And I was in the Midwest and was safe.
And he was in the military and was being sent somewhere overseas to do God knows what, God knows where. And one day, he asked. If he could call me.
He said that he just wanted to hear my voice. Just once. And he would not ask again.
And I let him.
He called and we spoke very briefly. Probably less than five minutes. I didn't find out til much, much later that he was calling me from overseas. An International call to someone you have known only online, only as a friend? I would have never guessed it.
And I got an email from him. Once. After that day. thanking me for allowing him to hear my voice. To hear me smile.
And then I didn't hear from him for what would turn out to be years.
During those years, I went through a few different computers.
When it came time to move files from one to another, and I was cleaning out all that was unnecessary, I transferred his photo to my new computer. Unable to bring myself to not ever see that smile again. That smile of a man I had never met. The smile that made my stomach knot, and my pulse to quicken slightly.
I don't know why.
I just knew I needed that picture.
Is it possible, that my soul already knew?
I don't have the answer to that.. and I am tired.
I will be back again, with more soon...
Until then... That's all.