Six Months Later
My very adventurous best friend was having her birthday party at one of those obstacle course indoor places with trampolines & stuff like American Gladiator. I arrived at the adult- Ninja-Warrior Birthday Party.
I ushered my way to the check-in counter to meet with our group- which consisted mostly of operating room staff. Nurses, doctors, techs, etc.
Immediately he caught my eye. I saw this super cute dude I had "never seen before". He looked really young, but at that point, I was genuinely only visually invested in the whole situation.
The party got underway & we started taking on this gigantic obstacle course. At the time I remember being kinda impressed cuz Mike was super athletic & dominated every obstacle like a spider monkey on anabolic steroids lol. At some point during the evening, we ended up on a rock-climbing wall next to each other & as it turns out he was funny too!
Anyone who can make me laugh immediately has a place in my heart. So by that point, he already existed in my universe. However, I thought we were meeting for the first time ever.
At this point, I hadn't put 2 and 2 together and had no idea he was the same tech I worked with on the pneumo-nuts case.
At the time I was teaching a lot of yoga classes & like most people that learn I'm a yoga teacher, the immediate words that come out of their mouth after that is: "I want to come to your class."
But like 99.99999% never actually do.
He showed up at my next class, & the one after that for months.
The first yoga class he came to he came with Nikki, another good friend of mine who also worked in the OR & took my class consistently.
Not to my surprise, he could actually hang. You see, most people can barely make it through their first hot yoga class! Especially athletic dudes. The bigger they are the less they can handle it, really.
I can't tell you how many guys who wanted to date me either avoided going entirely for fear of embarrassing their macho selves & refusal to be seen as not immediately great at something.
After my class, I was really hungry and asked Nikki and him to go
grab some food with me. Nikki couldn't make it, but he wanted to go with me.
Suddenly 2 strangers ended up on a date/not date at a Vietnamese restaurant.
Sometime in between the Pho & quoting Jud Apatow movies we discovered each other's ages.
He was 8 years younger than me!!
Immediately this was what went through my head:
Oh hell no. This is never happening, he's like younger than 2 of my siblings. But we'll be great friends. & immediately the pressure was off of the situation.
So I was just like we can be friends, but-
& he was all like
It was the best thing that could have happened because there was no pressure to date, so we genuinely became friends before we started dating, which was really wonderful.
When speaking to him later about when his mind was at he told me he genuinely felt as though he didn't think he had a chance in hell cuz I was so beautiful & had my shit so together- which is the sweetest.
Typically he would come to my yoga classes & we would hang out & get food after.
In a matter of days, he had very easily & without trying, had unlocked 3 fences I had around my heart at the time.
He was a person of his word. This is impressive to me because lots of people say they will do things to be polite & never follow through, so the fact that he followed through with coming to class meant something to me.
His sense of humor was top tier. I can't even front. I'll take a comedian over a male model any day of the week.
His willingness to be open-minded enough to go try a hot yoga class for the first time, willing to risk embarrassment, physiological decompensation & public humiliation. That shit takes balls, man.
I didn't know it at the time, but he kinda already had me by then.
This man had easily & systematically disarmed the security system I had built after a lifetime of abandonment issues, heartbreak & a series of unreliable people in different forms.
The Irish Pub Kiss that Nobody Remembers
He kept coming to class & we got to know and trust each other. Out of the two of us- I had the hardest time accepting that I liked him & wanted to be more than friends because I just could not wrap my head around the age difference.
I simply could not see myself as the older one, even though truth be told he was the most emotionally mature man I had ever met.
So we would just hand out & do stuff like this:
One day we decided to have dinner and drinks at a local Irish Pub. We had a great time. Somewhere in between pints & walking back to my place so I could show off my Christmas tree & drinking Horchata we had our first kiss.
To this day, neither of us remembers the kiss LOL!
All we know was that it happened that day & I guess after that, we were officially, unofficially dating.
Category 5 Hurricane
After that things between Mike and progressed like a slow burn, deliberate, consistent & powerful.
After about a year, I asked him to move in something I had never ever asked my man I had dated in my entire life so that for me was huge, but it felt good and natural and aligned.
I wish I could say all was gravy for a few years but the truth is lots of unexpected things happened that were really, really difficult.
Losing one of my beloved parrots to a predator.
Mike changed jobs from being a Surgical Tech to being the primary Rep for Ortho Trauma T the largest Trauma Hospital in Miami. This made him work ceaselessly, & combined with my independent contracting first assisting business that kept me super busy, it was fine when things were good in our lives but became really hard when difficulties arose.
We had planned a vacation to Greece to relax from our crazy schedules & then we had to cancel because Irma, a category 5 hurricane was heading right towards us in the fall of 2017.
Getting evacuated for a category 5 hurricane NorthCarolina & fleeing Florida to North Carolina with our 2 Parrots and 2 elderly dogs was rough. It felt like we were leaving our home & running for our lives, especially after what happened in New Orleans & the damage we knew was possible if we hung around for such a powerful hurricane.
Luckily our home was fine & Mike flew back shortly after the hurricane for work and I decided to stay an extra week up in Raleigh to allow for the craziness and traffic to subside before heading back home.
That was when my beloved 15-year-old chihuahua was stolen.
You see, everyone has one pet that is a soulmate, & he was mine. He was the absolute apple of my eye. There was an ensuing Manhunt for him, which included, the Raleigh PD, billboards, TV & radio press tours, Pet detectives & tracking dogs. Emotionally it was excruciatingly painful for me. I stayed up in NC for a month looking for him.
We never saw Geordie again.