The Story of us: Part two

This is the second part. Don’t read it [without the first], in the prior entry. I would have put them up all at the same time but I had not yet finished the entire tale and figured I would probably have to split it due to character limits.
Also, this part is a little more explicit – though contextual, and not gratuitous (at least I don’t think so, given recent journal entries) – consider yourself warned.
I split this while writing, so it literally picks off right where the last entry left off, and follows the next two weeks.

On the last day I was able to travel up to see him, Curtis suggested we see a movie together. We’d spent the last two weeks wandering all over the area, visiting almost every fast food place and cafe, every kitschy shop and even browsing the video store… I wanted to see everything that had the slightest connect with his life; anywhere he’d touched, walked to or places he hung out. I yearned for a connection to everything.
I immediately agreed to the idea of a movie: the thought of sitting alone in the dark for two hours, for any reason, was more than enough motivation for me to say yes before even being told what was playing.
“Where is the theatre?” I asked.
“About a thirty minute walk,” he said as we walked toward the edge of the city streets. We wer suddenly facing what looked to me like a vast desert, and in the distance I could only barely see some sort of complex – maybe a strip mall – with one particularly large building. He pointed to it, “Through there is a shortcut, I go through it all the time.”
Being from a small, rural island in a rainforest climate I was not used to the blaring, dry heat of the desert. We’d spent most of every day cuddled under trees, safely in the shade, or walking under the shelter of tall buildings. Somehow I didn’t notice the intensity of the heat, nor did it even occur to me how dangerous it could be to someone who was not as used to it as Curtis was. He’d lived there his whole life, and his body adapted so well to the temperatures that since moving here to Canada I have never seen him sweat from the heat, even in what we locals consider the most gruelling conditions.
I thought about all the times I’d walked from the local village to my home, sometimes 2-3 hours at a time, even in the hottest and most sweltering of summer days.
So, naturally I said, “Sure!”.

Together we set out across the desert, through the “shortcut” and toward the rippling image of a plaza that, as time went on, I wasn’t really certain existed. The walk took longer than we’d expected, I was starting to slow down within minutes of setting out, feeling the weight of the heat. Curtis slowly moved us away from the barren area and toward the edge of a road, likely out of concern for my condition. Despite my assurances that I felt fine, he could see that I was not doing well.
I clearly remember seeing a clean white bench with a bus stop sign next to it. I was exhausted, had not eaten or drank any water that day and very quickly forgot where we were walking. I suddenly sped up so I was slightly ahead of him and said, “I need to lay down on this bench for a minute, just to rest.” I looked to Curtis for confirmation. He was bewildered: there was no bench.
“Uh, let’s not,” he said. He grabbed my arm and we sped up. “Let’s just go a little further.”
I don’t remember how much longer it took to get to where we were going, or even what the complex looked like, only that at the end I was being carried into a sandwich place with fantastic air conditioning. My next clear memory is sitting in a bathroom with faded brown walls and flickering fluorescent lights. Curtis had grabbed a bucket of ice from the drink machine and had taken a few pieces out, wrapped them in paper towels and held it to the back of my neck until the ice melted to water and trickled down my back. I didn’t mind; it felt good, and I was too woozy and faint to even thank him.
At some point he moved me to a table out in the front of the restaurant and held me in his arms, running the makeshift ‘ice pack’ over my forehead, neck and chest until I my head was finally clear again. We sat in silence for what must have been a half hour; I was limp in his arms and he never took his eyes off mine. When the dizziness passed, he finally felt I was safe enough to be left to sit a moment and bought me something to eat. I could only manage a few bites of the sandwich before feeling ill, but I thanked him for it. He asked if I still wanted to see a movie with him, since we clearly we couldn’t just walk back to the park considering all that happened – neither of us thought far enough ahead to realize that eventually we were going to have to if I was to make it to the meeting place where my mother was going to arrive to pick me up at five thirty.
I didn’t even hesitate before saying yes, I still wanted to. I pocketed the tickets from that movie and saved them in a scrapbook when I came home, which I still have to this day. I don’t remember much of the film then, instead I remember sitting as close as we possibly were able to while still in two different seats. My legs were draped over his, and I leaned on his shoulder. He kissed me in the dark, in a nearly abandoned theatre, for the entire run of the movie.
(In an interesting coincidence, it was the same film we watched again many years later, laying on our bed when I was 17 weeks pregnant with Tempest. Throughout which he held his hands against my stomach, and first felt her kick).

When we got out of the theatre the temperature had cooled a little, and a light wind had started to pick up. It seemed like it might be a better time to attempt the trek back to the park. However, because we’d missed the original showtime, Curtis had missed his check-in with his parents: he was supposed to call them at a certain time, and was now over an hour and a half late for it.
We found a payphone just outside a restaurant in the strip mall and Curtis called in. His mother picked up, furious that he had not called sooner, because something had come up… He explained he had been at the movie, and missed the earlier time he originally thought he’d taken too long to walk there. I could hear her voice yelling at him through the phone. I didn’t know what she was saying, it all seemed to run together, but I knew it had to be bad when he started to cry. When he hung up he slid down to the ground and held his head in his hands.
“My father had an emergency at work. I have to go in. I’m already an hour late. They’ve been trying to find me.”
I had no answer. I looked over my shoulder, past the complex and out into the “shortcut”. Far off in the distance was the park where my mother would meet me in another hour. I didn’t know what to do.
“What’s going to happen?”
“She’s coming to pick me up.”
“What?” I screamed, “Now? Here?”
He nodded, his head against his knees. I fell to my knees down to the ground next to him. After a long silence I asked, “Where does she want to meet you?”
He gestured to the entrance of the strip mall, to a corner of the sidewalk. “There”.
“How long?”
He shrugged, defeated. “Ten minutes maybe.” We stood up and walked over to the sidewalk and sat down on the edge, our feet in the street, side by side with our hands clasped together. I leaned my head on his shoulder and we sat in silence, impatient, and absolutely terrified.
This part of the highway didn’t get as much traffic as other areas, and there was some time between each car passing. I couldn’t bring myself to look up when I felt Curtis’ body tense as a blue Chevrolet turned a corner by the mall and headed toward us. He wrapped his arms around me tightly, protecting me, and I hid my face in his chest. In retrospect, I have no idea why I was so scared, but in that moment as the car slowly approached us, I was shaking more than I ever had in my life.
Despite my fear, my curiosity got the better of me and I had to look; I turned just enough to see the road in front of us. The blue car drove up and suddenly hit the brakes hard, in the middle of the lane just in front of where we were huddled together on the sidewalk. Both our hearts skipped a beat when we heard the screech of tires. Curtis wrapped his other arm around my waist and held on as if I was to be ripped right out of his arms.
The blue car idled in the center of the three-lane highway, mere feet from where we were. There were no other cars around. Slowly the driver’s-side window slid down and a middle-aged woman with blonde, wavy hair leaned out on one elbow. She pulled her sunglasses down over her nose and stared us down.
“So,” she said very slowly. “This is where you’ve been going every day.”
We said nothing in response.
She smiled very slightly. “Get in the car.” Curtis stood up and took a step forward. He looked like a little child standing before her. I couldn’t let go of his hand; I pulled him back a little, still sitting on the ground.
“Both of you,” she added.
Curtis whirled around and we exchanged surprised looks, then stared at his mother in disbelief. “Come on!” she urged. The doors unlocked. We ran around to the passenger side of the car and she opened the door. “The back seat is full,” she said, pointing to a number of boxes and tubs. “You’ll have to share.”
There was something incredibly awkward about having to sit on his lap in the car as we drove away. The seatbelt coudn’t fit over the two of us together, so instead Curtis held his arms around my waist. I avoided looking at his mother, and none of us said a word, although I could feel her looking over at me.
At a stoplight she reached out and touched my thigh with the palm of her hand. “I’m not going to bite you,” she said. “Relax.”

Curtis was taken to the back parking lot of a steakhouse that his father owned, situated between two sides of the highway. He and his mother got out of the car together and went inside, leaving me alone in the front seat. I did up the seatbelt and waited, nervously, to see what was going to happen next.
A moment later Curtis came running back out. “She said it’s okay!”
“You can stay with me tonight!”
“… what?!”
“I asked if we could still see each other. I have to work until 11 o’clock. But she said you could stay! You can stay! It’s okay!” He was so excited I could barely understand him. All his words were sort of merging together and through the drawl of his California accent I could barely deduce what it was he was talking about. I asked him to repeat himself at least three times before realizing that he meant I had been invited to stay there at his house, overnight, because he was working so late and his mother actually wanted us to have more time together. None of the awkward implications of what were to arise ever even occurred to us in that moment as we jumped around, hugging, thrilled that we’d have that much more time together. It was my last day there, and with that little piece he’d manage to convince his mother that we needed this. So she agreed to let me to stay the night.
He left to go to work, and his mother drove me back to the park where my mother was waiting for me in the parking lot, and I was now fifteen minutes late. As she watched me pull into the lot in someone else’s car the look on her face was one I had never seen before, or since.
She immediately stepped out and awkwardly approached Curtis’ mother.
“Um, hi,” she said. She looked to me for an explanation, knowing very well that we were attempting to keep everything a secret from Curtis’ parents. They made conversation, none of which I remember as I was hiding by the car and contributed nothing. I felt like I was two inches tall.
But despite my shyness, it was agreed: I was to stay overnight that night and Curtis’ father would take me back to Temecula, to Larry’s house the following afternoon. Then it didn’t matter how strange it all was: there was nothing more I wanted in that moment then to be able to spend every waking minute I had by Curtis’s side.

His mother drove me back to their house, asking only a few questions and most surprisingly none were about how we met, or where I was from. They said later that they could not discern my accent until visiting my island, although I could always clearly hear theirs.
The fact that we met on the internet remained a secret for months. Curtis had carefully prepared a tale about how we met while I was visiting relatives in the area, but I’m not sure if he ever actually told it to them.
Once at his home, Curtis’ mother showed me around. The house was a double-wide mobile home, the kind you can break in two and transfer to another location on a big truck. It was old, but in very good condition. One step into the house revealed decor of a crushed velvet, light-up painting of The Last Supper, crucifixes over the dining table and a bowl of molding, dried fruit that had never been touched. Every shelf was absolutely covered in kitschy collectables, old pictures and scads of video cassettes of entire series’ bought through Columbia House.
She showed me the den where the computer was, and I lingered there a long time, touching the chair and the keyboard. She showed me Curtis’ bedroom quickly, closing the door behind us so I wouldn’t get to peek too long then led me to the small room next to it where she said I would sleep. It was his childhood room, where she now stored things like a gigantic Christmas village figurine set, and every single item that Curtis ever owned as a child. The room was walled with shelves of teddy bears and fire trucks, photo albums and even a little twin sized bed made up with superhero sheets. It was really, really creepy.
“This is where you’ll stay!” she said. I was unimpressed.

I learned over time that Curtis was an only child of a mother who desperately wanted more children, and she coddled him in ways no mother should still be treating her near-grown son. She was the kind of mother who would literally chase him through the house to put a sweater on him, despite his protests, hanging on to any piece of that feeling that mothering a small child gives you. She still sneaked into his room to do his laundry when he was working, and woke him up before his alarm clock to put tea on his beside table. It was sweet, but … odd.
She was blissfully ignorant of all the implications of having a girl stay overnight, and honestly had no idea of the awkwardness and tension she was setting up between us. She honestly saw me as a innocent friend and house guest, despite knowing that I was her son’s girlfriend. Her upbringing was very different from mine, and later conversations with her revealed that she saw me as some sort of picturesque white, Christian girl who would remain innocent and untouched until I was invited into their family. On this particular day, she was happy to have me stay.

After she dropped my suitcase in the guest bedroom and left me alone to acquaint myself with the house I went to the bathroom and caught my reflection, and was horrified. I was absolutely covered in a sheen of sweat, dirt and grime. Walking through the desert that day had left me disgustingly dirty. My hair, normally tied back in a smooth ponytail, was bursting out from all angles and looked just as messy as the rest of me. Even my shirt was stained and unkempt. I felt humiliated and shrunk away at the sight of my image.
I looked around the cramped bathroom and saw a small shower stall next to me. There was drywall on the floor and holes in the wall, but that part didn’t register – all I could think about was getting clean and making a slightly better impression. This bathroom was right next to Curtis’ room, it even shared a wall, and the entire side of the house was isolated from the other where Curtis’ parents spent most of every day watching television. I considered stepping into the shower discreetly, scrubbing off without saying a word, but decided that might be a little rude … and instead came out to quietly ask permission.
“Of course!” his mother said. She opened her mouth to say more but I cut her off.
“Great!” I turned and walked toward the bathroom next to Curtis’ room.
“– but that bathroom is being renovated,” she continued. “You have to use the one in our bedroom.” She pointed in the opposite direction of where I was heading, through the livingroom and into their bedroom on the opposite end of the house.
It was too late now, I had committed to it.
I forced a smile, “Um. Okay!” She smiled and led me through the house, between Curtis’ father, and the television and into their bedroom. The redheaded man firmly planted in a large, green lounge chair grunted a greeting as I walked through but did not look up at me. I was grateful; while his mother seemed blissfully oblivious, I’m sure his father would immediately notice my haggard, disgusting appearance and I felt bad enough already.
His mother pushed me into a sparkling white master bathroom attached to their bedroom, covered in sickly sweet potpourri and plush rugs. Even the toilet had something fuzzy on top of it. There were three bottles on the edge of a giant soaker tub, all different colours and scents of bubble bath. On the other side of the room was a cramped shower stall that obviously saw very little use.
“Here you go,” she said. “Towels are on the rack”. She smiled and left, closing the door behind her.
I stood in the middle of the room for a long time, staring at my own reflection in the giant vanity mirror and trying to cope with the mountainous awkwardness that this situation was posing. I decided that getting clean and presentable was by far the most important thing, and stepped into the shower.

I scrubbed my body raw and washed my hair with a tiny sample of shampoo that someone had left unopened on the wire rack attached to the shower head. I spent nearly twenty minutes ensuring I could not possibly get any cleaner before finally feeling confident enough to step out. I opened the warped glass shower door and waited for the fog to clear, then reached for my clothes… which were not where I’d left them.
I looked on the floor to see if they’d fallen down from the hamper I’d put them on. Nothing. I looked inside to see if I’d mistakenly put them there. Empty. The only thing I found was one of Curtis’ large, black shirts folded on the toilet seat. It was not there when I got into the shower.
That’s when I realized… she had taken my clothes.
Upon my admission of how grimy I felt, she thought she would do me a favour by throwing everything in the washing machine. Including my underwear.
She left me with nothing but one of Curtis’ shirts that she had pulled from his drawer, folding it neatly next to me when she had come into the bathroom at some point while I was showering.
With no other choice, I put it on. The shirt reached my knees, but did nothing to help me forget the fact that I was not wearing any underwear. I paced the bathroom for fifteen minutes, watching my reflection in the mirror and trying to judge how inappropriate it would be for me to light a fire under my ass and run out of that bathroom faster than anyone could see.
Eventually I had to leave. I slid into their darkened bedroom, pulled the shirt down over my knees and very carefully went slinking out with my head down. Due to the way the livingroom was arranged, I was forced to walk between his parents and the television set on my way to Curtis’ room.
I don’t know if either of them watched me go, I was too embarrassed to lift my head.

I did not see, or talk to them for the rest of the evening. Instead I sat on Curtis’ bed.
In his t-shirt.
With no underwear on.
And I watched the hours tick by waiting for 11 o’clock when he’d come home. I heard his parents get up and eat dinner. I think they forgot I was there, because no one asked me if I wanted any. I didn’t anyway – I was too nervous to eat. Eventually I moved into the room across the hall from Curtis’ bedroom, another den where there was a large television and a collection of comic books. It was very isolated from the rest of the house, the door didn’t even open all the way because the couch was too large for the back wall. I felt like I could safely hide in there away from everyone and everything until I heard the dryer stop and could get my clothes back.

I fell asleep.

When I woke up, the house was dark and empty. They were asleep. The sound of the dryer had stopped long ago, and I had no idea where it was. I tried to look for it, but came up unsuccessful, and I ended up back into the den where I sat on the couch with my knees curled to my chest. I dozed off again, this time curled tightly on the edge of the couch with my hands holding the edges of the shirt together beneath me. I woke up a second time to a touch on my shoulder. Curtis was home from work. I sat up and, out of habit, stretched my legs out a mere second before remembering my lack of clothes and darted them back beneath me. I blushed brightly. To this day Curtis swears he didn’t even notice I was practically naked, because he was too happy to see me. I’m not entirely sure this is true.
But he never did ask why I wasn’t wearing any of my clothes.
He sat down next to me and kissed my forehead in welcome. I immediately forgot about what I was (or wasn’t) wearing. We moved to one side of the couch, huddled together and while originally intending to talk… ended up locked in languorous kisses instead. Slow and seductive quickly turned to passionate. We must have laid together for half an hour, far past midnight when the rest of the house was quiet and sleeping. It was strangely satisfying just being there; feeling the pressure of his chest against mine, and the tips of his fingers in my hair. It was sating to every moment I’d wondered what it all was like, in every dream and fantasy and all the conversation we’d had prior that left us both brimming with sexual frustration, charged up and waiting for the moment to finally feel breath, weight and the heat from each other.
While actually taking the step into sex was not either of our intentions, I was itching to satisfy my curiosities. I only vaguely remember asking, between kisses, permission to unbutton his jeans. He didn’t protest, so I took it as a yes. I don’t think he quite heard me, and by the time he came to his senses I was already well on my way to taking his pants away… and he didn’t exactly tell me to stop.
There is that moment in the very first time you see the naked form of someone you’re in love with where you give them that once over, and a million thoughts go through you. You can’t stop staring, because your mind won’t stop reeling.
He was so concerned I would find him woefully inadequate that he could not make eye contact, and therefore missed the look of absolute, stark terror that crossed my face upon revealing him as I thought, “That will never, ever fit”.
I did not linger, though I wanted to; I was too embarrassed by my reaction. I felt his hands on my sides. He asked me if I would take my (his) shirt off. I didn’t want to, for the same reasons he was embarrassed to let me see him: self-consciousness, inadequacy, and an intense self-loathing I’d carried with me for years. I didn’t ever want him to see me naked, because he kept saying I was perfect.
But, despite my reservations, there was something about the way he asked; it wasn’t about the same sexual curiosity I had, it was something else. He said nothing further, but pleaded with his eyes in this way that reminded me of all the moments he always said the perfect words that made all of my insecurities and fears melt away. So I looked the other way, and took off the shirt. I squeezed my eyes shut, and waited… but when I heard and felt nothing I couldn’t help but find out why. He wasn’t looking at my breasts, or my body at all – he was staring at my eyes, waiting for me to look back at him. When I finally met his gaze, he smiled.
“You are perfect.”
I shed a single tear, and he kissed me, so tenderly brushing his fingertips over my tear-stained cheeks, down my neck, shoulders and over my sides and chest as though I was made of the finest gold. His touch was so hesitant; not a second spent in indulgence… he worshipped me as though he was unworthy to be in my presence, and that for each second his fingers grazed my skin he had been given a precious gift. He whispered to me that I was the most beautiful woman that ever lived, and in that moment I believed him. We fell asleep curled together on the couch a short time later.

I awoke suddenly at around three in the morning to the sound of the swamp cooler turning on. For those who are as unfamiliar with this beast as I was: it’s a sort of huge cooling device that uses water and makes a lot of noise to very quickly air condition a room. Curtis’ house had three of them, he largest of which was bolted into the frame of the open window directly in front of the couch we were asleep on.
I went from comfortably warm to absolutely freezing in less than a minute, and before I even had sense to look around for a blanket I started shaking uncontrollably. Curtis was awakened by my shivering and asked me what was wrong. My teeth were chattering so hard I could barely speak, I felt I’d never been that cold in my life. I was still wearing only his t-shirt and had fallen asleep on top of him with nothing else covering us.
He picked me up in his arms and ran me into his bedroom, put me on the bed, under the covers and curled up behind me. He took off his shirt and lifted the back of mine up to use his body heat to warm me, and rubbed my arms until I stopped shaking. We fell back to sleep together within minutes.

My next conscious thought was the sound of footsteps approaching. I glanced at the clock: it was a few minutes before 6am, when Curtis was supposed to get up for work. I vaguely remembered him saying something about how his mother would often come in before his alarm went off to put tea on his bedside. The footsteps moved from the kitchen to the hallway outside of the bedroom. I suddenly realized my (Curtis’) shirt was pulled up to my neck and Curtis had none on at all. He was still spooned up behind me with his head buried into my neck. I had just enough time to only begin to absorb the absolute horror that his mother was about to visualize when the door opened.
His mother took only one step into the bedroom, holding a cup of tea in one hand and the doorknob in the other, before freezing in her tracks when she saw me. I was wide awake; she met my eyes and held them. Neither of us said a word. She must have stood there, in silence, frozen, for at least thirty seconds. Just standing there. Staring at me.
I couldn’t read the look on her face, but it wasn’t a happy one. I was absolutely terrified that she might actually kill me.
Then, without breaking eye contact, she slowly put the cup down on the bedside table, backed up one long step and pulled the door closed.
She never said a word to me, to Curtis, or his father about that encounter – but it left our relationship strained for years after. She didn’t speak to me for the rest of my time there.

I left early that afternoon in the car with Curtis’ father, and he drove me back to my relative’s home in Temecula.
In the car we made casual conversation, but he never did not ask me how I met Curtis. After many long, awkward silences on the hour drive back to where I was staying only once did he say anything interesting. “So, do you like Star Trek?”
I practically jumped out of my seat to answer, “I love Star Trek! It’s how–” I bit my tongue.
He looked at me expectantly, waiting for me to finish. It was the first time he’d made eye contact.
“– Curtis and I talk about it a lot.”
“Oh. Well that’s good. We’re all big fans.”
I think we probably spent the rest of the drive discussing the movies and which series was better than the others. It was the best I’d ever got along with his father.

The next morning, bright and early, mom and I caught the Greyhound bus for the three-day journey from the desert back to our island home in Canada. I spent the entire trip back staring out the window, daydreaming, and going back over every detail. I don’t remember much from the trip home. I had packed several paper journals with me before I left, which I used to record the smallest minutia of my trip, and meeting, so that I could retell the story to my friends when I came back. I still have those journals, packed away next to the ‘Nothing Books’ from my high school years that contained nothing of importance (hence the titles we bestowed upon them). They were filled with sketches, bits of novels, quotations and torn pages from notes I passed in science class.

When I got home I received a phone call from Curtis’ mother. He had caught a bus right behind me and was on his way here to be with me. He was going to stay for over two weeks.
Immediately I went back into Vancouver to stay with a family friend I knew as “Uncle Robin” and waited for Curtis to arrive on the bus two days later. His house always served as our “home base” between trips, as it was the only way we were able to get a bus in the morning. Taking a ferry in from the little island, even the earliest boat available, would never get us to the station before 10:30am. Robin was always happy to see me, and always had something fun planned for the nights I was staying.

When Curtis finally arrived, he and I stayed that night in the basement suite of Robin’s house, on an oversized air mattress with holes in it. We were to catch a boat back to the island the next morning. We didn’t sleep at all: both because of the cold, hard bed and because we were too occupied with each other – something which even the incredibly uncomfortable deflated air mattress couldn’t prevent.
I was still awake when the birds greeted the day, and the orange lights of dawn began to trickle into the basement window. I woke Curtis before the alarm so we could spend as much time as we could alone together before we caught the boat to my home.

On the way back I was exhausted, days of broken rest along with the previous night of no sleep finally caught up with me. I started dozing on and off in the car, and despite my best attempts to stay awake through it, I fell asleep hard once we hit the island and entered the last half hour stretch. Curtis lay my head on his lap and stroked my hair through the ride home, and I only barely remember waking as he opened the car door, picked me up in his arms and carried me over the threshold of my own home and into my bedroom.
He felt enormous and powerful as he brought me through the house. I was floating; small and safe in his arms. He lay me down on my bed and I was instantly out again. He stayed there next to me for hours, just watching, before finally getting undressed and falling asleep with me.

Every single day was spent to its fullest, up way too early and asleep way too late. Every day I logged onto the computer very briefly in the evening to talk to a few of our friends. Jenna, the friend who virtually “held my hand” as I professed my love to Curtis some months earlier, logged on every single day to asked me if we’d had sex yet.
One day Curtis was standing over my shoulder when I loaded up ICQ. I discreetly messaged her first, to tell her he was watching so she would not ask the question.
There was a long pause before her greeting. “So… did you eat any fruit today?”

That night we went to sleep early, exhausted. I fell asleep before Curtis did, when it was still bright outside. Something woke me later. I opened my eyes to a dark room. Curtis was asleep next to me on top of the covers. I looked at my clock: it was past two in the morning. Outside there was an eerie, bright light streaming into the bedroom. It was much more powerful than a full moon.
I sat up and stared at the patterns of light reflecting against my walls: it was strange and unlike anything I’d ever seen. The view outside from where I was sitting was obscured by trees on all sides; my home then was set in the middle of a dense forest. I slid out of bed and walked over to my sliding glass door, opened it and stepped out onto the porch.
The sky was ablaze in brilliant white ribbons. So beautiful and intense that in the middle of the night my body cast a long shadow on the ground beneath me. The streaks were everywhere, moving and twisting toward the top of the sky as if it were a globe and I was the center. There was no part of the sky left dark; it looked as though the trees were breathing. In and out, milk and sage smoke spiralling through the night sky so bright it nearly covered the stars.
I had never in my life seen the Aurora Borealis. My father used to tell me the story of the only time it had ever been visible from our island, when I was a baby. He and my mother were similarly awakened in the middle of the night by the the light coming through their windows. They wrapped me in a blanket and walked out into the street in their bare feet, joining the dozens of others that had too wondered out, curious of what could have lit the sky up like a bonfire.
It felt like fate. I ran back inside and shook Curtis from sleep to tell him what I’d seen. I pulled him by his wrists, in nothing but his underwear, through my bedroom and out the door. I twittered excitedly through his queries and protests of being dragged outside nearly naked, only half awake and not exactly sure what was going on.
He tripped as I brought him over the edge of the door.
“Look up!” I said. And he did, standing aghast and silenced. “It’s the northern lights,” I explained. “I’ve never seen them before.”
“It’s incredible.”
I went inside to grab the comforter off my bed, leaving Curtis stunned and still mostly naked. I wrapped the blanket around us for modesty, more than warmth, and we sat on the porch staring upward.
We didn’t say a word for a long time.
“This is amazing,” he whispered. I knew how to make it better.
I dragged him back inside and we quickly got dressed, I grabbed a light fleece blanket from the shelf in the bathroom and led him outside into the humid August night. I was already running toward the forest path before he even managed to put on his glasses. He stumbled behind me, through the salal bushes and underneath ancient fir trees toward the lake. I knew this path so well I could navigate it on the darkest night and still make every turn, and jump over every fallen branch.
Everything about my home was different from his: there were no street lights, no traffic, no noise, and no orange glow from the city at night. There was only a massive sky, and more trees and greenery than he’d ever seen in his entire life.
The forest abruptly ended in front of the thin logging road, barely paved and almost too narrow for even a single car to pass through. I jumped from out from the edge of the forest, flying down onto the pavement and kept running. Curtis didn’t see the edge coming, and in my excitement I did not warn him, and instead of gracefully flying downward he slid from the bushes to the road, landing hard in the dry ditch. I ran back to grab him and together we flew toward the lake.

Every winter the public dock floated away and had to be brought back in the spring, and every summer part of ramp sank just slightly into the water, leaving it slick and unstable. I jumped over the ramp to avoid the slip and this time Curtis followed my lead. I spread the blanket down over the old wood and together we lay down on top of it and stared up at the sky. We watched the twisting of the Northern Lights and shooting stars from the meteor shower until dawn, gripped securely in each other’s arms and rocked by the gentle flow and sway of the lake beneath us.

As the sun rose up over the horizon, we slowly we made our way back to the house, through the forest and into my bedroom.
We crawled under the cover of a thin summer blanket and I pulled him down onto me. We kissed and caressed and lost our clothes somewhere in the motions. I whispered to him what I wanted, and asked if he did too. Initially, he refused… but it did not take much to convince him. His hesitation was due not to a lack of desire, but for his nerves.
He shook like a leaf.
We made love for the first time with the dawn in the window behind us, and the light of the Auroras fading.
The clock next to us said 6:11am when I laid my head down on his chest and fell asleep listening to his heartbeat.

Later that morning when we woke he asked me to turn my back when he got out of bed because he was still too embarrassed to stand naked in front of me. I managed to convince him to take a shower with me, where we stayed together until the water ran cold.
When I got out, as Curtis was still dressing in the bathroom, I discreetly logged onto the internet. Very quickly I searched for, found and emailed Jenna a ‘virtual fruit basket’ with the message, “Fresh fruit. Just arrived this morning”. The email she sent me in return I still have saved.

The two weeks with him are a blur. I introduced him to every single one of my friends, I made him experience everything about my home: from the locally roasted coffee to the lake… where I learned he didn’t know how to swim only after I ran him into deeper water.
When our time was up my father and his girlfriend were travelling through the area, so they picked us up and took us back into Vancouver, to Robin’s house, so we could stay overnight and be able to make the morning bus. Instead of a basement suite, this time Robin had us stay in his parent’s house, which was next door and fully furnished.
We made love on the floor in the hall because I didn’t want to be in someone else’s bed.
Curtis told me that night that this was now his home, and he would move there with me the day he was able.

In the morning Robin’s mother came home from wherever it is she’d been staying. He forgot to tell her we were there. She opened up the back door right over our heads when Curtis was on top of me, under blankets in the back hall. We both looked backward at the same time to see her very startled face staring down at us.
“Oh my god!”
The door slammed. I heard her laughing as she ran up the stairs. She was about 75 years old. I was laughing too.
Curtis, however, was not.

At the bus station my father and his girlfriend, Rumi, stood back to let us say goodbye before Curtis boarded the bus and left. We hugged for a long, long time… until the driver had loaded everyone else on and only Curtis was left behind. My father came over to help me let him go. He and Rumi took my shoulders and turned me toward the station, walking just ahead of me.
I looked over my shoulder toward the loading bay and watched the tinted windows of the bus, waiting and hoping I could catch one last glimpse of him. As the bus pulled out from under the bay shelter the sunlight caught the window and I saw the slightest sparkle from one of the front seats. Though I was still walking away, peering over my shoulder and getting further from the bus…. Curtis’ face came into focus. I could only barely make out the tears on his cheeks. It felt like a scene from a romance movie – where the music hits a crescendo and the audience breaks down in tears. I felt myself start to cry too, and lifted a hand to wave goodbye…

… and then walked into a six-foot wide metal support pole that I had completely missed as I was far too absorbed in looking over my shoulder.
I knocked myself unconscious.
If it had not been for Rumi running up just in time to catch me, I would have fallen straight back onto the cement.
When I came to the image of Rumi’s face swam into focus.
“You know,” she said. “I watched you getting closer and closer and I thought ‘no way, she’ll see it… she’ll see it’. But then you didn’t”.
They slowly helped me to my feet. My head was pounding, and the bus was long gone.
Curtis’ last memory of me for the next five months was watching as I crumpled to the ground in an unconscious heap. The first thing he did upon getting home three days later was call and ask if my head was okay.

I’ve had an online diary since 1999, though most of the entries prior to Curtis moving up to Canada have since been privatized. A lot has changed about me since that time, and reading back through my own writings is embarrassing and uncomfortable. So much so that I don’t even want other people doing it, so I switched years of my journal off, and only transferred the entries from my pregnancy with Tempest onward to Livejournal when I joined in 2003.
After writing this out, I went digging and actually found the original emails I sent Jenna, and CC’d to myself, that I spent hours writing out at the end of every day. However, I’m missing all but the four: I have the one from the trip down, the first day, the day we were caught and the subsequent night I spent there, and her response to the fruit basket. That said I will never, ever share them with anyone. I don’t think I can even let Curtis read them, knowing I actually intended for another human being other than me to read them… on dark, and apparently very lonely, nights.

That said I’m still glad I have them, along with those years of writing, the 44 thousand pages of ICQ logs, the letters, the photos, our scrapbook of receipts, trinkets… and everything else that ever pertained to us, because it gives a wholeness to everything, and our lives since then. There is no ‘happily ever after’: there’s just reality, and the roller-coaster ups and downs of a normal relationship. There are struggles and very bad times; there were days I almost walked away, and moments I wished I had long before… but, for every time I couldn’t stand to look at him there are a hundred others when I love him more than I can comprehend.
And I can’t wait until my kids are old enough for me to tell them they owe their lives to Jean-Luc Picard.




  • […] part two, [ click here ]. Tags: as long as i'm living, […]

  • Anonymous says:

    Dude, never mind the clothes…the mom snuck in on you while you were showering. HOW IS THAT NOT FUCKED UP?

    Aside from that, lovely story. I really enjoyed it, and can relate to it because the internet is where I met my boyfriend. I’ll be sharing your inspiring writings with him. Thank you for uploading this!

    • admin says:

      LOL, that part didn’t bother me as much I suppose because I know the type of person she is. She’s so overly motherly and so INCREDIBLY naive that I was just another kid to her.

  • longtimegone says:

    You don’t know me at all, so I apologize for kind of…barging in (I found your LJ tonight when linked to an entry you made back in 2004 about how to go shampoo free) but I just read this story of how you and your husband got together and I wanted to tell you what a moving, raw and wonderful story this was to read. I was full of happy tears by the end!

    And I can’t wait until my kids are old enough for me to tell them they owe their lives to Jean-Luc Picard.

    I am currently making my way through TNG in its entirety right now (yay Netflix), so this made me grin from ear to ear.

    Thank you for sharing this.

  • methebee says:

    i finally sat down and read through these. such a sweet story. you guys are so lucky to have found each other. 🙂

  • alicianne3 says:

    –absolute, stark terror that crossed my face upon revealing him as I thought, “That will never, ever fit”.–
    lmao! i had a similar experience…
    so funny!

  • delurking

    I loved reading your story. It’s beautiful to read how your relationship developed and to see the family you have created together. It’s really inspiring. Thank you for sharing!

  • frogger414 says:

    Amazing. I can’t say anything else

  • cmariewt says:

    This is amazing, and what a wonderful wealth of memories for your children, grandchildren, and so on to be able to look back on.

  • ajlinda says:

    That was a pretty cool story. And I also didn’t think Curtis looked that big, at least he’s healthy now.

  • I love your story and am so happy you’ve posted it all! There are probably similarities with any “falling in love” story, but the first time I met my husband’s parents I had just come off a flight which had left at 6 in the morning…and he didn’t tell me they would be there AT THE AIRPORT to see me so of course I was a mess and pretty green from turbulence. I thought I was going to go back to my dorm, shower, and change first before we all went out to dinner together! It also made me so happy reading about all of your friends (and meeting Curtis of course) online. I made some similarly wonderful friends that way and some of the best moments of my life so far have been the weekends I spent visiting them around the country. The photos of the four of you at the end are wonderful too – you have a beautiful family.

  • Your story just gives me so much hope. So so so so much. Especially in times like this when I feel like it is NEVER going to happen. I also take comfort knowing that I am not the only girl who will more than likely see a penis for the first time the first time I have sex. I mean, I’ve seen pictures online and stuff, but I don’t think that quite helps anything in the real world, lol.

    Your pictures are fantastic and I LOVE your hair like that! You look so gorgeous!

  • sarahthejane says:


    I must de-lurk (found you on natural family) to share my renwedding love.

    Thank you for sharing. Aside from enjoying your couplehood origin, it was nice to walk down a stretch of memory lane.

    /cantankerous rant/
    The generation currently vomiting their thoughts onto myspace (and any other community like it) are missing out. The old fandom communities… places where you connected through shared interests and actual conversation instead of music video links and glittery graphics describing how HOTT!1! others have rated your userpics.
    *long sigh*

  • jodie_anna says:

    thanks for sharing your beautiful story Heather :o) I nearly didn’t get supper on the table tonight because I was so engrossed in reading it, lol ;o) You and Curtis make a wonderful couple and fantastic parents. You are an inspiration :o) Those pics at the bottom are just. wow.

    Aside from your lovely family, I just love reading what you write because you do it so well…it was great fun to travel back to that era with you (I’ve been nostalgic for the 90’s lately)…it brought back many of my own memories of those times as well….like the advent of internet chat rooms, living with billed by the hour dial-up internet, the pre-Y2K paranoia that seemed to be suggested with your mom’s cousin’s house (btw, your mom is damn cool!), the awkwardness, exhilaration and freedom that came with young love affairs. It is a beautiful story and was such fun to read. thanks!

  • jessicaem says:

    I like your story very much. Thank you for sharing.

    I may have missed it, but I wondered how old you both were when you met for the first time.

  • Thank you SO much for writing this all out! I needed so badly to hear this right now. I’m in a fairly new, and very wonderful relationship myself right now, and I was just doubting myself and feeling a little guilty and scared, and then I read this. And you make me so happy! Thank you Heather! You are an amazing couple.

  • jenrose1 says:


    I’m all verklempt. Seriously, you two are adorable and that is a sweet and funny and poignant story.

  • Okay, finally stopped sobbing enough to write to you. Don’t exactly know what to say. Just want to say something. Wow.
    Thank you for sharing that incredible story. What a journey. What a love. I am touched, inspired, and completely in awe of how young you were and how your relationship was real. It lasted. I’ve never known anything like that. Those photos of all of you at the end just hit me in my heart. You are such a beautiful family. Such a beautiful story.
    Blessings to you, Curtis, and the kids-

  • onelargecat says:

    okay. fantastic story. 🙂 thanks for sharing it with us.

  • sualkin says:

    Oh, Heather..Those photos are amazing. I’m just in tears. Your amazing story and then those pictures.

  • It is like a romance novel 🙂 It is what I always dreamed of… Amazing! Thank you for sharing

    LOVE the pictures too! Such a cute family

  • lkf03 says:

    I loved when you saw him for the first time and thought that’s not going to fit. When I saw my husband’s penis for the first time, I had a look of horror and stated, “oh my god…that’s what it looks like!?” ahha oh man.

    • admin says:

      HAAA! You said it out loud?!? At least I kept it in!!

      (On a side note I’m SO GLAD someone else said that it was also the first time they’d ever seen a penis. Well, like that anyway – I think most of us have seen our dad in the shower at some point. So many people like to make fun of my naiveté for that. I was seriously terrified. He’s a tall guy with very big feet, and that’s all I have to say about that).

      • ecosopher says:

        I also had this thought the first time 🙂 Incidentally I also had this thought when giving birth to both of my children, when the midwife was telling me “Not long to go now, I can see the head” and I am thinking, “HOW? How is it ever going to fit out of me?” Which is quite understandable the first time, but you would think I would have more confidence the second time… In both cases I was seriously surprised when I suddenly had this baby in my arms. But I digress.

        This: “…and then walked into a six-foot wide metal support pole that I had completely missed as I was far too absorbed in looking over my shoulder.”

        Hahahahaha This is *so* something I would do. (Sorry for laughing at you knocking yourself unconscious… it’s kind of an empathetic-been-there-done-that-laugh iykwim)

        It was also interesting to read about Curtis’ mum; your relationship makes a lot more sense with that background. Really, though. What was she thinking would happen, inviting you back to stay the night?! I’m glad you’ve reached a better place between you now (you have, haven’t you – hope I didn’t misread that when you wrote about their last visits).

        Thanks for posting both parts so quickly. It’s a wonderful story – will be a very special thing to share with your children later 🙂

        (Also, gorgeous photos).

        • admin says:

          Curtis’ mom: yes, we did eventually get along better… but not until I was pregnant with Jericho, and over our mutual loathing for Psychograndma (I don’t know her history with her, but there were several very strange moments I witnessed that made me think Curtis’ father’s family treated his mother the same way she initially treated me – and when they treated me the same way, and she witnessed it, she instantly softened and we were friends after that).
          I have no idea what happened in the past between them, but Curtis said his parents split twice, and got back together. Both times his dad left, and afterward his dad’s family made his mother the butt of their jokes and treated her rather disrespectfully. He has no idea what happened, nor do I. She’s not the type of person you can ask that question to.

      • Just another one for the first time seeing a penis like that group, though I didn’t actually see it the first time because our room was so dark, I was touching it and thinking “this barely fits in my hand what the…”

  • awwwwrrrrrr

    ~sigh~ its so Good and Smooshy! thanks for including the part at the end where you mention that there are bad spots. good lord, the last supper in light up velvet? cringing and laughter! that cake topper is really really lovely

  • _delphiki_ says:

    This was such a sweet, touching story. I loved every moment of reading it!

  • alexparte says:

    I totally made time to read this even though I’m having finals right now and I shouldn’t. It was wonderful.

    One question: how did Curtis suddenly go from very fat to not-fat?

    • admin says:

      He lost 150-170lbs really quickly once he got together with me; the bulk of it after he moved to Canada. He’s not sure how big he was at his biggest, but he stopped weighing himself at 350 and that was months before… and he was continuing to gain.
      His diet was absolute shit in CA (his parents ate had but fast food and Coca-cola).

      Someone left a note here, or on OD, that said he was only slightly chubby and that’s not really true: he was significantly overweight. Even as tall as he was, being almost 400lbs is big.
      He’s 205 now. He was 180-something at his lowest (he later said someone in his culinary arts course calling him “String Bean” was like… the happiest moment ever) and gained 60lbs after Jericho died (I gained 30), and has been working it off along with me… very, very slowly.

      • wolfteaparty says:

        It was just kind of hard to see the overweight in the pictures you’ve posted. He looked a little chubby at most. It could’ve been the angle, but I’m also willing to bet most of them were taken after he started to slim down. Amirite? (And that is some impressive weight loss, even though it is easier for men.)

        • admin says:

          Yes – the vast majority of those pictures is taken as he was already losing.
          I think I only have like one other that shows him within about 50lbs of his biggest.

          There’s a picture of him somewhere about two months before we met when his parents went to Washington DC and in that picture he looks massive. I didn’t see it until after he’d lost 100lbs ad had NO IDEA he was that big when I met him. I know that sounds stupid, but really. When he started losing weight I DID NOT NOTICE. At all. He lost almost 60lbs before I noticed. It isn’t because it didn’t show, it was because I didn’t see it.

      • jenrose1 says:

        Seriously? He totally doesn’t look that big.

        • admin says:

          I know, and I thought so too.
          But at the same time, that weight SOUNDS huge but it’s not like you roll out of bed in the morning and decide what side of your pants you need to tuck your stomach down that day. You’re fat but… you’re not housebound.
          The only major way I can tell how much he’s changed is that I remember buying him a pair of Canada maple leaf boxers just after meeting him that were sized to a 54 inch waist and they were small – and now he wears pants sized to 36 (34 to 32 at his smallest).

  • gardenmama says:

    I was just tearing up, as he was driving away on the bus, hearing the crescendo of music in the background, when I burst out laughing at the totally Lucille Ball moment of you knocking yourself unconscious! Good lord!

    Really, it was a very sweet story 🙂 Thank you for sharing!

  • There couldn’t have been a more perfect entry to show off your family portraits in ♥ (I swear I’ve seen pictures of Tempest making the exact same face you are in the picture clear to the bottom left in the collage)

    Thank you for sharing this amazingly beautiful story with us. I only wish I had such vivid ways to recall my earliest days with my one & only in order to pen our own tale to remember.

  • ruethee says:

    Here I go cryin’ again…


  • conchispa says:

    Long-time reader, infrequent commenter de-lurking

    The icon is of course inspired by the last sentence.

    Your story reduced me to a crying mushy pile of goo, in the best way possible. It is amazing. Now, please pretty please is there a part 3 and beyond?

    • admin says:

      Re: Long-time reader, infrequent commenter de-lurking

      This was intended to be the last, as it was just the story of us coming together. 🙂 Everything after that is really just a pile of random stories and anecdotes!

      (But, thank you. 🙂 )

  • owenc says:

    Wonderful … again!

    In addition to being a very good photographer, you are a wonderful writer. Thanks.

    And… the Urban Portrait Family Session. Fun.

  • This is so magical. The comfort and strength you find in each other is inspiring. I cannot wait to read more, if you feel like sharing. Thank you.

  • frkyjenn says:

    I can’t even think of anything to say.

    What an amazing story!

  • kat89 says:


    Delurking to say…

    You are an amazing writer.

    Please never stop writing.

  • Grinned almost all the way through this. Sooooo cute! 🙂

    Sorry about the parents, though. Pretty much every happy couple I know has some or other issues with them 🙁

    • admin says:

      His father wasn’t ever a big problem, it was always his mother and paternal grandmother (otherwise known as Psychograndma on this journal).
      They were angry I was not a Christian, but I kept exactly what I was a secret from his entire family for about a year until his mother, “Found a Wicca book in Curtis’ room” (an encyclopedia I’d left there when he’d asked me all these questions) and called me DEMANDING answers and accused me of worshiping Satan. When I said I didn’t she asked if I was telling her pastor if he was a liar.
      A later exchange in that conversation went like this:
      “I don’t believe in heaven or hell.”
      “Then where will you go when you die?”

      It took me until I hung up to realize she was implying I was going to go to hell.

  • Very similar to mine and Jerms story, except he in Oregon, and I in the Socal desert. And we didn’t have sex. xD

    That was over 7 years ago! Geeze.. 🙂

    • admin says:

      … yeah I didn’t wait very long. :-X That said, there was about four years of sexual tension prior to that so maybe that makes it better?

      • Dude, we also had to wait about 3 years. Jerm wanted to save it for the wedding night :D!

        Which is romantic and all, and follows our religious values… but I had already lost my virginity and was a fairly sexual being.. so basically it was a few years of holyshittensionOMMGGGGG until about 5 seconds after I said “I DO!”


        • admin says:

          Ha! I never would have waited.
          Honestly, if I had said I wanted to, he would have. It wasn’t “him” at all in it. When I found the emails later it revealed details I’d forgotten about (like breaking down crying at his house after a REALLY sexually tense moment because I was so scared to commit to it) and he told me it’s not what he wanted, only that he wanted me to be happy and feel comfortable.
          He never ever ever made any overtures.

          I mean even AFTER we were long sleeping together. For like… five years of our relationship he would wait until he was shaking and unable to think straight and still wouldn’t actually ASK for sex. He’s still incredibly shy.

          • gardenmama says:

            I find it incredibly funny that now you’ve brought him to the point where he will call and do an impression of the movie phone guy and talk of dispatching a professional rapist to your location. Lol. You’ve corrupted him 😉

            • admin says:

              That’s true, but despite that he still is really shy when it comes down to it… he’s just better at joking around and playing it off now. 😉
              I can still make him blush.

              • gardenmama says:

                Well, that’s sweet. As long as you have fairly matching drives 😉 I know you’ve said he still rarely initiates.

                • admin says:

                  Sex has been like the #1 fight in our relationship – even more so than money – 99% of the time because my drive for it was like 100x higher than his until pretty recently. For the first time ever we’re pretty evenly matched because, due to that shyness I was talking about, it took until the last year for him to really open up to me about his not-as-plain-vanilla wants and I practically had to beat it out of him.

          • jodie_anna says:

            aw, what a sweetie :o) He sounds a bit like an aspie to me (??) b/c he reminds me of my own dh in that. We’ve been married for nearly 8 years and he only recently started feeling confident enough to ask for sex…much to my surprise he wants it way more frequently than I thought! LOL…not at all a bad thing ;o)

  • catling42 says:

    thank you so much for sharing this story. it’s beautiful. I, too, look forward to part 3 😉

    fantastic pictures, also.

  • apers says:

    that is one of the most amazing love stories I have ever read. It actually brought me to tears of joy.

    I am now mush.

    • apers says:

      oh and Dj and I fell in love through letters and phone calls, so for me a lot of this felt so familiar. I lived in New Hampshire and he in NJ. The late night calls, the desperate need for each other, the aching hole in you when you were at home and away from each other. I know these feelings so so well. And we were young too, we were 18. This post made me feel all these things again. thank you.

  • hibernate says:

    “That will never, ever fit”.

    *howls with laughter*

    You sound so very young here! I can’t believe I knew you at this point (I think I remember this!). Although, of course, I was a kid back then too. 😀 It’s a wonderful story! I’m so glad you two found each other.

    • admin says:

      It wasn’t honestly that I was that young, my sister is already not a virgin anymore… I waited WAY longer.

      I was just painfully painfully naive and really enraptured with all the “first”ness of every single experience. 🙂

      • tmuses says:

        I hope your sisters’ first time was as special as yours. Did that weird you out at all to know she isn’t a virgin anymore? It seemed like not too long ago, you were talking about how she’d be growing up, and here it is.

        Lovely story. I hope you two will always remember this and realize how much you can handle.

        • admin says:

          It was extremely weird – but the situation that led to me (and the rest of the family) finding out was totally over the top teenage drama when her best friend’s mother called her a slut and threw in her in the car, forbidding her from seeing her friend again because she was ‘such a skank’ and would ‘open her legs for anyone’ etc etc. Seriously. It was horrible. I wanted to fucking kill that woman. I had to take valium before I called Marika and talk to her because I was SO UPSET I didn’t know if I could talk without absolutely flipping my shit.
          The friend’s mother actually confronted me (on Marika’s facebook, which I didn’t know she knew of) after I made a half-joking death threat (to which she replied, “Bring it on” – A GROWN WOMAN, SERIOUSLY) and the subsequent message I left, on public, embarrassed her enough to make her disappear.
          Good riddance, psycho bitch. I apologized to M for leaving the message public and embarrassing her… but she didn’t delete it, and instead left it up for all her friends to read the next day. :-X

          Marika knows this story, I told it to her last summer when she asked about how we got together. I even told the details.
          Hers was… not that special, and ended badly and with a lot of pain. She went too fast, too soon – now it’s over, and she regrets it.
          It’s actually made it difficult to have conversations with her about how *normal* it is to not have a lasting first relationship, and to not idealize sex and virginity and put them on a pedestal (while keeping your own personal morals and ethics in tact) because it leads to disappointment, regardless. In the end, it’s just sex. She’s quick to come back with, “But that’s what happened with you.” And I’m put in a really awkward position of saying, “Well… but that really isn’t an ideal to strive for, because I’m the only person I know – or will probably ever know – who had an experience like that the first time”. Avoiding words like, ‘lucky enough’ or ‘was blessed’, even though I feel those things, because she vulnerable and I don’t want to do anything that might make her feel any worse.

  • cat_heron says:


    My partner-in-crime lives south of LA, and I’m up here in Canada. Since the moment we met, every bone in my body screamed loud and clear that we are meant to be together. I’ve had an much-abridged second-hand version of parts of your story, and the details I’ve pieced together from your blogs. And I’ve always held it up as a symbol of hope for us – that despite what everyone thinks, despite what everyone says, love and permanence in the face of all adversities is ultimately possible. That two people from very different places can come together and make a happy, purposeful life with one another. Thanks for filling in all the blanks… I wait with bated breath for the rest.

  • letitshine says:

    beautiful! i love your little family… <3

  • misti_k says:

    Thank you so much for sharing. This was such an amazing journey to read/experience.

    The family photos at the end are breathtakingly lovely. Whomever took them is painfully talented.

  • tastyanagram says:

    I love it! I can’t wait for the next six parts! Again, it’s bringing back so many good memories for me. My first boyfriend was just as sweet and good as yours, and to this day I feel blessed that I was able to explore sex with someone whom I trusted completely. Also, the part about being caught by Robin’s mom was hilarious.

    Also, the pictures came out fantastically! Your hair is so long! The picture of you guys kissing with the kids hanging off of you is a stand out.

  • comitto says:

    thank you for sharing!

  • jesamin says:

    Oh you guys. I love your love.

  • big big smiles, that’s all i got. best honest to goodness romancing story ever.

  • I can’t read this story right now for personal, emotional reasons, but I’ll come back to it when the time is right. I’m glad you’re posting it.

  • I can’t even think of anything to say. Thank you for sharing this story. 🙂

    Such a perfectly poignant place to post the urban shoot, by the way. I have tears in my eyes!

  • cryslea says:

    So… how did you move from this point to marriage? Is there another story??? (Please say yes!)

    • missauria says:

      Yah- I’d like to read part 3 as well.

    • admin says:

      Originally I had some snippets of how he came to move in with me, and the next few years together, but because not a lot of it is happy (with his parents) I ended up leaving it out.
      That said, he proposed at the end of the first year that we met, on one night when I came down to visit him again. He didn’t have a ring yet, because he was afraid he would get something I wouldn’t like, so he took me the next day to a store so we could pick something out together and then much to my horror “re-did” his proposal in the middle of the mall, down on a knee. We were engaged for YEARS before finally getting married. 🙂

      • cryslea says:

        I don’t mind reading the less-than-happy bits- it probably makes for a very good story- but I can certainly understand why you don’t want to share it with the internet. Thanks for what you have shared.

        • admin says:

          I actually have shared them all before, just spread out. 🙂
          I just didn’t want to tack it onto the end of THIS particular story/entry, is all – I felt it might kind of ruin the ‘impact’ to immediately go into this depressing drivel about how his family hated me.

  • shoeboxfaery says:

    There are struggles and very bad times; there were days I almost walked away, and moments I wished I had long before… but, for every time I couldn’t stand to look at him there are a hundred others when I love him more than I can comprehend.

    i think this statement sums up love, marriage and intimacy very honestly and succinctly.

    thank you for both posts. my fiance and i met in person when i was dating someone else and never thought twice about the other for years. we then re-met online and have been together for four years now…getting married next year. i moved to england for him. best decision i ever made.

    your family gives me so much hope.

  • I don’t have words. Just hope. Thank you for sharing.

    • Also, amazing family portraits! The one where Tempest and Xan are clinging to your legs is simply delightful. And the one in the sunshine? Luminous. 🙂

      • admin says:

        😀 I love the one of us kissing with the kids hanging off. That’s her favourite, too. On Wednesday morning I’m going in to pick up the CD; the session was free as a thanks for being models for the photography course some time ago (photos which we’ll also be getting).

        I look crazy tall in these photos though, it’s kind of freaking me out. I was wearing high heels that gave me about 4.5 inches and Curtis was bending down, or leaning back against a wall for most of them.

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