I didn't go back to the dorms until Sunday evening. We only got out of bed if it was necessary. After that weekend, we spent every weekend together. Our passionate conversations still consumed us. One afternoon, delivering his mail, he asked me to a wear a dress on Friday. Curious about the request of a dress, I arrived at his office early. He was changing his clothes when I knocked on the door. A suit? He is wearing a suit? Grabbing up his keys, off we went. He was as nervous as our first Friday.
"What is going on? Where are we going?"
"Umm, to Temple."
"I'm going to Temple? You still go? When?"
"Well, I haven't been since we started dating. After my divorce, I attended only sporadically. This is something I have been wanting to do again. I have found myself missing it more and more. I would like to share my faith with you."
After that Friday, going to Temple became a normal part of our weekends together. We also starting seeing each other during the week, at his house and he would cook. He was teaching me about how to keep kosher. Several months go by like this, and then one Friday at Temple, a grandmotherly person, wanted to show me more of the building. Taking my hand she showed me the classrooms for the children, and then at the end of the hall, she entered a nursery, showing me around, and introducing me to a few of the women I hadn't yet met.
As we were walking back she floored me by saying, "You know his divorce broke that poor man, I thought he would never find anyone to share his life with again. I thought you were to young for him, but I see how he cares for you. If he is happy, I am happy for him."
Needless to say I was floored. The rest of the evening went by in a blur. On the way home, home? When had it become home? I decided to just come out and ask him.
"You love me? Why haven't you ever told me."
"I thought you understood how much I love you."
This is not my brightest moment, all these years later, it still burns, and this part is hard for me to write. I was so eager for love, so starved for love, so happy that someone would want me, me! I wasn't sure that I loved him. Honestly, at that point in my life, I am not sure I knew what the emotion felt like. Marriage was never mentioned out loud, but he spoke about children, wanting to move east when I finished college. He was planning our future together. And me? I was beginning to relax for the first time in my life. Never being beat, burned, screamed at, ignored, was a revelation for me. Not sure if I loved him or not, didn't matter to me, being loved was enough for me. I was willing to follow him anywhere.
One day, an acquaintance wanted me to meet her brother. He was on vacation and was going to stop by and see her. I had no interest in this brother, especially if he was as religious as she was. But, she was pleading with me to meet him. I still don't understand all these years later why it was so important to her.
The day came, I made no effort in how I looked. I rolled out of bed, and dressed from the floor, jeans, a tee shirt and a hoodie. Jammed a hat over my hair, sneakers on the feet, that was as good as it was going to get. I go to her room, and we leave to meet him.
This is going to sound false, fake and a total lie, but it is the honest truth. One look. One look, and the world fell away. One look and I fell in love, a heart stopping, breath caught in the throat love. A love that has been bruised a time or two over our many years together, but has never burned out.
The next day, I ran to his office, bubbling with a level of happiness that I had never before felt. He took one look at me, and collapsed into his chair.
"You're in love, and it isn't with me."
"I'm so sorry! I thought I loved you, really I did."
"Is it my age?"
"No! I can't explain it, but our eyes met, and we somehow fell in love. Not lust, that emotion I know to well, but love. I don't have words to say how sorry I am!"
"Could I have a good bye hug?"
He clung to me for quite a long while. When he pushed me from him, he had tears in his eyes.
The school year ended about 6 weeks later. He went out of his way to stay out of his office. He put in his resignation, and left the college. I hated that I hurt him so deeply. I just hope he found someone that would love him like he deserved. He was a wonderful man. I find my self wondering about him from time to time, and hope he found happiness.