Life will sure throw curveballs. It seems like it’ll throw them every chance it gets. Sometimes those curveballs can cut you down, make you feel like less than you are. And some of those curveballs will build you up. They’ll remind you that despite your best effort, there will be no concrete plans in this crazy thing we call existence. At least, none that don’t require some “dressing” or clever maneuvers. COVID was something to blindside us all. The failed federal response to COVID, doubly surprising, and even more disappointing. Under Trump we’ve seen over 200,000 deaths that likely did not need to happen. Trump is merely an extension of “old money”, the Americans in the top one percent who regard us as cattle. I didn’t realize just how little we mean to the elite until they saw fit to throw us directly in harm’s way using their poster child, Donald J. Trump. COVID is a disaster, Trump’s response to it a complete disaster, and if he manages to squeeze out enough votes to get a second term we’ll see nothing more than more disaster with him at the helm. It wouldn’t surprise me, in all honesty.

And then, before COVID, just after a hard break-up, I found myself. I surprised myself in rationalizing the last decade and I found my way out of an incredibly murky mire. It surprised me, as I have a tendency to dwell and mope, and this time I forged an optimism and enjoyment of life that I had never attempted before. If you want to know how much it impacted my jadedness, I’m quick to admit zero; Though I was happy. For the first time in a long time I experienced happiness that came from within. It happened to me alone, no one gifted it to me, no one came into my life and changed it. I worked on myself and I worked through my issues, and I found a contentment in continuing to work through things.

I had a real solid “Single Dad Lyfe” schtick, and it was good. I thought “hell, I’ll just do some dating for shits and giggles”, and I had no intention of any of it becoming serious. And honestly most of it wasn’t. Some of it was bad. Some of it not so bad. None of it was anything more than a distraction. At least, initially.

The people I went on dates with, I could find all manner of reasons to tell myself it probably wouldn’t go anywhere past that night. They were all valid. I wasn’t wrong. Well, I wasn’t wrong until I was fully blindsided by a speeding freight train.

“Bumble, where the ladies go first”. All my dating profiles were nothing more than red flags. I genuinely wasn’t looking for anything serious. In all honesty I don’t think I even really wanted a “friends with benefits” gig, I think I just wanted a friend. And if you weren’t already aware, this is the point where I profess my undying love. I expound on my early adoration of the ‘yet-to-be-introduced’ mystery Bumbler. But it’s true- I opened Bumble and browsed the profiles in the stream of faces and words, and amidst a gaggle of horribly unfortunate profiles I found one that piqued my curiosity. “Trumpers swipe left, world traveler, love the water, love to read”. I don’t remember all of what it said, I don’t remember all of what I wrote on my profile, but I do remember the first conversation. “So how dark is your humor?” Well, I still maintain that the Australian wildfires were too soon at the time, but Steve Irwin had long been fair game.

“Breakfast comes with a time-delay fuse.” When I get to this point, right here, right now, all my eloquence dissolves and leaves behind this immutable and overpowering feeling of warmth and waves of dopamine and serotonin. This is the point I want to carve words from to last an eternity, but my words are written and rewritten and erased and no combination of letters ever feels adequate to even attempt to describe the terms of reality at that place in time. This woman I had never met before sitting across from me simply and plainly fills her role- She is unabashedly herself -and I am smitten. I won’t say I was immediately deeply in love, I will say that a strong foundation for what was yet to come had been laid right here.

“Mind if I join you?” I want to hug you. I want to put my arm around you and pull you close and continue to listen to everything on your mind. You are so complex, so interesting, so intelligent, but oh my god as if it needed a cherry on top, you pull it all together around this indelible radiating love. I knew here and now I would fall in love with you beyond how smitten I was. I knew that I would be heartbroken if you backed out after this night. You are not like anyone else, and I saw that this night, and I loved all you showed me.

“They have the best pizza.” And I’m done at this point. She made her case, and I made mine, and I think it would be hard to remember it any other way than it happened. I never expected to have my happiness interrupted by a deep and loving connection, augmented from this goal to “live my best life” and instead completely refactoring this new goal; I want us to live our best life. Not lives, not plural, but as two people paired in the most intimate way two hominids can be. I found someone I want to spend the rest of my life with. I can’t really claim that. I wasn’t looking for someone to spend the rest of my life with. I don’t think either of us really were. It was one in a billion that we would appreciate each other how we do. The culminations of each of our life experiences making each of us into the people we are today. We both work toward self awareness. We’re compatible in so many ways, and even things we don’t have in common are negligible at best. There are so many things I want to say, and it feels like every expression falls painfully short of describing what I really feel.

I’m just so deeply in love, and I really don’t have the tools to elaborate how I want. I’m as surprised as I am enthralled. I’ve found my person for life.