25 February 2009

Number 10 (It's going to be a long story)

Well, here it is March 1st, or at least it is here in the land down under, and as such it happens to be the tenth anniversary of the happiest day in my life. Ten years ago, I met my husband and I am ever so grateful for whatever fates were involved in our meeting because when I met my husband, I was definitely not in the market for a new partner. However, when I met him something started that I was never going to be able to stop and as it grew nor did I ever wish it to stop.

The first day I met the man, who would eventually return a smile to my face and into my heart, I was visiting a very dear and close friend here in Australia. She had recently helped me through a very difficult time in my life, that being the passing of my late partner. Therefore, while I was wrapping up the loose ends of that very difficult time in my life I decided one day that I needed to get away and told my friend that I was going to come visit her here in the Land of Oz. I had gone to meet my friend for lunch as I had been doing every day during my visit in between sight seeing. When I arrived for our lunch date, a tall handsome man walked into the reception area at the hospital that my friend worked at and my friend introduced us. She then proceeded to invite him to join us for lunch. He seemed busy and distracted but he accepted the invitation and we all left a few minutes after he finished whatever had him so distracted. I later found out he was actually standing in for the boss while the boss was on holiday (vacation).

We had lunch at a little French bistro down the street from the hospital. The conversation flowed easily but a bit nervous at times. This new acquaintance was nice enough although he was a bit silly. He told many silly stories from the hospitals, which were even funnier because the fact was that unbelievable as they were they were true and you could not help but laugh at what he was telling us. I think his story telling was a defence mechanism on his part that he used when meeting new people. Anyway, lunch finished and after saying good bye back at the hospital to both my new acquaintance but also to my friend I went on my way and went looking for more sightseeing photo opportunities to fill my day.

Two day alter the friend I was staying with asked if I would like to go out for dinner. Since I was on holiday I had no set plans so I of course said yes. She then asked if it was okay if the new acquaintance could join us, I once again agreed. He was her friend after all so who was I to tell her who she could have dinner with, I was after all just along for the ride. We ate a Greek restaurant, which was a first for me. I enjoyed the food and the company. This new acquaintance, true to form, continued to entertain with his stories. At the end of dinner, my friend said she needed to call it an early night, as she had to work early the next day. However, she did not want to ruin my evening and told me that I should stay and enjoy the company of this new acquaintance to which he whole-heartedly agreed. Now I know that this sounds like a set up but I can definitely assure you that it was not. Remember I had just lost my partner, 2 months prior and at the time as I was to find out later, this new acquaintance was not himself on the market looking for a parent, In fact he was very happy being single and enjoying all that comes with it, if you know what I mean.

So once again I accepted another invitation to enjoy the company of this man and off into to the night we all went, she back home and the two of us to enjoy the nightlife. Sydney was heating up because it so happened that I had come for my holiday during the annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras festival. The partying started a month before culminating in a huge parade. The city was electric and all of the bars and pubs where full of excited, not to mention good looking men who were getting ready for the party of their lives which was scheduled for three days later. The excitement in the air was thick enough to cut with a knife, to use and old saying.

He took me to one of the local clubs, which was packed to the rafters. It had been months since I had been inside a club, since loosing my partner. We had stopped going weeks before he passed due to his illness. I had been having huge anxiety attacks since his passing, my way of reacting to one when they came on was to run, and I mean literally run. I would want to run to anywhere to anywhere and nowhere but I figured if I ran fast enough I could run away from the fear and the enormous anxiety. My doctor had me taking large doses of Xanax, which helped, but occasionally an attack came through and I never knew when or what would set it off. Now I had no idea that being in the club with the loud music, all those happy men and just the charged energy of the moment would be the thing to set off a panic attack.

The new acquaintance had gone to get us a beer and it had taken him a few minutes because as I said the bar was bursting at the seams with people partying. By the time, he arrived back with two ice-cold Australian beers, a first for me that unfortunate I was not going to be able to enjoy. The waves of panic had started shortly after he left to get the beers. I was suddenly alone and afraid the room was starting to spin and all of the noise and blaring disco anthems were not helping calm me. When he arrived back I took the beer had one sip and thought maybe this would pass now that he was here but it didn't stop it just kept getting worse and my need to run was becoming unbearable. I yelled at him over the music that I needed to go. He of coursed confusedly asked me why. I said I could not explain but I needed to go. Fortunate for me as a health professional he could see what was happening to me. He recognised the signs of the panic attack on my face and in my voice. At he same time he, as had other co-workers of my friend, had been told by her about my attacks as she was concerned that I might have one when I was by my self out sight seeing. She was worried what would happen to me being in Sydney, a city of which I had no idea of which way was up, and what and where an attack take me if I were to take off and get lost.

He responded quickly to my pleas but asked me to not run but instead stay right there with him and that we would leave right away. As we made it outside the fresh air filled my lungs and head but the attack still had a hold of me. I was so frightened but he did his best in a very calm and caring tone talked me through the attack. He said we could go some where quiet for a cup of tea or alternatively his apartment was close by which he could guarantee would be quite and also quite safe. Again, it all sounds so cliché but there was no underlying sinister intention. I can guarantee the only thing on my mind was running, but he knew that was not a very good option. I agreed to go to his apartment.

We arrived at his apartment and he immediately set to the task of making us a cup of tea. He lived on the third floor and so he opened all the windows and let in the fresh air. I stood on his balcony trying so very hard to calm myself. He continued to talk to me in that calm reserved tone. I think he was trying to distract my mind because he started pulling questions out of mid air. I do not think he cared what he was asking just as long as it distracted me and allowed me to calm down. At the time we arrived at his apartment it was around 10-11 pm and I kept saying that I needed to get back to my friends house or she would be worried. He said I should not leave just yet and that if I really needed to go he was going to come with me. I know he was trying to protect me and I appreciated it. I said I would wait a little while longer before I left and that when I did I would take a cab that would take me straight to her house so I did not have to attempt taking one of the inner-city trains out to her place.

As I sat there with my cup of tea (and believe me it really does calm you) I slowly started to calm down. He started to ask me more about my life. He had some idea of why I had come to Sydney but he asked about the rest of my life like where did I grow up and such. Half way through this very calm conversation, I suddenly started to shake and then burst into tears. He didn't know what to say he just kept asking "What's wrong, what's wrong?" and then it came to me and I told him actually nothing was wrong that in fact everything was better and that I was crying tears of relief. What I realised was that here sat a man who wanted nothing from me other then to help. A man that did not know me from one guy the next guy. A man who was concerned enough and kind enough to sit with me and just let me talk. I had not found that release since my partner died, not even from the friend that had brought me to Sydney not from any of my other friends or even my family. This man was an outsider and for some reason I trusted him as he had no pre-conceived ideas of me or my life and that made me feel safe to talk about things that I had kept inside since that terrible day. I had made a new friend and I was so every grateful. We sat on that balcony all night and we talked, or I talked mostly and he listened. We sat there and we eventually watched the sunrise.

So here I am, ten years later with so much more of the story that I could tel. All about flying back and forth over seas a total of nine times in the year and a half following that night. I could tell you about the two years we spent going through the exhausting legal process that would allow me o stay in Australia as his partner. Moreover, I could tell you about all of the things in between both to very good and sometimes the very bad that life has handed us both. But in the end through everything that life has handed us we have faced then together and that nab I met ten years ago on that balcony has kept that calm tone for when I needed it as well he has also been the voice of reason my life. I have loved in the past but this time I have found my soul mate and it is very lucky when someone finds his or her soul mate. I am truly one of those lucky people

I want to say to that man, the man that I am not ashamed to call my husband, my partner, my lover and most of all my friend; to him I say I" Love You" with all that I have and I will continue to work at this relationship as hard as I have from day one. Because what we have, is the most important thing in my life. Happy anniversary sweetheart, let us get on with the rest of our life and see what wonderful things it brings to our life together.


Anonymous said...

A very special anniversary wish to the most amazing couple, and 2 of the best men I've ever had the privilegde to call my friends. So many pictures/memories of the 2 of you together are flashing thru my head right now, and what shows the brightest is the love and the perfection of your being together.
Love and HUGS
Cin & Hop

A Lewis said...

CONGRATULATIONS! Many many happy returns and years ahead of you.

Nathan said...

It's been a journey for you both. Happy 10th anniversary!!

Ur-spo said...

That was a touching story; thank you for sharing it
Congratulations to you both - may there be many more years ahead of you.