I’ve spent the better part of my life wondering if love is real or not. On good days, I think it’s a feeling, an emotion, an action, perhaps even a scientifically verifiable state of being if I listen to enough NPR. But on bad days, I think it’s just something we poetic types go on about, something that the rest of the world buys into, something we spend our entire lives trying to achieve and we dress it up with engagement rings and wedding gowns to prove to everyone else that we’ve found it.
Then I met PIC.
(You had to know I was going to say that, right?)
Each time I’ve had a new boyfriend, I find myself thinking, “This! This is what love feels like!”
But this time it’s different.
It was a weeknight when I invited PIC over to my house for dinner for the first time. I know how to make approximately four proper dinners, and I’d chosen the most impressive (Thai peanut satay chicken) but as I got the preparations under way, I remembered one rather unfortunate fact: I didn’t have a dining room table yet.
In fact, the makeshift countertop that I’d been using as a “bar” for the past few weeks was also gone, thanks to the contractors and their long awaited demolition of the “Tuscan” arch (by way of fake Styrofoam bricks) that separated my kitchen from my dining room.
Having no table, no countertop, nowhere to invite this poor man to sit, I decided to set up an intimate Moroccan caravan-inspired indoor picnic on my living room floor.
And wouldn’t you know? He went along with it, discombobulated whimsy and all. In fact, he was even a bit impressed. (“You made these pillows? Really?”)
The next week I set up the bar stools next to the Eiffel tower lamp in my office and told him the theme was “Parisian bistro.”
After that, I told him we were going to Prague.
“There was this little tiny restaurant there,” I explained, leading him towards the stairs. “And the main dining room was below ground, so you sat on the steps!”
He was less enthusiastic about this one but even so, nearly two months later, I still think back to that first indoor picnic, to the moment when he pulled me into his lap and wrapped his arms around me. I started crying.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
“Nothing,” I assured him. “It’s a good cry. I do this a lot. And someday I’ll explain what is going through my head right now, but not yet.”
Now though that I have finally told him, I will tell all of you as well: it was then, during that moment, that I realized I could build a life with this man. This man who isn’t too good to sit on my floor, who isn’t too stubborn to go along with my flights of fancy, who isn’t encumbered, who isn’t distracted by children or ex wives, who knew from the first moment how to hold me, how to love me. I feel for the first time in my life that I am part of a true team, and it’s the best team that I’ve ever been on.