Cynics be warned: I’m a girl and this story is about a boy. What follows contains quite a bit of romantic drivel.
We had walked in the pub and were looking around for a clean table, when I locked eyes with the man who changed my life…
He was standing at the bar, watching me. Not staring intrusively, just watching. He seemed to know what he was about so I asked, “Do we just sit anywhere?” He smiled a little bit, pulled out the barstool next to him, patted the seat and said (with that intoxicating Irish brogue), “This is where you sit. Right here.”
Well then! He intrigued me and it was a public place and there was a certain electricity crackling in the air, so I sauntered over and sized him up as we started chatting.
(I’ve got to interject here: I had just been through a grueling 3-year relationship that reduced my self-confidence to less than zero and the idea of ‘sizing up’ a man and boldly flirting with him in a pub was way beyond my comfort zone. But something happened, and there I was, perfectly comfortable in my own skin for the first time in years.)
Within minutes, the whole wide world changed. We connected in a way I’ve never connected with any man. This seems so cliched, but it felt like we were two parts of a whole, and had somewhow just found each other after being separated for a long time. My best friend (who I had forgotten all about, but who was right beside me the entire time) told me later she’d have paid money to see us that night, because it felt like she was in a romantic movie, right in the middle of the scene where the protagonist meets her man for the first time.
We shared dinner and sat at that pub talking for hours, then wandered across the street to another pub and talked and laughed and laughed and talked for hours and hours more. Shortly after we arrived at the second pub, I took my scarf off and laid it on the bar. My new dear man picked it up, folded it neatly, and laid it on a chair behind us. As we shared our life stories, I learned he had lived in the States, just a few hours from my house, for ten years! And here, six months after he returns to Ireland, we run into each other in a pub. Funny old world, isn’t it?
Hours later, when Mindy and I finally headed back to our holiday cottage, I was in the stratosphere! I remember very little of the drive back home, except that there was lots of laughter and lots of smiling and lots of declarations that, “I’m sure I’ll never see him again – but it’s a great memory to take with me!” To which Mindy always replied, “I saw the way he looked at you; you’ll see him again.” And in keeping with the long tradition of infatuated women, I didn’t sleep a wink that night.
The next morning, as we prepared to get going for the day, I realized my scarf was missing. My favorite scarf, that I’d purchased and the Cliffs of Moher and worn at the pub last night. Awwww, darnit! After agonizing a bit, I decided the thing to do was use the email address I’d been given last night and ask if he’d noticed it after I left. And so I did.
He replied not long after and told me he hadn’t noticed it, but gave me the phone number of the pub and suggested I call and ask them about it. I asked, they had it, and I picked it up the next day. Emailed him again to say thanks. Figured that would be the end.
Within 18 hours, we were friends on Facebook. Whatever, I thought, it’s just a friend request.
And then he sent me a message.
Because of my travel plans and pre-existing weekend plans he had, we didn’t see each other again while I was in Ireland, but we chatted in a friendly way each day. It felt so nice to have this connection with a nice guy who clearly thought I was something special. A few days later, my vacation came to a close and I sadly boarded a plane back to the States.
Each time I travel, I’m always happy to come home at the end of a wonderful adventure – except this time. I kept hoping something would happen, a flight would be delayed or canceled, or we’d be held up for some reason, or we’d miss the flight – anything to keep us in Ireland for a few days longer. Alas, it wasn’t to be… Everything ran as smooth as silk, and as we soared over the Atlantic, I snapped one last picture of my favorite place on earth before it disappeared behind a cloud.
Oh, well, I thought, that was a lot of fun, but it’s over now. I’m headed home, we’ll lose touch and it’ll be just a wonderful memory.
It’s been nearly six months, and we continue to talk nearly every day. I have no idea if or when or how we’ll meet again, but I’m not too worried about that right now. I met a guy who sparked something in me that I didn’t know was there. He’s allowed me to see myself in a way that I couldn’t even imagine before. All the things about me that I tried to hide or change for ‘fix’ in order to make my previous relationship work, he has accepted and embraced. He makes me feel like I’m ok – I’m better that ok, I’m special and wonderful. He makes me smile. I make him laugh. He jostles me out of the blues when I’m stressed, and I cheer him up in turn.
It makes absolutely no sense. It’s doomed from the beginning. But you know what? I don’t care. What’s life, if you don’t take risks?
And this man… He’s a risk worth taking.