I wrote about this briefly back in June, but here’s the whole, beautiful story without all the emotional upheaval and self-doubt it caused at the time.
I met Josh by accident, something that has happened less than a handful of times in my life. I’m not really a “bump into a guy at a bar and make small talk” kind of girl, but there you have it.
I had been set up on a blind date, a concept with which I had absolutely no experience. When I left the hotel the sky was clear, but as it would be for most of my time in Boston, by the time I stepped off the train it was pouring. I had an umbrella, but it did little good in the monsoon that swept me twenty minutes in the wrong direction before I realized I was lost. The GPS on my phone had trouble finding this little dive bar my date had chosen, but I found it just as soon as I was hopelessly soaked to the bone. It was a beer tavern. I don’t drink beer. My date wasn’t there yet, so I lugged my waterlogged purse to the bar and asked the bartender for a moment to compose myself before I ordered as he handed me a menu.
The tall frame perched on the bar stool to my right leaned over and smiled. “Is it still raining?” he asked as I dripped all over the floor. As lame as the line was, I was desperate not to be sitting alone in a bar “waiting for somebody”. We talked for a moment as I looked over the menu, stalling as I prayed something would jump out at me that wasn’t beer. It didn’t.
“So,” I tried to act cool. “What would you order here if you were someone who didn’t like beer?”
He laughed before he realized I was serious. “I’d go to a different bar,” he responded, trying not to laugh some more.
Not long after my hard cider arrived, so did my date. By that time Josh and I were immersed in a full swing conversation. I could already feel from across the room that my date, whose name I don’t ever remember, and I had nothing in common. He introduced himself, gave my new friend an ugly look, and tried to make small talk. It was painful, like “checking the time on my phone every 2 minutes” painful, and he kept trying to get me to leave as I desperately tried to think of a reason to end the misery. About the time the conversation with my date fell into the death sentence of “so, what kind of music do you listen to?” I felt a hand grabbing my phone from my lap, inputting a phone number, and surreptitiously putting it back. Huzzah!
“I HAVE TO GET OUT OF HERE!” I texted as I huddled like a frazzled cat in the ladies room.
“If you can get away from your date, I’ll take you to dinner,” was the response, and that was all I needed. I had been up since 3 that morning, and I was determined to enjoy it.
I tried to be polite. I really did, but about the time my date said “well, if you’re tired you could just come sleep at my hotel,” I was done. I told him no and sought shelter in a Walgreen’s while Josh retrieved his car and drove around to pick me up.
An adventure had begun, and I felt it in my veins, and old excitement I hadn’t set free in a long time. The only place to eat was a diner, and we stayed there laughing until they kicked us out. Walking back to the car in the rain he put his coat over my shoulders and kissed me. It was all that gave me the fuel to kick of my heels and run as we realized the time limit on our parking spot had expired and there were tow trucks lined up along the street. An Oscar worthy crying scene from yours truly was the only thing that got the car back off the truck.
The GPS got us lost, and what should have been a 15 minute ride back to my hotel took almost an hour. Every stoplight was torture. Each u-turn was maddening. By that time the tension had begun to build. I needed this man like I had not needed a stranger in a long time. I didn’t need him to love me, I just needed him to want me. We finally made it, and we spent a few short hours together before he had to leave for work. I didn’t expect to hear from him again, but I did. The next day he took me out for dinner. The day after that he brought me dinner.
Each time we were together we had amazing conversations, but the more time we spent the more he tried to change my mind about how I live my life. He didn’t agree with polyamory. At the time I had doubts myself. He was also a skeptic, and we had several debates about my spirituality where he challenged me to prove my beliefs were true. It made him almost angry when I refused to play along.
What Josh taught me was a lesson about my core values. Hubby and I chose to be poly over six years ago, but it’s a choice I continue to make, and one I still believe is right for me. Having that choice challenged caused a complete re-evaluate of my life and why I had started to doubt myself. I came out of it a stronger, more confident wife, lover, and person. Having my faith questioned was even more eye-opening. After being ejected from a coven that had once been my family, I was still practicing, but not with the same spirit and dedication I once had. When Josh questioned my beliefs I was unshakable. I had never been so sure of myself before, and I felt no obligation to prove to him that my beliefs were true, because what and how I practice is mine. I’m not here to recruit or challenge. Believe, or don’t, whatever you want. What Josh taught me was to check in with myself once in a while to see if anything has changed, and if it has to figure out why. In doing that I was able to turn around my marriage, my attitude on life, and the confidence that I’m not doing such an awful job at it all.