He warned me. I've been thinking a lot about Valentine's Day, like all of us, and one in particular. And the bottom line is, he warned me. But I went ahead and fell for him anyway. It worked out.
I had been dating Ahmed for less than a year, both of us insisting we had no interest in a long term or serious relationship. We were both full of it, of course, but it feels somehow empowering at the beginning to tell that lie, doesn't it? After four months he finally broke down and admitted he was too jealous to date me unless we both agreed to be exclusive. No long term strings. No promises of forever. No declarations. Just exclusive. And after I agreed, in a long and very serious conversation, he looked at me very steadily and warned me not to put too many eggs in his basket. I, of course, lied just as quickly as he had done and promised I was in want and lust but had no plans to stick around longer than things stayed fun and exciting.
What a couple of idiots we were.
Then he said "I know I am going to end up breaking your heart. I can promise you I will."
All serious. Like a bad movie on Lifetime. What melodrama. What nonsense.
Fast forward to Valentine's day, another five months later. Ahmed rarely gets sick, but like all male doctors, when he does he's a bit of a big baby about it. On Valentine's day that first year together he was sick, sick, sick as a dog. His oldest friend called me to tell me not to come for our date. "He's really very sick," Tobin explained.
I was healthier then so I ignored his warning, drove in to his townhome, and found something vaguely Ahmed shaped groaning in his bed. All the lights were out, all the covers bundled under his chin, and his wonderfully sexy voice sounded like it was being passed through a garbage disposal. His eyes (those pretty cognac eyes!) were rimmed in flame and he was swampy with perspiration. He growled at me to leave, an arm flung across his face.
"I'm going to make tea, soup, and change the bedclothes while you sit in your chair for a bit. Don't argue."
He argued. Complained. Moaned. Barked at me to get out. I made soup, delivered his pot of Earl Grey with honey and lemon, and changed the sheets. He wheezed, coughed, and growled.
I was putting him back to bed when, for the third time in that not-a-relationship, everything changed. Four words. That was the day it stopped being an experiment, an obsession, something without a name. That was the instant I knew I was already in love with him, and he was with me, and we were both lying, lying, lying like the cowards we were.
I bundled him back into bed. I'd probably been there four hours, and had heard nothing but complaining the entire time. He was trying to convince me he wanted me gone. Years later I guess it was just instinct that made me stubborn about it. As I left him a mug of soup and a box of tissues he kept staring directly at me. I turned to go and he asked me to stay "just until I fall asleep."
Really, it was so little-boy-sad what could I do? While he drifted off I sat beside him and pushed the damp hair off his brow. Neither of us said anything til he was just a few breaths from sleep. I said I was going to go, and would call the next day. He finally (twerp!) thanked me for everything and, as I paused in the doorway, said "what would I do without you?"
"I thought you were planning to break my heart?"
If I'd kept walking I'd never have heard it. Gravelly, rough, muffled with sleep, he answered me. I'm not sure if he really meant for me to hear him mutter it.
"I've changed my mind."
It's not "you are my world." It's not "I worship you and can't live without you." But it was the beginning for me, and the end, and all of the bliss and bother to come. Four words muttered in a fevered stupor changed everything.
He's said prettier things. But those were the words that set my path to forever. Until that moment I was in love without knowing it. Until that moment I could have changed the course of my destiny. He was THE ONE, but I could have blown it, or decided having a someone forever was not "my thing." I could have walked out before it was too late, which had been my plan all along.
But I changed my mind. :)
Happy Valentine's Day.