It’s funny feeling fluttery butterflies for a woman, knowing she feels them back. I’ve never been here. She’s never been here. We’ve both experienced unrequited, tortured love but never mutually expressed affection. We both spent years trying to manufacture that kind of affection in relationships with men but never knew how utterly disconnected our hearts had been.
These emotions are wonderfully knee-knocking. It’s new. It’s powerful. It’s also scary. I feel alive yet timid. There are moments my heart inflates with courage and confidence and contentment, and I know I was made for this. But there are also moments my heart contracts in fear and uncertainty. The risk is for real this time, not for show to fit what I “should” want. My heart is exposed. I stand heart in hand, on my sleeve, in my throat before this woman.
It’s first love, 25 years later than most. We are like teenagers, exuberant and gushing. It’s lovely and fun and young. But we’re far from our teens. We’ve outgrown the angst and awkwardness of our juvenile selves. So it’s odd to finally experience what we saw all around us in high school. Back then it was like observing a foreign culture. Unknown customs, so much lost in translation. We were going through the motions without understanding the motivations. Romance felt robotic. All the giddiness we saw in our friends made no sense. That’s not how we felt. We looked on with the head tilt of a confused pet.
It finally makes sense. We understand the language at last. And the story is written as we go. It’s beautiful in its hesitating confidence, like a lurching stick shift with a novice behind the wheel.
Learning. Experiencing. Together.
Because isn’t that the meaning of Life? Taking it as it comes, with gratefulness, an open heart, and a hand to hold?
There are no guarantees, of course. Life doesn’t keep promises. Love is an adventure without insurance, risk without mitigation. And it’s glorious in its goodness and beauty. I’ve waited for years to start living, to share the adventure with another, to knit our hearts together.
It’s a lovely picture.
But knitting requires needles.
It’s risky and vulnerable and totally worth it. I’ll take that hand and walk, at times with hesitant steps and sometimes sprinting. But together. And that’s romance. Together. Walking with interwoven hands, working through the needles, toward interwoven hearts.