Wednesday, June 2, 2010

In Love & Life Together: 'All Endings Are Also Beginnings'

"Within two days of our meeting we knew we were in love together and had to be in life together."
-Maya Angelou on then-husband Paul DuFeu

LAST MONDAY, I woke up at a junction of two intersecting love lines, where my storied past with X met the pending prospect of my future with Aaron. In a span of hours, I would cross this intersection, inking my signature on two separate contracts: a lease agreement and a divorce settlement.

"All endings are also beginnings," Mitch Albom wrote in The Five People You Meet in Heaven. "We just don't know it at the time."

At 10:30 that morning, I signed three sheets of paper in the presence of a notary, dissolving my six-year marriage (1 year happy, 2.5 sad, and 2.5 separated). Hours later, I met Aaron in an Upper West Side brownstone where we signed a lease for our first home together — a place that would house all of our hopes and dreams and enable our relationship to fully grow.

THE WEEK leading to this junction, I was filled with unconscious pangs of guilt (Did I leave one man to be with another?), apprehension (Am I really going to sign another binding contract?) and anxiety (How exactly does one tell their soon-to-be ex-husband that they've fully moved on and in with another man?)

Although I was excited to share a home with Aaron, I was also painfully aware that it was my second attempt at building a life with a man, and when I made the agonizing decision to leave the home I built with X, I never imagined that only two years later, I would be taking this leap with Aaron. Yet, not only was I taking that leap into co-habitating, I was also breaking legal ties with X, a man I once vowed to "love and honor...for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part."

Death may not have done X and I part, but life as I knew it with him had ended. And now, as always and forever, life would and did continue forward. I reconciled that my life and my heart would and did go on, as Celine Dion once sang, and I was moving in with Aaron.

Since our lease signing, the Behr Manhattan Mist paint has dried on the walls of our East Village two-bedroom apartment. It's shocking that so much change could occur in three short months. Seriously, I vividly remember sitting at this same computer sharing the pain caused by a non-committed Aaron's painstaking attempt to surprise me with cupcakes on Valentine's Day, and now, that same man was furrowing his brows at instructions while assembling furniture we bought at Ikea for our first home.

"WITHIN TWO days of our meeting we knew we were in love together," Maya Angelou wrote of her then-husband Paul DuFeu in her collection of essays, Letters to My Daughter. "And had to be in life together."

I guess, as they say, you know when you know. And I knew that life—not merely love—was what I've always desired to have with Aaron. It was my burning, internal desire to build a life with this man that kept me hanging, longing, blogging for a full year of uncommitted courtship.

I've never had a longing for a boyfriend, someone who'd effortlessly sit across from me in a well-lit restaurant and beside me at a darkened theater. I've always demanded more of myself and the two men I fell in love with: I longed for a partner, a life companion. Someone who would plan meals with me in the aisles of Whole Foods, who I could call to confirm that the Vienna Columbian roast from Porto Rico was the coffee he had a taste for this week, who I would argue with about our decorating budget under the fluorescent lights of Ikea.

I longed to be in life with Aaron—and Aaron has known of this longing since our meeting, hence his apprehension to committing to me over that first year. He knew, as he once said to me weeks into our courtship, "If we do this, it'll be me and you against the world."

And now, as I type these musings on love, I've fully crossed that symbolic intersection, from my life with X into my life (as X's newly-minted ex-wife) into my future with Aaron, a man who steadfastly holds my hand as we stare at a new horizon in love and life with one together.
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