Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Lovesick Rambling.

It's pretty obvious that I don't talk about Don much in my blog, except in passing: brief mentions of what he's making for dinner or where he's travelling on business... Don as a person, hardly at all. This is basically intentional, because he's a very private person. While I have an online journal, he would never do that, so I don't share much about him. Same thing with my parents and siblings. But at the moment, I'm itching to break my own rules. (So sweetie if you read this, I'm sorry but it had to happen.) I've been really mulling over how wonderful he is, and that what we have together is everything to me. It feels like our relationship has deepened even further in the last few months, which I didn't even realize was possible at this point. Maybe partly because making a move like this is part of a continuing commitment, and maybe because of all the weeks that we spent apart. It's not exactly true that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but sometimes it leaves room for reflection, focus and reconnection.

I don't think that there's anybody in the world who could understand me as well as he does, and vice versa. 'Understand' as in he gets me, and understand and in understanding, empathy, and trust. We're so different in some ways, and yet that understanding underlies everything. I can tell him everything and don't have to censor myself, because he understands, and it works both ways.

One thing that amazes me, though, is his incredible work ethic, determination, and quiet ambition. He is extremely hard working, but it's much more than that; so many people work hard without ever really amounting to anything. Don's efficient and effective, so that his hard work makes a difference; he becomes indespensable wherever he goes. He takes every opportunity to learn, to grow on the job and become even more useful, so that moving up to the next level seems practically inevitable. When we met seven years ago, he was working as a shift engineer. When we moved to Vermont 2 years later, he became a Chief Engineer. Back in Texas: Assistant Director of Engineering. Here, Director. He has gone from being an hourly employee, (albeit a highly skilled, highly paid one), to being upper-management, using nothing but sheer hard work and intelligence. Even I hardly noticed the upward motion; it just kind of hit me the other day that he's 'up there' now: the paid relocation, the free stay in the hotel for 6 weeks while finding a house here, the monthly bonuses, the free drycleaning.

This drive impresses me more than I can say, especially because his motives are unusual, I think. He's not doing it for the money or for material possessions, or even for the respect and the job titles. Don would say that he just "gets bored" with the position that he was at. I think that it transates more that as long as he knows that he can be better, that there's a bigger challenge that he can attack, then he can't be satisfied with where he is. Once he knows his job forwards and backwards, then there's nothing left to learn, nothing left to really test him: then it's time for a bigger challenge. I'm not like that at all, so I find it fascinating.

You know that old cliche, 'still waters run deep'? It basically describes Don. He's really hard to get to know, almost impossible. He can be casually friends, laugh and joke and have a beer, but very few people have ever gotten to know him on a deeper level. Sometimes I try to re-trace the beginnings of our friendship, to figure out when that changed with me, when he decided to let me in. I still don't know, and our entire relationship seems so serendipitous sometimes: right place, right time, for two strangers with seemingly nothing in common. I was nineteen, a college student living on campus, totally new to this whole 'adult' thing; he was 35, divorced, a former military man. How we ended up playing Monopoly and talking until sunrise, playing pool in places that didn't card at the door, listening to all of his old CD's, going bowling, I don't know.

I think that in a funny way, our age difference ended up bringing us together because it kept us apart for long enough, first. Because we didn't see each other as having "relationship" potential, our friendship was much more open and honest than it would have been otherwise; we talked about things that I would never have shared had he been some 19-year-old guy that I was interested in, and that he would never have talked about with someone less "safe". We did things that would have been weird if there hadn't been that unspoken, platonic age-barrier, like spending the night at each others' apartments, going camping together, and discussing our sexual and dating histories and currest love-interests. For maybe 6 or 8 months we were practically inseparable, until, age difference be damned, the fact thatwe were attracted to each other got in the way with a tickling-match-turned-very-suddenly-into-kissing-match. And I resisted. Not because he was older, but because I knew, from the very beginning, that it would be serious. I knew that Don had let me into a part of him that was locked to everyone else, and that if we moved from friends to boy-friend-girl-friend, that ever ending it would be devastating. I wasn't sure that I was ready to get into what would be such a serious relationship; it's not like you can go from being super-close, share-everything friends to 'casually dating'. In the end I succumed, mainly because he was so cute and the sexual tension was unbearable... it worked out pretty well.

No comments: