Turning Pages

Harry helped me today.  He helps me everyday but today he was my cheerleader.  I needed it.  He is a good student of psychology and what he says makes sense.  He understands what happens underneath that layer on top.

We all have fronts.  Masks we wear that project things about us, however distorted.  Maybe because that is what we want people to think of us, maybe because it’s easier than explaining the depths of who we really are.  Maybe because if we tried we don’t think people would believe it, or would make fun of us for it.

We react to expectations people have for us based on what we look like, what we do for a living, what we believe, or because of our past.  Some people only see our outer packaging, some people read the label to find a bit more.  Very few actually open the book and start reading.

He is a reader.  He likes getting to know people and letting people talk.  He’s a great listener.  He has lots of friends who share loads of drama, problems, and worries onto him.  He should be paid for his services.  It’s somewhat entertaining for him and a distraction away from the stresses and problems in his own life.  And in turn he is a very good friend.

We started out that way.  I was heartbroken.  I needed an ear, he lent that ear.  The more I talked, the more he realized how wrong he was with his first impressions of me.  The more he talked the more I realized how wrong I was.  We both have fronts that are fine tuned to keep out those whom we would like and encourage select few entrance.

Only something happened between us and when we met face to face he found himself being the talker, sharing his heart to me.  And it caught him off guard.  After our first couple meetings I said, “Hey I thought you said you weren’t much of a talker?”  And he had to admit that things were different with me.  I’m not sure he understood why.  But he opened his book.

Our book jackets said one thing but our pages something else.  And we looked long enough to notice the discrepancy.  The people around us didn’t.  They only read the words in bold print.  “What are you doing with that book?  What are you thinking?”  They asked when we picked it up off the shelf.  We tried pointing at the pages to explain, “But wait until you get to page 25!”

We were already into the 2nd chapter and getting past the introductions and into depths of the story.  We were already hooked.  One day they’ll get it.

What is different about Harry is it feels like his primary interest is actually reading my book, getting to know me as deeply as he can, exploring my themes, and character development like a junkie reads a novel.  He is soaking me in.  Like a good wine, the more complex the better.

He wants to experience me not use me.  This is new.

And what I think is new for Harry is that I’m also a reader.  And I love all kinds of stories and can listen for hours.  I’m not interested in a how-to book, a get-rich-quick book, or a fantasy.  I’m just as interested in the experience as he is –  not what I can get out of it.

When we are together it’s as if we are tucked in a corner reading away.  It is as if the world outside the growing richness of our pages fades to a dull grey that is barely noticeable and we are immersed in our own little world.

And when we are apart, although well aware of reality, we can’t wait to get back to that book to find out what will happen next.

It’s unlike anything I have ever experienced.  I’ve been wrong before, Lord knows.  But he told me that I was the first woman who he has ever seen himself growing old with.  His goal is the porch 40 years from now.  His purpose is a story that is deep, rich, and sappy that spans decades and includes many little short stories.  Some that bring cheers, some tears.

Today I sat in a Starbucks trying to escape the 7th day of 100+ weather this summer in a row.  It’s been brutal.  The only table open happened to be next to a man who thought he would chat me up.  He said things like, “I think you’re good-looking.  We’ll have to do this again sometime.” and when he left,  “See you Friday at 11.”  I’m still uncomfortable getting hit on.  He was checking out my cover.  Reacting to it.  I told him I was attached, I was careful not to make eye contact and didn’t ask him any questions.

While this was happening, I was chatting online with my Harry and telling him the dorky lines this guy was using…like when I coughed he said, “Oh no, we can’t have you dying on me,  I only just met you.”  Really?

I told Harry before how jealous Martin was when people would notice me.  And Harry explained to me that he will never be jealous of men in that way.  He figures if he truly believes I will be somehow enticed away from him by someone who I walk passed in a restaurant when they stare and I notice, then we have bigger problems and shouldn’t be together in the first place.

He said, “the real you is what I love.. that other girl is hot.. but she isn’t mine.. everyone can see her.. I get to see you…”

And he is right.  He gets the real me.  The one who greets him at the door with no make up.  The one with raccoon eyes after crying and zits on her face.  A side that no one else sees.  He gets to read every page of me from the inside out, cover to cover.  My fears, my motivations, my great joys.  My story is his.

Neither one of us is interested in a best-seller.  We just want a simple, sweet, rich and true-love story.  We’ll take it as it comes.

I for one just hope it lasts a very, very, very long time.

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