He found me on the Internet. He was a physician, and he liked my smile and he wasn't afraid of intelligent women and he never had a real love and I had one late in life, and he liked that because it meant we might, too.
He had a naughty smile, a bit of a beard, and a bum knee from playing too much tennis. And he was tall, with salt-and pepper hair, and a look of self-worth, if not vanity.
And we both had cats and we both drove Acuras, and we both liked Ian McEwan novels and Pinot Noir with rare lamb, and we watched Bill Maher and listened to Bach cantatas. And we giggled and sounded goofy, and we liked that too. And when he whispered "I'm giving you our first kiss right now," I was ready.
And I told him I'd rub his back, and he told me he'd mentor me and we would sit by the fire and do crossword puzzles and read and cuddle and enjoy the silence.
He liked to please and give me choices, like if I would prefer a bistro near his house that served great lasagna, or a Japanese restaurant where we'd eat sushi with chopsticks and sit at the bar and sip hot sake. And I couldn't decide and he said we'd eventually eat at both.
Then he was calling me five times a day, and my son said I sounded like a teenager. And he wanted to talk to my son, and I liked that too.
And I called his office and said that I "wanted a physical" and his receptionist didn't know me yet, and she beeped him, and he cracked up. And he asked me to send him romantic emails, and I did.
The weekend he traveled to the Super Bowl to see the Steelers he sneaked down to the parking garage and phone me from his car for a couple of hours, and when he returned to his room his son asked, "Where were you all that time dad?" and he said "On the phone with my girlfriend," and I liked that he told his son about me. And I watched the game because I knew he was somewhere in the stands.
And he'd sit in his soft chair in his wine cellar, and his cats would romp in his lap and we'd talk for hours and tell secrets. About his brother who had died an alcoholic, and about his ex-wife, who was too young. And he said, "Don't worry. I'll never hurt you."
He said he liked to sleep on the side of the bed by the bathroom and he asked if I cared and then he said, "Now close your eyes and I'll whisper you to sleep."
And he'd wake me up with "Good morning, honey," and we'd chatter as we brushed our teeth and dressed together and he'd drive to the hospital, and stop at the coffee shop and get a decaf latte (and warn me when the dead zone by the cemetery was coming up and our call would be disconnected). And I'd drive off to step class happy.
One frosty night he parked the car and savored the falling curtains of flakes in the streetlights and created a poem back and forth with me and said, "It's magical sharing this with you" and we decided we just might be soul mates.
And one day he said "I know it's fast, but I think I'm falling in love with you, and I said, "I know, it's crazy, but I think I'm falling in love with you, too."
Then he sent me an email with a subject line "just beginning" that said "lovely lea -- i am kissing your sweet lips and don't plan to ever stop -- other than for a gulp of air from time to time -- you are a wonderful lady with so much to offer -- i plan to give myself to you -- hope it's enough -- yours always..."
We daydreamed that we'd live in both our places, and get a third house with a view of the mountains. He told me I could decorate with my things and he would buy us our own, too.
And on Valentine's Day he sent me a dozen perfect roses and a card with a dog paddling in water that said "This is our first Valentine's Day and I'm over my depth in love with you."
And the next day he said we had a "real connection," and the chemistry was real. But he was going to visit his kids over President's weekend, and he wanted to stop for awhile and concentrate on them.
And he didn't call for days, and I missed him, and when he got back he said. "Look, I'm not thinking straight. You're great. We're great. But maybe it's too much, too fast."
And I tried to understand, but the Valentine roses faded and so did we, and I didn't hear from him again until a week later when he emailed me: "Everything I said was from the heart ... I'm sorry."
It was over. I cried a bit, pulled myself together and tried to cherish the romantic moments. Our relationship had been so short, so intense, and almost perfect. Except that he lived in Pittsburgh and I lived in Miami.
And we had never met.
Lea Lane is founder/editor of www.sololady.com and wrote Solo Traveler: Tales and Tips for Great Trips (Fodor's)
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