There are no guarantees in life - this has been a hard lesson to learn and one I am still learning.
I married for all the wrong reasons back in 1995 to a man that I knew would be difficult to live with. But I was pregnant with his child, and I was determined that this baby would have a family, and I would somehow find a way to make it work. James had a very bad temper, and I spent the next four years walking on eggshells, trying to please him.
In the summer of 1999 I met Matthew. He had just started dating my husband's sister. With all that was going on in my life, I did not really have time to get to know him, or see what he was headed for. He was lonely - he had been raising his two boys on his own for several years - and even though he only knew Sue for a few months, he asked her to marry him and they were married in December of that year. Two days before the marriage took place, James tried to choke me. I was broken-hearted - I knew that I had to leave. I had a part in the wedding, and it was just awful for me to see a marriage starting out when mine was seemingly at its end. I was distraught the day of the wedding, but nobody even noticed. One week later, I left. I made the mistake of returning two weeks after that, but that was when this story really begins.
There was a bad ice storm in January of the next year. My daughter and I had to stay with Sue and Matthew for a week while we had our power restored. I got to know Matthew better during that time. I was excited that we seemed to have so much in common - and I had not had a real friend in a long time. Later that year, I began going to a bible study class, and I invited Matthew to come with me. I had already asked both James and Sue, but they were not interested. We carpooled, so during the trips to and from class once a week, Matthew and I started to become close. Our families also began to spend a lot of time together, and I began to slowly see how much Sue and James were alike.
It was sometime during that summer that I realized my feelings for Matthew were more than they should be, and I battled them. I prayed, found ways to distract myself - at one point, I stopped our families from a lot of contact to give me some room to deal with what was happening. I would succeed for a time in burying what I felt, but something would always happen to bring them to the surface again. As my marriage continued to deteriorate, Matthew became a bright point in my life - my best friend, confidante, and brother at arms - since he was dealing with the same issues in his marriage. This went on for a year and a half.
I realized at the end of 2001 that I was not going to be staying in my marriage. I made Matthew aware of my plans, hard as it was for me, and I told him that I did not want to lose his friendship during the rough waters ahead. He assured me he would always be there.
I made my plans, saved money, and found a place I would be staying. I was going to be leaving the state. During this time, I realized how much Matthew had come to mean to me, and that I had fallen in love with him. I was in anguish over what I felt, and the timing could not have been worse! After a couple of months, I knew the only way to resolve this situation was to discuss it with Matthew directly.
I was terrified - I did not want to lose my best friend. I met him for lunch that day in my Jeep. I was so uncomfortable, and I didn't know what to say or how to say it. He knew something was wrong, but I don't think he knew how to react to my discomfort. I told him that I was in a situation that I did not know how to deal with - and I was desperate. I looked at him intently, unable to say the question I needed to ask. He sat there quietly, just watching me, while I kept talking. He reluctantly looked at the clock and said it was time for him to get back to work.
All I remember is looking at him - I was so desperate - and I reached out and placed my hand on his shoulder. He looked at me, and I couldn't read the expression on his face. In that next moment, he pulled me into his arms and kissed me. It took my breath away - I did not expect this! But he surprised me even more when he looked deep into my eyes and told me that he loved me!! I did not know what to say - I couldn't even speak! Not in a million years would I have imagined things happening this way. He told me that he had loved me for a long time, but was afraid to tell me! Things have been pretty crazy since that day.
I moved to my sister's about 2 months ago. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do - and leave Matthew behind. He was not going to be staying in his marriage either, regardless if I had happened or not, but he has some obligations to attend to before he can leave. I never would have believed that I would find my beloved this way, but that is what he is. My true love unexpected.
There are still no guarantees in life, but I love him and he loves me, and I will see where this ride will end!