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Let me be blunt – full-time writers don’t get out much, and I certainly wasn’t getting any younger waiting for a man to magically appear in my office as I typed, alone, for up to fourteen hours a day. I was late for our first meeting at a little tapas place near Baltimore and the rain was coming down hard. Just before Valentine’s Day he stopped by and I gave him a card I’d made with notebook paper and colored pencils, the only supplies I had on hand. (And rightly so – he’d brought nothing for me.) Things really began to fall apart when I got home.
I raced in the door, umbrella dripping, and saw a man stand up and smile at me. He said he wasn’t sure where he fit into my life now that I needed to concentrate on my health and rehabilitation.
It had nothing to do with my amputation, he assured me, and promised we would be friends for life. It was about the loss and pain and horror I’d already been through and everything that would be required of me in the future – without a man who loved me at my side.
As of this writing, I haven’t heard a peep from him. Despite what Yoda said, I can’t help but think my crude matter has something to do with it.
He came into my life after I’d been divorced nearly six years. During one hospital visit, the Hottie climbed into the hospital bed with me and managed to reach around all the IV lines and probes and sensors to get his arms around my diseased body. As soon as I was able to put a coherent sentence together, I told him that I’d understand if he was no longer interested in me. Every visit he would pray with me and read Bible verses for encouragement.
During that time I’d had only one relationship and it had drawn its last wheezy breath almost a year prior. By “mixed” I mean that one percent were nice men; two-thirds were pathological liars; and the balance collected taxidermy knives and dwelled in the crawl space beneath their mothers’ porches. After all, he hadn’t signed up for a one-legged, pacemaker-wearing chick who hadn’t showered in recent memory. Since he happened to be a huge nerd as well, he would recite lines of As my hospital stay dragged on, the Hottie called and texted sporadically, but his visits became infrequent.
“I wasn’t sure you’d ever be the same,” he said, no doubt remembering the bright-red balloon of infected flesh he’d encountered in the Shock Trauma unit. He was going to hang in there and help me get my life back.
The visits became less frequent, but I was still g-o-n-e – One evening, as we snuggled in my temporary single bed in the downstairs dining room, I asked him one last time if he was absolutely certain he wanted to be in this with me. Of course, I told several romance writer friends about this achingly tender exchange, and they all let go with deep sighs of satisfaction.
In my very first essay, I mentioned that at the time I got sick I was dating a Hottie, a man twelve years my junior. At Christmas, he dropped off a present and a card in which he’d written that the only gift he wanted that year was me. Arleen wrote an email to my dear friend Celeste Bradley in which she praised his attentiveness.
Here is a sampling of some of the comments I’ve received via email loops and social media from my fellow romance writers. I was too spaced out to appreciate it but, I do remember him being there. (“Good man,” she told Celeste.)The Hottie came when he could, but it wasn’t regularly.
I told him that his love, strength, and faith in me were important to my recovery.Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating