Tuesday, July 29, 2008

All The Boys - The Soulmate

I’ve been holding out on you, my dear readers, because lately there haven’t been many posts here at Candid K’s, but I promised “quality” over “quantity” so I’m hoping yet another tale of “All The Boys I’ve Loved” will qualify as quality, and make it worth the wait?

To date, you have met The Bullet, The First Kiss (yikes), , The Slick One, The One That Never Was and Cognac (Part 1)…those of you privy to Covert Karina at the beginning of the year also met “The One With No Chemistry”, but it’s still not safe to talk about that in here, so we’ll let that one go. There are a few others I can, and will tell you about, including Part 2 of The Stoy of Cognac, but there is one very significant relationship I’ve mentioned a few times in here, but have never elaborated on. The Soulmate…the one who changed my life, changed how I think about myself, the way I look at the world, and how I relate to men in general. The one, who, without question, was THE ONE who stood out among all the rest.

See, I’ve said before that I am a lucky girl to have experienced such a wide variety of relationships in my youth and my 20’s, because through those relationships (and the heartbreaks that followed them), I have become the woman I am today. I’ve also been blessed in that I truly believe I’ve been in love, real love, not puppy love, with at the very least two, but quite possibly three, men in my life. The fact that I allowed myself to love the same man twice, years apart, should also be taken into account here…(not sure whether as a positive or a negative though, but we'll just glaze over that detail).

I tell you all this, because it’s important that you know that besides the fun I had dating when I was younger, I also loved really hard. When I fell, I fell in deep. And with no one else is this more true than with The Soulmate. I loved him with such intensity that I sometimes wonder how it could be that I ever got over it, and can’t help thinking that in some way, I may never have completely.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. I should tell you how we met first.

When I met Soul (let’s call him that for short, shall we?), I was 24 years old and having the time of my life. All through high school and college I was never much of a party girl. I had fun, but as a full time student with a full time job, I didn’t really go out all that much, I didn’t drink, and I was pretty much a “good girl”. Then I met Cognac, fell in love, broke up with Cognac, and decided it was time for this “good girl” to have some fun. I began to play the field a bit, and with a group of girlfriends, would hit the club scene every weekend. We would all chip in for a hotel room for the weekend, and be able to party in the city without having to worry about driving all the way back home. Those were some great times.

Having the fun I was having, meeting all these guys, getting all this ridiculous attention I was not used to, settling down into a relationship was the last thing on my mind. Let’s just say that at that time I was dating two guys named Randall (one was a Randy, the other went by the nickname Lucky), who by the way, lived off the same highway exit, one to the left, one to the right, and even went out with a set of twins (they decided I should go out with each of them to see which one I liked best…who was I to argue with that logic?) I honestly wish I’d been blogging at that time, because seriously? You can’t make this stuff up, you know? My life is oh so boring in comparison nowadays!

But, back to the point at hand, I was having a good time, and I was not in any rush to get back into a relationship. When I met Soul, he was the bouncer at a club we frequented so regularly that we no longer stood in line, paid admission, or even paid for drinks. Soul and I hit it off instantly, and I pretty much knew I was in trouble the minute he asked me for my phone number. Soul was older, at 33, (my age now, holy crap), and there was a maturity about him that completely appealed to me. After a few phone calls, we set up our first date for the day after Valentine’s day, which also happened to be a Monday holiday. He picked me up at 11 am, and dropped me off at home at 11PM. In those twelve hours, we fell madly, deeply, hopelessly in love with one another.

It sounds ridiculously corny to write those words, but if there is such a thing as falling in love, this was it…we fell…hard.

I spent the following week dodging phone calls from my various suitors, and then finally informing them all that I had met someone, and was no longer available. Soul and I never really had a discussion about being exclusive, we never really decided to become “a couple”, we just were. Instantly. That’s the way it happens sometimes, I guess.

So, for the next year and a half, Soul and I spent hundreds of hours simply enjoying each other’s company. We did all the things couples do, went to movies, went shopping, went out to eat…Soul shared a love of ethnic cuisine with me, so we made it a point to always try a different restaurant each time we went out. I loved that together we could experience all these new things, and really appreciate the culture we were surrounded by. We could also spend whole days sitting on the couch, just talking, or just sitting…enjoying each other’s presence, not talking, not doing anything, but listening to music and “being”. Soul taught me a lot about love. He taught me that when a man truly loves you, he puts you before all else, and makes sure you know just how vital you are to his existence. He was a romantic, and really, the perfect boyfriend. Whether we were alone, or in a room full of people, I always felt like I was the only one that mattered. I could tell you so many other things Soul did for me, but the most important thing is that he taught me that I was worthy of that kind of love. That lesson has come in handy more than once since then. When things were good with us, they were heavenly.

But it wasn’t all roses, and along with the maturity of his age, Soul came with an incredible amount of emotional baggage as well. For starters, he’d lost his mother a few years back, and wasn’t exactly done grieving that loss yet. I don’t know how someone can even begin to recover from such a loss, so I never faulted him for his feelings on this issue, but there were moments when it would become an all encompassing thing, one which should have raised some red flags about his emotional state for me. Then there was the marriage thing. Soul had been married before, very briefly, to someone he’d been with for over 7 years. However, shortly after their wedding he discovered she was (and had been for years) involved with one of his friends. Needless to say, the marriage ended there, and Soul never got over that betrayal. He told me right from the start that he would never marry again. But I was young, and foolish, and madly in love, and I thought for sure he’d change his mind one day. And with his emotional state being what it was, there were times when he’d shut down completely, or just withdraw to a place I couldn’t reach him. I always had a sinking suspicion as well that he was on the road to alcoholism, if he hadn’t already arrived, but I never had the guts to face that one head on. Since he knew his drinking bothered me, he always kept it to a minimum when he was around me, so he never gave me reason to do more than suspect, and worry, for the times he wasn’t with me.

This makes it all sound so negative, but the truth is, with the exception of a handful of isolated incidents, I have only good memories of our relationship, and in all honesty, for the duration of that time, we were happy. The problem with all the above issues is that we reached a point in our relationship where it all came to a head. We’d been together about a year when questions of our future, even our near future, began to surface. He would profess his undying love to me pretty much in the same sentence where he’d tell me that he was sorry he’d never be able to marry me. In the beginning, under my delusions that he’d change his mind, these statements blew by me…I didn’t believe him. After a year of hearing them however, they began to sink in. I was only in my 20’s, I didn’t have any intentions of getting married anytime soon…but I wanted to get married one day. Would I be wasting my time sticking with him, waiting it out, only to find out 3, 4…10 years down the line that he meant it? Could I do that? As I tried to push these thoughts out of my head and simply enjoy what we had, it seemed he was having the same thoughts. He began to withdraw, we began to have problems. Minor ones, but enough that our “serenity” had been shattered.

We knew it had to end. What still kills me to this day is the fact that he did it, he broke it off…for me…out of love and respect. Yes, he was a coward. Yes, it was a cop-out to lean so heavily on his past and not allow himself to enjoy the present and focus on the future. But still, were it up to me, I would have probably waited it out, hung in there hoping that he’d change his mind one day. If he loved me so much, he had to want to marry me eventually, didn’t he? Soul knew better, and so one day he told me that he was breaking up with me, because he knew it wasn’t fair to keep stringing me along, when he’d never give me the future I wanted. He broke my heart. Gently, carefully, sweetly, and with the best of intentions, at least in his mind. But he broke my heart. Shattered it.

Even today, as I type these words, I recall vividly the ache in my chest, the tears streaming down my face, the feeling that my world would never be the same again. I had met my soul mate, the man who fit me so perfectly it was almost fairytale like. And I’d met him too late…too early? At the exact wrong time.

So, we broke up. We moved on. I would see him a few more times after the break-up, at our “club”, where he still worked, and I still hung out. But it was too painful, and eventually I stopped going there. I never heard from him again, or about him again. We couldn’t be friends, it hurt too much to try. We had friends in common, and I’d hear once or twice about how he wasn’t doing so well…partying a lot, drinking a lot…I stopped asking. Eventually, I distanced myself from those friends as well, for unrelated reasons, and his whereabouts today remain a mystery to me.

I won’t lie, I’ve looked him up. I can’t find him. I haven’t tried all that hard, because as much as I truly and honestly wish him the best, hope he’s gotten over his issues, found love, has a family…I don’t ever really want to know about it. It would just break my heart all over again.

I can tell you that I’m over him. It’s been almost 10 years, I’ve certainly moved on, loved again, lost again. Become an entirely different person, with an entirely different life. But here’s the thing…I’ve never stopped loving him for all he did for me. While seriously damaged himself, he fixed so many of my own issues. The damage caused by Slick and even by Cognac…he fixed all that. I am single today because of him, but not because he damaged me…because he showed me what I can have, if I don’t settle, so I haven’t. Do I think I’ll ever see him again? No. Do I think that if we ever reconnected, and the timing was right, we could try again? Not really. Do I believe he was my soul mate, even if we didn’t end up together? With all my heart.

There is a scene in the movie “How To Make An American Quilt” where one of the characters is talking about a man she met in a café in Paris. She says that they had a short conversation, and connected, and she knows he was her soul mate. But then they left, went their separate ways, he with his fiancé, her alone. And she never saw him again. She says (and I’m going to completely paraphrase this, because I haven’t seen this movie in nearly a decade) that she knows he was her soul mate, and she believes that we all have soul mates, but that does not necessarily mean we’ll end up with them. If we even have the opportunity to meet them in our lifetime, we are blessed. Something along those lines. That is how I feel about Soul. He came into my life for a very specific purpose, and although we didn’t end up together, my life would have been incomplete if I hadn’t met him.

But I also believe we can have more than one soul mate. It doesn’t even have to be a romantic match…there are individuals in our lives who we just have that unexplainable connection with, and they all serve a purpose…we all serve a very specific purpose, in each other’s lives. So I do believe there is someone else out there for me who I will love just as strongly…no, even more so, than I did Soul.

But there will never be another Soul. And that’s okay; that ship has sailed. And I? Am better for it all.


Michelle | Bleeding Espresso said...

I'm with you girl, and in more ways than you can imagine. I think I put a quote in a comment here once from Eat, Pray, Love--basically that we may not end up with soulmates, but they do change our lives.

Brava for writing this, Karina. I'm sure it took you places that you didn't necessarily want to go....

Unknown said...

What a powerful and well thought out and written post.
Soulmates, the ones that complete us aren't always the ones we will share our lives with forever, but they touch our loves forever.

qualcosa di bello said...

you know, this is so chock full of wise words that i should make my daughters (ages 18 & 20) read it. i think every emotion just might be in there but they are bound to such keen insight.

Pamela said...

weird how now I WANT TO KNOW what happened to him.

Now you've got to find out for all your readers.

I know, I know... that wasn't the meat of the story.