Boy Meets Girl
“You should write a book, Lisa. You have one hell of a story to tell.”
Someday, I’m going to write a book. But I’m too tired to write a book. How do you even start something like that? I’m just a run-of-the-mill lawyer caught up in the hustle of insurance defense garbage. It’s a soul-sucking nightmare.
I want a change. I NEED a change. I need to feel again, to love again, to hope again… to have faith that someday things will be different… that I haven’t gone through all of this to end up, well, HERE. This can’t be it for me… can it?
The pain of the last several years of my life is so intense sometimes that it doesn’t even feel like it actually could have happened. Often I don’t know how I lived through it. Sometimes I wonder if I even did, because it feels like I’m walking through a fog that just won’t lift. It’s dark in here a lot of the time. I’m always a little bit scared – scared of moving forward, of changing my life circumstances and it making no difference, of letting others in to see what it’s like to live inside of my head. Won’t they all just run away? And if they accept me, won’t it eventually end? Because everybody leaves. Whether they move on, die, or whatever causes it, we all end up separating from those we love. I’m not sure that my heart can handle any more of that kind of pain.
My friend recently said that I have survived the worst kind of pain and tragedy, and that nothing could possibly hurt as bad as what I have been through. She said that to encourage me, reminding me that I know how to persevere in any situation, that I can always pull myself up by my bootstraps and keep going; but I’m afraid that the next time something like this happens it might actually kill me.
So what happened, anyway?
I wasn’t yet 30 years old, never married, no children. I was trying hard to make a career for myself but nothing seemed to be going the way I wanted it to. I had been living my life without mind or mood altering substances for a few years after a decade of debauchery and I was trying to do everything I had been taught to keep myself that way. I wanted to find love, but I had found the modern world of Internet dating to be lacking and I didn’t know how to meet someone in the old-fashioned way without a bar and being six drinks deep. So, I had decided to refocus my energy on my clean lifestyle and my career, and that’s exactly what I was doing. I had a terrible job, the angriest boss I have ever seen, and hope. I hoped that if I just stayed the course and kept doing the right thing then everything would turn out okay.
Just then, exactly like a cliché, when I wasn’t looking for it, I met a boy. Isn’t that how all tragedies start? So, this time it was a man – like, a real one - 23 years older than me with two teenage kids going through a divorce. My whole life I had been waiting for a love story, and this seemed to have the makings of none of it. It was complicated and I knew I was in for a real drama-fest. But Patrick just had that something, that "je ne sais quoi" that draws people in. It didn’t hurt that he had the most handsome face and kindest spirit of anyone I had ever met. He was full of life, love and passion. I had never been so attracted to someone in my entire life.
We started off as friends. He was a member of the same recovery support group I was involved with, and he had been so for a long time. He was kind of like a rock star to me. I put him up on a pedestal (which later would become an issue for both of us) but I was mesmerized. I started going to him for advice because I had a mentor at the time who I didn’t relate to, but truthfully I just wanted an excuse to talk to him. One afternoon we went out to coffee, the premise of which was to have a chat about my career because I had a new job that was making me equally as miserable as the last one. He was a successful businessman and I wanted his advice, but it was the first time I remember almost needing to be around him. I changed my clothes after work and put on a long sleeveless dress, just low-cut and silky enough to be sexy but not so much as to make it obvious that I wanted that kind of attention, though I clearly did.
And then it happened. We caught each others’ eyes and I felt something I had never felt before. He later described it by saying that for years we had both been searching for a love that would fill us up and in that moment, God turned us toward each other and said “Patrick, meet Lisa. Lisa, meet Patrick. This is what you’ve been looking for.” I couldn’t come up with any more of an apt description, honestly. I knew then that my life would never be the same. And it wasn’t.
Lisa O'Leary is a lawyer, cat mom, widow, sports enthusiast, truth seeker, soul searcher, meditator, and consciousness practitioner who is actively engaged in quieting down the mind to allow the song to play.