I met my girlfriend Katie in college. We shared a class together. I remember seeing her the first day. She looked like some sort of angel with her long fine blonde-white hair and green eyes. I had to try very hard not to openly stare.
I quickly convinced myself that it was silly to stare or even think about her. After all, a girl like that was out of my league. But apparently my fellow male classmates didn't suffer from such thoughts. Some guy or other was always trying to hit on her. Although that didn't last for long.
If you aren't close to her, you get to see what everyone else sees. A very serious, self-possessed, highly intelligent woman. Firmly polite, but not terribly warm or friendly. After the first week, she was left alone.
I think I must have been the only guy in the class who didn't hit on her. If I saw her in the hall I made a point of saying hello and being friendly. But that's as far as I went. I sort of admired her from afar.
Katie was absent from class once for an entire week. When she returned the next week, something amazing happened. After class, she came to talk to me.
To say that I wasn't prepared for this is an understatement. One moment i'm picking up my books and getting read to leave. The next this vision of beauty is standing shyly next to my desk.
"Excuse me... David?", she said.
"Um... hi!", I said nervously
And then she smiled. I had never seen her smile before. All of the coolness was gone. Her smile was reflected in her eyes. She looked a bit like the angel I had first imagined her to be.
She introduced herself, and asked if she could borrow my notes from last week's class. The Professor told her that she had missed a lot and needed to quickly catch up. I happily obliged, giving her my notebook. She paused and seemed to be thinking things over. Then finally, Katie asked if I had some extra time to help her. She wanted to know if i'd study with her, and even offered to take me out to dinner as payment for my time. She flashed me another of those smiles. And then I realized something shocking. She was asking me out! I couldn't believe it.
"Sure", I said. "Sounds good to me. It's date.", I said half jokingly.
Katie looked at me very seriously, and I wondered if maybe I had made a mistake. Maybe she thought I was just like all of the crude guys who had hit on her probably her whole life.
"Do you want it to be a date?", she asked quietly.
I thought of some clever things to say in response. Then it occurred to me that honesty was probably the best policy.
"You're a smart, beautiful woman. Of course I want it to be a date. But if you don't, that's fine too. You can still borrow my notes. And i'll still help you study."
It was a date. And we had a lot of other ones after.
With Katie, it's all about trust. When she trusts you, she smiles. And laughs. And makes jokes. And acts like a little girl. She's also terribly loyal. She always wants to help. And when she loves, she loves with her whole heart. I remember her crying when she told me she loved me. She was afraid she'd scare me away, that I didn't love her too. In fact, i'd been careful not to reveal my feelings for the same reason. When I told her, she starting crying even more and rained little kisses all over my face. I don't think i've ever been so happy.
Several things happened after we finally shared out feelings with one another. The first thing was that Katie became even more affectionate. She loved to hold hands and give hugs. She was probably the most affectionate person i'd ever met, a tendency she said she'd learned from her mother. She said that her mother was always bestowing hugs and kisses and loved to hold hands when they went someplace, even when Katie had gotten older. It just seemed like the way you should behave with someone you loved to her. Her kisses changed too. Before we shared an occasional heartfelt kiss on the mouth. But it was all very 1950s. No tongue at all. Just a lot of passionate embraces and lip presses. But now, she was kissing me like she wanted to devour me whole! We even grinded a little. My hands would start roaming, and she'd start to softly moan. But it never went any farther. She'd stop, and push herself away a little, and just stare up in to my eyes. We'd stare in to each other's eyes, almost panting with desire, and she'd softly say, "I love you." And it would stop. The anxiousness. The desperate need. It just went away. Her voice and her look were all about love and tenderness and stopping. She wanted to stop. I could tell she didn't *really* want to stop, but she was stopping. And I loved her so much, it didn't occur to me to do anything else.
"I love you too.", I said after awhile, still looking in to her eyes. She smiled and kissed my cheek. "I know that. You prove it every day, especially on days like this when you stop when I need you to. I know it's hard. Oh! Bad choice of words!", she said laughing.
"Why do we need to stop?", I asked. "I'm not pushing. We can go as fast or as slow as you need to. I'd just like to know why."
She seemed suddenly sad. Or afraid. Or maybe both. I'd seen the look before, when we'd first started dating. There was something she always held back. Some secret she never shared, but I could tell desperately wanted to. We always confided in each other. We told each other everything. But whatever this was, it was something she was afraid to tell me. And it scared me that she was afraid. I wondered how awful a thing it could be.
She touched my face, and that sweet smile of hers returned. "How would you feel about coming home with me during summer break, and meeting my mother?"
I got the picture. She was serious about me. And god knows, I was serious about her. And apparently, before we made love, she wanted to make pretty sure that we were going to be together for the foreseeable future. And part of making sure was going home to meet mom.
Marriage wasn't something that i'd really thought about. I guess it just seemed like something we'd get to when we got to it. And apparently, we were getting to it! Or close to it, anyway. The idea sort of appealed to me. I wanted Katie with me forever. What sane man wouldn't?
I asked her if she'd become "marriage minded". She smiled and said "maybe". Okay, I thought. Message received.
I was a little nervous meeting Katie's mother Janet. Katie was the love of my life, after all. I didn't want to blow it. But I shouldn't have worried.
Janet was a lot younger than i'd thought she'd be. She was in her 40s, and where Katie was petite and blonde, Janet was statuesque and brunette. With pumps or heels, she's taller than me! It's easy to see where Kate gets her warm and loving manner from. When she met us at the airport, she ran up to me and swept me in to a bear hug that would impress a real live bear! She was so excited and happy to meet me, the man her daughter was always talking to her about. She and Katie were then hugging and laughing. I just sort of smiled, a little stunned by it all. My family wasn't anything like this. Very reserved and serious. No wonder I loved Katie. She freely gave to me all the things i'd always needed.
I was planning on staying at a hotel in town, but Janet insisted that I "come home where I belonged." Katie seemed very pleased by this pronouncement.
In the first month I stayed with Katie and her mother Janet, we did everything together. It seemed natural. Janet insisted I treat their home like my own, even encouraging me to make the guest room more "my room". When I told Katie it seemed as if Janet wanted or expected me to stay with them in the future, she smiled and sarcastically replied, "You think so?" She wanted to know what I thought of that. I told her I honestly wouldn't mind, that I thought she had a wonderful home, and that her mother was probably one of the sweetest people i'd ever met. Katie just jumped in to my arms and started raining happy kisses on to my face like a little girl. Apparently that was the right answer!
We went to the movies. We went swimming. We rented movies. We were always together, except of course when we went to bed. But that changed a few weeks in to the visit. One night as I was getting ready for bed, Katie came to the door. She shyly asked if she could sleep with me. I was sort of shocked. "Sleep", she said, emphasizing the word. Snuggling in bed with Katie was amazing. I told her so, and told her I loved the smell of her hair. She snuggled closer. And then, strangely, she started to cry.
"What's wrong?", I asked concerned. "Baby, what's wrong!?!"
Katie kissed me softly. I could taste her tears. "I love you so much. I wish I could somehow touch your mind with mine, so you'd know. So you'd know my love for you."
"I know you love me. And you know I love you, don't you?", I asked quietly.
"I know! I know... god, I know. But you *don't* know... and if I tell you... i'm so afraid! I'm so afraid you'll leave me. And i'd rather die than be without you." She wasn't joking. I knew that. She did love me that much. But it was all crazy. I'd never leave her! No matter what she told me. Had she been raped? Had something horrible happened to her in the past? If someone had hurt her, i'd probably track them down and beat them half to death. But i'd never leave her. Not for any reason. And I told her so. But she wouldn't share her secret.
We held each other for a long time. I told her she didn't have to tell me her secret now. But that some day, I hoped she would. And I promised her that no matter what it was, i'd always love her. She sniffled and hugged me tightly but didn't say anything. Eventually we fell asleep.
.... There is more of this story ...