The summer before I met Michael, I knew I would meet my life partner soon. I told the Universe that I wanted him for my birthday present.
In August that summer, I started dating a guy who was an attorney, but who had decided to move to NYC to attend acting school. I’d never done a long-distance relationship (since high school) and figured that that might allow me to really focus on my work and the nonprofit program I was working on at that time. I thought we could see each other once a month and that might work out really well.
So he left a week before my 47th birthday and went up to see a friend of his in Tennessee to celebrate HER birthday before heading to NYC. I knew he had cheated when it happened the night he arrived at her house. (To my knowledge, no other guy had ever cheated on me. My intuition felt something was really off.) So, I knew that this was not going to work and I had to end it. I wanted to wait a few days until he found an apartment, so I wasn’t ending things while he was living out of his car. (At this point, he was still lying about cheating. He admitted it months later.)
My birthday rolled around and he still hadn’t found an apartment and I was not going to stay in limbo all day long and let this ruin my birthday, so I called him, left a voicemail. No response. I emailed and texted him. No response. For hours. But he was posting tourist photos from his phone to Facebook, walking around NYC with a friend. And completely ignoring any communication from me on my birthday. So, I broke up with him by leaving a VM on his phone. I’ve never done anything remotely like that before!
(This long background story is important to the story of how Michael and I met, so I appreciate your patience with reading all that drama. Thanks!)
So, the night before my birthday, I went out with two friends whose birthdays are the day before mine. We went to a local restaurant and hung out with some friends. After a while, I suggested we go to a restaurant/bar that was having a band that sounded cool. We went and sat outside at this long picnic bench. I was sitting at one end.
Juliet, Ashley, and Yvonne – The Birthday Girls!
When I first got there, Michael saw me and apparently I was looking toward him, but I didn’t see him. I was still very much in my head with tons of anxiety because I had this unresolved breakup I was carrying around. It was really difficult for me to be present and enjoy my birthday celebration at all that night. After a while, one of our mutual friends invited Michael to join us. He sat at the end of the picnic table opposite me (about 12 feet away.) When I first saw him, a feeling came over me that I have never felt before. I wanted to talk to him more than I have ever wanted to talk to anyone!
There was a man on my left who was talking to me nonstop. There was a woman to his left doing the same. We were doing our best to seem interested in their conversations, but we were both putting our attention on listening in on what each other were saying. I heard that he was a musician. I heard him mention recording. I heard him say he was 54. My jaw dropped. Now I really wanted to talk to him!
At one point, the woman on his left got up. I thought about going and siting next to him. But I had decided that I was tired of doing most of the work in my past relationships and a good way to stop that patten was to be a princess. And that would not be a princess move. After a while, I got up and talked to my friend Rosemary who was standing near the door to go inside. I told her I didn’t want to date any more puppy dogs. I didn’t want to date anyone until I met the guy I was going to spend the rest of my life with. She said the same. We made our declarations to the Universe in that spot at that moment. This was just a bit past midnight, so it was my birthday.
I went inside to use the bathroom. When I came back out, Michael was standing by the door talking to Rosemary. I figured it would be okay for a princess to join them. So, I did. Michael said, “Hi! You are one of the birthday girls, right?” I said, “yes.” He replied, “Happy Birthday.” Then he went and sat back down. I didn’t even know his name. He didn’t know mine.
Ashley, Juliet, and Yvonne leaving the party.
When I left that night, I didn’t know if I would ever see him again. But I did know that there was the very cute guy who I really wanted to talk to who lived in the same town as me. And even if I never saw him again, that made me more optimistic.
A week later, my friend Caitlin asked me if I could give her a ride home from Word of Mouth, the local monthly poetry open mic at The Globe in Athens. I told her I would be happy to! I took a nap a few hours before I needed to get ready to go. When the alarm went off, I was exhausted and wanted to stay asleep. But I had promised Cait that I would give her a ride. So I jumped in the shower and started getting ready. As I was picking out my clothes, I realized I was going to meet someone that night at the reading that I would want to talk with afterward. (This is not out of the ordinary for me. It has happened before.) Then I thought, “Oh, no! I have to give Cait a ride. How is this going to work?”
I even deliberately picked out an outfit that would make me look pretty, but not “hot” and instead of reading poems about past relationships (which I’d been reading for months,) I decided I would read some of my poems that I refer to as Love Songs to the Universe. This guy I was going to meet… I wanted him to connect with my heart and my soul, not just my form.
After I got there, about a minute later, Cait texted me saying she had missed the bus and wouldn’t be there. About a minute later, Michael walked in. He walked right past me and I thought, “OMG! That is that cute guy I wanted to talk to so badly!!!”
He couldn’t find a seat, so he asked me if anyone was sitting in the seat next to me. I told him no, even though some guy had been sitting there and had gone downstairs to get another drink. After he sat down, someone handed me the sign-up sheet to read. I signed up, then handed it to Michael. He had not planned on reading and was only there that night trying to find a friend of his. But I had other plans!
At the intermission, he asked if I was one of the birthday girls from the party. (I’d had a haircut and was dressed down a bit.) I told him yes and we introduced ourselves. Then the reading began.
I loved his poems! And he loved mine.
We went outside after the reading and started talking. We went to The Grill, an all night diner and talked for hours. Then we went to his band’s practice space and talked more. I sang some of my songs for him. He played me some of his. And he came up with a guitar part right away for my song Flood of Memories. I had dated many guitar players and had jammed with many others. None of them had been able to figure out a part for that song. I was floored! Not only was he super cute and we had incredible chemistry and fantastic conversations, but also I knew at that moment that we could collaborate musically! I was ecstatic!
We stayed up talking about anything and everything until a few hours after the sun came up. When I dropped him off at his place the next morning, he said, “I know it’s too early to say this, but I love you.” We went out on a date that night and stayed up talking all night again. The next night he came out to my house and he stayed. It happened that fast!
A week after the reading at Word of Mouth.
Two weeks after we met, I found out my step-father had terminal cancer. Two weeks later, I found out my dad had terminal cancer. If I had met Michael two weeks later than I did, I would not have been in the right headspace to start a relationship. The timing of when we met was really important. It was this little two week window.
I am so grateful that I met him then. He “gets” me like no other human ever has. And I really look forward to spending the rest of our lives together.
Do you have a cool relationship origin story? If, so please type it or put a link to it in the comments!