how i found you


How I Found: Nick
February 14, 2010, 10:59 am
Filed under: my partner

How did I find you, my dear Nicolas? More like how did you find me, trying hard as I was to keep my heart hidden, feet on the move.

There I was, in the hot twilight of my twenties, floating in an ever-changing swirl of friends around table after table. Outwardly wanting, garishly longing for things that were so blatantly off the mark. But I, who knocks over easily at the hint of the word feather, I was stubborn in wanting the wrongest thing. I would pine and languish, and take stab after shaky stab at the wrongest thing while that moment’s friends, clustered around that moment’s table, would do their best to dissuade or distract me.

I was on the run. I was never where I thought I was, where I said I’d be. I was late, a late bloomer in the garden of love.

If you’d asked me then, if I knew what love was, I would have told you truthfully: yes. But truth is only truth in the moment.

Four years later, with a dog and a house and a wedding on the horizon, I ask myself that question now, and get the same answer. But this yes has more dimensions than science can speculate on, more shades than a pantone color guide. My yes now is a slippery, diaphanous truth that absorbs more than it reflects. And inside it, like the seed at the center of a milkweed tuft, is that first night we met.

Not that first night when our friend Emily tried to make a match for us. We sat awkwardly through a movie. Then I thought you were kind of silly, and I resented anyone trying to intervene in my sensitive pursuit of the wrongest thing. You took a call that night from a different blind date, and left early.

And not that night, several months later, when we all went out to a bar. Me posing as my baddest self – and you, your earnest, open self, unconcerned with how bad I was pretending to be. It drove me crazy, how senseless you could make the scene look, just by standing inside it. Later, I thought we would kiss, although I wasn’t sure I wanted to. We didn’t. That also made me crazy.

And not that night, three years after that, when we sat together on a patio in the dark. Over the spill-out karaoke noise I told you about some heartbreak I was having. You turned my head with your kindness and empathy. And that suit looked good, too. Next thing, we’re kissing behind the dumpster with all the ravenousness of teenagers.

The kernel of my truthful answer: do I know what love is? That is the night, two days after that kiss, when we laid on my bed with our clothes on, talked out. We felt so old, so around-the-block at 28. And here was the beginning of something vast, something powerful, something risky. What started on Thursday as a fling had, by Sunday, become apparent as much more. We laid there with our eyes locked, searching for certainty. If we make this leap, will you hurt me? Is this risk worth it? Too sudden, too soon, not ready yet. But still looking, unable to break away.

You were too wonderful not to take the risk for. I would have accepted the heartbreak, just to have those first few days. But you took the risk, too, plunged in with me, holding my hand. And that hopeful spark, willing heart, loving grasp – I will treasure you ’til the day I die.

Molly Balcom works as a fundraiser for public radio. She plays at the intersections of food and performance, including cooking, directing, foraging, and making edible things look inedible (and vice versa.) She lives in Saint Paul, MN.



How I Found: My Partner
February 16, 2009, 8:11 pm
Filed under: my partner

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How I Found: Philip
February 14, 2009, 2:53 am
Filed under: my partner

You suffer. And you suffer. And you suffer.

You leave the house thinking the locks are secured, the oven is off, someone will feed the cat. You return to find the whole thing in ashes. That’s how it feels when someone you love cheats on you.

It was enough to send me careening across the dry ribbon of Interstate 10, from my hometown of San Antonio, to the new town I’d start life fresh in: Las Cruces, New Mexico. A place aptly named for crucifixion. A dustbowl of a town – 80,000 people. A few stripmalls, a university teeming with Ag majors and frat boys. No place for a writer; no place for love. Continue reading