Monday, October 03, 2016

After My Picture Fades and Darkness has Turned to Gray

On one of John's trips back to Iowa City for RAGBRAI.
I didn't really get around to covering John's and my anniversary last week, so it's been six years. SIX YEARS! That's the longest I've been with anyone, except my ex-husband, and I was in that thing WAY too long.

Just for fun, I thought I'd write a little about how we met and stuff:

In 1987, I went back to school at the University. Originally, I started in 1983, but I wasn't ready to be in college, I know I've mentioned several times here, but I had to work on all my shit from being raised by my abusive aunt and uncle. So, in 1985, I dropped out of school and moved to California and then moved back 1987. Got that? Yeah...I'm not sure I do either.

John took this photo of me at a camp fire on one of our Monday Night Rides, about a week before our first date.

So, anyway...I had just moved back to Iowa and decided to do some political work. I joined a left wing organization, called New Wave and that's where I first met John. At that time, he was with, what he likes to call, his future ex-wife. I was dating a guy in California, but then also had a little overlap with my future ex-spouse. Now, I can't imagine having the energy for all of that drama. Like I've always maintained since that time..."Who wants TWO men sitting on your couch in their underwear watching sports?" If only someone had asked me that question in my early 20's...

I didn't know John very well back then. I was closer to his ex-wife. He was working nights, so when I saw him, he was probably just waking up. My main memory of him at the time, was of a beautiful man, with really curly hair, rolling cigarettes. Since we were both with other people, I don't think either of us were all that aware or interested in each other back then.

Then he moved to Boston for 20 years and in that time got divorced and was in a relationship with another woman for 10 years after that.

I stayed in Iowa City, got married, had two kids and got divorced. As strangely coincidental as it sounds, I got divorced around the same time John and his wife did, his ex-wife moved back to Iowa City and we hung out a lot before she met her life partner and had a couple of kids and moved to Norway (the country, not the town in Iowa).

About 6 months after we started dating. I was already driving him crazy with my shenanigans.

By 2008, I started to see John in Iowa City when he would come back for RAGBRAI. I was single by that time, but he was still in a relationship. I got to know him a little better as a friend on those visits, and I liked him well enough, but I still didn't really know him all that well.

In 2010, John's girlfriend broke up with him, and they both ended up moving back to Iowa City. I was getting to know both of them a little better when they moved back. I had always been a runner and a bike commuter, but John was really into cycling and bike racing. We would go on our Monday Night Rides once a week and since we had many of the same friends from our politico days in college, we saw a lot of each other.

Somewhere in all of that hanging-out, I realized that I was interested in more than a friendship with John. He wasn't really ready to date again so soon after having his heart broken, and so we discussed it once, and decided to be friends...Or so I thought. About a week after "our talk", John asked me to hang out with him, by ourselves, and gave me some options, since I still really liked him and I'm not stupid, I chose the most date like of those - dinner and a drink. We had been doing some flirting by message and texts and that graduated to emails, and by the afternoon of our dinner plans, he finally referred to it as a date. Whew!

Our 6th Anniversary just happened to fall during Jingle CX. Perfect.
Our first date was great and our second and third dates were even better and on the occasion of our 4th date, John got hit by an F-150 pick-up truck while riding his bike. His week long hospital stay, spinal fusion surgery and couple of months of recovery time, really amped-up our relationship.

We have definitely been through plenty of shit in our last six years: back surgeries, moving in together, dealing with surly teenagers (mine, not his) getting each other into different kinds of racing, traveling together, breast cancer (mine, not his), job stresses (both of ours), and the hardest and most painful of all, putting up with each others cats.

I will say, as hard as parts of it has been so far, it's been more rewarding than anything. Maybe it's good that it took us so long to be in a place to date each other. It gave us plenty of time to make our mistakes on other people, and I think we're both better at communicating our needs and emotions than we ever were in our early 20's. So, let's hear it for friendships simmering into relationships and good timing. John is truly my worth waiting for.


A said...

You two are one of the BEST couples ever! You deserve each other and I mean that in the best way.

Tara Coady said...

Ha ha. A lot of people mean it like, "We're so glad you found each other, so you can quit bugging the rest of us..."