26 August 2007

Of Surpassed Expectations, Very Many Pleasant Surprises, & the Consumption of Humble Pie (or, How a Boy & Girl Met): Part 2

In which Kirsten resumes the story in the first person and consumes at least two helpings of the Pie.

It occurred to me only as I was driving to meet Mike at the agreed-upon location: Holy crap!! I'm driving to go meet someone I met on the internet!! What was I thinking?!

Not one to back down at the last minute or avoid potentially awkward circumstances simply because they might be awkward, I kept driving, desperately attempting to ignore the fact that my pulse had accelerated and that my instantly clammy hands belied the otherwise calm & cool exterior I was determined to maintain.

This was not my typical Wednesday afternoon. Not by a longshot.

I couldn't run away from this now. And after all, he had driven up from south Seattle to meet me. Not a short jaunt, by any means. I had signed on for this, had I not? Get a grip, Kirsten!

I am normally a timely person (in fact, I like to show up at least 5 minutes early for everything), but cut my departure time close. As [ill] luck would have it, I was delayed by construction crews, grooved pavement, and unfriendly red traffic lights [sidenote: all good northwesterners know that there are not four seasons here, but three: wet, wetter, & road construction]. I arrived at the destination a few minutes later than expected thinking, dear God, now he's going to think I don't care or that I'm a habitually late person. As if my blood pressure weren't high enough at the moment.

Any awkwardness I felt passed in less than a minute from our meeting. Our conversation was easy, relaxed, and natural. In what felt like a few minutes, two hours had passed. Drinks turned to dinner, which turned to ice cream (sorbet for me, the food-allergy girl), which turned to a walk on the pier on my favorite stretch of local waterfront. Before I knew it, nearly seven hours had passed from the moment I walked in [a few minutes late] to meet him for drinks.

He gave me some CDs to listen to; while we liked many of the same obscure indie bands, he had a few he just knew I would love [in which he was later proven right]. And I knew I'd have to get these back to him eventually, in which the female mind concludes: second date.
Another impression of the first meeting? We're also both unabashedly honest, straight-forward people. No games, no hiding, no beating around the bush here. I've always been this way to some degree, but no one I've dated has ever expressed any sort of appreciation of this quality. I never realized until now how much I tempered that trait of mine and kept it under wraps for others who didn't care so much for it. And it was reciprocated in a big way: I like you. I want to see you again. I knew within 10 minutes that you were someone amazing. What are you doing next weekend?

[Ow. My arms are still bruised from how I've pinched them.]

This was pretty much the best first date I've had; a sentiment we both shared. In a matter of hours -- minutes, really -- I felt like I was spending time with someone I had known my whole life. I felt that every relationship cliche I had heard over the years was coming true; I was embodying every single one of them. It will happen when you least expect it. You mean that's really true? When you know, you know. Seriously?

[cue first slice of Humble Pie]

When we spoke two days later, I was glad to hear (to be reminded, really) that my own assessment of our first meeting was not obscured; whatever this was, this was fairly extraordinary. We had connected; I wasn't fabricating this in my own mind [something those of us creative, imaginative types need to watch out for sometimes]. I was going to be in Seattle that weekend and we agreed to meet Sunday afternoon.

We went had lunch at a little Mexican cantina in Fremont (the area of Seattle where the famous Fremont Troll resides) and briefly wandered around the area. Our three hours together weren't nearly long enough. I had to get on the road to get to my sister's birthday dinner on time. Suffice it to say, goodbye was difficult. And I returned home a bit later than was intended.

But leave I did, and he came back up the following Wednesday, just one week from our initial meeting. He brought me a big, beautiful pot of red mums (see photo in sidebar at the right). We went to a local wine bar, to a local eatery for some great Italian food, and for a drive along the water. This goodbye came with increased difficulty, and I went to bed too late for the third night in a week.

And here is where the Second Slice of Humble Pie comes into play. You may recall the first post in which I told a friend: What could possibly happen? It's the internet! I ate thick, hearty slices of those words, but [luckily] they went down relatively easily; somehow, I didn't take exception to being wrong about this. Said friend was present and only too happy to ensure each word was chewed thoroughly prior to swallowing.

[It is good and advisable to have a spotter nearby when eating this much Humble Pie]

Not only was this internet dating gig working out well for me [for which I only deigned to sign on, if you recall], it was doing so within one month of when I had joined. And on the first date I had. Most of the eHarmony "Success Stories" on the website read something like, I had been on eHarmony for 1 and 1/2 years and had nearly given up ... I had been internet dating here for almost two years with no success ... John was the 15th eHarmony date I had gone on after being a member of the site for two years; I was about to cancel my subscription. The expectation is that the process works, but requires the Patience of Job, squared.

The first eHarmony date, within my first month of joining. It's still making my head spin. I hate to use the buzzword "success" in this context. It goes against the grain for me when used to speak of any relationship. But I was looking for something particular, and dare I say so? While it's too early to say the future is going to hold this or that, I can say with confidence that what we've got going on here is something rather extraordinary.

Sunset from the drive along the water [date #3]

So I'm not going to make any declarative statements about the future here, at least not now. But what I may declare definitively is this: here is someone who exceeds my expectations, who sees into me in ways that others often miss, with whom I am entirely unselfconscious, and for whom I have already developed a deep affection.

You know I could go on, but I think my fingers might bleed from that much typing.

I kid you not.

[cue music]

Stay tuned for Part 3 in which I explain how this relationship is teaching me to Carve Out a Path for myself.


  1. Oh, Kirsten, he is so cute with you! What a special picture (that I am SO GLAD you included -- I was hoping we'd get a peek!). I hope it doesn't sound weird to say that you guys look so comfortable with each other in the picture, so, well, together. It's very, very sweet.

    I got pricks of tears in my eyes at least three different times while reading this story. It's so special. It reminds me, honestly, exactly of the way things felt when Kirk and I started to date: like you'd found home, and home like you never thought was possible to share with someone else in the big, wide world.

    I'm so happy, friend, that this has worked out as it has for you. It's amazing that it happened so quickly, but that, too, does not surprise me. As everyone keeps saying, when you know, you know. You really can't describe it any other way.

    I cannot wait to hear more about this fantastic journey, relationship, and person! Thanks for sharing this update -- it helped me get my Kirsten fix! :)

  2. very, VERY, romantic and sweet kirsten! i am SO happy for you! i remember well those evenings of not wanting to leave, getting home late, etc. when my husband and i were dating.....you could never get enough time together! :)

    off subject (kind of), allergy girl.... how HAS your stomach been doing now that you've recognized these allergies and have been eating accordingly?

  3. Christianne -- Thank you for your kind, kind words my friend. I honestly did not expect to find "it" this quickly. This does feel like home. Even in the short time we've been together, I feel like I've known him & vice versa forever. We just seem to click that well. And now I'm starting to understand the cliches that used to irritate me. I hated them, but they are so true!! I could go on & on, he's such a phenomenal guy.

    Yeah. :o)

    Blue -- Thanks for stopping by!! I had so much fun writing this & it is so fun to be able to share with this little community.

    As for the stomach, I still have good days & bad, but the bad days typically result from long periods of not taking proper care of myself (e.g., lack of sleep, lack of nutrition, too much work, etc.). The new diet is working! One thing I have not yet shared though is that I will be seeing a specialist again on Sept. 6. So we shall see!! ...

  4. There may be a great fire in our hearts, yet no one ever comes to warm himself at it, and the passers-by see only a wisp of smoke.—Van Gogh

    Kirsten, I can feel the reverberations of your excitement with every typed word!

    The newness of relationships, especially romantic ones, are amazing and very captivating. What you don't know is more fun than what you do know—so many possibilities...

    Relationships are like concentric circles; the innermost circles are the ones we guard fiercely (my only advice).

    Again, really thrilled for you! I look forward in hearing more of your life and about this fellow who has come to warm himself at the great fire in your heart.

    Ah, there was a Troll in the story! (Freemont Troll)

  5. Kirsten, I loved the way you wrote this! What a wonderful story.

    I know exactly what you mean about the cliches. . . that is exactly how I felt when Josh and I met. It was the strangest thing, but I really did "just know" (as in, "when you find the right one, you'll just know") and I felt totally comfortable "as if I had known him my whole life." "Everything just fell into place" and "we were a perfect match." I suppose there is a reason cliches come into existence!!

    I'm very happy for you and looking forward to hearing more about carving out your path.

  6. 23 Degrees -- Ha! You were right. There WAS a troll. Forgot that portion of the story. :o) Mike & I have been dating only 3 weeks, but already I am so challenged, so blessed, and yeah ... having SO much fun. I've never been able to be this open with anyone, and I have never felt so much myself with anyone before. This relationship is really blessing my socks off!

    Rebecca -- So it really is true?! I suppose there is a reason these cliches come into existence. My more cautious friends & family get a little freaked out when I wonder about the future, but I need no map here. I know where I am: I'm home. Now that I can grasp the truth of these sayings a bit more personally, it is wonderful to hear these same feelings of being a "perfect match" and feeling "at home" when you've found it from my friends & family. :o)

  7. Kirsten, I'm encouraged by your perspective on needing no map and knowing you are home, with regards to your more cautious friends and family. I can tell you that many in my life were cautious about my feelings for Kirk, and for many good reasons. However, I knew what I knew. It could not be explained by anyone not inside my skin. And I had to be faithful to that. Thankfully, over time, people saw it, too, and have been blessed by it. So ultimately, God is glorified by what He creates. I wish this same blessing on you and Mike -- and can't wait to hear more of this story as it unfolds, friend!

  8. Thank you for your encouraging words, Christianne. They bless me more that I can explain here, but it will make more sense as I explain this new path-carving venture for myself. I think my friends & family express concern & are urging caution out of love and wanting the best for me, but exactly as you say -- you knew what you knew, and "it could not be explained by anyone not inside my skin". This is almost exactly how I've expressed this feeling to others. It is unexpected & it might not make much sense to someone on the outside, but as you have expressed so eloquently & succinctly, I must be faithful to God, to this relationship, & ultimately to myself in choosing to pursue it, knowing that God will not leave unattended that with which He blessed me so richly!

  9. Kirsten! Yay!! I'm so happy to read part 2, to hear how much joy you're partaking in, and to see a picture of this guy! I agree that you guys look GREAT together. :) :)

    I didn't know "right away" with Daniel, but that was more my own confusion of what "home" should feel like than anything else. I think it's certainly possible to know right away, and I'm excited for you that the path is a bit more cleared of doubt so you can enjoy his company on a deeper level sooner rather than later!

    Now I'm off to read Part 3...