Saturday, 1 September 2012

Tales from the Dating Archives: The Story of Black Luke (Part I)

Part I

March 2007 - May 2007:  After Crumbs and I split up, it was a very empowering time for me.  My sister got married in Mexico, so I had my first real vacation ever, and it was amazing.  Exactly what I needed.  For me, the freedom to be on my own in such a beautiful place and not to be a slave to my watch, my children, or a man was incredibly freeing.  I found a place inside me that was content with being single, with moving through processing the end of my marriage, with finding where I belonged in life.  I looked back on that eight months with Crumbs and wondered what in the world I was doing.

Life Lesson: Never make major life changes/decisions when you are depressed. This includes getting into a relationship.

So by the time March 2007 came along, there I was, fresh from my Mexican getaway, flushed with joy at seeing my sister and her husband - who is just perfectly right for my sister - so happy and in love.  I had spent evenings sitting under the stars and watching the waves roll in, nights dancing away in the discotheque until three in the morning, and days wandering under the hot sun in Cancun, bartering with the roadside vendors.  I strapped on the manacle of my watch with regret but was ready to head back into the real world.

I worked in an insurance office, doing home, auto and marine insurance.  One day a customer walked in to renew his car insurance and sat down at my desk.  He had long, very curly hair pulled back by a bandanna (I was later warned never to call it a do-rag) and wore a shirt with a heavy metal band name exploded across it.  When he looked up at me, it was with the most startling blue eyes and a broad smile bracketed by well-shaped cheekbones.  I remember thinking, This guy would be gorgeous, if he would just cut that hair.  He was like a blue-eyed lion.

It wasn't that his hair was unattractive - it was beautiful hair, long and thick and curly and obviously well-kept.  I've just never been the kind of girl who goes for long hair on guys. We completed the transaction, he got up and left with a smile, and I went back to work and forgot about him.

Three weeks later, he came in again, this time to cancel his insurance, as he had sold his vehicle.  I remembered him from the previous visit, but he didn't seem to remember me, so I just decided, Ah well, he's obviously not interested in me.  I turned the potential flirt inside me to "Off" and relaxed, just being myself through the transaction.

Imagine my surprise when he looked up at me with those incredible eyes and said (rapid-fire, like he had to force it all out): "Wouldyouliketogoforcoffeewithmesometime?"

I was completely stunned.  One, that he wanted to go out with me; two, that I hadn't seen any indication that he was remotely attracted to me; and three, that he seemed so nervous about it.  He had struck me as such a confident guy.  Shell-shocked, I managed an "uh-huh" and he gave me his phone number ("canIgiveyoumyphonenumber?"..." 'kay...").

So it began.  Black Luke and I went for coffee, and we were inseparable after that.  He lived up-Island, so we only had the chance to see each other on weekends when I didn't have the kids and he didn't work, but we kept in touch by email and text message.  Oh, the emails...Black Luke absolutely understood my love of words, of crafting that exact right sentence to convey one's emotions, and precisely how to express himself to me in a way that I could understand exactly how he felt for me and what he was trying to say.  His messages to me were filled with tender words and expressions, with amusing comments and pop culture references, with encouragement and love.  

Black Luke sang (and, as he put it, "growled") in a heavy metal band.  He played the guitar with his finely shaped fingers.  I loved watching him play as we sat in my living room together, the music flowing from his hands.  Occasionally we would jam together, me on the piano and him on the guitar, laughing as we tried to strike the right chords.  He asked me if I wanted to listen to his band's music, but I was worried about the lyrics - I wouldn't be able to hear what was being said and had long been concerned about metal because of the Satanic lyrics I had heard were in the songs.  Black Luke looked sheepish and told me that I wouldn't have to worry about his lyrics, because they were all Emily Brontë poems. Wouldn't you know it, I discovered in myself an appreciation for heavy metal music.  Who would have guessed?

I fell hard. So did he.  Within one week the words "I love you" popped out of my mouth, completely unbidden, and at the look of horror on my face, he just laughed and stroked my face.  "It's okay," he said, kissing me gently on the lips. "I feel the same.  I love you, too." 

I couldn't believe that I had found this person, my soul mate, finally.  I was on Cloud 9.  When friends had asked if I was going to go back to my maiden name, I said there was no need, because I would be taking Black Luke's last name eventually anyway.  I was so 100% certain of our love for one another.  I had never felt this way before, ever.  I could be myself, with no pretense.  He wanted to know all about my Christianity and my relationship with God, and because he didn't ever judge me, I was happy to tell him everything I believed and how it made me feel.  I very quickly saw through Black Luke`s dark appearance - the metal T-shirts, the long hair - to the beautiful person beneath, who stuck thick-framed glasses on his face and chopsticks through his hair to get it out of his face while he did dishes.  Who was happy to go for a "wog" with me - I walked; he jogged - when I explained I wasn't much of a runner.  Who lay on the floor and listened to music - everything from 1960's classic rock to Beethoven and Mozart to Enya to Michael W. Smith to reggae to his own band - with eyes shut and fingers entwined with mine as we listened and sometimes sang along.  Who was just as happy to sit on the couch with me and look through old photo albums as he was to go out to karaoke with me.  Who wanted to cook for me and who was even more of a clean freak than I was.

My relationship with Black Luke seemed to be what I had always been looking for.  We could laugh together, I could cry to him about my mistakes in the past and about the breakdown of my marriage, and we enjoyed each other's company so much that we could walk hand-in-hand and not say a word.  I never felt like I had to be anyone but exactly who I was. He listened - really listened - with a look of intensity in those lovely eyes, completely focused on what I was saying.  When I found this quote from Emily Brontë, it seemed to exactly sum up the relationship we had and the joy we discovered in one another:

I was in love - really in love - for the first time in my life.  In my naivete, it never occurred to me that anything could come between us.  Now that I had found him, I would be able to move on with life knowing that there was always someone there for me, someone who would have my back and hold me when I cried.  We were made for each other.

But life had more hard lessons for me to learn. be continued...

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