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In the beginning: The Universe, random thumbs and being inappropriate.

true romanticIt isn’t as if I went looking for love…

Sometimes we have no control over what the Universe decides we deserve, and in my case I was very lucky indeed that the Universe was paying such close attention.

You’re going to be hearing a lot about the Universe’s role in all this, but more about that later, let’s start with some background;

I had just ended a long term relationship and gone through the difficult and somewhat fraught process of moving out and restarting my life as a single man, not an altogether unpleasant prospect, but still one that required a certain amount of adjustment.

I should say right at the start that I never had the slightest thought of beginning another relationship, preferring instead to relax into my new lifestyle and see what the future sent my way. After all, I hadn’t been single for over fifteen years and the idea of having extra free time and an increased social life was quite an attractive prospect for a late-forty-something, young at heart bloke with few possessions and – bar some lingering debts – little in the way of expenses.

So it would never have occurred to me that there was someone out there, someone I’d been getting to know for nearly three years, (but maybe not as well as I thought) who had secretly been holding a torch for me all this time, when I had only been aware of a growing friendship and a fondness at the edge of consciousness that, if you’d asked me at the time, I wouldn’t have been able to articulate, even to myself.

As for the rest, well,..I was going to try and keep this intro as short as I could but as it’s the first post I’m probably going to get a bit carried away, so bear with me, ok?

Social media is something that I’d only come to very casually, (and very late) purely to keep in contact with old friends who I’d left behind after moving to Devon in the ’90s, but I took to it like the proverbial duck to water.

Facebook in particular caught my imagination and I soon began making “friends” all over the place, most notably in America, a place I’d never been especially interested in visiting, but nonetheless the cultural influences we all absorb from across the pond make it somewhere that one can’t help be drawn to, even if the temptation to bait various elements of their society can sometimes be too much to bear.

Although many of those early “discussions” that I had with apoplectically furious right wing gun nuts and crazy tin foil hat wearing conspiracy theorists were great fun, it’s the real friendships I made on Fb that I most enjoyed, most notably with a slightly crazy lady called Mandy who loves English swearing and will now call people “wanker” for absolutely no reason at all, usually following it up with her trademark “Ahahahaha!”

Anyway, during a rather heated discussion on the pros and cons of posting a picture of “the falling man” from the World Trade Centre as some sort of tribute to 9/11 victims, one of Mandy’s friends took issue with me for (as she saw it) disrespecting Mandy in the comments thread we were on.

Mandy apparently messaged her friend and explained that she and I tended to discuss things in a fairly rough and ready way and that she shouldn’t worry, I was a nice guy and hadn’t been insulting her at all.

The result of this was that I received a message from somebody I’d previously only seen on Fb as a friend of a friend, apologising to me for getting the wrong end of the stick and berating me unnecessarily, to which I replied and, (to completely fail to cut a long story short) ended up sending her a friend request.

She turned out to be someone that I quickly grew to like, not just because She and I appeared to agree on so many different subjects; politics, music, art, movies and books being just some of the places we found common ground, but because there seemed to be a…. goodness about Her, a calmness, almost a serenity that I hadn’t come across before, but that even now I am at a loss to explain any better than I could have done then.

And She had children. Certainly not something that would usually attract me to a woman, even if two of Her kids were grown up. 

It was obvious to me that it was the deep bond She had with Her youngest daughter that made Her the person She was. The person She had become. It was almost as if they were one symbiotic entity, one dependant upon the other for nurture and support. I felt that very strongly, right back then, when we were only casual acquaintances who had begun cautiously circling around the pull of friendship like travellers who come upon each other at an unexpected campfire, drawn by the warmth but curious as to who started it.

Which isn’t to say that I had any romantic feelings for Her, because back then I honestly didn’t. I was in a long-term relationship which had yet to run to its sad conclusion, and even that had an intersection that seems strangely prescient with hindsight.

During my first year or so on Facebook, I tried to convince some of the more tolerant of my new American friends to post videos of themselves, introducing themselves to me and my English mates which some of them, to their credit, did with varying degrees of success, especially after I got the ball rolling with a daft parody of a newscast, (fronted by a newsreader called Max Bollocks, in honour of a bloke from Michigan called Max who loved that particular Anglo-Saxonism) which gently poked fun at the U.S.A.

And for anyone who had trouble uploading a video, I suggested that anyone who fancied giving it a go could video-call me on Skype, so I opened an account specially and waited for a response.

She was the first to reply.

So I set up a video chat for a hour that was convenient in both timezones (She is five hours behind the U.K.) and waited for the phone to ring.

It was an oddly relaxed call, not stilted or awkward in any way, myself and my then-partner on one end and Her on the other, chatting away while Her daughter clambered all over Her, cheerfully chattering away, oblivious to the adults talking around her. Residents of the home that She was manager of also occasionally wandered in and out of shot, waving at the camera and grinning cheerfully. She seemed very courteous, polite and decent and – the one thing I remember being consciously pleased about – She had a very pleasant voice, not grating on my English ears as some U.S.accents can.

All of which endeared her to me a little bit more, and yet not the slightest thought of romance had yet crossed my mind. But I think that call was probably when we both knew we were going to be friends. 

Over the next couple of years we regularly communicated on the open pages of Facebook and sometimes had longer conversations on its messenger platform, but as far as I was concerned it was all perfectly innocent and platonic and I had no reason to assume She felt any differently. I did, and in fact still do, write another blog under a different name (which I’m choosing to keep separate from this one for now) and She would always say nice things about my writing and share links for me, so maybe I could have spotted something earlier.

But as I said; It isn’t as if I went looking for love.

Which brings us back to the point at which we came in. The point at which (as I’m sure She would tell you) the Universe decided to give our two routes through the forest of reality a little pinch, just sufficient to push our respective paths close enough together that we could glimpse each other through the trees.

I was once again single.

I was still settling into my new place.

I sent Her an accidental random thumb. 

(For those of you who don’t know Facebook, their standard icon of agreement is a little blue thumb symbol, used to “like” posts and as shorthand for the far more difficult to type “Ok”)

Whilst fiddling with my phone, I somehow managed to open messenger on the last conversation I’d had and simultaneously hit the thumb icon, it just so happens that it was Her I’d spoken to last.

She naturally queried my agreeing with something She was yet to say and we continued chatting as I casually scrolled through my newsfeed.

Until I got to the new profile picture that She’d just uploaded. I found that I had to drag my gaze away, almost instantly being drawn back to…

{From Facebook messenger}

Me – Do you mind if I say something slightly inappropriate?

Her – Hahaha, I spend half my life being inappropriate.

Me – You have the most extraordinary eyes.

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About trueromantic/dalecooper57

Blogger, writer, animator, photographer, maker of strange electronic "music", there's no end to the things that I'm getting quite good at.

24 responses »

  1. Hi there. I don’t believe I’ve run into a blog like this before, chronicling a love from the budding beginning and forward, how lovely! I’ve heard that we often find love when we least expect it. Here you thought you’d be simply living the single life again (and the ending of any relationship especially a long one is difficult), but the Universe had other plans. Such is the way of the Universe! Amazing that what started out as just a nice friendship on FB turned into something much more. Amazing…and romantic.

    Enjoyed reading about how it all came to pass, the FB exchanges and how the relationship developed out of mutual interests and respect for each other, and then blossomed into love across the expanse of an ocean and cyberspace. Had to laugh at the “accidental random thumb” on FB, perhaps that was the Universe giving you a shove. That was a sweet comment to her about her “extraordinary eyes” and may I add, she sounds wonderful. I really like your line, “like travelers who come upon each other at an unexpected campfire, drawn by the warmth but curious as to who started it.” This is so interesting and I’ll be back to read more of your posts. Awesome picture with your “eyes” of love!

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  2. I have a fondness for romance-in-text, if for no other reason than the ability to go back and read it all again. Memory isn’t always dependable.

    It also allows one to get to know the other, instead of being bludgeoned by biology and praying for compatibility. There are those who argue that Internet romance/communication isn’t “real” and leaves one open to being played, but that’s true in any human interaction, and as long as one isn’t in a tearing hurry, your chances for success are good.

    Many New Agers have called for humans to become more “spiritual” following some event–polar shift, Mayan calendar reaching the finish, something. I had always taken that to mean oh, “spiritual” in the religious sense and any look at the news puts the lie to that idea. But you look at this–two people communicating non-physically, invisibly (to another species), and what is that if not Spirit?

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  3. menopausalmother

    This definitely gave me the warm fuzzies. Love it and now I want more.

    Liked by 1 person

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    • That’s my mission, to give anyone that reads this blog even a fraction of the warm glow that I’ve felt for the last few months. Thank you for visiting, I shall continue the story very shortly…

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  4. Heartwarming, honest and written with love of the English language. Wonderful stuff

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  5. This is wonderfully and truly romantic! I always believe we ought to just relax, let our fate bring us to wherever. Drifting, that’s what it is. Obviously, you just drifted into a wonderland. 🙂

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  6. Lovely story my dear. I’m glad I finally got around to reading it. Thanks for sending me the link. 🙂

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  7. Loved this story. Wildly romantic. I’ve never considered myself a romantic, although When Harry Met Sally is my all-time favorite movie EVER.

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  8. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    From a true romantic … “in the beginning”!!

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  9. How romantic! Thank you for sharing your story.

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  10. Awwww! What a beautiful ‘modern day’ love story. Sometimes we don’t realise what was there all along – your story is a fine example of that…and all the way across the pond!!! Thank goodness for Facebook.

    And quite right, the tissues came in handy. Thank you for sharing your story. So well written, too. You sucked me in right from the start.

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  11. I was expecting a great story and I’m here to report that’s what i just read. Awesome story and even though I’m late to the reading, congratulations to the both of you for following your hearts!

    Liked by 1 person

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  12. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing this link. Thank you for sharing your story! 🙂

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  13. I am pleased I visited and shall frequent your domain often. I hope your internet thang reaps rewards and if nothing else you met a super friend. 😇

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  14. Thanks for bringing me here. I love the ending which is the beginning. 🙂

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