Thursday, December 1, 2011

AND CHOOSE I DID


Sophia winced as an image of loving two men at once filled her head, and the thought of having to choose between them. She breathed deeply to sigh it off as she sat on the back porch facing her territorial view of the hills, which were covered in green firs, hemlocks, and deciduous trees. Houses dotted the valley, and the view just below her porch was of her neighbor’s backyard, complete with a full garden and a small water fountain. She listened to the water fountain pouring water over the rocks and channels, as it recirculated and continued on in an endless and glorious stream. The sun was shining, and Sophia soaked it in as she contemplated the choice before her. “Love is not an easy thing to choose,” she thought.

She got up, pulled the garden hose across her small yard toward the large tree and her potted plants, and turned on the faucet. While spraying her one little fern, a single tomato plant, and a rosemary bush that had provided a few tasty meals already, she contemplated her estranged husband, and all the heartaches she had been through to keep her marriage together despite their distance. She missed him, but there was no amount of watering that would bring him back. He was gone, unreachable. She had moved across the country to heal and get away from all of the legal battles that had broken them apart.

She laid the hose down. “Sophia,” she told herself under her breath, “you’ve already separated from Drew… you really need to start dating or getting out of this house and get a life by now!” Her eyes reached west and spotted the Olympic Mountains in the distance, which lay past Seattle and across the salty water of Puget Sound. It would officially be fall in just over a week, but on the mountain peaks she could still see a little snow left over from the previous winter.

Far seeing was one of her gifts, but this one was disturbing her, because not only could she see the past and how it still affected her, like the cold snow on the mountain tops, but she could also feel the warmth of the sun upon her skin this particular day, which was the present surrounding her and blessing her with its rays, and lighting up the beauty around her. Suddenly the cold seemed far away, and the thoughts of a new love in her life seemed to emanate from an uncertain future… uncertain because she was not sure what she really wanted, or if it was worth the trouble and possible heartache.

Sighing deeply, Sophia picked a small weed flower that was growing beside the porch, and sat down in her camping chair once again. She absentmindedly started picking off the petals… then she caught herself, and started seeing each petal as a different man, alternating between Drew and another “faceless” and “nameless” man whom she thought she would fall in love with in the future, and then have trouble choosing between them. “Drew,” she said, picking off another petal, “or a boyfriend,” she said picking off another petal. She let each petal drop from her fingertips to the wooden porch deck below. “Drew,” another petal plucked off and landed. “My boyfriend,” but this time the petal dropped onto her tennis shoe. She stopped to look down at it. A deep feeling came over her, so trying not to notice, she threw the flower over the side of the deck into the bushes.

The thought of losing her husband completely was scary, as well as the thought of having to choose between a new love and an old love, not knowing what the future may hold for either of these men. “Bah!” Sophia said as she stomped into the house through the back door, “I don’t even know who such a boyfriend might be! I don’t even know if I WANT a boyfriend and have to be faced with that kind of choice!”

She grumbled and decided that getting back onto the computer and Facebooking, as was her favorite pastime, would be a much better choice right now than to think about men, let alone issues such as love. She had been living by herself for over 2 ½ years, with absolutely no interest in men or sex or relationships, so what did she need a man for all of a sudden anyway? She had considered dating, but was she really ready? She dove deep into Facebook and chatted with friends, caught up on the news, and enjoyed conversing with her many friends in her private groups. This was about as social as she liked it to be.

A week later Sophia was Facebooking when she engaged in a conversation with Sherman, one of her many acquaintances in the INFJ (personality type) group. She had been having fun, laughing out loud, and upon saying something she couldn’t even remember, she noticed he messaged her in private. Their conversation was so natural, and flowed so well together, that hours passed before she knew it. The next day they chatted in private again, and then he asked if he could call her on the phone. They talked for over two hours, and she found herself enjoying every minute of it!

The third night, she had a dream about him, and although nothing of any particular significance happened—he was just there, present before her in the dream—she realized she instantly understood his spirit at its deepest level. This was a good man, worth knowing, marvelously kind, and who needed to be loved, and was able and willing to give it in return, freely.

Over the next two weeks Sophia and Sherman talked daily, for hours each night, and texted on their cell phones throughout the days. They met up online within their Facebook group, and on private messaging, and also emailed each other. Their mutual desire to communicate and be in touch overrode any desire to request their own space. They absolutely enjoyed their conversations and time together, talked about business ventures, dreams and goals, and even about past relationships and their expectations and experiences in love.

Sherman’s lease was up, and his job was ending, so he applied for a new job that he got within a two-hour drive of Sophia; therefore, he planned to move to be closer to her so they could date in person. Sophia thought this was excellent because he was presently living several states away.

During his move, Sherman came through Seattle and visited Sophia, and they consummated their relationship by hugging upon meeting face to face, going shopping together, and finally, when arriving at her house, by him taking her into his arms and kissing her. Her heart melted! His touch was so gentle, and his demeanor so sweet, that she found herself falling in love that much easier. She had seen many pictures of him, but this was really when she noticed that their eyes were the same blue-gray color, and that they both had similar shades of brown hair, yet he was thin and she was pear-shaped. Sherman particularly liked the roundness of her bum and how her smile lit up when he said he loved her, and she was attracted to the way his eyes sparkled and how he could make faces and cause her to laugh a lot.

Sherman moved into his home and started his job, and they continued their relationship over the months, visiting each other as often as possible—every week or three—while video-chatting every night, which made it feel as if they were in the same room, live, making their actual distance seem negligible. When together, they would go to dances with friends, visit family, go swimming, skating, to the movies, and would make plans and talk about the future.

Sophia got a job, which came to her through a headhunter, in the exact same field of work—financial planning—that Sherman had gone into, and so they found their business goals coincided, and overlapped, just as so many other things in their lives did. However, they purposefully did not talk about the fact that she was still married, which actually bothered him a lot because he knew he wanted to be married one day. Although, neither of them were in a hurry, and she nor he knew whether their relationship would stay the same over the long haul, although the longer they were together, the better it felt.

One day, Sophia and Sherman took a walk in the park, and she spotted a little late-blooming flower. She suddenly realized that she had become so enraptured by Sherman’s attentions that she almost forgot about being separated from her estranged husband. Well, it had been on her mind, but since they were separated, it wasn’t an issue. But this little flower spoke to her very soul, because a single petal fell off and dropped, floating gently down, down, down… she shut her eyes, afraid to see where it landed. She realized that if things continued between her and Sherman, that she would have to choose soon whether she wanted to continue with him, or whether she wanted to try to get back with Drew. She realized she was already deeply in love with both men. Her intuition had fruited.

Her heart broke, and she took off running up the grassy knoll to the great oak tree near the middle of the park. Sherman ran after her, “What’s wrong dear? Are you okay?” Sophia, for the first time, felt a lump in her throat, and she didn’t know what to say. How could she choose between two men she loved? How could she let go, completely, of either of them, when she knew she could not have them both?

But suddenly—with that single thought of realizing she WOULD NOT ever have them both—it became easy to choose. Drew represented her past, and the love that was there, which had been broken apart when the legal case destroyed their family, their relationship, and their togetherness. The future was uncertain, although if she chose to wait, it most certainly would happen for them again one day, but years down the road. Sherman represented the present, and also hope for the future, and was someone she could hold and love now, and potentially for a very long time. She did not know the future, nor did she want to know. She only knew one thing. She had to make a choice, and choose she did!

“I’m okay honey,” she whispered to Sherman under the tree, its great branches reaching out over them like a protector, “I just realized something…” Her voice trailed off; he looked at her expectantly. She sat quietly for a very long moment, which seemed to Sherman to be forever. Finally, Sophia sighed a huge sigh of relief, reached over and grabbed a leaf from a twig, and dropped it over his head. It fluttered down, a slight breeze catching it and pushing it sideways, then it twisted back again, finally landing softly on his foot. Sherman was perplexed as to what she was doing.

“The universe has made it clear long ago, but I was too scared to see the signs,” Sophia insisted. She reached over to kiss his desirable lips, and she took him in her arms, as he responded in kind, holding her closely, tightly. “I have been loving two men at the same time, and I realized I had to choose between you and Drew… and choose I did!”

“Whom did you choose?” His voice trembled, almost afraid of her next words.

“I choose you.”

“You choose me?” Almost disbelief, yet great relief.

“Yes, I choose you. For whatever reason, the universe gave me Drew, but then took him away. I hung on for so long, waiting, but not one single thing has gone right in order for us to stay together. In the end, I realized that I had to move on, but it was so hard. When faced with the actual moment I had been dreading, where I had to give the final say on who to choose, I realized that it was not a hard decision at all, but easy.”

“Why was it easy?”

Sophia looked at the leaf that still lied flat on Sherman’s foot, reached down, and grabbed it, rolling its stem back and forth between her forefinger and thumb, causing it to spin delicately. She looked up into his eyes. “Because heartache… (sigh)… heartache has been replaced with grace, and love, and a peace that enters me when I am with you.”

The two lovers hugged, and kissed under the great oak tree, until the sun set about 45 minutes later.

When it was time to leave, Sophia took the leaf home and put it into a book to press it.

“Yes,” she said to herself, “and choose I did…”