Posted by: shelliejelly | August 21, 2008

Mixed messages

The first date between O. and I was, for all of its ups and downs, strangely tender. I can still remember how I felt sitting next to him as he slowly stripped away his layers, both telling me more and more about himself and getting rid of his warm clothing as the night wore on. First the sweater, then the button down oxford as secrets spilled from both of our mouths.

K. had been dead for half of a decade, but I still looked for the universe to send me a message, and as O. kept talking, I thought I was being told something personal, a message just for me. So many things seemed to align, and I tangled myself up in mystery, relaxing into the idea that the universe was guiding me. Every detail seemed to unfold so perfectly:

K. was killed by a drunk driver; O. had his license suspended for drunk driving.

K. was three years younger than me; O. was three years younger than me.

K. was a Cancer; O. was a Cancer.

I translated this information into my own message of hope and purpose. Sending me someone who had to pay his dues for a drunk driving violation gave me the opportunity to make peace with the act that had changed my life forever. The similarities in age and Zodiac sign, two things so inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, were huge for me, helping forge the belief that I was meant to be with O. I walked out of that bar thinking this person was here for me. What crushing expectation I had set for myself and O. What unwavering dedication these certainties inspired.

Without fully understanding what I was doing at the time, I pinned myself down to a life I barely knew. I gave up all of my control, explaining any doubts away with a simple “But this was meant to be.” I couldn’t look a gift from K. in the face and send him packing. How could my simple and fallible intuition be better honed, keener and sharper than the all-knowing universe? After years of silently looking for signs, who was I to say “No thanks, you got this one wrong.”

The real problem, though, is that my feelings for O. weren’t manufactured, weren’t entirely born from a responsibility I felt to honor a mystical message. But the work of being able to separate my true feelings, strong, deep love, from those that may have been influenced by circumstance was hard, confusing. Only now am I able to look at O. and I with a critical eye, disconnected from my need to never question my belief in our rightness.



  1. […] loss has caused me to live under a veil of sadness without ever recognizing it as such. I made decisions that were informed by what you meant to me, alive with the hope that, somehow, we would still be […]

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