My relationship with the beautiful Hannah has been one of redemption. I can’t speak for her on all of this but I will project what I have felt on her amazing personality. We connected on a deep level early while exposing our brightest and darkest corners of life. We expressed joys and pains, things that brought us peace and our fighting words, our areas of need and our areas of giving. It was in those moments that both of us realized that the other needed to be redeemed.
From the first weeks, I wanted to redeem some of the worse hurts in her life. As self-aware adults, who thought things through with the help of counselors more than once, we had lists of hurts. Our deepest hurts exposed at that time seemed to involve our previous relationships that left serious emotional scars. When she told me early on that her only ex never picked up the tab, I decided to never let a bill go unpaid. She heard how my only ex had kept me on an emotional roller coaster for three years and didn’t easily spend quality time with me.
Some of those redemptions were superficial. Like all the times I pulled out my piece of plastic from my wallet to “show how much she was worth” during dinner while having no way to actually pay for all our meals and trips that month or the next. Now she gets to help pay for all those things…with interest! Other redemptions were deeper and more heartfelt, like the times we admitted our true love for each other and how we had been searching for someone half as awesome as the other. There were long conversations on how we weren’t saying it lightly or so the other would spend a little more time with us. The beautiful Hannah was consistent with her “Yes’s” and “No’s” and made sure to see me every day…for over eighteen months now, although the last year has been a little easier.
As we grew closer neither one of us had decades of dating experience to build on, so we did what worked and changed what didn’t from the previous puppy loves. I wrote love letters and remembered words and phrases that worked well. One of which was not so relevant, but held a lot of power for me. Since my previous relationship was mostly secret for various reasons, it was a word I was able to use on my cell phone so that most people didn’t know who was calling, but let me know I wanted to answer it. When that relationship failed I kept it in the phone to see what she had said to remember I was once puppy loved. Also I still liked the word and always kind of promised myself that one day I would find “my love” again, and this time it wouldn’t be just puppy love, but full grown.
One night, as it ended with me being exhausted, I texted “Good night Cintamu“. It just slipped out. My secret word for my love. Luckily, the beautiful Hannah loved it. And now I can yell it across a busy room and only have one head turn. Cintamu was replaced, the phone contact, the picture tags, the mental images no longer showed a single picture.
As the relationship grew and became more serious, I was worried about taking Hannah places that held memories with previous girls I fake-dated. I had avoided them and created new memories in new parts of town. But those that know me know I have spots for the best food, beers, or hikes. Also I like these favorite spots for a reason. I wanted to share those with the beautiful Hannah but I wasn’t sure if that was possible. It was also made more difficult by the fact that she never wanted to move from Portland, so I could just make new memories while passing places of old memories. One day, I realized that having her there would redeem a lot of those memories. I would have a new lovelier, funnier memory and no longer associate that hike with the girl that led me on, then later blamed me for being a bad friend. Or that brewery with the girl that told me we could only ever be friends. Or that street that I spent time in multiple bars and eateries wondering if this was the girl for me only to find out she was wondering that about another dude.
Little did I know I was also doing this to Hannah’s memories. Our first road trip was one of the places she first visited with her previous boy. But redemption was never clearer or needed than on our honeymoon. That will be the subject next week folks.