That feeling of being a part of another person?
Chapter Cover Photo
Image of Two People In Love

I know I had butterflies in my stomach about calling Lynn after I got her number but I wanted it so much.  I had mentioned going down to the Carolina Beach area to see the beach sights.  She was living in the retirement home that her mother and step-father had bought on Wrightsville Beach and that is where I picked her up.  We drove from Wrightsville Beach through Wilmington and down toward Carolina Beach.  I had learned a little bit about the area from spending some time with my roommate Donna.  

What stands out for me is a scene where we walked out toward the intercoastal beach area past Carolina Beach and Fort Fisher.  There was a jetty, a rock and pavement bridge of sorts that extends out to a small island, a nature preserve when the tide is low enough.  I think she was happy to be here.  I had hoped that she was happy.  

I was a little concerned about the plan that I had for us to walk out on this jetty rock and pavement bridge since it started to seem slippery and what if she got hurt on the rocks.  Oh, no!  There were a few steps where we had to balance ourselves.  Suddenly, I reached out my hand for her to take it.  She did without hesitation.  

Wow!  This was amazing!  I felt her hand in mine.  She seemed content and so did I.  It was perfect.  

I didn't cling too tightly because I was looking for cues as to what to do.  I was afraid of making any mistakes that might push her away for any reason at all.  So far so good.  

But that touch!  Wow!  I felt a connection!  Does everyone feel this way with someone?  No.  I have held hands with others and not felt that same feeling.  Everyone wants to feel good but this was more.  This was a feeling of connection!  

We found a way to spend each day together that holiday weekend of the fourth.  There was a huge poetry reading on Carolina Beach where I accomplished the goal of reading my poetry to the largest group ever for me.  That was quite an accomplishment for me.  I was connected to the group or so it seemed.  This is what I wanted.  I wanted to share my words, thoughts, and ideas with others and to be heard.  Dusty, she had said these words we wrote and shared were our gifts.  

Yes, I felt comfortable and connected.  I felt welcome.  I felt like I belonged.  I was wanted.  

Lynn and I watched the fireworks in downtown Wilmington near the Cape Fear River on the fourth of July.  It seemed like the thing to do.  We were walking back to the car which was near where she worked at a crisis line in the downtown area.  I remember it also served as a shelter for teenagers, I believe.  I was allowed to visit her at work there later over time.  Anyway, as we were walking near there she saw a girl with whom she had been working and I heard the girl ask Lynn if I was her boyfriend.  

She said, "No, we are just friends."  I remember thinking about those words, "just friends."  Had I asked her on a date?  There was something intangible that made the words "just friends" seem a bit confusing and even inaccurate.  I was a bit disappointed but I knew I wanted to spend time with Lynn and mainly with Lynn.  I'm reflecting upon the weeks and months after this when the topic of whether we were "just friends" or more had not come up.  

I know we held hands together and I felt good when that happened and could see that she was happy as well.  That first long weekend together I had not seen many of her smiles as I would later discover.  I had seen that slight smile of contentment.  She was with me and she was happy and so was I.  

It was as if neither one of us knew any other feeling other than contentment.  

I was working as a technical writer at Corning in Wilmington which used some of the Engineering skills that I had gained at Georgia Tech, though it was not at all a challenge like I had known academically.  That's okay, I knew where I was going and it seemed that I was in the right place now.  

I would look forward to spending the evenings on Wrightsville Beach with Lynn.  I found a certain serenity there on the beach sitting next to Lynn.  I could shut out all other thoughts and concerns and just be content and connected.  I became more comfortable reaching out my hand and she readily wrapped her hand in mine as we walked.  That was amazing.  I would not have known that holding hands could feel so amazing.  It was like a need that I was getting fulfilled.  A connection!

I found it easier and easier to draw closer and closer to her.  We would sit closer together and it felt so right.  I was welcome and wanted.  I felt very lucky that someone wanted to be with me.  I felt somewhat amazed.  I don't mean I had low self-esteem, I just mean I savored the moments and reflected... and dreamed and felt.  I knew exactly what I wanted more than anything.  What I wanted was to be with Lynn.  

It became increasingly obvious that she wanted to be with me too, as much as I wanted to be with her.  I cannot overstate the importance of this realization.  It banished fear, anxiety, and stress, leaving room for comfort, peace, and security... serenity.  Safety.  

We would hold each other like holding a child, there on the beach... somehow it seemed we were in sync with getting our needs met together.  No touch was rebuffed or unwelcome.  No action undesired.  That was so amazing for me.  I had had such a limited amount of experience with females.    

That first year we were officially "just friends" because I just wanted to be with her and wasn't experienced enough to know the rules about formalizing the relationship.  I was just enjoying the connection.  Even in that first year, we moved from holding hands to holding each other close.  It was like a hunger.  I mean you can tell what the other person wants.  I mean when it's right you can tell.  

I can say that Lynn was not the type who couldn't say no or to shy away from getting her needs met as well.  The closeness and connection moved onto kissing eventually.  Again, I didn't know the rules of the game of relationships and I just went with what was happening between us.  What we needed and wanted.  I didn't bring up the topic of whether we were more than just friends or not.  Though, clearly we were far more than "just friends" - a topic she would raise at around the one year anniversary of our time together.

I could say I regretted not being the one to bring up the topic myself.  Isn't a guy's role to lead in such matters?  That never occurred to me.  I suppose that this is an important point to recognize about this story.  We were so in sync or so into each other that it didn't matter who brought the topic up.  One might think that the woman wants to know this is going somewhere and so that is why she brought the topic up after we had been together for a full year now.  Yet there was something obvious about the nature and direction of our relationship.  She knew how I felt and vice versa.  She knew I wasn't seeing or contemplating seeing anyone else.  

We had been "a thing" to any observer wherever we went.  Our social circle, including the people from the poetry readings all, came to see us together, at all times.  If I had shown up at the Coastline Convention Center alone, for some reason, Dusty would ask about Lynn and I am sure the opposite occurred.  My roommates knew we were a thing.   

We were sitting outside the house where I was staying with two female roommates - no, Lynn never worried that anything was happening between me and my roommates.  Lynn asked me if we are more than just friends now.  Is that what I want?

Yes, of course.  I commented upon the passionate moment we had shared sitting on the lawn just barely within the light coming from inside where my roommates were watching TV behind a partially closed sliding glass door.  I said that I don't kiss my friends like that.  So, we are boyfriend and girlfriend or vice versa... does it matter?  I guess I wanted to be sure to make it clear the nature of our relationship and that was something that she wanted as well.  

Wow!  This is amazing!  

She liked when I touched her!  And I liked when she touched me!  When we kissed it wasn't like she was saying "sure I will let you kiss me."  She totally participated.   

For what it's worth, I would say that the idea that the guy should take the lead in relationships is over-rated.   I might have been more hungry for contact at times, who knows why.  I'm just saying there wasn't any uncertainty in the relationship.  There was no touch that was rejected...  no kiss that she or I didn't want to share... no closeness or intimacy that was one-sided or not wanted by the other.  That is what is so amazing!  

I could see a sense of joy on her face and that amazing smile while we were establishing this new level to our relationship... or the formalizing of the nature of our relationship.  

I think I wanted to share this with someone and I could tell me roommates were in the room nearby, just beyond the sliding glass doors.  So, we walked inside hand-in-hand and I announced to Donna or Kelly, I forget who first, "this is my girlfriend."  

"Yes, we know that," Donna said looking to Kelly with a curious and amused look on her face.  

"We were just talking about this, just now."

"We knew that already," they said laughing.  

Okay, great.  Everything is going well for me.  I mean for us.  

The next memory I have is that of my roommates taking Christmas photos of us as the star couple who were in love.  It was as if we had known each other and felt more connected to one another than I had ever known previously.  I could see the joy in Lynn's eyes as we looked at each other in different poses for the photographs.  I hope that as you read this you get a sense of the wonder and joy that I felt.  It's the thing that has inspired poets for centuries to write love poems.  We feel a passion for putting into words and phrases the sincerity and depth of awe that we feel like two people who are connected and filled with love.  

The world, my world, was soft, gentle, and comfortable.  This was what we each created, Lynn and I, for each other.  We resonated with each other and our desires for one another.  We wrapped ourselves together in comfort like blankets and pillows on a bed.  It seemed as if our bodies had been adjusted to the perfect softness and firmness in a way that was perfectly designed and tuned for us both.  

Time continued onward in alternating shades and shapes of passion and soft serene peacefulness like the flow of seasons.  Sometimes we wrapped ourselves around one another in ways that were most comfortable.  I was aware that Lynn had a chronic illness that affected her breathing.  I hate to bring that up now to break the tone of the story that is otherwise so serene and full of joy.  However, I was concerned about her comfort and the certainty that she could breathe freely.  I didn't want to be too heavy on her.  Amazingly, that didn't seem to be the case.  I mean I was not a heavy person but still, it was a concern.  I mean I didn't want to cause her any discomfort.  

Sometimes her coughing could be bad so I just wanted to be sure she was comfortable at all times.  Sometimes we just rested in the embrace and closeness of one another.  It just felt so peaceful and relaxing.  

I was spending more and more time with her at her mother and step-father's retirement home across the street from the beach of Wrightsville Beach, NC.  The way a man's body reacts to intimacy is sometimes confusing for some guys, like me.  I had certain beliefs about how much I was supposed to control such responses.  It was as if there was something dirty about how I was responding to our passionate moments.  You see, I was raised Christian, Catholic to be more precise.  They tend to instill a certain sense of guilt that never made much sense but for which I felt I had to use it to guide my actions and feelings even if I didn't know why.  It was as if God was going to be upset if I felt too much pleasure or gave in to desires.