Instead the first time we got together was on a Sunday at a Starbucks. I bought him an americano and a myself a chai tea latte while I waited. Then, when he arrived he saw me and said my name. I turned around and upon first glance I had the sudden urge to hug and kiss him. I hugged him but managed to overcome the desire of the kiss for fear that would make for a strange first encounter. I even attempted to brush off the hug by explaining I was one of those “hugger” people- I’m not. It must have been my instantaneous ability to recognize his warm, caring, honest and slightly broken face that made me want to give him comfort. Maybe it’s because I could sense he understood the struggle. I could see the old pain in his eyes.
We started with the typical small talk; but then he said her name. I knew her immediately. Bubbly personality, infectious laugh, curly hair. . . When he told me she was bipolar my heart sank. Then he told me all the things he and his ex-wife did for her and my heart leaped back up out of the pool of water it was drowning in. It was amazing to me that parents could actually figure that out and do something about it. Once, I asked how they knew so early, then I understood the pain in his eyes. I told him I understood without giving myself and my past away completely. Just enough that he knew I understood.
We shared a basket of fish & chips.Then we had stiff drinks, after which I led him by the hand to the churros. Luckilly there was no line this time. We sat on the steps by Robot Kimbap and that’s where we started making future plans for a relationship we thought would only last a few weeks.