I met Lucas when I was nineteen. We both went to the same private college in Minneapolis, Minnesota where we were taking an elective course in Romantic literature. On the third day of class when we were both paired to read a series of letters that Napoleon wrote to his lover in 1795, the words became a living metaphor for the bond that we soon developed thereafter.
Our relationship began with simple flirtatious behavior, but quickly evolved into a beautiful friendship and more. Lucas and I studied together after class almost daily, and within weeks, we never spent a weekend apart. It wasn’t until Lucas invited me to meet his parents at their cabin in Northern Wisconsin that things really took form.
That evening, a Thursday as I recall it, I had the pleasure of meeting Oscar and Rose. They were both in their late forties, well educated, yet very humble. During the course of the evening we shared our ideas about politics and the local economy, but more importantly about their beliefs of monogamy and commitment – beliefs that surprisingly Oscar spoke more passionately of then Rose. After several hours of discussion, it was clear that Oscar and Rose were eager to welcome me into the inner fold of their family, but more importantly, into their son Lucas’ life.
After dinner Lucas and I took a walk along the lake. His recital of literary love combined with my imperfect balance of slightly too much wine made for something that was decidedly perfect. We spent the remainder of that evening on the pier.
Over the next several months, Lucas and I continued to develop our relationship. As our lives merged, we occasionally encountered obstacles. Surprisingly though, it was if our affection for each other had created a daze that made it nearly impossible to view anything as a challenge. Instead, our differences only served to strengthen our liking of one another.
I recall the reaction of my friends, who quickly felt left out. They scoffed at my newest preoccupation. Even when I would invite them to join Lucas and I for dinner, a walk or a movie at the independent theatre, they resisted. Perhaps it was because, even then, I unintentionally paid little attention to them. Their cynical labels failed to deter me. I knew better. While some of them have yet to forgive me, most have converted their resentment into jealousy.
At the end of the fall semester, Lucas decided to transfer to another school in Illinois. It was there that he had received a scholarship that would cover the cost of the remaining credits that he needed to graduate. We struggled in parting. For several months we maintained our relationship through e-mail, long telephone calls, and weekend visits. As time continued to pass, so did our yearning to be together with the same frequency that permeated the beginning months of our courtship. Resting on faith alone, I finally moved to Illinois to be with Lucas after three agonizing months of separation. The reunion was indescribable.
When I first arrived in Chicago, Lucas and I spent every waking moment together – as if we had been separated for years. Gradually I became acclimated to the local community. I met new friends, involved myself with local campaigns, and taught an art class at the local day care. This initially presented itself as an obstacle to our relationship for Lucas. As we were spending less time together he felt as though I had taken more of an interest in other things and divested myself from the relationship. I reassured Lucas that nothing, even the distance that had previously kept us apart, would interfere with my commitment to him.
Both Lucas and I made a point of attending activities together and integrating our lives, but at the same time spending some time apart in order to form independent friendships. Yes, independent friendships. We had finally reached a point in our relationship where others did not detract from what we had; instead they enriched what we wanted.
Communication, flexibility, passion and a deeply rooted love for one another have really been the cornerstones of my relationship with Lucas. Today, nearly five years later, we are still just as much in love and desire one another more and more everyday. Had it not been for that silly class on Romantic literature, which I took only as a default option because it fit neatly into my schedule, I would never have met Lucas.
Tracing the decisions that we make and the effects that they have on our lives can provide incredible insight on where we are and how we arrived. While I don’t believe in having regrets, I do believe in learning from past mistakes. At this point in my life, I wouldn’t change a single thing!