(If you are as hopeless a romantic as I was back then,you might wonna read my love story listening to this amazing romantic Disney love song)
My love story begins-of course- a long long time ago,once upon my youth.In fact,it begun on a fine September day exactly 23 years ago.
Picture me as a college girl in my freshman year .
So very young at 17,so very insecure-because I had spent my teenage years as an ugly duckling-,so very innocent-coming from a very religious background- and so severely shortsighteed,but too vain to wear glasses exept when deemed absolutely necessary for my own and other people's safety (my best purchase ever a few months later: a pair of contact lenses).
It's my very first day on campus.I feel kinda lost but oh,so excited and happy!After all,it's what I've always dreamed of studying: ancient and modern greek studies.(A note for non-Greek readers:college education is free in my country,but -at least back in my time-you had to go through a hell of studying to get there in the first place).An auditorium full of young students as excited and eager as myself.Our very first lecture,linguistics.A young-ish professor explaining how we only think in words,how in fact rational thought is impossible without words and language,according to the famous father of Linguistics,Saussure.
I have an objection and I tell him about it,refering to all those times that the thought has formed into our mind but we can't voice it,it's just on the tip of our tongue.He goes on to explain his theories and at that moment a young man I'm too short-sighted to notice turns around to have a look at me and likes what he sees more than the question he thought was clever.So he approaches me during the break.His face looks slightly familiar.Good looking,thoughtful,dark eyes.He politely asks for my notes (you couldn't possibly pass the class without notetaking back then),because he has to attend another lecture scheduled at the same time.
Puzzled,I ask why my notes,out of an auditorium full of students.He says:
-''Because you made the cleverest question today,which means you're bright and obviously a great student''. He hesitates.Then he adds" And because you have really beautiful eyes too''.
His honesty and spontaneity is heart warming;he has won me over.
Over the next days and weeks we get to meet each other regularly,always on campus,and I start appreciating his humor,wealth of knowledge (he speaks five languages already!!) and warmth.I am off-standish by nature with people I don't know or trust,(my defence mechanism) but he's so open and warm hearted and plus he seems to know practically everyone on campus,students and professors alike,he's a brilliant student,at the very top of his year,seems much more mature than most students around there-he's 5 years older than me,he served 2 years in the army before he got into college-,so before long I'm smitten and head over hills in love.
So he asks me out on a date.And then the realisation hits me;the reason why his face looked so familiar on the very first day we met was because I had seen it before in a kind of vision a year or so ago!I was up on a terrace back then(,I love being someplace high up on a building and contemplating) and suddenly,totally out of the blue,as if in a dream,I saw this face of a young man and I instantly knew he was the man I'd marry one day.I shook it off as ridiculous,but the picture had stayed with me
As soon as I realized that the man in my vision was George,the man I had fallen in love with,I froze with fear.The omen was too stong and I felt resistant and rebellious.I mean,I was too young to think about marriage.For the first time in my life,I was really free and living away from home.Life seemed exciting and full of possibilities.I wanted to experience them all!It was too soon for marriage stuff.And anyway,I started doubting my vision,resenting it,trying to convince myself that my mind was playing nasty tricks on me.What kind of a girl would fall for the very first man that spoke to her on her very first day on campus?
So on that very first date of ours,while I was insanely happy to be with him,I was anxious and rebellious at the same time.He asks me if I'd like to be his girlfriend and I say no;the feelings I have for him are too much,I can't handle it,I have to go have a life and a few experiences of my own first...Plus,I thought I could always have him if it was meant to be.
So friends we stay.But a curious thing happens.I get to meet many interesting men,younger and older,from all walks of life,students or not,but after one or a couple of dates,I lose interest in them.I find them too boring,too predictable,too uninspiring or too cold.Because I keep comparing them to George,my George.Who is the man of my dreams.And whom I rejected because I was too scared of the intensity of my feelings.
Then he disappears from my life.I used to bump at him all the time at campus,but suddenly he is no longer to be found.All I have is an address in Athens,his hometown.I send him a card,but he never answered that.He was off to Bologna,Italy,for more studies.A year passes,then two.No news.But instead of forgetting all about him,I am more in love with him than ever.It is stupid and hopeless and I know it and try to fight it as just a fantasy that was never meant to be.But it still goes on.And because of it I refuse to be with anyone else.
Three years after the day I first met him I decide that enough is enough with my girlish fantasies that were never meant to come true and I set out to get myself a proper boyfriend (I got sick and tired of being a virgin at 20!).So I picked a really nice and handsome young man that I was very attracted to physically(who also happened to be very much in love with me,or so he told me,lol) to initiate me to the physical part of lovemaking.
A month or so after I got my brand new boyfriend(who had already introduced me to his mum and was talking about a future together,again freaking me big time),I was at the campus library,studying.All of a sudden,I got this overwhelming urge to go to the entrance of the building.I resisted it but it was so strong that I obliged,went there and just waited for no reason feeling like a fool for doing so.Then I spot him.Him!George,the love of my life,the man I was pining for for 3 fucking years,the man of my teenage vision,my long-lost George,at last there in the flesh!(I later found out that it was one of the last few times he'd be coming there,because his graduation was imminent)
I wish you could picture this moment,it really was the stuff Hollywood movies are made of,both of us standing a few feet away from each other,students passing to and fro and noize everywhere and we frozen at this moment,looking at each other,trying to remember...I went up to him first.
-''George,is that you?Is that really you?Do you remember me?''
-How could I ever forget you Eirini?''
Yeap,those were exactly the very cheesy lines we exchanged.
I remember thinking at the moment":''By God,I don't care if he's single or not,by there's no way I'll lose him a second time.I swear that he'll be mine by the end of the day''.And that's exactly what I did.By the end of the day I had asked him out.And broken up with my boyfriend (well,sort of),breaking his heart at the same time,which was a very sad thing really,but life is such a bitch and sometimes you can't help hurting people,despite your best intentions.Also,I became as bold and decisive with him this time around as stupid and undecisive I had been 3 years before.I slept with him on our first (or rather second) date and told him staight away that I was madly in love with him for the past 3 years of my life (It was his turn to be spooked by me!)
And so our life together begun...Three years later we were married and I was expecting our first born son(conceived on Valentine's day!)
And I bet this is where you'd like the fairytale to end with a ..AND THEY LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER...
Actually guys,sorry,but this is where the real lifestory begins.Hollywood love stories are fine,exept in real life redemptive moments like mine and George's are always followed by yet again 17 years of communion of hearts,deep true love and friendship,heartache,troubles,hurdles,bliss,happiness,awsome fucking,no fucking at all,four kids,unhappiness,quarrels,loneliness,financial problems,successes,failures,more problems,more happiness,more awsome fucking,jealousy,bitterness,renegotiation of roles,love or absence of it,tears,laughter,joy and all other emotions in between.
After 20 years of being with the same man,I have changed beyond recognition,both physically and mentally/spiritually.But although he lovingly and respectfully`accepts and even likes the changes in my physical self (and of course so do I),the changes in my emotional self are harder or even impossible for him to accept.
I had to rely on myself and my own sources of inner strength to raise our four kids in his frequent absences as a tour guide abroad and I also had to learn how to create from scratch and manage a business of my own.The shy,happy-go-lucky-girl,always optimistic,always ready to serve I used to be,the one that thought she should be subservient to her man out of love,is now replaced by a middle-aged woman who was forced to become tough,strong and self-reliant to cope with the challenges of her life.My appeasing bullshit mechanism is busted.And my husband is of course left wondering what happened to the sweet girl that fell in love with him.He even tries to ascribe my changes to external factors,situations,things or people,because the true reason hurts more.
Well,life happened to me.Same as to anyone else,I guess.Life never lets anyone of us die a virgin.She fucks us all in the end.But she also offers amazing spiritual progress and insights in return for that.I can't and wouldn't exchange my 40 year old self,physical,emotional or mental,for what I used to be 20 years ago!Really,youth is wasted on the young!
I only pray and hope that my husband can see and accept that new reality of me...
And on our 20-year-of-being-together anniversary(and 23 of having met),here's my dedication to him:
Love,peace and acceptance