I don’t think I made much of an impression on her when we first met. But she made a big impression on me, so I did something I had never done before. I chased her.
We met online. It’s been many years now. She was smart, had beauty-queen looks and seemed to share a lot of my values. It was like spotting a unicorn in the wild, but I felt as though I was way out of my league to pursue this ideal woman.
For a couple of months, we corresponded a bit online. A few of our conversations were deep and intense, but it didn’t seem that important to her. All I knew is that I wanted to get to know her better. I liked what I saw, but I sensed hidden depths that she wasn’t letting me see.
I was pretty sure I would fall in love with this woman if I ever saw her heart.
But she was busy. She was also in demand. I’m sure she was being pursued by other men. I didn’t get to see her heart. Then I didn’t hear from her for awhile. I’ve never been the sort who chased a woman who didn’t seem interested in me, but I couldn’t let this one go.
I set my ego aside and I chased her.
When I didn’t hear from her for a few months, I wrote again.
“To be honest,” I wrote, “I don’t normally go to such lengths to keep up with someone who doesn’t appear to have the time to write, but you were extremely intriguing based on our previous conversations, so you seem worth a bit more effort to get to know.”
I referred to her as someone who didn’t have the time to write, but I actually assumed I just wasn’t high enough on her priority list. This was really out of character for me to keep pursuing a woman who didn’t seem just as interested as I was.
She eventually wrote back. She was apologetic and said she wanted to get to know me better. We corresponded more. We exchanged email and we chatted live online. We talked on the phone. But she was always busy. Then I wouldn’t hear from her for months.
The full story is complicated. There were a lot of twists and turns. There were gaps in the chase. There were times when I gave up and moved on for awhile.
But I was never able to get her out of my head.
There were long gaps in our interaction. She went off and had a life apart from me. I did the same. But we still kept in touch in superficial ways. I eventually gave up on ever winning her. She had been someone I really wanted to have, but it just wasn’t going to work out.
And then something odd — a bizarre coincidence — led us to start talking again.
Suddenly, all of it came back to me. Even though it had been years since I’d actively pursued her, my heart remembered why I had wanted her. We started talking about deeper and deeper things. I finally saw the heart underneath that I had always longed to see — and I fell hopelessly in love with her heart.
She fell in love with me, too. It took her long enough, but I finally had her attention. She finally saw what I had always seen as a real possibility for the two of us. And my heart had never been as happy as when she said she loved me and wanted me.
I told you a day or so ago that I couldn’t possibly tell you why I fell in love with my first serious girlfriend. That’s true. But I can tell you everything about why I fell in love with this one who my heart has pursued for so long.
I don’t know why we didn’t end up together. It’s a mystery to me. But that’s not the point right now.
Two days ago, I was looking for some old email and the search brought up things she had written to me. Reading her words reminded me — more powerfully than ever — of what I had seen about her from the very beginning.
Every time I run across something she once wrote to me, I never know whether it’s good for me to plunge into the words and emotions that put me back into the middle of the love we shared. I often try to forget I ever loved her. It would be so convenient if I fell in love with someone else and I could forget all about this woman.
But once I read her words — and I hear her voice in my head — I’m lost. I dive into the depths of love and need and desire. There’s joy and excitement and pain. I come up gasping for air — and gasping with the need to say, once more, “I love you! I can’t let you go!”
Maybe I would have been better if I’d never pursued her all those years ago. Maybe it would have been better if I had let myself lose touch with her before I ever fell in love with her. My head suspects life would be easier that way.
But after all these years, I’ve never been able to get her out of my heart. And a still, small voice whispers — even now — that I can’t give up on her, no matter the cost.