About a month and a half ago, I started dating my friend, M, whom I've talked about here and here. It came as a bit of a surprise to me, but once it happened, it made so much sense. I've never felt so comfortable and safe with someone, and, because we were friends for about a year and I was completely unaware that he was interested in me for months and months before we got together, I know I can really be myself around him, because he likes me for me. That's the ultimate best feeling in the world.
I feel so open, like I have absolutely nothing to hide. I've been sharing with him pieces of my life that I almost never let others glimpse. He knows about my alcoholic abusive father who drank himself to death when I was 10, the fact that I was sexually abused at the age of four, my mother's illness that had a crippling effect on our family for years - he knows it all (I didn't tell him all at once, FYI - didn't want to give the poor guy an aneurism!)
It's not as though I haven't told the men in my life these stories before. I have. I always do, because I don't feel like you can really know me unless you know all that I've been through. But what makes him different from the rest is his reaction to the stories. The others listened and sympathized, but that was all (or, in the case of my first "love", said of the sexual abuse, "I've known other people like you before, but they just got over it", implying that I should do the same. Bastard.) But M said something along these lines (and I wish I could remember it verbatim, because I don't think I'll be able to do it justice here):
"You have been through so much, and I know I don't even know the half of it. You must have incredible inner strength to have become the person you are today. I am so impressed with you."
He gets it. He gets me. I've always wanted someone I'm with to understand that the very fact I'm walking around today, that I'm not strung out on drugs or alcohol, that I'm not selling myself on the streets, that I didn't slice my wrists open when I was 14, is a fucking accomplishment. And he does. It was the best thing anyone has ever said to me. This one's a keeper, there is no doubt about that.
And, so, in the tradition of Schmutzie's The Fiery One and Lynn's LoveShack, I christen my fella CheckMate. Why? Because "soul mate" has become a cliche, and because we have this intense intellectual connection where we are always trying to one up each other in clever ways.
He'll soon discover that I always win ;)