Long story short: Kris and I met when our families became friends when I was 13 and he was 22. I don’t know if it was because I was home schooled and wasn’t saturated with mainstream teenage behavior, or had to grow up fast because of my mom, or was just a general bad ass from day one, but we were legit friends even with our age difference. Our families lost touch a few years later when my mentally ill mother took a turn for the worse and I moved out of the house at 16 years old. A few years after that I found myself married and living a somewhat stable life for the first time. I decided to Facebook stalk those that I had lost touch with, Kris included.
Turned out he was still in Phoenix and was also married. We met for lunch and found our friendship still easy and familiar, even though it had been some years. We went on a few double dates with our spouses and continued having lunch — sometimes every few weeks, sometimes with months in between. His wife was struggling with mental illness and he was starting a business with his best friend — all of that consumed most of his life. But for lunch we’d meet — often when he was having a bad day and needed cheering up.
We never flirted or had any sort of energy like that. If anything he always sort of made me nervous. I was the goofy, younger girl and he was the sophisticated older guy. I do remember having fleeting thoughts of: does he know his life could be like this all the time? I’m fun all the time….and he only gets it for an hour at a time on his lunch break.
I had already “broken out” of the mainstream having quit my corporate desk job and started my own business working as a birth doula. I remember wishing his life wasn’t so hard and wondered if he made it harder than it needed to be simply because he didn’t know any other way.
Our friendship continued through both of our divorces. I found myself single and curious — going on dates and to parties and even meeting a couple that wanted to have a threesome. For some reason butt stuff was on the table for this threesome and I of course consulted Kris. There was no subject that was taboo, nothing that was too personal to discuss. The next day he used his lunch break to accompany me to the sex shop to buy an ass blaster because I didn’t want to go alone. A few months after that we were having lunch discussing my newly discovered pregnancy and upcoming abortion. We were never anything but 100% supportive of and transparent with each other.
He was going on dates too — finding matches through dating sites and calling me with stories afterwards: what car they drove, where they went for bad food, what jokes of his they didn’t get.
Eventually I decided to spend the summer in Europe. I still felt like someone’s wife and needed something dramatic to mark the shift and shake the feeling. I had a going away party and Kris was there. We remained in loose touch over the summer and as soon as I arrived in New York City (where I was spending three weeks before returning home to Phoenix) I sent him a message to say my cell phone was back on and I had service again. He called me two minutes later and we spoke every day, which was a new thing for us. Through this conversations we continued to bare all. He had spent a bachelor summer and had gone through a shift of his own, too. And for the first time — we spoke about the potential of attraction and sexual compatibility between us. It was decided that good sex was entirely possible, but that together in a relationship we would be terrible. So we just sort of left it at that.
Upon my return I had a “welcome back party” and again Kris was there. What I didn’t know was hat he had brought an overnight bag and had every intention of sleeping over. We had funny drunk sex and I don’t think either one of us had an orgasm. He slept over and the next morning we walked down the street to have breakfast, nothing having changed between us.
A few nights later I went over to his house to hang out and we ended up having sex again and this time it was spectacular. However, our friendship remained unchanged. Both of us were still dating and still sharing those stories with each other. Over the coming weeks we spent more and more time together and found ourselves doing less dating because we knew if we hung out together it was a guaranteed good time.
And slowly, it became a thing. A couple months later we said I love you. He gave me a key and his alarm code. We moved in together. He walked away from the business he had started and severed ties with his ex-wife. We started eating healthy and cooking together. He got off all of his daily medications — allergies, antacids, thyroid, etc. We both short sold our houses and downsized our lives in an effort to start living the lives we wanted. We both started writing. We created the relationship we wanted – focusing on communication and expression, a real commitment to understanding each other deeply. We started taking our tiny budgets and traveling through Europe for the summer. We taught ourselves web design and graphic design. We have big ideas. We try things. We fail. We try again.
And still, our friendship remains unchanged.