8:37 PM | SEQUEL TO 7:25 PM
Meditating Through The Uncertainty Of Almost Love
He is afraid she will say, “No,” to his love and being a part of his life. He inhales, exhales and salutes the sun that set so long ago.
As I watched them walk out of the gym, I felt like my whole life was crashing. The woman I had reconnected with after ten years and fallen in love with was married to the guy I had just hired to work at my company.
I couldn’t believe so much could change in a day. We had been so happy that morning, sharing breakfast and reminiscing about our time together back when we met at an event for our kids in Virginia. She told me she had thought of me many times and wondered how I was doing. I shared she had inspired me to become the person I always was but was afraid to become.
I would never have guessed that her husband would show up at the gym that day and I would know him. It was such a tragic coincidence that he was working for me now. He made it clear, when he revealed their connection, that he was not going to let his wife go without a fight. I don’t blame him. I would do the same.
So, as they walked away, hand in hand, I could not think straight. I felt a strong inclination to rush forward and grab her; I knew we were supposed to be connected to one another: her and me! But, remembering the fear and guilt I saw in her eyes moments earlier rooted me to the place I stood. Even the feelings of her husband, Adrian, loomed large for me. I felt so sorry for him when I heard his story, not realizing that I was the villain in the tale.
Am I the villain?
But, I thought I was the hero this morning.
I sit in a comfortable position
It’s 8:37 PM now as I sat in my condo, chair facing the city, legs stretched out, spine straight, I forced my thoughts into alignment.
This practice has always been a comforting sequence of deliberate actions that helped me through some of the most painful experiences in my life.
I feel pain right now.
Suddenly, I recall the pain of the gender-reassignment surgeries that took more than a year of procedures and recovery. In that process, I discovered I do everything possible to push the pain away, forget about it, or numb the sensation. But, in the required psychological therapy, I learned to face my pain head-on and use it as a tool for growth. I learned to examine the pain for the purpose.
What was the purpose of my current pain?
Closing my eyes, I focus on my breath
Trying to focus on my breath, and think about the pain I’m experiencing is hard. But, I know it will only continue to haunt me if I don’t face it head-on. This pain has a purpose, and I will do everything possible to find out what that is.
Oorun never looked back at me. When Adrian took her hand and walked away from me, she never looked back.
I’m trying to control my breathing now, but I’m having a hard time. I think I’m too emotional. I wonder if my hormone pills are working; should I increase the dosage? Am I even taking them correctly?
The more I try to focus on my breathing, the more questions come up. Questions that need answers and that only time will provide. As I sit here in my chair and take deep breaths, I hope that time will bring me the answers I need.
I must remain patient and understanding and be a man.
Feeling the air as it enters and leaves my nostrils
My brain refuses to be calm. I think, “Is it possible for air to hurt my lungs? My chest is hurting.”
Now, I remember my ex-husband and the conversation when I told him I wanted to become a man. My heart ached then too.
He was scared and angry, but I knew he would come around.
And he did. He helped me through every step of the complicated process and has been there for me ever since. He and I moved to a new city, so I could live as Norm. I would be far away from anyone who knew me as Norma. We co-parent our son in a supportive and positive relationship. He knew me since we were kids and always understood who I was, even as he loved me as a woman.
Joe was the only person in the world who knew everything about me.
I could always be myself when I was with him.
Relax my forehead, eyes, fingers, body
My whole body relaxes when I hear my son on the other end of the line.
“Hi baby, how are you?” I ask, trying to keep my voice steady.
“I’m okay,” he answers. He has never been verbose. I have to pull out every word, sentence, and story. But I could not this evening.
“May I speak with your dad?”
“Hey, love — what’s up?”
“Hi, Joe. I needed to hear your voice.”
I hear him sit down, and I close my eyes and squeeze thoughts of Oorun and Adrian out of my mind.
“I’m here. What’s going on?”
“Did you want to divorce me, Joe? I mean, when I lived as and fully became a man, I assumed you did not wish to stay married to me, but I never asked.”
“Whoa, where is this coming from now? That was so long ago.”
Taking a deep breath, I said, “I know, but I still think about it. I’m thinking of it today.”
He sighs, and there is a long pause before he finally speaks.
“We talked about this before; I never wanted to divorce you. I love you, and that has not changed over the years.”
And in his words, I feel safe. I feel loved and accepted for who I am, no matter what.
He continued, “I am not gay, though, so if we were to make it work between us, we would have had to understand how we would get our sexual needs met. But to me, you were and are my friend and partner.”
And in that moment of understanding, the pain begins to fade away.
“But, Norm, why today? Why are you asking now?”
When my mind wanders, gently guide it back to focusing on my breath
“I met Oorun today.”
“Ah, I see.” He knew who she was, knew I chose this city so I could be near her, and knew what she meant to me.
The air in my chest hurts again. I recall her wild and scared look when she entered the gym and saw me working out with her husband.
I wanted to go to her immediately, not knowing what was wrong.
I was stunned when Adrian put up his hand to stop me, then told me he was Oorun’s husband.
Telling Joe the story now allowed me to lay it all out and examine it myself.
“I can’t explain it, Joe. This morning was magical. I went through the day so hopeful and happy. I feel like there’s something different between us now. It was in her eyes; she looked at me without any loving connection.”
He thought for a moment, then said, “You can call this your ‘evolutionary journey.’ It’s not only about you, me, Adrian, and Oorun; it’s also about how you look at life. It’s about finding beauty and strength in yourself to take risks, trusting that your friends and family will always support you. What are you afraid of?”
I am silent for a moment, contemplating his words. He did not speak either; he always allowed the silence of thinking time.
“Joe, I’m afraid she will not leave him for me. I think she will not pick me.”
“But, yes,” I continue with a whisper. “I must remember to trust myself and continue to give my full self to the future I want. It may not work the way I envision, but I must try.”
He smiles at me through the phone; I could feel the warmth of it. “It’s okay to feel scared, Norm. You can be brave and scared at the same time.”
We talk for a few more minutes until I finally feel calm. Joe helps me find the courage to face my fears, the strength to care for myself, and the understanding that I am loved no matter what.
End with gratitude
I shift to stand and end with a set of sun salutations to the dark sky outside my huge windows. As I assume each mountain pose with prayer hands, I count my blessings.
I give thanks for Joe, my son, my body, my business, my love for Oorun, and my ability to live as a man in this world.
I decide that tomorrow, I will ask Adrian for forgiveness and continue to pursue Oorun with all my heart.
© 2022 K. Joseph. All rights reserved
🏄🏾♀️ This is a work of fiction: the characters are totally made up. The story of Adrian, Norm and Oorun is blossoming into a book. More bubbles up, in my dreams, in my mind’s eye was I avoid eye contact with folks on the subway, and I am.
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