He Changed Me.

Andrew was not just a guy I dated, he was an person who changed how I thought about my life. I know that sounds cheesy and dramatic but it is true. Everything about him drove me wild.  The way he spoke, the way he moved, the way he looked and especially the way he looked at me.

While I was home with my family that 4th of July it was not easy.  I hadn’t seen my family face to face since I was a numb zombie four months prior, lets just say they were happy to see me in a different head space. I had at least been showering so that was an improvement over the last time they saw me but, all of the pre-tense and happy smiles I had put on in LA, NY, and Las Vegas were not going to work at home. My family saw right through me and my “I am just fine” act, though I think deep down they wanted to believe it was true.

Being home was great, but hard at the same time.  The 4th of the July had always been a family holiday for me and this was not the same- everything was different. It was our first holiday at the new lake house in Oklahoma, which I was not happy about, and I knew very few people, yet somehow everyone knew whom I was.

The week was filled with a lot of fake smiles, nodding and drinking on my part…lots of drinking.  My nieces were my savior… they kept me laughing and focused on what was important in life- family.  Since I was “the single one” in my family my accommodations were a second thought.  At our original lake home, aka my happy place, the house was large enough to accommodate our family and friends- it was never an issue.  The more the merrier.  At the new house I slept in the bunkroom… with the kids.  The bunkroom wouldn’t have been so bad but my nieces didn’t even want to stay there- they were busy having slumber parties with friends.  So I was single, sleeping in the kids bunk bed alone. Awesome.

Each night I lay in the room, on the full size bottom bunk, took an ambien and watched TV shows on my laptop that were already downloaded.  At this point we didn’t even have internet… it was basically camping in my book.  Mostly I would just lay there and think about the holiday the year prior. My whole family was at our old lake house and my had “re-proposed” to me. Got one knee on the dock at night when it was just the two of us and asked me to marry him all over again. I know it was partly, mostly, because he wouldn’t set a wedding date and so I had rented an apartment in LA and told him I would be spending a significant amount of time there. I had put my foot down, and it worked! I was over the moon happy that my life was back on track.  Of course now looking back I know that it wasn’t anywhere near a track, it was on a fast downhill run, which 6 months later would come to a halt in a fiery crash.

While I had a blast with my family; beers on the boat, late nights on the porch, bbq’s at the neighbors’ house…. it just wasn’t the same.  I was alone.  It was my first holiday alone and I quickly figured out that I didn’t like it at all.  What is funny is that I had many holidays with my husband when we were a couple but he was never around so I was alone then too, but at least he was there part of the time and I wasn’t single.  The first holiday that I was single coupled with the fact I was the new girl, “Oh, you are Daydree’s sister… yeah, how are you?” People would ask with a slight head tilt and a low voice.

Everyone I met was super nice but I soon started avoiding everyone just based on the fact it was easier than giving my “oh, thank you for being so concerned, I am fine” face- as I would pour another drink. I do have to admit the one bonus was that I did enjoy my “I am going through an awful divorce figure” which was similar to the famous The Devil Wears Prada diet- I don’t eat and then right before I pass out I eat a cube of cheese- except I don’t eat dairy.  I had lost weight because basically I was too stressed out all the time to even think about food. I have always been grateful that I am not a stress eater and this time I was more thankful than ever. Single and overweight was not something I was interested in.

As excited as I was to go home and spend time with my family, it turned out not to be as emotionally easy as I had hoped and I found myself excited to get back to LA. I wanted to spend as much time with Andrew as I could before he flew back to his home country… far far away.

My original flight home was on the Monday after the holiday weekend but by Thursday I decided I was changing my flight to Sunday.  I text Andrew to let him know I would be back a day early and that I would love to see him if he had the time.  He had a work event that night but offered to meet me at my house with take out, since I had been gone for a week clearly I had no food in the fridge. A hot man and food delivered to my door- I thought it was an excellent idea.  The short story is; I landed in LA, arrived at my place, he came over with take out, and he left 7 days later.

Here is more detail. After flying all day back to LA I arrived home and took a quick shower and changed into something that was cute but casual – I didn’t want to look like I was trying to hard.  I then had a thought, what if I didn’t really like him? We had been apart for 6 days, what if I was just happy to be taken to dinner by a handsome man? Uh oh, fuck me… I was still not trusting myself, is this how my life was going to go?

He was to arrive in less than ten minutes and all I could think of was that I had judged this whole thing totally wrong. What if I was craving some type of connection so badly that I only liked Andrew because he was different from every guy I knew?   What if I was attracted to him because I knew he wasn’t a real option and that he was leaving in a week?

My neurotic thought process was interrupted by a knock at the door; I took a deep breath, paused, flipped my hair upside down to give it a bit of extra volume, and opened the door.  My heart almost beat out of my chest, fuck he was handsome… it was real, I liked him. There he stood; dark eyes, tan skin, jeans, black t-shirt, leather jacket and a bag full of yummy take out.   He came in and I opened a bottle of wine while he unpacked the takeout. I tried to not be that girl who wolfed down her food but I was starving and a little nervous- which is where the wine came in.  We ate, drank and then stayed up all night talking.

When we finally looked at the clock it was late or early, 3 am, and I didn’t see much reason for him to leave at that hour.  For the next seven days we didn’t leave each other’s side.  Sleeping next to him that first night was the first time I had slept really well in months. Having another body in the bed was so comforting to me. We slept together like it was the most natural thing in the world to both of us. No awkwardness at all.

Over the next week we talked for hours on end about every subject you can imagine, we had romantic meals at all of my favorite restaurants, we met friends out for dinner, I even invited Andrew out to meet some of my friends (this was a first for sure and still something that is rare for me).

My girlfriend from Maine had ordered lobsters and my LA family was having a big traditional lobster feed so I decided no time like the present to jump in head first, very Keylee of me.  We were having the dinner at the home of my best friend, which was also our office, so Andrew was coming over after he was done with his day.  As I was freshening up I heard the doorbell ring; he arrived, bottle of wine in hand, and everyone was charmed by him as fast as I was!

Each night we slept so close that you couldn’t have fit a piece of paper between us and each day we woke up together I was excited to spend the day together.  Mixed in with all of this happiness was also a sense of dread…. he was leaving, and going back to Europe. Nothing could change that fact no matter how we felt about each other.

The seven days we spent together were amazing and confusing all at the same time.  Andrew said things that I didn’t understand; the things that came out of his mouth were so over the top and so passionate… I had never known a man that talked like that or kissed me like that.  No girl I knew had ever dated a guy that talked that way either.  He was not only from another country it was like he was from a different time period.  It did nothing but melt me.
Don’t get me wrong, my life was not quite the fairytale that his seemed to be; I had filed for separation and was deep deep in a love haze with a foreign man (basically a stranger), I had just spent seven days with my family… my world was spinning and by some crazy logic Andrew grounded me.   The night before he left to go back to Portugal we stayed up all night…. not talking.

By the time morning came I was a wreck, but of course trying to hold it together.  He packed his bag and left for the airport, I sat on my couch and cried.  The one person that had made me feel special and wonderful was gone.  He had left, I felt awful… lonely and awful. The only thing that kept me together was the fact that we had made plans, he had invited me to visit his home in Portugal, but at the time it seemed impossible.  How on earth was I going to fly 5000 miles to stay with a man I just met, and his family!  My family and friends would think I was crazy, I was dealing with my divorce, we were busy with work…. it was a ridiculous idea…and I was all in!

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