real life

'I fell in love with a married man at work. I knew without doubt he felt the same about me.'

I really wasn’t expecting to meet a Greek God at a job interview. Yet there you were.

I knew within five seconds, possibly three, that we were brought together to heal each other. I fell into the abyss.

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There was however that unfortunate installation on your finger, a wedding band. The day after I met you, I removed mine. I told you it was because jewellery annoyed me. In truth the only jewellery annoying me from that point on was yours.

If someone had told me one, two, three years prior that it was even possible I would have fallen about laughing.

I tried with all my might to friend zone you and merely admire you from afar. For a while it was enough.

Becoming friends with someone I desperately wanted to make love to was torture, but it was better than the alternative. Having nothing. I sat opposite you for more than six months at meetings scrambling to find a word, a phrase, a gesture, a movement, a behaviour that could irritate me enough to walk away, but none came.

Instead what I found was admiration for you and a closeness and bond developing with another woman’s husband. Someone you told me you were happily married to.

As our respective interests in the business began to diminish we faced a new and painful reality. If we were no longer working together, how could we indulge ourselves in the only intimacy we had known, that of being lucky enough to lay eyes on each other most days at work. When I hugged you goodbye on your final day I told myself the thinking woman’s mantra.

You were simply part of my jigsaw puzzle. Just a piece, and now it was time for the piece to go and I needed to move on from this.

Then that thing happened when we hugged. It was like nothing ever before. Our intimacy level catapulted us into the stratosphere. I couldn’t let go, I didn’t want to let go, and thankfully you didn’t.

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I held my head high in the lonely and desolate weeks that followed. You were gone and the deadness in my eyes and soul went with me everywhere. I began the work of recovering, and facing the other truth that had emerged through this journey.

It was time for my marriage to end. I simply couldn’t live under the same roof as a man that wasn’t you anymore.

Though hard for many to understand, I never shed a tear for the man I had shared a decade of my life with. All I knew was that you had planted something powerful inside me and it was shielding me, protecting me, and skilfully guiding me all the way back to you.

Life became robotic as I ferried children to school, got my head into the harsh realities of starting my own business and comforted my broken heart…until four long weeks later.

I will never forget where I was when the call came. So unexpected that I didn’t immediately know it was you. As your voice filled my car, it felt like your soul did too, wrapping me up in the glow of your obvious desire.

It was obvious how hard it had been for you to call. Just like that I was buried deep in you again.

I agreed to meet for coffee. I was finally going to see your face, touch you, hear your voice, look into your eyes, smell you and feel the kind of chemistry I had been fantasising about.

Suddenly we were facing each other at a small table in a dimly lit café and we had absolutely nothing work-related to talk about. It was a game-changer. I wanted to kiss you so badly it hurt.

It had taken a lot of balls to even attempt to move things forward. You’d had very little from me up to that point, but you had become a friendship I knew I would never be able to turn my back on if it were ever made available to me.

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It was yet another goodbye hug that changed things for me months later. Not then, in the moment, but some weeks after.

As I drove alone into a remote industrial estate far north of the city about eight weeks after our meeting, I suddenly felt violently ill. I thought it must be a heart attack as the physical jolt was so strong. I decided to pull over and breathe.

I knew I had to see you. I called you, told you simply that I needed to talk to you, and you knew. You knew instantly what for. I will never forget your words to me that day.

“Is this something we need to discuss in person?” you asked.

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We arranged to meet the following day at a remote café where nobody knew either of us. Suddenly the fun and games had ended and the situation felt unnervingly serious.

It was truly the first time in a long life that I had suffered crippling stage fright. I had rehearsed a very short question, and all I needed to do was get through it. But as you sat there before me, loyal, thoughtful, gentle and anticipating it, I found I couldn’t speak a word, or breathe, or cope.

Because the answer to my question would either validate what my heart was telling me, that you were my longed for soul-mate, or completely demolish it as a notion, and with it, our friendship. And so we sat there for almost an hour before eventually, I was able to finish the sentence.

“Tell me it doesn’t exist?”

You responded immediately.

“I can’t.”

You had been in love with me all along. Of course, I knew, but what I didn’t know was that you were ‘never’ going to tell me for fear of losing our friendship. Here you were, a man who felt so strongly and deeply, yet was prepared to sacrifice your own desires if it meant losing what we already had.

The café quickly became the car.

I wanted to touch you more than breathe. I remember I reached out and held your hand, and after a year of longing, it was the most intimate thing I had ever felt.

I was already madly in love with you, and yet, we hadn’t even slept together, we hadn’t even kissed. It felt not of this Earth, this longing between us. I began to feel things I never had before, both good and bad. Suicidal over my fears of losing you, powerful urges to have children with you and an absolute loyalty and devotion that needed no words.

As we held hands it felt like two people who had been hanging from the edge of reality for years, and for the first time had been handed a rope.

I was born to be with you, to love you and watch over you. I still hang off your every word, your every gesture, such is the need within me to understand all there is to know. Your heart is deeper than anything I knew possible.

You are no push-over, and there have been times of great pain as you have made decisions based on what was right, and not on what was most beneficial to our relationship.

All I did was go to a job interview, and it changed my life. Like a lottery winner I have the prize, on my couch with next to me. I will be grateful for the gift of you every single day for the rest of my life.

Feature image: Getty.

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