Every now and then you come across one of those people that you know is going to be a part of your life forever. Given, it’s not always the most positive thing in the world but there’s something special about knowing that a connection will exist with someone forever, no matter how many gaps of time you have to endure without getting to spend time together. I’ve been fortunate enough to have encountered a few different people who I feel will be a part of my life/soul forever but every single one of them has been in a different capacity. Are we only meant to have one soul mate? Am I just greedy? Can you share soul mates? Not that I think that everyone who is connected to your soul forever is your actual soul mate.
My Sandman was the very first person that I started talking to regularly online. It was 1999, I was engaged to what would turn out to be an hugely abusive first husband, I was continually alienated in the house by said fiancé, felt incredibly lonely most of the time and pretty much felt worthless. This whole new online world had entered my life and geocities was my chat facility of choice. I stumbled upon it out of nowhere, I just wanted to know what online chatting was all about. We’re talking about the days of dial up connection so there was no frills involved in any of the communication. I was a newbie and had no idea the connections that could exist from getting to know someone by talking to them online.
I remember the night that I first started talking to Sandman, strangely. Fiancé and I had been to see ‘enemy of the state’ in the cinema and (as usual) he had gone to bed as soon as we’d got back into the house. I didn’t tend to get tired at 8pm, most people don’t when they’re 21 and it’s the weekend, so I retreated to my tiny room to bum about the internet. Making noise in the house wasn’t an option for me so my computer was the perfect time passer! Watching this communication was fascinating. I worked out what all of the little acronyms meant so that I didn’t have to look stupid by asking and eventually dived in. It was just a general room with a whole bunch of people all talking at once about something random. It was expected for people to dive into the conversation and if you happened to hit it off with someone in the room then a private chat would generally ensue. I was Holly in those days, Katariah was yet to be born! This was the time of the scare mongering to give absolutely no hint of any true information as to your actual identity. Ridiculous now, looking back, but it served me well all the same.
There is absolutely no memory of the actual conversation that was had or the timescales of us talking but I know we talked for hours that night and then continued to look for each other every time we happened to be online. I wish I could remember how long we were actually talking before phone numbers were swapped but I would think it would be a while since I’m pretty sure I’ve always been wary about new people. He made me feel good about myself at a time where I felt invisible, there had been no lying, no hiding my home situation and it just seemed like we were really good friends who enjoyed each other’s company. Meeting seemed like a logical step so we decided to meet at the cinema. Not actually having to talk probably felt better since we’ve both always been a tiny bit shy but I remember really wanting to hold his hand. All we’d done was talk for the longest time so just being in each other’s company was awesome, no matter how bad the film actually was! After the film (and a short discussion about him definitely not having any kind of axe in the back of his car!) I accepted the offer of a ride home. We discussed having a night in at my house when my parents were due to be away on holiday to get drunk and watch movies, which sounded like amazing fun! There was nothing uncomfortable about the journey until it was time for me to get out of the car. Neither of us knew what was appropriate and I knew I wanted to kiss him but didn’t want to be forward so I squeezed his leg and thanked him for his generosity before getting out and walking to my door.
It’s funny, thinking back, just how little we actually spoke that night but I remember we had arranged to be speaking online in a couple of nights’ time. We were completely different people online than we were together in real life, and still kinda are to this day! When we did get to talk again we gave ourselves the chance to completely analyse the evening that we’d spent together, something that I always enjoyed. We were honest, open and I remember having the feeling at the time that I had opened up a can of worms. When I decided to tell him that I had wanted to kiss him I remember my spine turning cold in fear! Thankfully, all I received back was relief because he’d been thinking the same thing. This, however, added a little bit more awkwardness and nervousness to our previously arranged drunken, movie night sleepover. Not that it was going to stop movie night from happening, just made it a little bit less predictable! Well, I say less predictable, maybe in a few ways it kinda made things a little bit more predictable!
So, movie night happened, we drank a LOT and fast! I’m pretty sure we made our way through 3 films, not that I remember us actually fully watching any of them and only one of those films being for the predicted reason. We started the evening very firmly on our own sides of the couch and every time one of us came back from the kitchen or bathroom we just seemed to be sitting with our legs a little bit closer than they were before. This was until I snatched the opportunity of him going to the loo for me to steal the entire couch and on his return his playful fight for it back ended ridiculously quickly in us kissing! The changes in us from that one night seem to have stayed with us for the rest of our lives. We talked all through the night, cuddling, touching, kissing and just being completely comfortable together. Sharing a single bed didn’t even seem that cramped that night!
As my parents were away all week, he arranged to come and stay another couple of nights but on the final night decided that it would be more sensible if we didn’t as things were getting really intense, really qickly (for both of us). He took a step back to see if he could just try and switch it all off because someone was likely to get hurt by the way we naturally were together. Yeah, that didn’t work, so by the time we were online again the conversations that we had were more open and honest than I think anyone has ever had online! This kinda set the tone for the future but is something that is hugely endearing yet unbelievably dangerous! Honestly expressing real feelings to someone from what feels like the safety of a keyboard doesn’t stop the reality of the information setting in. We were openly admitting feelings that we had that, if you ever do sit back and think about them, can be petrifying! There is so much responsibility that goes with falling in love that giving yourself the chance to analyse it is unsettling! Either way, we gave us a go.
I made excuses and spent weekends with him at his house and, as a pairing, we were really low maintenance. We almost slotted into the kind of relationship that we’d been living together for years every time I was there. He could still do his thing and i was happy to lie and watch tv with every now and then one of us going over to the other to show a little bit of affection. It was, oddly, perfect. We could be in the car together and exchange things that we needed without having to ask as if the routine had been there forever. Connection, in the purest sense of the word.
The less interest that I received at home, the less it seemed to matter and i started to be careless with my communication. We would call each other fairly regularly and with my fiancé going to bed at somewhere between 7 and 8 every night I didn’t really care that I was on the phone, as he was supposed to be sleeping. This was fine until the night he came in and told me to “tell him goodbye and hang up”. That was an interesting night. I was honest about it all (after a little bit of questioning) but told him that I wasn’t willing to let my Sandman go. For some strange, unknown reason he decided that he would give me time to make my mind up. So here I was, with a fiancé and a boyfriend with no idea what to do. I had a house and cat with my fiancé but a horrible relationship while i had the most amazing relationship with my Sandman but we were still very early into who we were together. I suppose there was still the huge part of me that believed that I’d never get married and all I ever wanted was my own children so, no matter how bad the relationship was with my fiancé, he was still willing to marry me! After the 3 months of having the 2 of them at the same time, the fork in the road caught up with me. Purely for the reason of my own twisted logic of having the responsibility of the house and the cat I chose my fiancé. Yes, it turned out to be a stupid (and wrong) choice but felt like the only really available one to me at the time. My Sandman was a good man and took it upon himself to step into the shadows to make my life easier. It hurt but I respected him for it.
For the longest time, if I couldn’t sleep, I’d lie in bed and remember silly times of us watching tv and his affection towards me. He was the memory that calmed me down enough to be able to drift off to sleep happy. That really should have told me something at the time but I was just happy that the memory was there as I didn’t know of any way that I’d ever be able to contact him again.
This is just the beginning story, he has had so much more influence in my life but this seems like a good way to introduce him. He deserves a proper introduction before I start talking about him!