After reading through another of my favorite blogs, The Gori Wife Life, I realized that I had written tons on the problems that Bear and I are facing and I had even written a rather amusing piece on some of our more hilarious moments…but I had yet to write about how we met.
So…without further ado…here we go.
By the time I met Bear and became his friend, I had pretty much given up on love and the hope of getting married. I had given up on having that fairy tale ending. I had two truly miserable long term relationships, both of which had hurt me to the point of actually being a tad jaded when it came to love. This was very unlike me. I am an optimist, so this new part of me didn’t feel true, it didn’t feel right. Like some miserable parasite I couldn’t get rid of.
When I first learned of Bear, I was researching how to solve a problem at work. We had an internal ticketing system that I used to learn the ins and outs of my new position. When finding an issue that was especially difficult, I spoke to several people who directed me to talk to Bear. At the time I was still new and shy, so I decided to read what he had posted instead. Little did I know that while I was reading these solutions online, he was sitting at a desk only a few rows down from mine. It would be another 3 months before I would finally meet Bear face to face…and that was with 1 month left on his visa.
At the time, I was friends with the people he roomed with while on site. So when I was finally introduced to him, I was amazed to learn that the intelligent (genius!) man whom I had been reading solutions of online, was the same guy I had seen around the office and heard other people refer to as the “young guy”. He certainly did look like he was barely out of high school, so I had always assumed he was an intern.
After that, I began going to him directly to ask for help. He would always smile and giggle but then it was down to work and he would explain things in a way that was completely new for me. For the first time I understood complex coding verbiage and it was all thanks to his instruction. When he left to go back to India, I was sorry to see him go. I had gotten used to his shy smiles and soft spoken ways. I occasionally sent him emails and we chatted a few times online, but getting him to talk was sometimes like pulling teeth.
By the time that I was sent to India to train our team on new applications and clients, I was more myself, I was more out-going and talkative. Picking on the “guys” and thoroughly enjoying doing what I could to make them laugh and blush. When they had a dinner for me and asked who I wanted to be there, I immediately said Bear (as well as my team-mates and a few other friends I had made in other departments). He came to that dinner with a large cast on his leg and I had a wonderful time talking to him about how he had gotten the cast and hearing the whole story behind it. After I left India, we continued to talk more often, but it was still sometimes difficult to get him to open up.
When he returned to the US some months later, I was thrilled to see my old friend back again. By this time, I had become more comfortable in my role at the company. I also had made close friendships with many of the “elder” guys of the desi community working for our company. I would have dinners with them and their families after work, they would invite me on day trips with the rest of the visiting contractors, I became a regular fixture in their lives and I learned more about India in that time than I have since. It was during this time that Bear came back, so whether he wanted it or not, we were constantly in each other’s company…even if we were with everyone else.
One of the contractors that were on site for a long period was my friend A. He and I would have long discussions about his family back home in India and about my life here in California. When Bear came back to the US, he would join us in these discussions and the three of us would stay up late at night, talking, laughing and eating. Eventually, we started going to visit new places together and before you knew it A, Bear and I were inseparable. The three amigos. It was during this time that Bear really started to open up around me and I learned more of his personal character. He was optimistic, kind hearted and mischievous. He was also just as practical and intelligent in the ways of the world as he was at work.
Before we met, Bear had decided that he wanted an arranged marriage. His brother had done a love marriage but for reasons of his own, Bear chose otherwise. He and I would have huge debates on this topic as it was a very sore subject for me. As I came to know him, I became more passionate about my resolve against it, especially for him. I felt he was special and that he deserved a wife that recognized him for all his wonderful qualities instead of just the ones that made him a good bread winner.
On one particular night, we had all decided to cook dinner and play card games. A was in the kitchen cooking and Bear and I were in the living room where he was showing me a card trick. There was another apartment leased for the girls on site and one of them stopped by to borrow the blender. Bear stopped what he was showing me and asked her if she would like to see. I sat there feeling a jumble of emotions and could just barely stop myself from giving the girl a look that could kill.
What on earth was wrong with me???? I left early that night to go home and have a conversation with myself. I needed to find out what was going on, why had I felt so much emotion…so much anger…over that one little thing?
And then, sometime after midnight, it hit me and I cried like I hadn’t cried in years. I was in love with Bear. I had been jealous! ME! I am NEVER jealous! But there I sat earlier that evening, staring daggers at that poor girl who had only come over to ask for a blender.
I was angry with myself and depressed and felt hopeless, all because I knew that Bear and I could never really have a true relationship. He wanted an arranged marriage. I definitely wasn’t arranged marriage material. How could I have let myself have these feelings for someone when it was impossible to be with them? How could I have allowed myself to fall into the trap of getting hurt AGAIN?
So I thought long and hard that night and over the next few days as to whether or not I wanted to continue my friendship with Bear. Whether I wanted to continue to hang out with “my boys”. I prayed over it constantly. I asked God to please show me what I needed to do. And then one day at work, I was talking with Bear and realized that I was happier just with whatever time I had with him, then I was without him. So I set aside my feelings of hopelessness and fear and decided to just enjoy the wonderful gift that God had given me. This wonderful man who made me smile and think and without whom I was miserable. We don’t often get these gifts in life, why to turn them away because they aren’t exactly what we asked for? Why to turn away from that moment of happiness? I think the line that summed it up best for me was from the movie Steel Magnolia’s.
“I’d rather have 30 seconds of wonderful, then a lifetime of nothing special.”
And that was it. From that moment forward I stopped worrying about the future and just enjoyed my time with Bear.
On another night when I was visiting at the apartment, all the guys were home. We were all cooking and laughing and having a great time. I asked if we could go for ice-cream after dinner and they all agreed. During dinner, I asked if we could watch a movie that I had brought. I had actually brought two movies, one was action and the other was romance…the Princess Bride. I brought the Princess Bride as a joke, so when it came time to pop in the movie, I asked if we could watch that. They all agreed! Every single last one of those guys agreed to my romance chick flick! It was then that I became suspicious, so after eating dinner and when we were preparing to walk to Coldstone, I asked if they would carry me as “I sure am tired”. I said it as serious as I possibly could…and was surprised to see them pause, look at each other and then ask me “The whole way?”.
“Ok guys…” I gave them the sternest look I could muster “What the heck is up here? You have been agreeing to any little whim that comes into my head and I want to know why.”
They all looked embarrassed and said that wasn’t true. But I kept at them and kept at them until finally, the bravest of the bunch, my friend A said “Because you’re the client”
I couldn’t believe it. I asked them if I wasn’t their friend. They immediately started saying yes, that I was, absolutely. So, I said, do you agree to every damn thing that your friends want? They said no but I was their friend AND their client. I made them swear, right then and there, that they would start disagreeing with me and forget that I was the client the moment we walked out of the office door…OR ELSE. I told them that if they wanted to agree to things that I suggested that it should be because I was their friend or because I was the PRINCESS of the apartment. This got them to laughing. It was also the night that my nickname at the apartment was born, my nickname amongst the contractors. Princess.
The time came for A to leave and that night, after he had gone, Bear had called me to tell me that I had left a pair of earrings at the apartment. He asked if I would like to come and pick them up the next day and maybe we could go out to the beach.
“Just the two of us?” I had asked.
“Yessss, why?” I could hear that impish grin in his voice and see the mischievousness in his eyes without even being there.
During the next day, we had the most fun we had ever had together. It was like we were finally able to be ourselves, no constraints, and no politeness, just us. And when the day ended and I took him home, I told him that I had such a wonderful time, the best time I had had in many years. He said that he was glad because he would do anything for his Princess. My heart stopped…he had said HIS Princess. Not THE Princess or OUR Princess but HIS Princess.
In a moment of utter happiness, joy and my own mischievousness, I said…
“OHHHHH My BEAR! Looook OUT! I’m gonna kiss your cheek!”
And before he could run or even move, I turned his head and kissed his cheek. His stiffened, his face bright red but with the biggest smile I had ever seen anybody wear…he said
And so it began.
From the next day on, we hardly ever parted. He was here four months, went home for five weeks and was back again for another six months. Even when he was home those five weeks, not a day went by that we didn’t talk once or twice a day.
And then, on this last trip and on Super Bowl night during half time, he asked me to be his Princess forever, in this life and all the lives afterwards. My fairy tale had come true. I had my Prince. My wonderful, loving Prince Bear.
To this day, I’m thankful for many things. I’m thankful to God for bringing Bear here. I’m thankful to God for showing me the way to peace and happiness. I’m thankful to Bear for being the amazing man he is.
But I guess mainly, I’m thankful that that girl had needed a blender.