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A Tale of Two (distant) Cities

It’s probably every blogger’s dream when the reaction created from the last post creates such a stir you receive not only emails and private messages, but the phone rings – a lot.

‘WHO IS THIS GUY? HE SOUNDS LIKE JESUS!!’

Or words to that effect.

More disturbingly Leo himself was texting, asking me whom this sensational guy was, copy and pasting Facebook postings from friends who had become rather excited about the new arrival of a man who had whisked me off on that date.

Don’t we adore it when girls get excited for you? The absolute anti-thesis of when women compete, that beautiful harmony of one female liberating another female, with their praise, their claps, their ‘You have to tell me everything!’.

To close friends, he had become a sound voice to me, a wise owl, a comedian shaped in Christian clothing. Had I gone on with the description of the date, we could have delved down a whole path of wedding agenda and gushy, silly feelings.

But the fact still remained: he lived the other side of the United States.

The night after this, now semi-famous, date there was a power cut throughout most of West London and I was meeting with a new publisher for the evening, and on my return found Leo waiting for me at the flat I was staying in.

I opened the door to the entire flat filled with lit candles.

‘I think you might be taking the whole ‘one on one’ thing a little too far?’ I suggest.

‘There’s a power cut – don’t flatter yourself,’ said the voice from the dark.

It was obvious there were feelings emerging between the both of us, but the reality was – we lived very far away. If we were in the same place, it was a for a short period of time, and if there was anything I had learnt from the previous two years, it was not to allow too much access to men, too early on, when they barely know you.

In the past three years, three Christian men had not been the most helpful in my history of relationships. One a co-dependent, one should have stayed friends, in fact all three should have stayed friends. Some weren’t ready for a real committed relationship, none were right to make my soul feel at peace.

Before those three I had had some very decent relationships with pretty solid, gorgeous, confident, driven men that held philanthropy as close to them as Jesus did with John. Had it not been for my faith unequally yoking our relationship, perhaps I’d be happily married with kids. In this I have no doubt. You don’t do relationships with men for two and half years or even 5 years without some element of mutual understanding, without some element of drive to believe in each other. Most of those times were peaceful, yet in my past 3 relationships, as a reformed-atheist-turned Christian, I had hit an unlucky strike. I was surrounded by brilliant men who ran after Christ, but my recent encounters taught me something: I didn’t value myself enough to keep the ones who hadn’t worked on their own stuff, at bay.

Leo was probably the first guy that hit my radar where I felt rested, and peaceful in three years. I trusted him. I trusted his boundaries with other women. I trusted he wasn’t using me to mend his past. I trusted his relationships with other women due to the fact he was so transparently honest. I knew that no matter what could come up, we’d talk it out. Emotional maturity never looked so delicious.

So there we were, in the power cut. I was writing an article deadlined for that night, as he was talking to the board of his charity, figuring out the way to move forward in Africa. Together I believed we could have been quite the power players. I was trying to, internally, figure us all out.

But I was due back to California in a matter of days, and him to New York.

He was evidently the problem solver, it was his gift to find solutions to hurdles, so us being at a distance was just another hurdle to leap over. I heard him verbally process the ‘getting to know each other stage’ and as he did, I noted I wasn’t ready to do the same.

We could call it a wall, you could call it fear, I might call it discernment, but I was not ready to delve into a relationship or even discover more of a man, involving a 6 hour flight. I had travelled to New York three times this year, and although I contemplated the journey once more, I knew that my strength in faith had compromised myself in relationship with men.

Having attempted to be chameleon-like with any Christian man that came across my door, I couldn’t do the same anymore. I had people to be accountable to and still, there was not enough time to truly discover who Leo was, no time for him to make a firm decision on me.

What I did know was that he was mature, gentle, kind, generous, thoughtful, hilarious, beautifully spoken, a campaigner, passionate, considerate, suave, magical with words, handsome and more in love with the Lord than most. But something, something not tangible, couldn’t make me want to try long distance.

He too, didn’t believe in distance, in fact he despised the concept altogether.

Amid the conversation of ‘What do we do now?’ there was still a sense that I needed to be alone. Something was saying no, even though I could have fought for us to work by way of love within a Boeing 737.

But the desire to watch a man close up, in their daily routine, among his family and friends, was important to me.

The real test followed when I had just been commissioned to write an article for online dating, an experiment over a two-month process. He seemed fine for me to practice the article, as long as I was being genuine with those I would date. But deep down, he didn’t want to share me, and I honestly understood why.

Communication was the greatest key in the entire process here, and true to his sincerity he was trying to compile reasoning on how to be a friend to me, with still an element of hope that we would be ‘something…perhaps…one day’.

I adored his honesty, I melted at his exclusivity even in his discovery stage of me, I felt valued, I felt honoured. Something I hadn’t felt since 2010.

So no, nothing came of us, but we communicate often, we tap in to each other’s minds quite regularly, and as I sit in the dead of night, in a friend’s house in Los Angeles, I’m reminded how much I do want family. I hear their newborn chuckle and squeak as she discovers the ways to communicate to her new parents, I watch them plan how to bring her up. I’m reminded that I need to communicate that to readers, how much I’d like a relationship, for life together with someone, for team work, to be given the chance to love someone – with surprises, with provocative sensuality, with intimacy, with conversation, with winks and emotional availability.

Leo could have been all of those, but for some reason I needed to rewire myself back to hopefulness, to a good God, before I embarked on a brand new journey with someone else.

I felt so sad on making the divide, but this is perhaps the first time in my life where I finally place myself in the game at all.

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