With Christmas only a few days away, I thought it might be a fitting time to reminisce romantically about how Sara and I met—not only because this is a part of our history I don’t think I’ve shared even in the Vietnam part of this blog—but also because I’m missing Sara, who has not yet returned from Haiti for the holiday, and writing about our shared past helps her feel closer—or at least helps Port-au-Prince feel a little less far away.
(If you’ve only just begun reading “reinventing the event horizon”—Sara is my partner. We live together in Haiti, where Sara works in disaster response and I’m a writer/artist. We also own a home in Kentucky—a house that’s more than 100 years old in downtown Lexington. I have come back to the US a week ahead of Sara, who won’t arrive here herself until Christmas Eve.)
In 2006, however, Sara was still directing her NGO’s response to the 2004 tsunami that killed hundreds of thousands in Southeast Asia, while I was working in Lexington as an artist-in-residence, facilitating creative learning opportunities for disabled adults. These employment realities brought us together, my needing to supplement my measly artist’s income by pet sitting and Sara’s needing to travel internationally while at the same time caring for her dog.
One afternoon that summer my writer friend Kristy called to say her new neighbor Sara was looking for a dog-sittter and wondering if I could take on another client—something I was willing to do, since I was preparing to purchase my first home— was a starving, soon-to-be-home-owning-artist fighting for every dollar she could get.
So when Sara called several days later and we met a few days after that, I eagerly agreed to care for Ralph. And ours was ultimately a match made, for all intents and purposes, in doggy heaven.
However, I didn’t fall for Sara immediately. Though I found her voice intriguing, the first time I heard it on my voice mail, and though I recognized when she brought Ralph to me the morning she returned to Asia, how terribly attractive she actually was, I wasn’t looking for a relationship at the time and simply filed these sensual details away for later romantic retrieval.
Retrieval that came by way of a dream.
When Sara returned from Asia a month later, I was already in love with her dog, so much so that it pained me to give him up for the few weeks she would be home—that is, until a week or so later I dreamed I was in love with Sara and woke up the next morning with a passion for her that has yet to wane.
The realization was as profound as it was simple—that I not only loved this woman but also that I would spend the rest of my life with her. Period. End of Story.
Sometimes things are meant to be, and though I’ll save the particulars of our romantic story to share in future posts, I will pass along now one surprising and seemingly important detail neither of us was aware of when we first met.
That our mothers had been dear friends for a number of years before either of us knew anything about the other—had been friends until Sara’s mother died more than 10 years ago. Both were elementary school teachers at Lexington Christian Academy. My mother taught third grade; Sara’s mother taught fourth in a classroom across the hall.
In fact, I remember Sara’s mother being ill and my mother’s grief surrounding her eventual death. My mother even spoke at Sara’s mother’s memorial service. During the years our mothers were friends, Sara and I were adult women living outside the state, so we never met in the context of that friendship.
However, sometimes lives are linked in profound ways. Sometimes lives are linked and love is forged against all odds, even with matches made in doggy heaven. Sometimes there’s a cosmic rightness about a relationship in which lovers are not only star-crossed but mother-blessed, something precious to remember, especially during this sacred time of year.
All is calm.
All is bright.
May the brightness Sara and I share be yours, as well, this Holiday Season.