The Thanksgiving Kiss That Led To Love

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I didn’t recognize the name on his MySpace profile, but his face was familiar.

People called him "Raydar", but I recalled his name being Brian. We had spent one semester in college together, only occasionally speaking to each other in passing. I was surprised that he remembered me, and even more that he seemed excited to hear from me. MySpace messages led to a Facebook friendship, which led to chats over AOL Instant Messenger, and then exchanged phone numbers.  When he invited me to visit him in Atlanta for Thanksgiving, I didn’t hesitate to say "Yes". I hadn't considered the fact that I really didn’t know him at all, or that I would have to drive ten hours from Miami, where I lived at the time, to get there. Somehow, spending my favorite holiday with this virtual stranger, away from my family and friends, felt perfectly right.

Neither of us had fully thought this visit through. I didn’t know why I was there, or what his expectations were. It wasn’t like me to do something so reckless. What if he was crazy? What if he expected sex? What if I didn’t like him? What if he didn’t like me? We had never even hinted at anything beyond a platonic relationship, but would that change now that we were meeting face to face? I found myself wishing that we had talked more beyond sharing jokes and YouTube videos. I had no idea what I had gotten myself into, and it was too late to turn back.

 

Thanksgiving dinner

Image: atl10trader via Flickr

 

All of my anxiety disappeared when I saw him. I loved his smile. He looked at me as though he had missed me. I felt a little shy in the beginning, but he was sweet, a perfect gentleman. We ate junk food and watched silly movies and laughed like we’d been best friends for years. When he kissed me, I felt at home. It wasn’t a regular kiss; his kiss felt like love. I was certain I had gone insane. I couldn’t put into words everything I was feeling, but whatever it was, it enveloped me and I couldn’t think straight.

Thanksgiving dinner at his aunt’s house was filled with questions about who I was and why I was there. I was a friend, from college, in town for a visit. He held my hand during the ride back to his house. I wondered if I really was just a friend, but resolved that I couldn’t be anything else. I had a life in Miami, and he in Atlanta. We weren’t dating. It was just a friendly Thanksgiving visit.

I spent six days with him, but it felt like weeks. I missed him as soon as I left. When I got home, I couldn’t sleep, so I drew his portrait in charcoal-- I hadn’t drawn in years. He awakened something in me that had been long dormant. I couldn’t call it love, but it was something special. He was meant to be in my life, even for just that Thanksgiving. We stayed in touch and never really talked about my visit, or whether it meant anything. We dated other people, and didn’t talk about that either. I couldn’t shake the feelings I had for him, but I wasn’t ready to pursue a relationship, and certainly not a long distance one. A few months after Thanksgiving, I found out I had been accepted to law school in New York. He celebrated with me over the phone, and told me he was moving to New York in the summer for work. He asked me out on a date, our first “real” date.

Seven Thanksgivings later, we are spending the holiday together, this time in China, for our honeymoon. At our wedding, his aunt remembered my visit, and laughed about how awkward it was. My sister confessed that if I had told her the real reason for my trip to Atlanta, she would have convinced me not to go. I still don’t know what compelled me to visit him that Thanksgiving. Maybe it was fate. Maybe it was God’s will. Thanksgiving was always my favorite holiday, and it now has an even greater meaning to me.

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful that seven Thanksgivings ago, I unwittingly found love.

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