Relationships, especially those of the romantic nature, are about choosing someone, a partner, that you think best will navigate one’s own idiosyncrasies. They are like a minefield of characteristics, habits, mannerisms, and the like, that is peculiar to that individual. Or perhaps it’s like a maze or a series of puzzles to be solved. And while physical attraction as a determinate is impossible to deny, looks fade, and what’s left behind is how well we get along, shared excitements, and the love of of our contrasts. I feel a need to be excited for the the life that I wish to bond with for the decades to come. And I’m excited to be a cheerleader to someone else’s life, as much or more so than to have someone other than me cheerleading for mine.

That said, I finally picked up some pom-poms for someone. I found her. Well, one of the variants of her that exist in this giant world of ours. (Okay, unromantic Dean, go away.) So, I know how dangerous those words can be. How many times have I thought I found someone. Or was told I was being too picky when I let them go? How many times did you believe it? How many times have you doubted yourself? Rethought past relationships you abandoned? How many times have you let aging infect your ideals in your seemingly endless and fruitless pursuit of shared happiness? Yet, here we are, you persevered and were true to what you know you wanted, what you know had to be out there. I’m optimistic, yet a realist. I know how fragile these next few months are, challenges await. And I’m ready.

I’m keeping this diary as proof that these events are real … I know they are… they have to be.

These are the words I typed in my first journal entry on January 14th, 1996—the night of my first real date and my first kiss. I was so ecstatic to finally be in the throes of a romantic relationship that I just had to document my feelings. I knew that I needed to paint these feelings, the best I could, with words. This was too important to ever forget.

Those words are lost now, sadly. But I’ve continued to sit down and transcribe thoughts and feelings through the years. Many of those have been heartbreaking and melancholy. Then this year happened. I was lost, uncertain of my future, I was supposed to move and start a new chapter with new people, new opportunities, and then the world went insane. Coronavirus exploded and political jabberings and closemindedness on Facebook left me disheartened. Then Bruce died, and then my mom. I was floating through my days like an aimless ghost through an empty, old, dusty, dilapidated house. This preamble is important because something happened in there that should have been documented.

Granted, when I first chatted with her over the phone, I was a bit desensitized and unoptimistic—I had been there countless times before after all. And what hopes were there in dating during a pandemic? But she kept up and was not dissuaded. sharing with me beautiful images of the beach and ocean. Making me smile. And then we made plans to meet. And while I didn’t document the build-up for justifiable reasons, missing writing about that night we met was unfortunate.

That said, a month and a half later, I still understand a bit why it’s taken me this long to write here. I went from being so very low to so very high. I’m living a dream. My dream. And it doesn’t quite feel like reality yet. The night I met her, I was stunned. And I’m just now shaking off the effects. Not only is she absolutely gorgeous, but she’s also kind, thoughtful, and wicked smart. It didn’t take long for me to start to fall for her.

While I missed documenting our initial date, I also missed a few other important milestones in the last 45 days, give or take. I fell in love, expressed that love, had that love reciprocated, discussed eventually living together, having children, and sharing the rest of our lives together. You know, normal lovey stuff. I LOVE NORMAL LOVEY STUFF! I’ve missed it so. As I type this sitting here, a gentle smile peeks out from the sides of my mouth. I hear her working upstairs at her desk in the loft. And it fills me with a sense of calmness.

Although, I am also hurt, the daggers of irony revealing that we’re coming together now after just losing my mom. She being my only real cheerleader throughout my life. I’ve been hoping one day I could announce that I’ve found someone and bring her home, for I know the joy that would have brought her. She told me once, a long time ago, how she really wanted to grow old surrounded by grandchildren, not a subtle hint at all. So, I cannot help feel like I have failed her. Gone mere weeks before I could have told her, “I did it mom, I found someone, and I’m happy.”

Future Dean, wish me luck. I really don’t want to fuck this one up, because it’s been a difficult road as you know. And I’m not sure what another false start will do to me, especially with one so radiant, in all the ways she is.