The Love That Grounds You

I have never loved as though my life depended on it.

David Mendez is my current boyfriend, and from the onset of our relationship I was treading lightly, keeping my expectations in check. We had, after all, met on a dating website that is more lewd than most. This was on August 6, after a stint of several flirty conversations with other guys. His username, eatlotsofstuff, was the first time he made me laugh. Thankfully, that was something he would master in the next few weeks.

Once I moved to San Antonio a week later, struggling to find housing and get prospective employers to take my application seriously, I was adamant about meeting David, seeing as we had conversed several times on Skype and found our senses of humor to be not only compatible, but complimentary. We had our first date at the movies, watching The Bourne Legacy and having Starbucks afterward. Then we spent the midnight hour in each other’s arms at the park near his home. Even at that hour he was crawling over the kiddie nets and bars.

Things took an emotional plummet once I realized that I was living in a town with no source of income. Of course mom and dad helped, but that reliance on your parents has a slowly detrimental effect on your psyche. Like you’re regressing to your childhood, but without all the schoolyard shenanigans and liberation from social duties like voting and paying taxes. I felt fatigued every day, and ran or swam to give myself a sense of accomplishment. But the nadir of my hopelessness came in mid-August, when I came down with a serious virus after my second date with David. Feeling like my brain was being overheated into mush by my fever, I spent three days dipping myself in a bathtub full of ice water and taking meds to fend off my illness. Sitting at the bottom of my bathtub and closing my eyes, I wondered if I could just ease into death without causing anyone a single iota of grief.

With the end of a severe illness comes a reprieve commensurate to the sickness itself. I walked with a strong sense of purpose, feeling my body returning to its healthy state, and renewed my job hunt. David, who started coming over every Friday, gave me intimacy, passion, and before long, commitment. We mused about education, about video games and nature. He has taken me on a few nature walks to hunt for mushrooms and tiny lizards.

The most astounding thing to me is that we haven’t yet had a serious argument. Instead, we handle our negative emotions in the exact same way: by working them out internally, without resorting to yelling, nit-picking, or biases. When David’s father discovered us in the guest bedroom one afternoon as we lied down for a nap (not kidding, we were not in a passionate mood at that moment), David just spoke evenly the entire time as his dad told us to “respect your grandparent’s house.” Only later did he tell me that he was irate inside. “You learn to keep all the anger inside after your dad yells at you year after year,” he told me, his eyes a little more stoic than usual. Then we would hang on to each other in our shame and find ourselves vindicated.

It has been a turbulent two months, but David has kept me grounded. He just came back from visiting Texas Tech today, my Alma Mater, and I can’t wait to hear his opinion on Lubbock and the Honors College. If he gets excited about a certain point during our conversation, the pitch of his voice will go up, voicing his peacefully assertive homosexuality. If I say something coy he will almost undoubtedly cock one eyebrow and smile with a wryness that is more compassionate than flashy.

We have made a solace for one another.

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