9. 20 Questions

It sounded simple enough.

 

During our email reunion, Nook suggested that we play a simple question and answer game.   The rules were simple, we could ask anything, nothing off the table, but any question we asked we also had to be willing to answer.

It was taken as read that all answers would be honest.  If something was too personal, or we didn’t want to answer for whatever reason, that also would be okay.

The idea was that it was an opportunity for us to explore a wide variety of topics, from favourite colours to foods to music to whatever else had been filing in our lives and personalities during the last ten years.

Dozens, likely hundreds, of our emails, covered these questions.

We wanted to know so much about our respective lives and preferences, things that we would have learned had we kept in touch the last decade.  What brand of toothpaste we prefer.  Pizza toppings.  Films, music, even deeply ethical questions about how we’d react to extreme situations.   Our mutual thirst for knowledge about each other was astounding.

Interestingly, before we started this game, Nook had a series of what she called “superficial” questions for me.  The first was whether or not I was seeing someone.  At the time I just interpreted that as a question about knowing if I was happy in life...

Many things were covered, but during one of our rapid fire exchanges of questions, she asked me how many times I had been in love.  I told her that was a question I had been thinking about a lot lately, but felt the answer was “once” - my ex-wife.  I also quoted to Nook the Alison Krauss lyrics that you can find on the “About Chair” page.

A day later, and a few more questions later, Nook asked if I loved [anyone else] in my life.  I said to her that that was “complicated” and I wanted to take a rain check on answering that question.

I was already realising that I was developing feelings for Nook, and it was just a month after our electronic reunion.  I could not understand why I was beginning to feel that way, and I needed to work that out before giving her an answer.  I also was mindful of the creepy old guy phenomena and did not want to break whatever friendship or relationship we were building.

She granted me a rain-check, but not for long.

Four days later she asked:  “Am I the reason for that rain check?”

I answered honestly:  “Yes.  Like I said .. complicated.”  My honesty with Nook has been without bounds.  I knew I was taking a risk even with this much of an admission, but, I was not going to say anything other than the truth.

She nurtured elaboration.  Several more emails went by.  Asking if we’d ever talk about it, etc.  I explained that I did not want to complicate her life, and did not want to ruin this amazingly unexpected surprise of having her in my life again.

She asked if I was afraid of getting hurt.

I said that I was, or, of causing it.  I had felt heartache, and like every (mostly) sane person, I did not want to feel it again.  I also wanted to do my best to spare her from that pain.

To that, she asked what I thought would happen.  I honestly didn’t know.  As we were having these email exchanges, I was shaking.  That sort of “in shock” shaking feeling you get when you are confronting the deepest truths and most important things that matter to you.  If you’ve ever had that happen to you, you know exactly what I mean.

When I asked her what she thought might happen, she said she also did not know, but that she did care for me.  And always had.

Chills.  Shaking.  Deepest confrontations bubbling up.

At that point it was the end of my day and we said goodnight.

The next day we picked up our conversations and questions again, but we didn’t immediately return to this subject.  She did jokingly ask if I missed her overnight, when we had a pause in our conversation.  Of course I did, and I told her as much.  I also asked if she ever missed me.

Her reply, which gave me more of those “in shock” shakes: “Yes I do.  Why do you think I found you?”

A door was opening.  Our next few emails changed our lives.  Forever.