1068 Days Later

It’s 1068 days since I began living here with my cohabitant and for the first time, today he is sick with a chest cold. We’re pretty far into the experiment for something to blow it up now, so I believe we’re going to be able to handle this, but I’m sure it will be a learning adventure. We have such different approaches to personal health and wellness. I’m a student of alternatives to big pharma. But for him big pharma is convenience medicine, Walmart is his pharmacopeia, and ibuprofen is the miracle cure for almost everything. So, we’ll see how it goes. Meanwhile I’m ironing my Florence Nightingale apron and dusting off my lemon and ginger lecture.

Billie Best writes about love.

September 2020, six months into the pandemic when social isolation was mandatory and the two of us had just met face-to-face for the first time in 50 years, he asked me to be his girlfriend and live with him in his house. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse. I’m a dog person and he lived in dog heaven. My lease was ending on my apartment, and I had to make a choice about staying in Portland or moving elsewhere. He was a very good kisser, so I figured I’d take my chances. 1068 days later, no regrets. 

At the time my personality was still scarred from my experience being single for eleven years after my husband’s death in 2009. I harbored dark energy toward men in general and for a long time thought I would never be in a romantic relationship again. I felt I had given up frilly things like holding hands, necking, sharing a bed and joint decision-making. I didn’t need those things because I was strong and brave and wildly independent. But there’s a flip side to that isolationism. A decade ago, I would often sit on the porch at my farm and look out at my cows in the pasture yearning for a person to share the view with me and appreciate life on the land. That yearning was deep, like an arrow piercing my chest. It was a pain I lived with every day because I thought being emotionally isolated was my destiny.

My cohabitant doesn’t allow me to be emotionally isolated. No matter how far I drift, he swims out to me and brings me home. When I first moved into his house, I carried all my baggage with me, and it was heavy. I was a crank, aloof, critical, and condescending. I made unkind remarks about him, his house, and his stuff, intending to shape him from the cur I apparently thought he was into my show dog. I had temper tantrums and cried a lot. I cleaned like a fury and threw his stuff away without permission. I rearranged his house and dared him to complain. It’s a wonder he didn’t just ask me to leave. 

But love conquers all. Love and sex. We have a magnetic physical chemistry that I haven’t experienced with any other human, and that alone has been an effective tranquilizer for my destructive forces. In my worst mood, he hugged and kissed me as though I was the finest woman he’d ever met. Now it’s been 1068 days and the big adjustments have been made. We’re in full on compensation mode, committed to each other, our household and outdoor life. He’s a bit tidier. I’m a bit sloppier. He’s still on stage every minute of the day, singing and reciting lines from a script in his head. I have a corner with my laptop and headphones to insulate me from his constant good cheer. We’re raising a dog together and learning to collaborate in the garden. It’s a full life, more than I dreamed possible, and 1068 days later, I feel like the luckiest woman in the world. 

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12 thoughts on “1068 Days Later

  1. This was a fun read. It’s beautiful that you open both your heart and your mouth and let it all out. You’re a fine inspiration. All the best to you and yours.

  2. This is so cheering to read! I’m so very pleased for you both. I have a similar, if not so dramatic, experience. Especially about the being independent bit. Huge congratulations to you both for adjusting and letting love conquer all ❤️

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