We met online, via one of those ubiquitous connection/dating sites. Let me tell you, at the outset, that I was looking for a friend, someone with whom I could converse. Given my perhaps "pathological" intelligence, it is not easy for me to converse with anyone, let alone the plethora of IC Light-swilling Steelers fans to be found within walking distance of me. It had surely not been easy for me to converse with those few who would answer my personal advertisements, as they were were looking for things I did not intend to give.
But he was different. One of the points in his "I am seeking" list was someone who could suggest a book to read, and his response to my suggestion of Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid was wildly enthusiastic. As we exchanged e-mail messages, I discovered that he was intelligent, articulate, and sensitive. A round of exchange between us could take hours, with three or four threads open simultaneously. I discovered that he was not the consummate scientist that I am; even better, he had a deep appreciation of the arts, of philosophy. I discovered that he was a person unlike any I have known, save one.
In our e-mail exchanges, I had told him my story, the story of my transsexuality. I had told him what I was, what I had been. He assured me that he saw me as nothing less than a woman. Of course, I was guarded. Some people will say anything to sound good, and others will say "I accept" before they realize the full significance of what it is that they are saying. Of course, I was trying to be careful. I knew that we were progressing toward an in-person meeting. I knew, also, that something was happening within me, something I had not believed was possible.
When we did meet in person, for lunch at a Chinese restaurant quite near to me, I found, to my amazement, that everything he had appeared to be, he was. A person of reasonable ability can create a character on a page, I have done it, myself; but no actor, however skilled, can portray a character of the intelligence, the warmth, the sensitivity, as that of the person who sat across from me at that table. We had considered viewing a film; we instead decided that the time that would have been spent in silence would be better spent in further conversation. In what some might consider a rash decision, I invited him to my humble abode. I found it worth whatever risk others might have seen; I was not to be proven wrong. As the level of coffee in my 1½ gallon coffeemaker dwindled, we were engaged in rapt conversation; and we were quite astonished to find, upon a chance viewing of a clock, that five hours had elapsed and that it was time to part.
The next weeks found me riding an emotional high that was so stratospheric that I was likely officially manic. My mind was like a scene from one of those cheap science-fiction films, with equipment on fire and throwing sparks everywhere. I was shaken to the core. I was changing, fundamentally. All of us who transition as adults spend more than a little time second-guessing ourselves. Socialized to our birth-genders, we do experience some difficulty seeing ourselves as the people we know we are. That was changing. His total acceptance of me, coupled with the raw power of the emotion he elicited within me, was burning away the self-doubt. I was a woman. In my mind, my self-concept, there was no longer any question of that. There was also no question that I was a woman in love. I was in love with him. For all that I might have thought that I was a good little lesbian, I was in love with him.
But it is also the case that everything too good to be true probably is. There was a question on my mind, a concern that I had, a subject that I had to address. It turned out that I was not the only concerned party. You see, he is a man of a not insignificant position; his associations are with those of no small influence. We both knew where this was going, we both we were surprised at the direction this was taking, we both had been blindsided. We both also knew that he had much to lose on the account of an intimate association with me, especially one that would be in the public view. I was, I am, open about my status; with the slow pace that my transition must take, honesty is the only way I can explain myself. He could not afford the public and professional criticism and censure that a relationship with me would surely garner him, and I knew that at least as well as he did.
But through all of this, through the loss and pain, he has given me something worth more than all of the riches I could ever acquire. He has solidified my identity as a woman. He has shown me that I can love without regard to the packaging. He has become part of the framework of my world-view, of my very essence. He has changed me forever. He has taken his place as one of only two people who have had so fundamental an impact upon my life. Of the two, I believe that he has had the greater impact, because while the other had her impact upon the man that I was, or at least had tried to be, he has had his impact upon the woman that I am.
Thank you, Ron. I truly love you. Always.