When I was crazier than I am now, in the mid 1980s, I decided to run 36 marathons in 36 months as the ‘average runner.’  A T-shirt, imprinted with those epic words. Why, you and I both ask, especially when I am walk-jogging the last 6 miles of the 26.2: “You like the recognition” pops into my brain. That enduring need for attention – for LOVE – which I now (more importantly) recognize.

And why I have married four times; my present love is with French man, Antoine, who is being the love of my life. L’amour de ma vie! My spirit drove me through my first marriage, bearing two beautiful daughters, to the coming out of gayness by my husband. I sped through the two years of my second marriage, leaving my family of origin’s addiction to religion: fear of hell and guilt up the wazoo. (He died of cancer several years after our divorce at the young age of 44.) I cruised for six years with my third husband, changing gears from caretaker of him to caregiver of myself. I changed into high gear, racing through rivers of tears to finally trusting myself to be vulnerably loving during my fourth marriage. By then, 1998, I am fifty-two.

I live alone until 2018, (with the exception of one year 2004-5), as if I am on a Sunday afternoon drive – content to be alone, yet desiring a partner with whom I can grow into a purer LOVE. Freer to be open and honest. Without fear. No hiding. No secrets. Bare-naked.

The first day of spring 2018, I am dancing at The Range, a classy bar in Ithaca, NY. I unconsciously  step in the way of the dart board where a twenty-something 6’3″, wavy-brown-haired, big brown-eyed-cute guy asks, “Want to play darts?” I giggle over my surprise to try it out. Soon, I ask: “You want to dance?” Antoine answers, “Yes, but I have never danced before.” By then, I had learned that he was a Cornell graduate student, and was stunned that he readily agreed to dance with me, four decades older. He catches onto east coast swing easily and enjoys. So, I invite him to the weekly Wednesday night swing dances where his smile shows up, happy to see each other. I learn that he likes to hike in nature, so I naturally invite him. While sitting next to a three-cascade-waterfall, I learn that he’s tried to kiss a girl he liked but was rebuffed. Spontaneously,  I ask, “Can I kiss you?” He replies, “I don’t know.” I lean into him with a quick kiss on his soft full lips. “How was it?” I whisper. “I like it.”

What we do know, is that we are beginning to fall in love. As surprising as that is to both of us.

As is surprising that he gladly gave up his virginity with me on May 11th (one plus one) to truly make love! To say “I love you” to one another. As blue eyes meet brown. As surprising as his ability to take leisurely pleasure in touching, kissing, and holding – holding off on his ready orgasm, during our oneness.

We lived together for two summer months before he returned to his home in France, just outside of Paris.

We fly back and forth, close to once a month, and talk daily on Whats App. For free:) Antoine had been struggling with despair before we met and was seeing a psychologist. Being a Marriage and Family Therapist with a primal-feeling foundation, he feels safe to courageously feel his childhood fear and anger – reaching for his sadness.

It’s been very difficult at times, yet more so beautifully loving, a deeper love than I have ever known. He’s the best lover ever. We’ve passed the 11th month anniversary and wear rings of engagement (halos of love.)