Once upon a time (like 5.5years ago, but aren't all love stories supposed to start like that?) there were 2 people, we'll call then Dick and Jane who thought they were in love. Now when Jane was only 17 years old and Dick was 22, Jane left her family and moved 2.5hrs away to live with Dick. Jane was also one of my closest friends and someone that I considered to be the "sister" that I never had. Her and I spoke daily and I learned quickly that Dick was ruining her life. He had gotten her into drugs and alcohol. She was partying nightly, sneaking into bars and clubs, and just living a life that I knew she knew better than to be living.
Back then her and I were friends on "myspace.com" which was our main means of communication. Dick was also my "friend" on there as well and with some "Super big sister" sleuthing I discovered that Dicks best friend was a dude named Lance.
I quickly added Lance to my friends list and was more than haste in shooting off an e-mail to him that most likely said something along the lines of "Look, Jane is my little sister and Dick is ruining her life. You're his best friend so tell him to get his grubby hands off of her". To which I got a response that said something like "Oh, you're Jane's big sister? Good to know. She is ruining Dick's life, tell her to get the f*** away from my best friend".
And thus began an instant friendship.
Within a year both of us stopped talking to Dick and Jane (whom we had heard, had a falling out and were no longer together), but we still communicated with each other almost daily.
Most times it was nothing more than just a "Hey whats up" or telling our tales of the day. His as an undergrad/grad student and mine as (at the time) the mother of a 1yo who was just diagnosed with a congenital heart defect. Through the years our friendship grew, but it was never anything more than a friendship. We never met in person and only ever spoke on line, never over the phone, via text or anything. It was all done through myspace, AIM chat, or FB.
Life was crazy for us both, but through it all we managed to stay in touch. We were 2 people from 2 completely different worlds and yet we connected on some weird plane of existence where none of that mattered. What mattered was that when we needed it, we both had someone to talk to. Someone who because we had never met face to face seemed more anonymous and made it easier to tell everything too.
We learned the most intimate details of each others lives and our friendship continued to grow.
For most of the 4.5yrs we were friends before we "met" I encouraged Lance to get a girlfriend. Talked him through pre and post date jitters, listened to tales of relationships failed, or hookups that would never be anything more. All the while preaching to him that he needed a good girl in his life. Someone who truly cared about him, who would look after him, and be there when he needed someone (which is something he had NEVER had in his life, not just in a girl).
Now, with all of this story being told, it can't go without saying that I was married the entire time as well.
The man I was married too was physically, mentally, verbally, sexually, and financially abusive. I was living as a shell of myself in a constant state of fear of when something was going to set him off. Lance knew NONE of this. I kept all of a secret from him as I did from everyone else in my life. To anyone looking in, I lived a pretty good life, and everything was peachy. Then one night (august 21st 2010 to be exact) the shit hit the fan. My (now ex) husband started an argument with me, I decided for once in my life to stand up for myself and in turn ended up with a hand around my throat and being thrown to the floor.
Shortly thereafter, he left the house for an undisclosed amount of time and I got online right away and told Lance everything. He was mad, frustrated, sad, and probably every other emotion there is on the spectrum. By this time, we were the very best of friends and in the way that friends do, loved each other. The fact that this had happened to me that night (and all the times prior) infuriated him. 3 weeks later (and after finally breaking the communications barrier by skyping, talking on the phone, and texting we met. Face to Face.
It was the most nerve wracking, exhilarating meeting of my life. Here I had known this man for four and 1 a half years and had only seen him via skype twice in that time and I was not only just meeting him, but spending the weekend with him.
I was in North Carolina on vacation and he drove 2.5hrs fro TN to come see me. I was at a hotel with my daughter, Mother, grandmother, and great grandmother when he pulled up.They knew I was going out with friends but nothing more, so as soon as he pulled up I jumped in his car and away we went. We headed to subway for lunch and the 5minute ride there was the most awkward car ride of my life! Once we got there, we got out of the car, stood in the parking lot, hugged, and sighed the biggest sighs of relief. We had done it, after that long, we had finally met.
It sounds crazy, and believe me or not, but I knew the second I was wrapped in his hug, that he was going to be more than my best friend when all was said and done. The weekend was amazing. We spent as much time as we could (between my obligations to family) just hanging out, mainly watching football (something that we are both passionate about), and enjoying being together.
It all ended to quickly when I had to leave to go back to MI and settle things with my soon to be ex husband. I didn't know if I would be legally able to move to NC for good, or even how the divorce would turn out. But, I knew that I would fight like hell to be closer to Lance. Things in MI started to get sloppy as the divorce papers were filed, the police reports on abuse made, and everything else. I felt so at ease about it all though, knowing I had someone in my corner. At one point Lance said to me "Never give in" and I can fully admit to that becoming my mantra through the entire process.
Then 2 months later my daughter and I moved to NC for good. I haven't had a car in the 16months that we've lived here, and I've been working full time for 14 of the 16month, so Lance has had to float the "travel" end of our relationship and he's done it well. We started with him driving over here and spending 5-6hrs with me and then driving home, to now he comes and spends days at a time with us, or when my work/custody schedule allows takes me back to TN with him for a few days.
It's been a rough year for us being long distance the entire time, and we've come close to calling it quits, but in the end, we both know what a good thing we have and agree that fighting for it is the only option.