How Deeply I Loved Him / by Rebecca Tillett

We would meet in a chatroom in 1997 when were just teenagers. We’d grow close and in 1998 when my father killed himself, Mike would become one of the only people I could talk to about it. I would read his sweet words on the screen, grieving over the loss, sinking into my swelling isolation and wishing I could disappear into his strong arms. I quietly fell in love with him then but he lived in Philly and I lived in New Mexico, and 2,000 miles is enormous to two kids with no means to cross it.

As time wore on, my contact with Mike would become infrequent. He had his life on the east coast and I had my own in the desert. I would soon meet another man and marry him, sometimes letting years pass in which Mike and I wouldn’t speak at all. It was the hard times that I’d reach out to him, looking for the comfort and compassion he’d so readily gave when we were teenagers, when sadness and grief would come storming into my life and I needed someone who knew me, who really understood, who’d let me immerse myself in my own salty tears but never drown. And he never ever let me drown. It was 2013 when Mike and I would begin chatting more frequently and I would finally admit to him that I loved him when we were kids. He would laugh it off because even though we had grown, the distance was still daunting but more importantly, I was married. My confessions were innocent and naïve and I expected nothing of them, but as our chatting turned to texts and then phone calls, his feelings for me became clear and when I’d confront him over it, he wouldn’t deny it.

I would soon admit to myself how deeply I loved him, how lonely I’d felt for so much of my life and leave my husband of 14 years for the promise of something with this man I’d never even met in person. It would be the scariest decision I’d ever make. Six months later Mike would load up his truck, and drive out to Denver armed with nothing but faith and the hope of sharing a life with me.

One year later and we’ve never been happier.

Sometimes I think fate exists and life has a plan for us. This experience of unlikely circumstance has only helped to cement my faith in that belief. My love for him knows no bounds.