Kaitlin Ann Trepanier
(Excerpt from the non-fiction work-in-process, Carpenter’s Daughter: 1952 words)
All copyrights reserved by author, Kaitlin Ann Trepanier
Watching him dance the night away with many of the available women of various ages, my heart sank when I concluded what I had been waiting for was not going to happen. Of course, what else could I realistically expect at a business party–or any party considering my bad behavior of late.
The day I started work at the company I saw the stranger glide across the warehouse’s cement floor. My heart raced, then thudded, when I looked at the ring still on my left hand. I knew my marriage was at an impasse and likely was ending because my husband refused outright the changes I, we, needed to make in order for me to follow my heart’s calling. even though he was already fulfilling his own dream. He also refused marriage counselling regardless of the fact we had separated once before. True, I had acted inappropriately to incite our split, but only because nothing else seemed to catch his attention seriously enough to notice we were falling apart. Some people, I have come to realize, want nothing to change and will spend more energy trying to keep things the same rather than use the energy to adapt, change, and grow.
Hearing my name called by the supervisor snatched my attention back to the present. Seeing the supervisor’s wave directing me to the back door, I noticed the stranger glide towards the exit too. “You go with him. He will show you,’ the Asian man grinned. I could not even look at the tall stranger for fear of him seeing my feelings on my face. Instead, I tucked my head down and followed his long stride with mine out the door.
“I’ll drive this time,” he said as we both slid into the small car. “You can drive a standard, right?’
“Yes, I drive a motorcycle,” I blurted as my sight caught the blue of his eyes.
Silently we drove to downtown Toronto and silently I watched his efforts as he pulled souvenir inventory and packed it into boxes before loading the boxes onto a trolley. Ready to head up to the stores to merchandise the products, we broke for lunch first.
Awkwardly sitting in the CN Tower’s food court, silence dominated the space between us. I felt his presence keenly just a few feet away from me and my breath caught every time I looked directly in to his eyes. Hoping for an icebreaker, I was relieved when he took out of his lunch bag several herbal capsules from a company I too was also using. The commonality broke the ice and an ease flowed between us. The afternoon flew by as did the training because the job was a simple, even if a time consuming one.
Offering me the keys the next day, he directed the route to Wonderland, but unfortunately with Wonderland not yet being open to the public and our access unexpectedly not available either, we had to delay the training session. With packed lunches in hand we made our way to one of the many parking lots islands of grass and trees. The car stood alone like sentinel on the vast sea of pavement.
“It’s my birthday,” he sighed as he opened the container of cupcakes. “She wouldn’t even make me a birthday cake.”
I would have made you a birthday cake my silent voice whispered in my head.
Sitting there alone in the expanse of empty space, our hearts pounded out our stories. Rain forced us into the small confined space of the car, but our words did not stop. Our breaths steamed the windows until we were forced to return to the company. For the first time ever, I did not feel alone.
What I did not know about me at the time is that I am highly intuitive in contrast to many other people, well, people that I knew anyway. I seemed to sense how important this new person was to me, but it did not make sense. With my head I found myself naively judging what was between us as just another physical attraction, while I also knew somehow our connection was so much more. But then again, because of my younger year experiences, I was kind of screwed up emotionally as my subsequent poor choices reveal.
In less than a month, I knew I was in love with him. For the first time a relationship for me was not about sex, but about mutual sharing of thoughts, ideas, and interests. I felt seen, heard, appreciated, and even admired, made even more evident by the lack of such experiences ever in my life.
What I also did not know then and in my life before him is how my primary love language is touch. Combined with discovering my personality type is very unusual, as is my learning style too, it is now easy to understand why my younger years were filled with traumas that impaired healthy development and relationships.
I did not know all this then. All I knew was I had to tell him how I felt, so I arranged to meet him outside of work. He brought CDs and videos for me and I brought anxiety and nervousness that prevented me from saying the words I knew I needed to say, but I was still mired in disbelief of what was transpiring.
“You can’t even say it,” he growled quietly as he looked away. Nonetheless, perched on a driftwood log on the beach, we both sat unwaveringly talking and sharing until the spring air cooled our bodies beyond the warmth our clothes provided.
When he grabbed my hand to pull me up over the edge of the bluff, electricity coursed through me and I could not speak. As I watched him pull away, I knew I had to leave my husband regardless of this man’s actions.
“You have to get unmarried,” he told me one sunny evening in the country school yard after he whirled his car into the parking lot after looking for and seeing my car in what was becoming our meeting place.
Ripping apart a twenty-year relationship, even if I knew it was the right and even moral thing to do broke my heart, but not as much as I knew staying would. Within a couple months, the few belongings I took from our suburban home filled my little country apartment.
The following month he left his partner; the girl who had broken his heart before because he knew it was a mistake to be with her for a second go round, so I was confused when all of a sudden he started to spend less time, professionally and personally with me.
I grew scared: scared because I never wanted anything or anyone as much as I wanted him and to be with him day and night. Of course, I did not know at the time, a big part of my woundedness was born from rejection and abandonment; therefore, me let me just say here and now the changing circumstances certainly did not bring out my best qualities, personally or professionally, which saddened and mortified me because I had grown accustomed to identifying strongly with my ability to do a good job no matter what, probably because I felt it was the only aspect of me people valued.
But then came the news of the company Christmas party and somehow I naively thought that would make things better. Wrong. Yet I really did know better. Previous corporate experience taught me company events are company events, not real social settings where one could just be one’s self. When he told me he was escorting a young woman from the company because her fiancé could not attend, I was conflicted, but the day of the event I told myself to make the best of it.
Rather than driving back home, I showered and changed at a friend’s place when I discovered he, who lived much further away, was using the company facilities to shower and change for the festivities because it felt too personal.
Agreeing to meet a female co-worker, who had become a confidant about the situation, was my attempt to calm myself before the party, but to no avail. When we walked through the ballroom’s doors together, suddenly she disappeared and there I was, standing beside a large pillar, my eyes scanning the large room bustling with many colours, voices, and music.
Self-consciously I considered what I was wearing when I saw more formal clothes on many of the women, but I waved the matter aside since I had not dressed for the women but for him. My body-fitting black dress was topped by a cropped red wool jacket and finished with a black pair of patent leather pumps, thrusting my height to six feet, high enough to see over most of the crowd. And there he was, far across on the other side of the room. Our eyes locked. I felt like I was in a movie. He was there and then he was gone. I looked anxiously about, but his over six foot frame was not to be seen. Dejected, I thought, what a bad idea it was coming to the party, but then, as always I felt his presence first before I saw him as he walked behind me and came to rest on my unprotected right side.
Just as he was appraising me with his eyes, our employer walked by, “Look at her,” he said as he waved his arm my way. Of course, I do not recall what our employer said because I was wrapped up in the man I loved surprised gaze and approving smile. With the employer gone, blue eyes reached out and ran his hand along my coat’s arm and then compared the feel of my jacket to his black cashmere. He smiled and said, “I am sitting with our department head,” which left me baffled, wondering where I was supposed to sit since it was obvious I would not be sitting with our department head and him.
Abandoned, but rescued by my confidante, we found seats at the front of the room with the sales team, directly across from my department’s table and blue eyes.
Not having partners, many of the women got up to dance as women do, including me. When he joined the little circles of women dancers, I watched him with an appreciative eye and when he slow-danced with his escort, then another female friend of his, whom I did not like, I whimpered inside wondering as the night passed by if he would ever dance with me.
The crowd was shrinking as the night faded as were my hopes. But then I felt his eyes upon me and before he even got to the table I stood up knowing he was coming for me. Following him to the dance floor, my heart raced and my breath quickened. I was worried I would do something foolish in front of all the people I knew were watching us. Then he put his hand on my back and grasped my other hand and whispered, “A perfect fit.”
My breath stopped briefly. The world faded away. I still do not recall what song played as we glided harmoniously across the small dance floor. All I knew is I was in heaven as I breathed in his scent and felt his firm hold that made me feel safe, secure, and treasured.
Then, the music stopped, he grabbed my hand and led me to his table to show me something he had co-created before he quickly released his grasp and I was left standing in a state of dizzying shock.
KAITLIN ANN TREPANIER
Writer, Founder, and President of Connecting The Dots With The Respect Principle
Smashwords interview @ www.smashwords.com
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September 28, 2019