So, here we were, finding greater comfort and ease with each other in paradise than either of us had bargained for…
The afternoon of our third day, we ventured out for massages in a nearby village. I was delighted to learn that Lee had arranged for 90 minutes for each of us (an hour is just such a tease when it comes to relaxation!). It was just another of the many ways in which we’d shared such a perspective on life.
After the intensely relaxing treatment, we ambled down the street to an oyster bar. I took a call from home to learn that one of my children was seeing a doctor and needed to be treated. I think Lee found the protective “Mama Bear” in me appealing. He had even told me how much he enjoyed hearing me talk about my children — I had described them so vividly, he explained, that he felt he already knew them.
We made our way back to the resort, walked over to the bar for a drink and decided to walk down the beach to dinner. After scaling a fence or two, we found a spot, ordered a bottle of champagne and marveled at how lucky we’d been to find ourselves there, together, enjoying each other’s company so thoroughly.
The champagne had a little-blue-pill-like effect on Lee. We’d walked barefoot back along the beach, our arms around each other, potentially stumbling just a little, and then enjoyed an extended and athletic session before finally collapsing into slumber in each others’ arms.
We were scheduled to fly out in the morning, so we ran, as usual, grabbed breakfast and went back to our room to pack. We’d allotted 30 minutes for the beach before showering, checking out and heading to the airport. It was comical how, as we sat in our beach chairs, we both raised our watches into view at the haptic notification. Our flight was delayed. Shortly after, another tap on the wrist alerted us that our flight had been delayed again. We would now miss our connection and likely not make it home that night. Within five minutes, Lee had booked us on flights back the following day, extended our stay by a night and I’d arranged for another night of care for my children.
That day, I barely moved from my beach chair. I went to the restroom, cooled myself in the ocean, sunned myself and read. The well-tipped staff were so thrilled their best tippers were staying, they brought a bucket full of iced water. Lee fetched everything else, from sunscreen to lunch and margaritas. I reveled in feeling so pampered! We stayed in those beach chairs until the sun had set completely, then found a modern diner in the center of town for dinner.
Later that night, I curled into Lee’s arms and, just as we were dozing off, he uttered “I love you.”
I’m sure I jolted awake at the shock, but tried to suppress any physical or other response. I understood it instantly for what it was: We had enjoyed four perfect days together, not only enjoying each others’ company and conversation, but also feeling increasingly connected to one another — and, while waaaay too soon, it was the most perfectly natural thing to say in the moment.
I pretended to sleep; I didn’t want to ruin the feeling with a response…even if it was misplaced.
Another moment passed… Lee said, “I didn’t mean that.”
I continued to pretend to be asleep.
“Say something!” he said, desperation in his voice.
“Mmm sleeping,” I mumbled and relaxed into his arms even more deeply, sighing and, eventually, falling to sleep for real.
It was, however premature, the perfect end to our perfect days together in paradise. And I couldn’t help but feel a little apprehensive about what our return to reality might bring…