It’s impossible to fully explain without including all of Jacob and my correspondence, but we were respectful of each other and full of admiration for who the other one was. It was kind and thoughtful. I believe we felt seen by the other. Jacob talked time again about wanting to change his situation, years before he knew me. The girl he married did not mature into the woman he could grow with and that left him longing.
Without knowing me he was content to let things ride and had no impetus to change. Really, he had every reason to let things stay the same, a child, his and her family with the pressures that stout religious views can impose, and the ability to distract himself with other things that brought happiness to him. But it still lead me to question, ‘Why do we leave things unsaid for so long? Why must most of us be pushed into action?’. How much of our lives are driven by fear?
One day a misunderstanding of an IM turned the tables. We were chatting in Spanish as was our custom, and I was talking about one of my best friends. She is truly a sister of my soul and I used the term ‘alma gemela’; literal translation ‘twin soul’. He said he felt the same way about me and all bets were off. The idea of souls meeting that were destined to. It’s the thing that us romantics drool over. My defenses were destroyed.
It was hard to keep a level head when Jacob started asking questions about the future, ‘How would I feel about dating? What were my thoughts on his church? Would I be comfortable being a step parent?’ It was all extremely premature but these were all things I wanted to almost a desperate degree. It made it difficult for me to maintain a clear head. We talked about a hypothetical future where we would have children of our own, grow together and live different lives than the ones we had.
In the moments I had clarity of thought I tried reminding him of the reality of his situation. That all the fantasy depended on action only he could bring about. I wanted to help him find direction and be honest with his wife, not just because of my own selfishness, but because I honestly did want things to be better for him with or without me, and there was no way for that to come about without open communication with himself and his wife. But in the end it wasn’t my relationship to foster, care for, defend, protect or fight for.
Jacob told me that he had brought up his general feelings to his wife but felt like they fell on deaf ears. I understand all too well what it’s like to not feel heard and had empathy for the situation. Jacob eventually told his wife about what had happened between us. It was, of course, the start of something very difficult and painful for them as a couple. There was resentment, disillusionment, anger and shame on all sides I believe. By that time I was gone on to another project. The connect between Jacob and I relegated to memory. A cautionary tale of the danger of opening ones heart to someone who cannot truly do the same.