Every time I write a new blog, I read it aloud to Tom and he always asks before I start if it’s about him. He’s always teasing but besides his birthday blog, I have yet to tell how this stud of a man came to be a part of my life here in the Big Apple. It’s not a simple story and to some it might seem made up. Even Tom doesn’t totally believe my side of the story but it’s true and I know it. In the spring of 2007, I was single and eager to mingle but nice guys in Manhattan are hard to come by. One evening, on my way home from school, I popped into Key Food for some groceries, just minding my own business. I turned a corner and there he was. Tall and handsome with big beautiful biceps! But wait! It gets even better. Not only was he aesthetically pleasing, he was an aesthetically pleasing fireman! My dream come true.
We locked eyes and I flashed him my best flirty smile. He smiled back but kept with the other firemen. I went on with my shopping, all while keeping an avid eye out for another connection with this human. I found myself standing in the checkout lane one aisle over from the firefighters. We caught each other looking at each other several times, smiles growing bigger every time. I paid the cashier, grabbed my bags and walked out.
As I exited the store my heart began to pound and nerves crept over me. What the hell was happening!? I’ve made flirty eyes with guys before but never in my life did I feel like this. Something in my gut told me to turn around and ask this guy out. I probably turned back and away from the store entrance 4 times before I whimped out completely. I noticed the fire truck parked out front; number 13. I sighed heavily, shook my head and began the walk home. The 1 and 1/12 block walk to 94th street had my mind arguing with itself. “Turn around Jessica, he was hot!” “No! Go home crazy!” Well crazy won and I turned right around with sheer determination. I had to get back and at least say hello. Already planning my line I picked up my pace back toward Key Food. I looked up and just like in a movie when the main characters miss each other by some silly unfortunate situation of bad timing, there it went, #13. I stood still watching it drive away down second avenue overcome by an insane and inexplicable rush of sadness. No, not sadness. It was more like homesickness. Why did I feel this way? Sure his eyes sparkled and he had a nice smile but come on! I thought it might be because he was a fireman, an occupation I had always had a slightly excessive attraction to.
When I got home I couldn’t quite shake it. Why didn’t I just say hello in the checkout lane!? An opportunity lost to nerves which is ironic because “shy” has never been an adjective used to describe me.
Months passed and I forgave myself for the missed connection and eventually forgot about my fireman with the #13 firetruck.
A couple of months into my relationship with Tom, after we actually did meet, the memory of this Key Food rendezvous and the mystery man flashed through my brain. Holy shit! It was him! Tom! My Tom! MY FIREMAN!
I told the story to Tom but that man can’t remember what he had for breakfast much less some chick who smiled at him approximately 6 months prior. It all made sense now though. At that time he was still on probation. The fdny can be in some ways militant and probies must keep their heads down, even at the grocery store. I know it was him that day and I know now that I just wasn’t meant to meet him then. The universe has a plan and ours began a few months after our initial interaction. Go ahead and roll your eyes, I know it sounds cheesy but I know what I felt that day was my instincts reacting to the fact this man was my soulmate. Deep down my heart felt a foreshadowing of a special love story that was meant to wait a little longer before it began. That summer I moved into a studio by myself, dated a bit but most importantly learned a lot about myself; an important time in my life that I needed to experience on my own.
When Tom and I officially met in the fall of 2007 I was ready for a relationship and Tom was my match. I realized many months later the reason why I felt a hinge of homesickness that day I watched the firetruck drive away. To me home is not a place, home is a feeling and Tom makes me feel more at home than anyone else. If home is where the heart is, my heart knew long before my brain that my dream home was a few months away from a life-long mortgage.