Klee and I met at a boarding academy 20 odd years ago. He was a cute skater kid with smoldering eyes and an intriguing edge. He was also dating one of my dearest friends. So, we hung in the same circle but our interactions were limited. In fact, I remember thinking he didn't like me all that well. He claims otherwise.
I think our paths crossed once after high school until about a year ago. Timing is a clever and mysterious creature.
Our reacquaintance threw us both off balance. We connected through our writing which allowed a sense of anonymity and honesty. It was at a time when I was struggling heavily and privately with my own heartache. My life felt drowned in pretense. Like I couldn't trust the ground beneath me. My friendship with Klee had a raw quality about it. I needed that. I clung to it.
Klee and I are very similar souls and yet have lived very different lives. He ventured a little farther off of the straight and narrow than I did. He was bold in his experimenting and bares the bruises from it. He is a born poet but can conjure up his inner thug at will. Where I spent my years nurturing my dream of family and home, he opted for bachelorhood and honed his skills as a chef.
Our relationship has never been conventional. Certainly not well thought out. But we offered something to each other that both our hearts were lacking.
And then came Biscuit.Obviously, the timing of this pregnancy was a little earth shattering. Klee and I both had so many personal demons still to battle. My heart was in chaos over my divorce. I was living in a hotel, grasping at any shreds of normalcy left in my life. My identity as mother was being redefined (which terrified me) and now we were adding a fourth (??!!?). The weight of all of this, along with the confusion it created in me, left CherKlee in a state of paralysis. So, we took a break. Time.
I want to be clear that at no point was Klee running away. He was in love with his Biscuit and wanted to do right by all of us. But time apart was necessary. It was good for me. I found Belmont cottage and set up home for my kids. I started writing again. I cried... A LOT. I found comfort in friends which was something I had not done in many years. I baked... A LOT.
Klee was busy too. The work he was doing on himself was profound and was his to conquer, alone. But we wrote. We spoke a few times on the phone; saw each other a few times; but, mostly, we wrote.
As productive as the time apart was, I think we both thought nine months would take a lot longer than it did. I had hoped I would have it all together by my due date. He had hoped to be relocated to this area. By September, Biscuit was threatening eminent arrival and neither of us felt "ready". It was unsettling. With the distance between us, we were both afraid that I would go into labor and he wouldn't make it for the birth. That was unacceptable. So, despite our apprehensions, the decision was made that he would come stay with me while we waited to meet our son and that we would evaluate our situation as it evolved.
Eh Hemm, me and my three dogs, and my three kids, in my two bedroom, one bath "cottage".
There is no way I can possibly overstate the challenge we face in inventing our life together. But, we're creative. And we're learning a lot... A LOT.