Chapter 14

Let me tell you a little bit about Anne.

Anne had everything going for her, at least on the outside. She had accomplished everything she had ever set out to accomplish. She was a successful lawyer, financially secure, well connected. She had an active social life, plenty of friends (male and female), and was quite attractive.

As I said, she had everything going for her. Except for one thing: she had never found that perfect someone. Now, few of us would claim to have found the perfect someone. Most of us have had long-term relationships, many of us are married, and there are very few people who would claim to have never been in love - or something close to love – at least once in their lives.

Anne’s problem was that she had been so successful at everything else, her love life seemed tragic by contrast. If the others aspects of her life had incorporated more struggle, like most of us, then her love life would not have seemed so disappointing. But Anne had succeeded at everything else she had attempted, and so she expected to succeed in the romantic department as well. But it didn’t happen.

So Anne was left with a gaping hole, and that gaping hole was in her heart. She tried to fill it. She dated from time to time. She developed crushes, had promising first dates, and even had passionate weekend getaways from time to time. But nothing lasted. Nothing could fill that gaping hole.

Now, in my opinion, Anne’s biggest problem was that she was too smart. Too intelligent for her own good. And, perhaps, too successful at everything else in her life. And when she failed time and time again to find that perfect relationship, she used that intelligence of hers to dwell on, analyze, and dissect everything that went wrong, everything that might be wrong with her. The more attention she gave to such things, the more frustrated she grew, the more inadequate she felt, and the more depressed she became.

Anne would never admit to anyone that she was depressed. And for the most part she wasn’t. It was only when she turned her attention to her love life (or lack of it) that the depression started up again. And when she went down that road, there was no telling how dark it would be this time around. Sometimes it was bad. Really bad. And it never resolved itself. She was never able to think her way out of it, to discover some thought or idea that would clarify everything for her. So around and around she went. And she was lonely.

I said earlier that I almost fell in love with Anne the first time I heard her voice. But the truth is, I didn’t almost fall in love with her, I did fall in love with her. And I’ve been in love with her ever since. Not the starry-eyed, head-over-heels kind of love, but a deep appreciation that has withstood all the little conflicts and squabbles we have created with one another over the years.

When I finally met her in person, my first impression of Anne was that she was not the same person that I had come to know over the phone. She was far more intense and direct and serious in person. And at first, I didn’t like it. It was disturbing to me. We had talked for hours on the phone, not just about the lawsuit but about all sorts of things, personal and otherwise. There was a humorous chemistry between us, but that chemistry sometimes disappeared when we were in each other’s presence. I think she noticed it too. Maybe it was me that was different, not her. But most likely, it was both of us.

The oddest thing about our relationship, and what made it different for me than any other I had been in, was that I was able to be myself more than I had ever been previously. There was none of that self conscious second-guessing that so often goes on in similar relationships. In a way, she felt more like a sister or a cousin that someone I had romantic feelings for.

Yes, I had romantic feelings for Anne, though I never actually told her so, and she never indicated that she felt that way about me. There was sometimes a slightly sexual tone to our conversations, some playful banter, but it never went any further than that.

Truth be told, I would have married Anne if she had brought up the possibility. If companionship is the primary reason for marriage, then she and I were a perfect match. But I think Anne needed or wanted more than companionship. She was far more intense than I was in the area of relationships. She wanted to search and to find that perfect someone. She had actively pursued romance for most of her adult life, while I had not. And from her many references to the guys she had dated over the years, it was obvious to me that a romantic relationship was far more of a priority for her than it was for me.

So that was the way things were between Anne and I - the closest of friends, with a touch of playfulness to keep it interesting. And despite a number of stretches during which I wished it could be more than it was, I was, for the most part, fine with that.

And I think she was, too.