How do you know if a person, a lover, a prospective mate, is a “keeper?”
All those things we look for in another: love, affection, respect, chemistry, geeky things in common, compatible baggage, similar outlook on life, same basic views on the Stuff That Matters, all that, but what, for you, was the Definitive Moment?
I had that moment yesterday morning. He brought me tea in bed, with just the right amount of milk and sugar. He did it without asking because he knows I like a cup of tea first thing in the morning. He paid attention when I made tea for myself and remembered what I like. He did it with no thought of anything but seeing me smile.
He’s a Keeper.
I know it might seem like such a small thing, and I’ve written about it here just a little – no man has ever made me a cup of tea in all the 25 years I was in committed relationships, not even once. Not one of them ever bothered to learn what I like or to give me just one little token of their esteem in this humble way. Not one of them seemed to notice that I drink hot tea pretty much every day, much less how I prefer to drink it. While I took pains to learn how they liked their coffee, eggs for breakfast, mixed drinks, their favorite fork, all the little things, they did not bother to do the same for me, and I have to tell you it hurt. A lot. Grand Gestures are not at all what I’m about and in fact they make me wary because I always suspect there will be strings attached and I will pay for any act of “generosity” they might bestow upon me.
But the Little Things? I swoon for the little things every time.
I told him a few weeks ago that I’ve been testing him. I knew it might raise his hackles, but felt I had to come clean. When he asked what I meant, I told him that I’m super-sensitive about some things, that I’ve tossed out what would have been bombs with Captain Bligh, just to see how he reacted and that he’d dodged every one of them, confirming my belief that there is no Mr. Hyde inside him, waiting until I cared too much to let him go easily before changing before my eyes into a monster that would crush my heart.
You know what he did? He said “awwwww….I’ve never lied to you. This is really who I am…” and pulled me into a long hug. And I believe him. He does not resent my testing. In fact, he understands exactly why I had to do it and he’s not hurt by it. We agreed in the beginning to be totally honest with each other and have lived up to that promise even when it was awkward or uncomfortable. He has listened to my rants about the men in my past. He has baggage, too, but it’s similar enough to mine that we’re compatible. We’re both a little bruised by Life and wary because we can’t help ourselves, but together we’ll make it.
He made me a cup tea, and that is everything.