by Avery Thatcher
It’s New Year’s Eve and I’m standing on a small stage in a pub holding a bass guitar singing backup on a Keith Urban song with a small group of musicians from the band that I’m in. The crowd is into it, they’re singing along and dancing – everyone, including us, are having a good time.
I’ve done this gig for three years in a row, but this time it’s different.
This time, I can look over at the person playing saxophone and sing the lyrics “I wanna love somebody, love somebody like you.” and sing them to somebody.
A few years prior to that moment, I was invited to play keys for a band that was doing a gig that their normal keyboardist couldn’t make it to. I was pinch hitting just for the gig, and thought it would be fun so I said “why not?!”
The event went really well and I had a great time playing pop, rock and country from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s with the band. At the end while we were packing up, the band leader came over and thanked me for helping out. They said they didn’t have a place for another keyboardist, but if I could play tenor saxophone they’d have a spot for me.
I had never played tenor saxophone, but I had played the clarinet before so I thought “they’re both reed instruments – how hard can it be to learn? So I went to a musical instrument store and bought a tenor saxophone later that week and joined the next band practice.
Someone else was new at that practice, and he was also going to be playing the saxophone – but he was playing the alto.
I remember thinking “aw, he’s cute and really sweet” but I knew he was in a serious relationship with another woman so I didn’t do anything about it. To be honest at this part in my life even if he was single I wouldn’t have done anything about it. I was way too insecure and shy.
And that’s how things were for a few years. We shared the same corner of the stage when I was either playing saxophone, keys, or bass guitar. We chatted a little over the years, but didn’t really get to know each other. He got married, I dated other people and life went on.
Then in 2012, he sent me an email out of the blue saying that he and his wife were splitting up and he didn’t really have anyone to talk to – but he felt that I might be a good person to talk with so asked if I’d be open to chatting a bit more.
Of course I said yes, and we started emailing back and forth. Then we started texting. We went on a few friend dates, and really got to know one another. I had just gotten out of my only serious relationship that only lasted 3 months, and this person was separating from his wife, so I don’t think either of us expected anything to develop beyond a beautiful friendship.
But then in the fall of 2012 things started to change and I started to realize that there might be something developing.
And I fell into my default pattern and felt a strong desire to flee, haha. My fight or flight when it comes to relationships before this point was to flee, far far away and end things before they had a chance to hurt me.
Something stopped me, though, and I leaned into the fear this time. I don’t know why, but I’m so glad that I did.
We continued to date, get closer, and then mid-December he told me that he loved me.
I said “thank you”.
I had never been in-love before, and I didn’t know if I was in-love now so I wanted to make sure that I meant it when I said it. I shared this with him and I think it surprised him a little, but he respected it and rolled with it.
I started reflecting and thinking more about what love really meant, and what it meant to be in-love – and a few weeks later, on December 28 I smiled and with all of my heart looked him in the eye and said “I love you” and fully meant it.
It was both scary and exciting at the same time!
A few days later, we were both playing at that gig on New Year’s Eve where his family came to celebrate with him and support him at the gig and I sat down with all of them for the first time as his official girlfriend. I didn’t know this at the time, but one of the friend’s of his mother’s that was there leaned over to his mom and said “They’re going to get married someday.”
Good thing I didn’t hear that at the time … because… flight…
But I remember that moment standing on the stage so clearly hearing the lyrics to “Somebody Like You” by Keith Urban as if for the first time (even though I’d sung them so many times over the years) as I looked into the eyes of the only man I have ever loved.
I can’t believe it’s been over ten years since that day, because I guess it’s true what they say that time flies when you’re having fun. Of course our relationship hasn’t been perfect, smooth, sunshine, butterflies and rainbows all the time. But just writing that down now reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from Rabindranath Tagore – “Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky. “
Yes, we’ve had plenty of clouds. But they have allowed us to create and enjoy the most beautiful sunsets. When I think of our love, it really reminds me of my grandparents on my mother’s side. They absolutely were sweethearts, and they really did have something sparkly and special.
That’s exactly how it feels to love and be loved by Dustin – sparkly and special. Like I’ve known him for my whole life, yet keep discovering new things about him and can keep celebrating all of his accomplishments and triumphs.
Dustin, if you’re listening I’m going to quote that song from that night “I’m breathin’ deeper than I’ve ever done, and it sure feels good to finally feel the way I do. Now I wanna love somebody, love somebody like you.”
And if you’re not Dustin, listening to this right now, I truly hope that one day you will get to experience this kind of sparkly love and that you don’t take it for granted and continue to nurture it.
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