I realised something today. I talk about Big Love a lot in this blog, but I don’t think I’ve ever really told you the full story of him, just the horrible, bitter, jealous, ranting, whining breakup bits. And those really are NOT the best bits of our story. Not by HALF. Our love story was insane. And I mean literally insane. You should hear it.
We first met in a war zone. An actual war zone, not a metaphorical one. We were both civilian contractors, him from one side of the world and me from the other. He had recently separated from his wife and was in the process of getting divorced, and I was still married to (but barely) a man who was emotionally, mentally, and physically abusive. My marriage was over, though. Make no mistake about that. My stint in the war zone proved that to me before any new man came along.
I wasn’t even looking to meet a new man whilst I was out there, but I did. I met Big Love – and I remember our first meeting like it was yesterday. It actually wasn’t our first meeting at all; he’d first met me when I served him a couple of days before. I hadn’t remembered him, though. It was as I was drinking my tea, sat on the benches, enjoying some war zone sunshine, that a colleague came and sat down with me, his tall, dark and handsome friend in tow. Apparently, Big Love had asked my colleague for the introduction. I’d called him “sweetheart” when I served him and he was a little bit smitten from there.
We accidentally found ourselves sat for hours in the sun that afternoon, talking and laughing, sharing stories and telling tales, long after my colleague left us. It seemed like an absolute miracle that we both had the rest of the day free from work, but before we knew it the sun was setting and the lights were starting to flicker on around us. By the time we went to our own beds that night, I knew things had changed for me. I already knew that my marriage was over. I’d known that for a long time, deep down. But now, I knew I was ready for something else. For my Big Love.
Every day from that point, we spent all of our free time together, as much as we could. It wasn’t long before one date turned into two, then three, then so many that we could no longer count them. And all in a war zone — in a place you’d LEAST expect romance to flourish. But it really did flourish. It fucking flourished, fast, furiously, and nothing could stop it. Not even the unexpected interruptions of rocket attacks and his co-workers as we tried to fuck for the first time, or the month of R&R he spent visiting a completely different part of the world, or the opinions of anyone around us … and there were plenty of those.
Even over there, amongst all that fighting and destruction and death, we found love. I managed to book a hotel for the night (yes, I really fucking did), and I managed to get naughty, white lingerie sent over in time to give him a night he’d never forget (yes, I really, really fucking did!), and it all had the desired effect. We were obsessed with each other. In bed, out of it, in every which way possible. To say it was intense would be one of the biggest understatements I’ve ever made. I couldn’t make up the crazy rides we went through together.
Six months into our love story, I left the war zone. I went back to Europe to pack up my things and finally say goodbye to the man I married … in a sense. It would be a few more weeks before he was due to return (also from the war zone), and I wanted more than anything to be gone before he came back. If I saw his face again, if he begged me to stay again, I might’ve stayed. I like to think I wouldn’t have done, but I can’t really be sure. I didn’t want to run the risk. I was tired of being beaten and lied to, cheated on and belittled. So, I left. I packed and I left, leaving The hubby to come home to a flat that was exactly how he left it … just with my belongings missing from the drawers and cupboards.
It took a little while longer for Big Love to leave the war zone and come to my side of the world. We didn’t have a plan. Would he stay with me? Would I go to the other side of the world with him? Would we find somewhere completely random and unique to set up home? Did we even want to set up a home somewhere at all? We just kinda said “let’s wing it” and went with that. We spent some time on my side of the world, but after a while of him telling me stories about his side of the world, all I wanted to do was go and experience it for myself. We borrowed some money from my mother, booked our flights, and away we went.
We had the most amazing, beautiful relationship, exploring places that I didn’t even knew existed. We drove from one side of his enormous country to the other, taking in all the delights along the way. I saw things that I didn’t ever think I’d get the opportunity to see, like when we parked up to check out some scenic waterfalls and came across a mother black bear with her cub just rambling through the forest.
An actual black bear. Wild. And a baby. Wild. Wild fucking animals. WILD FUCKING BEARS.
That’s not all. Because of him, I jumped out of a motherfucking plane. I got muddy in places so beautiful you’d think they only exist in paintings and pictures. I tubed across water and swam in lakes, quad-biked and hiked up mountains, snowboarded and wakeboarded, failed at wakeboarding and then tried kneeboarding instead. Yes, I failed at that too, but I did have epic amounts of fun as I failed. I saw the Northern Lights. I almost died in thirteen-foot deep snow on a mountain. I saw a moose, and I ate moose, and I BBQ’d my foot almost every day.
And it wasn’t just adventures he offered me; he also showered me with extravagant gifts. Designer shoes, nice handbags, expensive furniture for our beautiful little home and glimpses of a really good life to come. More than that though, he showed me happiness. Real, genuine happiness. Happiness without fear, at least for a while.
He showed me so many new things, so many weird and wonderful experiences, opening up so many doors. I’d never have guessed right there at the beginning that we’d end up in quite the state we did. How did we fall apart in that way? Because we definitely fell apart. But we had adventures right up to the end, even in the few weeks before.
And then he broke my heart.
Featured image from my camera roll