I vaguely remember the lonely nights in 2004, sitting in my shower and letting the hot water run out as I questioned everything in my life at the time. I had recently lost my father to cancer. Two weeks before that, I ended my marriage and walked away from my family in pursuit of what I thought at the time was true love. And as I waited for this true love to match my actions and walk away from her family – and waited and waited and waited – I found myself in a very dark and lonely place, day in and day out. Every night concluded with the same, similar routine; sleeping pills, booze and tears. There was one night in particular for which I prayed to not see the next morning.
I vaguely remember those nights. The memories of the loneliness and despair are almost surreal afterthoughts in my mind, not as if they occurred years ago, but rather lifetimes ago in a distant and faraway place. It's almost as if they occurred to someone else; a character in a story told to me by someone who heard it from someone else. It's a fictional feel to a not so fictional tale of love, loss and lack of lucidity.
As I look back on the cloud and haze that surrounded my life back in 2004, I think about the person I was then and the feelings I carried with me in my heart. I was so steadfast in my beliefs that I was blinded to the reality that surrounded me. I was so consumed by thoughts of passion and juvenile romanticism, I could not fathom for one second I could be wrong. I invested 100% of myself into a dream, only to find the dream to be a mere illusion and my ass planted firmly on the cold stone of an emotional rock bottom.
I find myself reflecting about my past tonight, on the eve of my wedding and on the verge of yet another new chapter in my life. Following the trials and tribulations the consumed my life from late '04 through the end of '05, I would have sworn that I would never marry again. I hid behind the same clichés and emotional arguments that you hear from people who've been hurt by love. I lived on both sides of that coin as both the victim and the villain. On one side, an ex-wife whose own life and dreams I shattered. On the other side, a "soul mate" that never was and someone who chose the comfort and security of the status quo over me. I was done with the idea of meaningful relationships with women. Or so I thought.
On February 15, 2005, I met the woman who will today become my wife. It was an encounter that would set in motion the story that culminates this afternoon on the sands of Isla Mujeres, Mexico. It was an evening that reset the meter on an expiring heart and, for all intents and purposes, saved my life. Looking back at how Lee and I came together, and the respective trials and tribulations we each endured as I struggled with my past; those memories, too, seem as if they occurred many lifetimes ago. Lee and I have lived a lifetime's worth of experiences since we met four and a half years ago, and it's hard to believe it's been such a brief period of time given all that we've shared together.
There are not enough words for me to describe the woman I am about to marry. All the pages in all the books cannot contain the volume of emotion I feel for Lee. I could try, but I know I would never be able to finish whatever I write because my love for her continues to grow with every day we share together. I look forward to the vows we will exchange knowing there's no doubt in my mind nor in my heart about me feelings for Lee. I go into this, my wedding day, with complete clarity and absolute commitment.
In many ways, the chapter for the Gil and Lee that met back in February 2005 comes to an end today. In its place begins a new chapter, one that tells the story of Gil and Lee as husband and wife. It is a story that is bound by a lifelong commitment to grow together, live together and love together, regardless of what challenges may lay on the road ahead. It is a story that is possible in part because of the choices I made way back when and the subsequent consequences I had to endure.
I smile when I think about those vague memories from 2004. I smile knowing those moments brought me to this, my wedding day. It is a day I embrace with a zest and a vision that is crystal clear in both my heart and soul.