December 22, 2016

How a Recovering Cynic found Intimacy.

I am eight months post-separation and partially through a divorce.

I had postponed my dating adventures until I was sure I’d made it through the emotional backdraft, but recently I began venturing out into the world hanging out with friends—guy friends. Each time I’m out with a different man, I secretly store treasures in my heart of what I am looking for in The One.

As a recovering cynic, I’m learning to fully embrace each moment. And if I keep my heart and mind open, I can witness magic anywhere.

Recently, I was with a friend and he suggested we share some ice cream as we were walking around an outside mall. I didn’t know what to make of this. In fact, I’m pretty sure I froze, and then hesitated, and eventually stammered “su-su-rrrrre.”

The man I was previously married to—my only real relationship of my adult life—made it clear from the time we first met when we were 17 years old that he wouldn’t share any food with me, especially dessert. And that’s just the way it was for 21 years.

When my friend and I walked into the ice cream shop, he looked to me for the flavors. He just went with the flow, which felt abnormal to me. But it was also fun to witness myself in this new circumstance. In the past, I had been made to feel that my choices, right down to what ice cream I picked, were wrong, so this felt like being thrown into chaos.

I decided not to second guess my ice cream flavors this time, but I kept wondering how we were going to share. One spoon, two spoons? Where was this going? How would this work? It was just ice cream and I was making it into a thing.

But you don’t know what you don’t know.

We started to walk out of the ice cream shop and he requested another spoon—problem solved. Now what? I carried the ice cream while we took turns spooning out the goodness. It was simple at first, almost too cute. We laughed and savored each bite, taking turns except for when I would sneak an extra bite before he could get his spoon back in.

And then as the ice cream started getting harder to reach, he would cup his hand underneath mine to steady the cup, and it moved from cute to breathtaking.

Maybe it was because we were just friends and I had not considered the idea of anything more. Or maybe I had just never considered the fact that sharing dessert could be a form of intimacy. Either way, I didn’t want to sneak extra bites anymore. I wanted it to always be his turn.

It was the softness of how he placed his hand under mine. The delicate nature of how his hand cupped mine as if he was holding a precious flower. It was mesmerizing to me how one simple act could put so many different thoughts into my head. I wondered if he kissed the same soft way or if given the chance, would his hands touch my whole body like this?

He quickly realized how cold my hands were and offered to carry the ice cream. Although my hands were freezing, it was hard to relinquish the cup. I didn’t want him to stop touching me. I wanted to preserve the lucid love-making scene in my head.

We have since shared ice cream again and it was every bit as fabulous as the first time, except this time I didn’t give up the cup!

As I jump back into the dating world I hope encounters like these will help me follow my heart instead of “normal” dating practices. I believe we often look for the big moments like flowers, fancy dinners, fireworks, instead of true connection and intimacy.

I’m learning from these casual encounters that there is greater ability to see the magic when less “stuff” is involved. Expectations set us up for failure.

A couple of weeks later I showed him this journal entry and he set my computer down, turned and kissed me ever so softly. Exactly the way he had touched my hand.

The intimacy of two souls connecting through a simple act of sharing ice cream can be powerful, but the real connection comes when you are willing to share the vulnerability of the moment.


Author: Dawn Matoy

Image: Bruna Schenkel/Flickr

Editor: Nicole Cameron

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