Bonnie and John Orlando
Harry Note - John and Bonnie are good friends of ours. Bonnie for 30 years - John for Ten. They live near Daytona Beach. We visit them and go to the beach - they visit us and go to a Seminoles game. We have a lot in common - including that John writes a blog - http://latenightmusings.com. Here is their love story - written by John.
A Love Affair
He was 22 when he first married. Like all newlyweds, he thought this marriage would last a life time – but it didn’t. It ended with a difficult divorce. Thinking he had learned from his first marriage, he remarried. Like the first marriage, he put his all into the marriage at first, but this marriage lost its luster for him as well. Following the second divorce, he wondered if marriage really was for him. Was he chasing an impossible dream, was he fatally flawed or was he simply immature when it came to marriage.
She married a hometown boy upon graduating from nursing school. Again, the dreams and plans were great, but flawed. Divorce came but only after bearing three children. Then came the years of casual dating as she pondered her future.
In time, both he and she started to explore the dating services being offered on the internet. His search led to what is called long-distance relationships that just couldn’t be sustained, probably because of thousand mile plane trips for occasional visits. The wear and tear of the plane trips and occasionally being together finally led him to realize he was casting his net too far. He then restricted his search to women within 100 miles, a few hours car trip at worst.
She got into the online matching service at the insistence of her son. He knew she wasn’t having great success in finding someone local. Wisely, she knew that without some idea of what she wanted she could easily end up with the wrong man. So she outlined her requirements to herself. They reflected her age, her professional standing, physical bearing and her faith. Simply put, she knew she was in search of that mister right who was taller than she, a few years older, had a full head of hair and was Catholic (which became the source of an insider, running joke between them). She knew she was attractive and smart enough that she didn’t have to settle for just any man.
So it was that although unknown to them at the time, their journeys in life were on a collision course of the good kind. She was frustrated by the many lies men told her about themselves, but she continued online. Meanwhile, he dated a few of those within his mileage limits but was unenthused; he did learn a few things from his failed two marriages.
Their initial contact was through one of the dating services. He saw her bio and picture and liked what he saw. This was in spite of her clearly stating her preferences in a man; he met none of them. He was 5’9”, non-Catholic, partially bald and 18 years her senior. Fortunately for him, she lived exactly 100 miles away. I guess you could say he wrote her on a whim, though clearly something, someone greater was at work.
That first email led to a second and third, along with picture exchanges, and then to nightly phone calls; they seemed to enjoy what each other had to say. Finally, one week later they agreed to meet for diner in her town. Whatever warm feelings he had for her became much more when he first saw her in person. He was seated at the restaurant’s bar waiting for her when she peeked around the door to see if he was there. Her smile melted his heart and he knew, somewhere deep inside, she was not just another date.
Determined to show her that he was truly interested in her, his entire focus was on her. He knew that it was vitally important to make this first meeting a stepping stone to what could be a long journey together. The conversation was relaxed. At times it was discussions of the mundane, while other times serious matters were discussed. When the waiter came to take their orders, he let her chose first. When asked what he was having he said, “The lady has good taste; I’ll have what she is having.” The first meeting was a success.
They agreed to continue seeing each other, but there was a matter of the logistics – they did live 100 miles apart. That was quickly solved when they agreed to each drive to visit the other on alternate weekends. During the week they continued with their nightly phones. Interestingly, what began thirteen years ago continues until today. When apart they never fail to call each other each night apart.
So it is that the love affair that began with an email continues to this day. Each of them has learned that what is important in a spouse may not be what we think it is. Deep in our hearts we know what is best for us. The key is to stop trying to force-fit our conscious ideas into our search for that someone special. That road leads to disaster. Too many search for sexual or lifestyle excitement which by themselves never can sustain a relationship. They need to be part of that greater thing called love. Better than our family, than our friends, our hearts know what is best for us – if only we listen.
And so the love affair continues. The road has had a few bumps but they have weathered them and continue as one. With time the insider jokes between them grow as does their love. The oft-repeated, private phrases between them remind them of their bond. The give and take, the sharing, and the caring for each other continues. The love affair thrives.
Love of my life and girl of my dreams - I love you, my Bonnie Ann.