I don’t know if I believe in past lives. The Steps in that program I do to stay sober say all I have to believe in is something greater than myself. I do. And that is what keeps me sober — my God distance from the bottle, or spiritual condition, if you prefer.

But, I wonder: are we balls of energy who travel through time and space connecting and reconnecting? I sort of like that idea: that we are energy that is neither created nor destroyed; we simply change form.

Deep, I know.

My friend J studies past lives, has done readings, meditations, shamanic guided missions into her past lives. She believes that we meet the same people over and over and that our past selves make plans to meet in our next life those who are most significant.

That would explain a lot about the people in this life who have crossed my path. And, it would explain the connection I felt Tuesday night as I sat across the table from Tall Dude, another harmonious online dating match.

It was our first time meeting in person. We had talked on the phone — over two hours the very first time we talked, hardly without a pause for breath. We had text — the morning after the two hour phone call, Tall Dude wrote, “I just wanted you to know I have never talked for two hours on the phone with anyone.” When I told my therapist, a kindly, older gentleman who looks something like Santa Claus, about the phone call, he said, “You got a man to talk to you for two hours on the phone? Men don’t normally do that.” Then, he got that Santa Claus twinkle in his eye and laying a finger aside his nose, let me know I had nothing to fear.  Wait…. sorry, mixing tales here.

Tall Dude and I had emailed, several times each day (and we continue to). I was giddy with anticipation. So was he.

We agreed on the restaurant.  No coffee date — it wasn’t even a consideration. There was no need for that awkward chat across steaming java. When I stepped out of my car, he walked around the end of his car. I saw him for the first time, and it was as if I had known him a thousand years.

In the restaurant, we went through the normal menu perusal (we had both already looked at the menu online and had unknowingly chosen the same thing — chicken pot pie). When it came time to order drinks, the door opened for me to explain why I don’t drink. He knew I didn’t, but hadn’t asked the why yet.

“So, you probably want to know why?”

“Sure, we can go there if you’re ready,” he said.

Quiet pause. Deep breath — mine, not his.

“I have been sober almost 3 years,” I said.

He leaned into me, looked me in the eye. His voice softened. “That’s so impressive. I’m really proud of you. Anyone who can chose to be different on a daily basis is impressive to me. Definitely not a deal breaker.”

“Do you at least want to hear my sales pitch as to why it is so awesome to date someone who doesn’t drink?” I joked. Come on, I had my speech prepared. 

“Let’s hear it.”

“FIrst, it is so much less expensive. I will never order drinks or a bottle of wine.”

He laughed, then chimed in, “And you are always a designated driver.”

“Exactly! And… I will never barf on your shoes unless I have the flu.”

He laughed even more. Now, it was the critical point: who was drinking what tonight.

“Do you mind if I order a beer? Does it bother you?” The restaurant has their own brewery with an extensive menu.

“Not at all. I’m aware when I am bothered and that’s when I use my other tools.” Tall Dude wasn’t slamming a brew and ordering a round of shots. He was a normie enjoying a beer with dinner. And I am the alcoholic who was enjoying a club soda and conversation with my dinner.

For three hours, we sat next to each other. The conversation never stopped. It never paused. It flowed like the most gentle stream I have ever floated on. He asked about my 12-Step program. I explained the rigorously self-examination.

“It’s like striping naked and standing underneath the fluorescent lights,” I said.

At one point, he teared up when he shared about a significant experience in his life, grabbing the napkin from his lap to wipe his eyes. My heart melted into my toes.

The waitstaff began to stack chairs and sweep the floor around us — a good indication that it was probably time to go.

“Should we let them close up?” I asked.

“Yeah, I guess we should.”

In the parking lot, the December chill disappeared. We hugged in that tight embrace from a thousand years of knowing each other. It was like I had met an old friend, and we had spent the night catching up on each others’ lives.

When we kissed, there was no awkwardness. No fumbling. It was as if we had kissed each other good morning and good night for millennia. I felt him trembling a little. Maybe from the chill? Maybe from the released nervousness?

“I just want you to know you are a very beautiful woman.” It was said in that genuine way; not the “I hope to get a little something in the backseat of my car” way.

A huge bonus:  I am 5’10’. In the boots I was wearing that night, I stand 6′. Very few men are taller than I am. In fact, I have never dated a man over 6′. I am used to being eye-to-eye, lip-to-lip with anyone I date. That night, I got the wonderful experience of actually looking up into the gentle face and kind eyes of a man who is 6’7″.

Hey, God, I only asked for 6’2″. Thanks for the bonus! I’m liking it. 

Since the date a week ago, we’ve talked every night on the phone for at least an hour. We email. We text. We’ll see each other again on Tuesday. It would have been sooner, but we live an hour’s drive from each other, and we both have two kids.

The kind, genuine gentleness of this man dances with every word he says. He’s everything I asked for in my prayers, including being a practicing Catholic from a very devout Catholic family.

Whenever and wherever in the course of the space-time continuum that I met this man, I’m so grateful our souls made plans to meet again here and now.

I know I am an alcoholic. I know I suffer from magical thinking. But, there is something so right in all this. I don’t even have words to describe it, other than to say: it’s that moment when you meet someone and know it is the exact person who is supposed to be in your life.