When You Meet the Right Person, at the Right Time
When I broke up with my first husband, I started to do things I’ve always wanted to do but “never had the time” to do. One of those things was to sing in a choir. I auditioned and got selected in a prestigious choir here in Puerto Rico. There, at my first concert, I met someone that changed my life for the better.
He had been the rehearsal pianist for that particular concert. So I had seen him throughout the last week. Honestly, he hadn’t caught my eye at first, but that night, I certainly noticed him. The choir had arranged an after-party, and I was planning on going. Why not? It was my first outing after my divorce just two weeks before. I wasn’t acquainted with anybody, but I was looking forward to it. So I changed my dress, and on my way to the car, I ran into him on the staircase.
He said Hi, and asked me if I was going to the after-party. Or was I the one who asked? I don’t remember. But he told me he would meet me there. He seemed so lovely and so mysterious. I couldn’t figure out his accent, even though I’m really good at that. He was from South America, for sure, but which country?
So I got to the party and waited for him. I was having a good time with my choir mates. We were at a Mexican restaurant, and the ambiance was both festive and relaxing. I needed that after dealing with my separation, divorce, and my 5-year-old daughter’s baptism and birthday celebration, all of which happened during the same week.
Time was passing and I found myself thinking about him. It’s getting late; will he come?
Then he arrived.
Of course, he said hello to everyone and came to sit by my side. I told him I was glad he could make it. And at that moment, a beautiful friendship that I still value and treasure to this day blossomed.
We spent the whole night talking — literally. I told him about my recent divorce; he was very empathetic. He spoke about himself, where he was from, his family, his goals, his dreams. Meanwhile, I was basically a blank canvas: discovering what new things I could do, exploring my new time alone, rediscovering the world. I had no larger life goals than to succeed as a professional in my field.
The choir had already been a big step in my life, and I’m so glad I took that big step at that time, as I also met my current husband through that same choir some years later.
Salsa was playing, and he asked me to dance. I told him I didn’t know how to dance salsa, I could make it through a merengue, but salsa, I have never danced. He told me I had everything I needed to know to dance: “If you can sing, you can dance. It’s all about the rhythm, just follow me.” And I did. So we danced that night, and many more, thanks to my trust in him.
We left together since he needed a ride. But we didn’t want the night to end so soon, so we went to El Morro at Old San Juan to watch the sunrise. It was magical! After that, we had breakfast, and then I finally took him to his home. We thanked each other for the night, and he told me I was adorable. That was the sweetest thing anyone had ever told me. So he got me there. We kissed goodbye and vowed to see each other again.
That first night he made it clear that he was in Puerto Rico temporarily and that he would pursue further studies and professional growth in Europe. So I knew from the beginning he was going to leave eventually, and I tried to manage this friendship with no big attachments to him. We had the most honest relationships I’d ever had at that point.
I trusted him with any feelings I had inside, and he always supported me. Obviously, we got romantically involved. But beyond that, he was my friend. My daughter met him as my friend, and that was how we acted in front of her.
He became a pivotal influence in my life. He supported me emotionally, made me feel beautiful and loved again. I became more adventurous with him, learned to try new things. But most importantly, maybe preparing me for his absence, he taught me to enjoy my own company, my solitude, my thoughts. And I started to love myself again, I began to dream a future for my daughter and myself. I dared to see life with a significantly broader spectrum.
I remember every other weekend when my daughter was at her father’s, I stayed at his place on Saturdays. He would go to church early in the morning on Sundays, but not because he was religious or believed in God — he was the organist. Then I would go to the beach alone to read and enjoy my alone time.
I was graced with his presence a little more than a year until, eventually, he left. We stayed in contact and talked periodically. We agreed that if either of us found someone new, we would tell the other one right away. He was the first one, and he told me. I was devastated, mainly because I knew the girl.
She was a ballerina here in Puerto Rico. She was so young, and she bore my daughter’s name. I mean, I was young too, 29, but she was much younger. That hurt. I was jealous I couldn’t be that girl who followed him. But then I realized he had done everything right, and that I had too. I realized some people come to your life at precisely the time you need them, and you have to be thankful for that. Maybe a long-term relationship with him would not have been good for us.
This was 17 years ago, and we still call and see each other every once in a while. I am married now with the love of my life, who, though not perfect, makes me feel loved. A man that respects me and accepts me as I am, and a man I respect and love dearly.
He is still married to that young ballerina; they both have demanding careers and they travel a lot. But to my knowledge, they live happily.
I do not regret “letting him go” or anything like that. He was in the right place, at the right time, with a particular purpose: He helped me heal and find myself. Back then he used to tell me: “Just use me in any way you need while I’m here.”
And I’m so glad I did.