I'd been diagnosed about six months previously and was very wary of the whole idea of relationships after a near miss with a guy who'd turned out to be a total psycho. I hadn't a clue where to start with explaining the concept of EDS to a man or what has always bothered me more, that I'm not able to work because of it and so I entered in to a pact with a mate who was in similar circumstances that we would sign up for a dating site together.
At first it intimidated me, all those bulk emails from men who 'luvved gettin pissed an avin a laff', mixed in with offensive ones from angry abusive men, and the odd ones asking about a price for the weekend so I withdrew as I do whenever I'm scared and, on this occasion, hid the computer in a cupboard so the really scary blokes would have no chance of finding me. Eventually, once I'd worked up the courage to run the gauntlet of the dating site again, I started to find the real emails in amongst all this, and something about his stood out, although not his photo as that made him look a little like an upper class playboy and thankfully nothing like his true gorgeous self.
After my initial reply to him, we emailed back and forth and rapidly progressed to spending hours in the evenings talking about anything and everything via msn. He was highly intelligent, he made me laugh, we had things in common, he seemed kind, interested in things as much as he was interesting and right from the start, even through words on a screen, bizarre though it seemed, I could feel how gentle and compassionate he was. This was to be my first experience of dating as a 'disabled person' with a 'label' and I thought I was ready for it, thought the best thing to do was to tell him about having EDS before we met and then if it was a real issue for him, well, we never had to meet. It didn't seem to be a major problem, not then anyway.
The night we first met in person we went for dinner at a restaurant near my home. I had such butterflies in my tummy waiting for him to arrive, part of me didn't think he'd turn up, part of me wasn't sure I wanted him to. I'd had a really bad few days in the run up to our date and had my painkillers doubled by my GP so I was both unsteady on my feet and fairly floaty. I'd almost fallen over a couple of times before we even got in the door of the restaurant yet I was so insecure and so unused to being shown any kind of assistance willingly or gently that I was taken aback and doubtful when he took my arm to steady me.
I was so busy panicking that when we sat down and I saw his hands shaking I didn't think he might be nervous, I stressed myself into thinking I was on a date with a raging alcoholic. Because that made perfect sense. I couldn't understand what a man like him was doing being seen with someone like me, but it made sense if he had a drink problem. He ordered a G&T. I calmed down a bit whilst panicking at the same time. I was on a date with a complete alki but that was ok, I could get that.
The fact that he didn't have anything else to drink as he was driving ruined my alcoholic theory, but I continued to panic as firstly I couldn't cut up my own food, prompting him to calmly take my plate, cut everything up and hand it back, then I had to keep standing up by the side of our table to try and carry on our conversation throughout the meal as the hard wooden chairs were just too painful for me to sit on. Despite my usual ability to talk increasing amounts of nonsense the more stressed and embarrassed I get, he evidently wasn't too put off as he came back to mine for a cuppa where he had to let both of us in to the house as I couldn't open my own front door. Of course that was unless he was 'one of those perverts with a fetish for disabled girls' like so many people had made sure to tell me he must be.
I think my inability to get in my own home was probably the point he decided it was safer to take over, throw me out of the kitchen and make the cups of tea himself. We sat on the sofa, drinking them and chatted for hours, kitty #1 firmly planted in between us, like an indignant feline shield, growling with menace if he so much as leant towards me whilst he was talking. Although my wobbling didn't seem to bother him, he spent half his time catching me as I tripped over (I'm always far more unsteady if I'm nervous or excited), his touching me did seem to further enrage the cat who was waiting, poised and ready to pounce, when finally in the wee small hours he did kiss me.
Oh my god what a first kiss it was. Unforgettable. This is a man who, from the first moment he touched me has been able to take my breath away. In every way. As he kissed my neck and my senses reeled, they reeled just a little too much and I coughed, stopped breathing and promptly went a bit blue in front of him. Which is just what you want to boost your ego the first time you ever kiss someone. I was hugely impressed and reassured by his calm as he held my hand and asked if I needed his help as I rearranged things in my throat, put my errant thyroid gland back into place and got my breath back. Despite his outward calm he must've been terrified, I was certainly scared as it had come as such a shock, although it didn't stop him kissing me again once I'd regained some sort of composure. All of which of course I lost as soon as he kissed me. And kissed me. For hours. Everywhere.
I think it was that I was so convinced I would never see him again that made me so uninhibited. I wouldn't admit it to myself until much, much later, but I'd been lost from the first moment, never mind the first kiss, but I've always thought it'd be the last time, he'd realise, find someone better, more suited to being with someone as special as him.
He left in the small hours of the morning, an hour's drive away from home and due in work a few hours later.