by Jackie Kashian

I’m in love like, walking on air, head-over-heels, knock me over with a feather, skin glowing like I been kissed by the sun, can’t eat cuz my heart’s in my stomach and it’s playing some crazy beat that’s traveling straight down to my feet, and let’s not even mention the lack of sleep, don’t need drugs cuz I’m on a natural high, watermelon smile all day, humming in elevators not even thinking ‘bout the stares, I’m like Gene Kelly singing and dancing in the rain, ask me a favor now because you will not be refused, can’t be caught on a Saturday in sweats and no bra, wearing high heels all day long knowing full well my feet will being hurt at the end of the day but right now I am way too cute to care, my top showing just enough cleavage to make every man and woman do a double take, each for a different reason, meaning every “PLEASE”,

“THANK YOU” and “HAVE A NICE DAY” I say out of habit, if you know what I’m saying let me hear you say Amen, -- PAUSE – I am madly, deeply and completely IN LOVE.

Let me tell you about the objects of my affections.

Man number one is a healer…a sweet, soft-spoken man of few words with very deliberate actions, intuitive, kind, perceptive, my massage therapist. Every stroke custom made for each form that graces his table. He takes my over-worked, pained from working that computer mouse, all day long, 9 to 6, five days a week, one step away from carpal tunnel syndrome, makes me wanna say Worker’s Comp, right hand and stretches out every muscle. It’s as if he is playing an instrument that he was born to play. He is the Mozart of massage.

One night I went in feeling uptight and sad. He could feel it in the way my body rejected touch. The first time he asked what was wrong I said I don’t know. The second time he asked I attempted to make a joke because that’s what I do. He stopped me before I could finish and firmly pressed down on my shoulders and said “don’t. Just tell me you don’t want to talk about it.” In those few words I got the reproof. I could deny my emotions if I wanted to but never deny them in his room, on his table, where he could feel them loud and clear. The next time I went in upset I simply said I am really upset. I didn’t have to tell him what was wrong. He told me. As he massaged away my drama he told me story after story about himself. Only his stories reflected back on me identifying what was wrong. He saw me, deep down inside, my good and bad, without judgment or criticism. He saw me with eyes of understanding. I felt as if he held my heart in his hand until it warmed and gave me back the courage to be me. I rose from his table with a cleansed mind and lighter heart.

That experience made me question my career. If I respond so favorably to body work like a crying baby that can only be silenced by being in the arms of its mother, perhaps I am meant to heal others. But can I overcome my touching issues and harness my energy to heal? I feel that I have to at least try. My healer has given me the desire to heal and for that I love him.

Man number two feeds my mind…he is a dreadlock wearing, socially conscious, deep voice and mind, in touch with the faults of the male gender, and the inner workings of the female mind, puts his feelings on display publicly, dispelling the myth that men cannot express true emotions; he is a poet who speaks to the very depths of my soul. He uses words the way a Samurai wields a sword, leaving his fans and foes laid out at his feet, while he stands like a conqueror never breaking a sweat and we wait breathless for the next round. He covers every topic using prose, metaphors and hyperboles. If you are not moved by at least one thing he says, have someone check your pulse because I guarantee you, you are not alive.

After a set I mustered up the nerve to speak to him again. I stood beside him as he spoke to me not sure of where my personal space ended and his began -- which always means I am standing WAY TOO CLOSE. I became focused on his lips, wondering if I kissed them if I could taste the fire of his words, if I touched them would they be as smooth as the way words rolled off his tongue, wondering what he reads, I wanted to know everything about him. I was in a dream. I wanted to take my heart which is dusty from being on a two-year by choice love hiatus and place it on a platinum tray, along with other precious jewels like sapphires and diamonds and say to him “as you wish my lord” because I want to be his servant girl. After all he already has my mind, I may as well include my heart. More importantly, he has moved me to work on my writing so that I move others with my words. And for that I think I love him.

Man number three is my inspiration…he is 6.6, which I call basketball-player tall, intelligent, modest, always on the positive tip, passionate about life, comes from the school of self-taught higher education, tearing down the statistics that it takes two parents and money to produce a successful member of society, a business man. I heard him speak at a panel discussion featuring African American Executives in Entertainment. After the event I was so enamored by his personal philosophy I forced myself to meet him despite my shyness. I trembled as I shook his hand and yammered on blushing like a dark red rose. I could not get him out of my mind so months later I invited him to lunch, seeking “career” advice. He did not disappoint. He is a firm believer in if you pursue your passion, the money will follow. Said he could see I was at the brink of jumping off but was being hindered by fear, and that I was too hard on myself. Was I really that transparent or was he really that perceptive?

I had received pep talks before but this time I was open and ready to listen and apply the support and encouragement. It certainly helped that the inspiration was coming from a man whose biceps bulged each time he cut into his two-inch steak. There were times throughout lunch that I didn’t know which was more intoxicating his biceps or his words. When I reached for the check I got a little speech about how men need to feel needed and useful, so while he knew I could pay, he would not allow me to. I let it go because I am all for letting men be men. When I got home that night, I went digging for my copies of FEEL THE FEAR AND DO IT ANYWAY, THE ARTIST WAY, SELF MATTERS and any other positive thinking publication I’ve ever owned and read. I plan to commit them to memory because this man has inspired me to be a success. And for that I love him.

Now, the saying goes, never say never but I can say with all certainty that I’m never going to be in a physical relationship with any of these men. And I am happy to settle for friendship, even though I am not sure how to make that happen because we all know how hard it is to go from being in love to just friends.

I can tell you’re all thinking, she’s crazy to think she’s in love with men she knows casually or professionally, but let me explain how it makes perfect sense.

My healer, my poet and my inspiration each embody qualities that I want to possess. And if I want to be all that and am drawn to all that, the way a magnet draws in all metal surrounding it, then there will be no more relationships in my life that leave me feeling less than or do not build me up. And when I realized that, it became crystal clear that I had fallen madly, deeply and hopelessly in love with ME, in love like I should be and that is the love that has BEEN so L – O – N – G overdue.