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Half Agony, Half Hope is an illustrated memoir of a period of time in my life spent with and without someone who, for reasons I am still trying to decipher, had a profound impact on my life and continues to do so, although we have not seen or spoken to each other in a very long time.

I have already written about why I am writing this memoir and suggestions on how to navigate it. I have also written some, but not yet all, of the backstory that illuminates my time with DK.

So here’s the short story:

In my adult life, I’ve been in serious, deep love three times.

I met and married a wonderful man when we were both very young; we had a long, loving relationship, and remain friends. I will always love Andy. He is rooted in my heart.

After our divorce, I fell in love with a married man. (I highly don’t recommend it.)

Tom and I started and eventually ended as friends. But before that, our relationship, which began with love and laughter, devolved into destruction. Although it got better, the fallout for me was many years that I think of as the Dark Years. I promised myself I would never again allow what was once love to deteriorate into the ugly quagmire that Tom and I trudged through.

The Dark Years didn’t have any specific start and finish dates; it was more of a gradual decline and eventual resurrection. I lived, worked, participated in and enjoyed some things, but my heart was sick. I did many things that, when I think about them now, make me cringe and sometimes cry for the woman who was so lost she thought they would help her find her way home. They never did.

I emerged from the Dark Years eventually. I had put on an enormous amount of weight, which started to drop away. I hesitantly yet hopefully let light back into my life. I had been celibate for seven years when I finally decided in the autumn of 2007 that I’d had enough and was ready to allow love and laughter into my healing heart again.

So I started online dating. I had one caveat: I was not interested in any man who was in any way attached. (Actually, I had two: correct spelling and proper grammar were required.) I was adamantly clear about it; I had to be. I was dismayed at how many married men were online looking for – well, I don’t know what they were looking for, but it sure as hell wasn’t me. Still, they wrote to me in droves.

I went on dates with a select few (single!). I met some nice men, but not the one I was searching for. I don’t like dating for sport and am only interested in spending my intimate time with someone who shares some essential interests and viewpoints, but most important, someone who raises my heartbeat and I his.

DK first wrote me in October of 2007; we met in person in the last days of December that same year. We meshed immediately. We both loved reading and books, the same foods, had the same political perspectives and our bodies fit together.

He raised my heartbeat.

What I didn’t know, because he failed to tell me, was that he was married.

Even now, when I think about it, my heart plummets.

 It was my worst nightmare realized. The one thing I promised myself I would never, ever do again I had done, but without even knowing it. I had been a pawn in someone else’s game, without my consent.

I thought, after I confronted him with the truth, that our budding relationship was finished. I was wrong.

Life is complicated and often messy.

That is what this blog is about.

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