an episodic novel by Corey B. Buckner

Chapter 1: Finding Love Later In Life

by Corey B. Buckner

This is the 100% true, moment-by-moment account of how we found true love at an older age after having suffered disappointment, sadness, loneliness, divorce and depression. This story will be shared from both his and her point of view as it happened for them, in the moment. We hope that you enjoy our true story.

Part 1. His Side of the Story
The Night We Reentered Each Other's Lives After 20+ Years

I personally thought I had squandered my chance at finding true love. Without going into too much detail; I found myself in my mid-thirties, having married someone I didn't love for the wrong reasons and being constantly jealous of friends and their tales of true love. Being a hopeless romantic myself; I was enthralled with stories of boy meets girl, they fall into a whirlwind of love where nothing outside of that relationship matters anymore, overcome obstacles to be together, then live their lives together "happily ever after". I don't care HOW cheesy the movie is; if it contains that plot; I'm all in.

There is something special about those first moments when you are just meeting someone that you will eventually fall in love with. Often it is unexpected, and you don't even realize that it is happening until after it has already happened. This leads into an equally special season in which other friends and family members begin fading into the background as the two of you begin honing in on one another and maximizing every opportunity to occupy one anothe's space without the interference of others. All those quiet afternoons with no background noise. Only the elevated decibels of accelerated heart beats accompanied by the sound of breathing fills the atmosphere as the two of you isolate yourselves in the presence of one another. The repetitive reverberation of unanswered phone calls and texts fill the distant space as your phones, comfortably distant from the space you are occupying together, ring and buzz as the outside world attempts to find the two of you in your isolated place. Love is drawing you two apart from everyone and everything else; and you couldn't be happier.

On this night I was completely unaware and unprepared for the fact that THIS fate was on its way to my inbox...

I lived for a decade and a half believing that my bad decisions in my early twenties had stolen that story of true love from me. I figured that I would have to live vicariously through movies and the stories of friends because I had blown my opportunity, settling for someone who couldn't be further from what I wanted in a soul mate. I chose to do "the right thing" instead of choosing to face my mistakes and save myself for love. Again... that is a tale for another story. This here is the story of how true love found me at an older age; at a time when I wasn't looking or prepared for its arrival.

Something strange happened in 2015; I found myself getting divorced; and to my surprise I ended up single for the first time in 14 years. As such, I had been given an unexpected second chance at finding true love. Let me state clearly; I did not see Meeks coming... not at all! Having married young, I relished the opportunity to enjoy the life of a single father. When it comes to public perception; single fathers... single, good fathers are right there among the cream of the crop. Let’s just say that for all the work that being a single parent entails; socially, there are probably FAR MORE "benefits" to being a single father than there is to being a single mother. Well, not necessarily more; but the benefits are different; especially the social benefits.

Think about it. Think about the different ways in which single men view single mothers, versus how single women view a man who takes care of his kids alone. The term "good father" carries far more weight in dating situations than the term "good mother". Is that fair? Probably not; but it is the reality of the situation. So... although on the night Meeks reentered my life, I was living a life of celibacy (for more than a year at that point) with every intention to potentially live the rest of my life that way; I was also very much looking forward to engage in the lifestyle of the "single, fit, attractive, black dad with a house and a good job". Maybe I'm being too transparent right now, but I promise there are few people reading the who know exactly what I mean.

Then came the most unexpected friend request on Facebook.

When Meeks sent me a friend request on Facebook I almost ignored it. I’m a former teacher, and it had been enough years since I last taught that many of my students were now young adults. So, because Meeks looks so young in her Facebook pictures; I actually thought she was one of my former students that I didn't remember; or some other young girl who had met me out while I was promoting my diet and fitness coaching company (which was not yet known as Big Strong U). Meeks wasn't using her real last name on her Facebook account, so it was not immediately obvious to me that it was her.

But, as fate would have it... there was a slim, dark-skinned Tamekia from my past who I had never forgotten. Back in high school, when I was a bit of a relationship wreckloose; Meeks and I had what can only be described as a passionate, semi-ongoing, on and off, very meaningful yet undefined relationship. Let's just say; while I have legitimately forgotten the names of some of my past girlfriends; this "Tamekia" person qualified as something in between "the one that got away" and "the one who rocked my world". Even up until that evening; she remained the measuring stick by which I judge other women in my life; despite having not seen or heard from her in two decades. She was the standard of perfection for me that every female that followed her was trying to attain. Yeah, it was something like that. So although the person sending the friend request looked to be too young, and the last name was wrong; the idea that this MIGHT be THAT Tamekia was too much for me to ignore.

So I accepted the friend request and spent the next hour or so looking through her pictures on Facebook. It certainly looked like her, but she had kids and her last name was wrong. So I thought,":well if it's her she must be married now". While a part of me, knowing our past relationships, thought that she would be contacting me to rekindle an old flame. The "married with kids" thing threw a wrench into those thoughts because I couldn't just assume that she'd be looking for a little extramarital, side activities with me. Regardless, I'm not that dude. So even if she was looking for that... it wouldn't work.

Man... that last name thing was really working on me.

So I looked at her pictures for a little longer; admiring her eyes and her thighs and her everything in between and beyond. She was beautiful; exactly my type. She had the perfect skin complexion and body type for my taste; and her photos showed both a professional and a playful side that I absolutely adored. A lot of men won't admit this; but I was thoroughly moved by how she was able to portray herself as a responsible and productive member of society; but also display just how sexy she can be when appropriate and/or acceptable. I was very much into that; and this was going to be a problem for me... that is, if she was in fact married with children.

Ugh... that last name... why wasn't she using the last name I knew her as? There was absolutely NO evidence of a husband on her social media; but no blatant evidence of her being single either. Heck; it had been more than twenty years since I last saw her; and this Tamekia who friend requested me barely looked twenty years old. "This might not even be her," I thought. Frustrated; I closed her Facebook page and went on with my life.

Then it happened... a message. A message from THIS Tamekia. A DM from THIS Tamekia that started with 3 simple words that would eventually change my life. Those 3 words were, "Hello Mr. Buckner." Upon reading those 3 simple words; my life and her life we about to be changed; for the better... forever.

continue to Chapter 2