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Episode #13: One Beautiful Man

Before I begin this episode’s story, I need to tell you about the – um, let’s say, the excellent *sportsmanship* of this one beautiful man I’m going to tell you about. I recorded the original version of this episode using the real name of this one beautiful man – and the real name of his wife. After sharing the episode with them both and their discussing it, they decided that it was “too personal of a story in its current form”. And then this one beautiful man – and here’s what I mean about his excellent *sportsmanship*, he wrote that he was “happy for the story to be told, albeit with something akin to the Fargo opening credits. So, of course I had to rewatch the entire movie TWICE over the next couple of days and I took a pic of the opening credits which read: “THIS IS A TRUE STORY. At the request of the survivors, the names have been changed. At the respect for the dead, the rest has been told exactly as it occurred.” HILARIOUS! This one beautiful man also wrote in his email that he was “flattered by my memory of his gesture” and that he “sincerely hopes my podcast is a roaring success.” I have decided to call this one beautiful man LUCAS, and I’ve decided to call this one beautiful man’s wife, CAMDEN. They have given me permission to tell this story in this new form, concealing their identities and I am so grateful for their kindness and willingness to have listened to the original version of the episode and to have discussed it before coming back to me with their thoughts and reactions. It’s not really a story about Lucas, except that he’s just a really kind man who, in my mind, made an extraordinary gesture. A gesture that I want to share with you because of MY reaction to it. Because, I think what we’ve seen so far with Audacious Freedom the podcast, these episodes are about ME. About how I feel and react to what happens in my life and the world around me. In this case, it’s kind of as if Lucas is a sort of PROP or CHARACTER in the story of my life – at least in ONE of the stories in my life – and whose story I am calling out here, because I think he’s a remarkable man. Or at least he was to me about 12 years ago. The reason I needed Lucas’ permission – and his wife’s permission, too – is because the story is quite personal and they might not have wanted the world to know it, even though it shines Lucas in the kind of light that really good men are shown to us in TV and the movies. The kind of men that some women swoon over and hope to marry one day. The kind of stand-up men who *do the right thing*. The kind of men who DON’T seem to actually exist in real life. It was a bit awkward to reach out to LUcas with a story from 2009 – in present day 2021 – to remind him of what he did, how he had behaved and to put the burden on him to discuss it with his wife, Camden. HIs wife who most likely did NOT know the story, this brief part of Lucas’ life, not long at all before she had met and started dating him. I decided to reach out to him because Lucas left a beautiful and lovely impact in one of the stories of my life, through momentary and brief, so why not let him know that? Why not let his wife know – as if she doesn’t already, if perhaps in different ways – that her husband is a great guy and many women might consider her a lucky woman. So what is this thing that Lucas did that makes him so worthy of mention in an episode of Audacious Freedom, the podcast? Well, he texted me one afternoon when I was heading back home on the subway, to my apartment on Wall Street and to my pug, Bogie. I was coming home from a lunch with a friend in Union Square, wearing a black and white printed dress, to take a nap on the sofa with Bogie. It was summertime in NYC and was HOT and I was looking forward to the cool of our apartment and to snuggling with my little man. On the subway – and thank goodness I was in a car where the A/C was working – I read a text from a number I didn’t recognize. But whose message told me EXACTLY who sent it. “I just saw you at lunch and I couldn’t say anything to you then because it was a business meeting,” the text read. I hadn’t yet figured out who sent the text – anyone could have written THAT to me. It’s the NEXT part that reminded me of the fall before, in probably late September or early October. “I think we need to talk.” “Oh,” I thought, remembering the night I had invited Lucas over to my place for some beers and to watch a football game. I don’t think that he had stayed the night, but I do know that he was a nice guy and a bit shy. I had met Lucas at my favorite downtown Manhattan hang-out spot and he was someone I would see there from time-to-time. Tall and cute and quiet and I had invited him over this particular evening. Lucas was right about my same age and seemed like the kind of guy you’d want to bring home to your mother. Not that I was looking to take ANY man home to meet my mother. He just had that wholesome way about him and he was easy to hang out with. I might have bumped into Lucas from time-to-time over the rest of that fall and winter at my favorite spot or in the neighborhood where we both lived and worked, I’m not sure. He hadn’t been on my mind and I hadn’t been interested in dating or hanging out with anyone except for maybe a few friends here or there. So, why did Lucas text me because he had seen me across a restaurant all these months later, you listeners might want to know? Why would he think we needed to talk when we had never really talked THAT much before, either at my favorite spot or in my apartment? Well, dear listeners, I’ll tell you why – but first – I want you to know that either Lucas’ math was a little off, or, I appeared to have more of a story to tell in my black and white printed dress. Or both. You see, what Lucas didn’t know was that in November, I had made a very big – and very private – decision for myself and my life. And the result of that decision was the reason that Lucas wanted to talk. And it’s the reason that I texted Lucas back immediately and said, “Hi, yes. Absolutely, let’s talk. It’s not at all what you think though. It’s not you. The timing was off.” We agreed to meet the next day for lunch at one of the pubs downtown on Stone Street. I think I wore jeans and a silk black top and heels, which added only a few inches to my 5’1” frame. Lucas was standing in the doorway of the pub, smiled very sweetly at me and my outfit and reached out for a big brother kind of hug – with his very tall-to-me 6’4” or so frame. Lucas reached out for a big brother kind of hug – with his very tall-to-me 6’4” or so frame – AND AROUND MY GROWING BELLY. I would have been about 6 or 7 months pregnant by then – and I was all boobs and belly. My perfect-for-my-height-and-frame 34 B bra size had jumped to a 38 DD. It had been my belly I worried about getting in my way as I continued my pilates and yoga practices during my one and only pregnancy, but it was my BOOBS. They were HUGE. Lucas and I sat down to lunch and he listened patiently – again, like a big brother – to the story of how I had been thinking the past fall about choosing a donor to have a baby on my own. Those of you listeners who tuned into Episode #8 of Audacious Freedom the podcast know that I, in fact, thought about AND DECIDED TO have a baby on my own. I had chosen a known donor and I had naturally conceived my baby within 5 weeks, just a couple of months before my 43rd birthday. Lucas was relieved IN THE NICEST of ways. NOT like, “Oh, thank GOD,” but rather in a “Good for YOU, Dee Dee,” kind of way. He explained that when he had seen me during his lunch meeting in the restaurant the day before, I was very obviously pregnant and very much in HIS mind, very much so because of him. And he told me in that short time, he had already decided that he would – I can’t remember how he said it exactly – but he said something the gist of which meant that he would be involved or take responsibility. Something which – for those of you who did NOT listen to Episode #8 – I did NOT ask of my baby’s donor. My baby’s donor’s name is NOT on my baby’s birth certificate, he has no legal rights or financial responsibilities – which is EXACTLY the way I wanted the arrangement to be. So, while Lucas’ gesture was very KIND and UNEXPECTED, it was NOT his to make and it wasn’t what I wanted. ALSO – and I have to make sure that this is very clear – I would NEVER have really TRIED to get pregnant without telling a man and if I HAD accidentally gotten pregnant by Lucas, I would have told him, I THINK. Now that I have said all this, I have to say that even when my baby’s donor and I made our agreement, I really had no idea if I could even GET pregnant. I had NOT – INTENTIONALLY HAD NOT – discussed the likelihood of a pregnancy at almost 43 years old – with my ob/gyn. This was a private matter between ME, the DONOR and the UNIVERSE – or God. And after multiple attempts over a 5-week period – with NO medical intervention – or even knowledge of my OVULATION cycle – the universe answered my wish to become a mom. ON MY OWN. 

So, here I was with this very nice man and friend, Lucas, having lunch. And the way I remember the conversation – when I asked him how he was doing, do you want to know what he said? CAMDEN, I’ll tell you what your future husband said. He couldn’t stop talking about YOU. You two had – as I remember the timing – you two had in the time since I had last seen Lucas – begun dating and he ADORED you. I don’t remember exactly what he had said about you, except maybe that you were from the Midwest? Anyway, Camden, he thought you were awesome and from a good family and there is ONE thing I remember that he said which was something to the effect that you were the first woman he had ever dated who was his age. That previously he had only dated women who were much – DID he say MUCH? – younger than he was. He DID say that they were younger anyway. I’m happy for you both, Lucas and Camden, that you found each other all those years ago and to see on social media that you recently celebrated your 8th wedding anniversary. Congratulations! Listeners, in case you don’t know, I had a baby girl in September 2009. She is now 11 years old and soon to be 12 in a couple of months. I’m still a mom on my own, and, along with our little black pug, Bogie, we are a complete FAMILY OF 3.

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