I'll be as brief as possible.
I was teaching a weeklong class (professional not academic) , woman in class is beautiful, not just physically but you know something about her kind of way. She nails the class, interpersonal chemistry abounds between she and I from the jump. Second to last day of class she asks me out to dinner. I can't do it but her flight (*all flights) gets cancelled due to wather, she asks again - i can, and we do. It was an amazing dinner, we arrive at 6 and just start talking, everything felt so easy and natural, both of us laughing. Then the waiter tells us they have to close up - it felt like only 15 minutes had passed but we were the last ones left in the restaurant. I knew where this was going: back to her hotel room. I knew it, she knew it. We're in my car and that's when she told me she was married. Talk about blueballs. She proceeds to try and kiss me - i refuse, i'd been down this road before and thank-you-no. She tries again, I refuse again. I explain why. I think she took this as some sort of principled stand and that only seemed to make her more attracted to me. She explains she's very unhappy in the marriage and I hold the line, put her in a cab. Fuck.
It can't end there of course that would be too smart. We continue to correspond after she returns, she professes her love to me. At the time there is stuff going on in my life that she could relate to well and I needed support so I didn't exactly shy away. Emotions and shit gets complicated, we meet again but I still won't kiss her because I know madness lies down that road. She tells me she's making plans to leave her husband (legitimate, i had sources on the ground around her that could verify a lot of what she was saying), regardless of "us" though let's be honest it had to be a factor.
Yadda yadda yadda, she gets cancer. Not her first time, it's treatable but she's been through so much chemo already she has to ask at airports not to go through the x-ray machines. It won't be the cancer that kills her it will likely be the treatments. Everything gets complicated and confusing at this point - she and her husband have kids but none with each other. She still wants out of her marriage but doesn't want me to watch her die after I'd just recently dealt with loved ones dying from cancer. Rational brain is saying just get out, but i've never met anyone in my life I felt so comfortable around, so well matched.
Her husband finds out about me, doesn't believe we've not slept together (we were texting like 100x a day), he freaks out, she freaks out. One day I get a call and she very plainly says she made a mistake and never loved me and there is no 'us'. click. over. Blocked on social media, blocked cell phone, full stop. Not a single word. I thought she might have been under duress and surely she would find a way to reach out to talk to me to at least say goodbye properly. Nothing. I was devastated.
6 months later out of nowhere she messages me looking for professional advice. I'm like WTF you can't do that if you want to talk you call me. We talk and she explains she split her head open a few weeks after we last spoke and lost a ton of memory, really only knew who I was from our mutual friends. Still wanted out of her marriage but she was so dependent at that point it was an impossibility because of the kids, and her treatment needs. At this point I think she's possibly a sociopath and I've been played like I've never been played ever. Her speech is not the same, she is slower, and talking to me like we're legit strangers. I verify this accident with our mutual friends and what can I say, the whole thing is hard to believe let alone come to terms with.
Later I end up in her area for work, we see each other almost every night at the hotel bar/dining room and talk. It's very clearly still her, but also very clearly not 100% put together. It's the most surreal week of my life, talking to someone about the intense, romantic-but-not-physical relationship you had that they can't remember, but you can. Telling her things about her own life and seeing the shock in her eyes "i told you that?" , etc. The amazing thing is the chemistry was still there, it was so easy to be with her and talk with her, but the spark was long gone - i knew that well before I arrived (more like a few seconds after i realized she blocked me from all communication). She did beat that recurrence of her cancer but when i saw her she was a physical shell of her former self, thin, pale, sickly and not quick to wit and slower speech. It was hard seeing her like that. The whole week felt like I was in a Twin Peaks episode.
We have only talked once or twice since when she wanted something from me professionally. Her detachment and apparent indifference to the emotional challenge that presents me was something that got me kinda upset at times. Those were quick conversations and the last time I was direct about my feelings while trying to be respectful of her condition and priorities. Her cancer came back, she left her husband, and I haven't talked to her in six months and I kinda doubt I will again.
No winners in this one, I'm afraid.
I don't know if I believe in love at first sight, but if anything qualifies, that did. Love is that chemistry, for all kinds of good and sometimes maybe not great reasons, but at least I got a taste of how profound it can be. All it takes is the right/wrong person walking through the door and smiling.