Thursday, October 6

The moment I knew: ‘It wasn’t until she held my hand that the Tetris pieces landed together’ | relationships


Yot was 2012 and, at the ripe old age of 33, I believed that my many failed almost-relationships with men were a sign I would be single for ever. To cope with the loneliness of life as a single person when my friends were all coupled, I committed to living my best life, starting with ticking things off of my bucket list.

A safari trip to Africa was first. Life-changing, and perhaps intensified because I traveled alone.

Second was piano lessons. I rang the local music school and asked for a lesson time on a Saturday morning. Nyssa was the only teacher available.

I arrived at 9.30am for my first lesson, and for the next eight weeks, I couldn’t really understand why that half an hour was the highlight of my week. Aside from the fact that my teacher was gorgeous, being her in her presence made me feel as if I was home.

A couple of months in, Nyssa asked me if I was busy that night. I said no, and immediately felt embarrassed that I had no plans on a Saturday. That’s exactly how I like my Saturday nights, but back then I didn’t have such a solid sense of self-worth. It reinforced my perception that I was missing out on something, so I left my lesson and made plans to have dinner with friends. Shame spiral averted!

Rebecca and Nyssa in the early days. Photographer: Rebecca Ray

Nyssa called me that afternoon under the guise of sending me some music I needed to practise. I genuinely thought she was calling about sheet music, but she asked if I wanted to have dinner with her. Having a) no understanding of my increasing attraction from her to her from her; b) no idea that she was a lesbian; and c) total naivety to the fact that I was being asked on a date, I invited her to join my hastily planned dinner de ella.

She did, and we ended up talking until the early hours of the morning. We started writing a song together on my piano. Music by Nys and lyrics by Beck. The next day, I accompanied her to a gig she was playing. Hearing her from her sing from her, I was absolutely hypnotized. Looking directly at me in the audience, she sang the chorus of Leona Lewis’s Bleeding Love: “But I don’t care what they say, I’m in love with you.” I missed that, too.

It wasn’t until she held my hand as we walked back to the car that the Tetris pieces in my head landed together.

Small Habits for a Big Life cover

We made dinner together that night. The next morning, I gave her a garage door opener so she could return to my house after she finished work. I couldn’t imagine her not coming “home”. From that day, Nyssa never left. And from that moment, I knew she was my person.

Ten years later, we share one child, three dogs, and multiple albums of co-created music. I still can’t play piano, but now I don’t need to. I have Nyssa.

  • Dr Rebecca Ray is a clinical psychologist and the author of five books, including her latest, Small Habits for a Big Life (Macmillan Australia)

  • Do you have a romantic realization you would like to share? Email [email protected] with “The moment I knew” in the subject line to be considered for future columns


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