When my friend Larissa was going through the divorce process she told me repeatedly that she had no intention of entering the dating scene ever again. At the time I believed her mainly because if I was in her position I'd be afraid of making the same mistake twice. Larissa's first husband refused to give up his bachelor ways after he married his wife. The first time I met him I liked him, part of me still likes him although I would never want to be married to anyone who treats his former wife the way he did.

You don't necessarily have to be athletic to teach physical education however Larissa loves sports, she loves teaching and she's very good at challenging the children while remaining encouraging. For two years Larissa taught special needs children, after her son was born prematurely she thought her son might need extra help eventually his condition stabilized and today he runs around like any other child his age would. My oldest daughter is the same age as Larissa's little girl.

Larissa is a beautiful woman. It isn't just her incredible skin or dark curly hair. She has a beauty mark high on her left cheek, her nose is pierced, her unbelievably long lashes cover eyes that are green, yellow, brown and maybe another color or two. She thinks she's fat and she could lose a few pounds however to me she will always represent the colors and bounty of fall. Larissa's husband was always putting her down. If she wore sweats he'd tell her that her ass looked big. Once I was over when she was doing laundry, her husband made a crack about Larissa's baby fat and I felt as if I should stick up for my friend who had given birth less than two months ago.

I have never understood why men who have physical shortcomings feel as if they have to put women who are much more attractive than themselves down. Larissa's first husband is not all that attractive. He has his points, they don't appeal to me but I have to admit that I disliked him more after I found out what he was really like. Larissa did it all when she was at home. She took the kids to the library and the beach. Larissa bought groceries, she made meals for her kids and mine when we were over. Since her son had been premature he had some health issues. Sometimes Larissa would ask if I could watch her daughter while she took her son in to urgent care, the first time her father came to pick her up he came three hours after Larissa told me he would be getting off of work.

Larissa's husband stopped to pick up a pizza on his way to my house; that was his excuse for being late. You can argue that a guy needs to eat but I've been in that position and food was the last thing on my mind when I drove to see my baby who weighed more than Larissa's five pound baby boy. The day I was playing basketball with Larisssa her husband told her that I was better than she was. Larissa played in college, we both belonged to the Y at the time and none of the guys Larissa played with would have picked me over her but that comment made Larissa mad. Instead of being upset with her husband, Larissa was upset with me. Later on she apologized for asking me to leave.

Seeing my friend sink into depression was an unfun thing to watch. Gradually Larissa gained weight and lost her interest in connecting with most of the outside world. I'd go over and the kids would be tearing the house apart while she sat on the couch. I'd pick up a Hershey bar wrapper and find out that her kids had eaten chocolate and potato chips for lunch. I tried to do what I could for Larissa but I had problems of my own and a sad life lesson is you can't help people who don't want to start helping themselves. Fortunately for Larissa and her kids she started turning her life around. She tried kicking her husband out but he wouldn't leave. More than once she spent the night at my place because I had room, food and our children went to school together. When her husband wouldn't go to counseling with her Larissa went by herself.

Watching Larissa find her own way has made me realize what a strong person she has become. In the past she would have let her ex-husband's remarks get to her. Now she blows him off, he's looking worse than ever and while Larissa still hasn't lost all the weight she put on she's made a committment to a better healthier lifestyle and her face is just as beautiful as it was that first day I met her. Larissa belongs to that group of Americans with an Armenian heritage. Her younger brothers are identical twins and her whole family has similar eyes and hair. We were at the Y one day with the oldest of her twin brothers and Larissa thought it was funny that someone thought she was dating him. She's had offers to go out with guys I think would be fun to date but until recently she's turned them all down.

At work I try to keep my cell phone handy in case school calls with an urgent situation. So far apart from the day my oldest needed stitches the calls haven't required my immediate attention. I hadn't heard from Larissa in a while so I called her before I went to bed one Sunday. Normally I wouldn't call that late but Larissa is a night owl and I knew she'd be up. It wasn't until the week after my message that Larissa called me back. I missed that call but I agreed to meet up with her after she sent me a text inviting me to one of her hot yoga classes. Larissa might weigh more than I do but she is also in much better shape than I am currently. I walked through the door right behind Larissa who stopped and blushed when the guy she liked passed by.

Sometimes I forget that my friends need me as much as I need their wisdom, insight and companionship. To me Larissa is a bold confidant woman who knows what she wants and isn't afraid to go after it so it was kind of cute when she confided that she had a crush on someone. Since the only male Larissa had been attracted to previously was a prick I wasn't sure what to expect from Larissa's new love interest. It was also interesting to me that she wouldn't tell me anything about the guy other than where he worked. On a girls night out Larissa stayed up late crying because she knew no guy would ever be interested in her because she was getting older, recently divorced, and had two kids that required a lot of attention.

Between work, Larissa's schedule and mine it was a while before we connected again. After she found out that one of my neighbors played basketball with the guy she liked she kept bugging me about talking to my neighbor so I could get more information about the man she liked. Finally I had a chance to talk to him however he didn't know him well. Larissa was mad at me after I told her that, she hung up on me claiming afterwards that I knew more than I was telling. Initially I had asked Larissa why she didn't just ask out the guy if she liked him that much but she kept making excuses and I wasn't exactly sure why. I was getting my oil changed one day when I ran into the guy Larissa kept asking about. He was leaving just as I was pulling in however he waved and smiled at me which I thought was nice.

Larissa had changed for the better since her divorce. It was encouraging to see her upbeat and excited about the future. The guy she liked reminded me of her brothers although I didn't tell Larissa that. I didn't know him real well but I knew his name and approximate age. He wasn't a flirt exactly but there were times when I saw him talking to other women in a way that made me think he had been around the block before. He would have been a good match for Larissa whose is passionate about some of the same things he likes. Honesty is always the best policy. I felt that I owed Larissa the truth about the man she liked. He is quite a bit younger than she is however he is also dating a woman who isn't nearly as attractive as Larissa is even if she is about the same age, divorced, with two children.

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