Sunday, February 11, 2007
first love, revisited
Meeting him for lunch was all about him, or so she thought...
She had returned the previous day from her second woo-woo women's retreat so she was all about being her true self when he'd called a few weeks earlier to apologize for breaking her heart 18 years before. She told him that she'd let all her crap attached to him go years before and there was no need for him to apologize. During their conversation she realized that it was really important to him. So she shut her mouth and let him say things like I'm sorry and I still don't know why I did the things that I did. She thought she knew why, but she continued to keep her mouth shut, this was about him. His last few years had been traumatic and she sensed that this was one thing he felt he could fix. His words were kind and she did appreciate them. She didn't need to hear them but she appreciated them all the same. And she understood that he needed to say them.
They spent some time catching each other up on what they'd done and where they'd been since 1989. When his kids arrived home from school he ended the conversation by saying that he'd really like to take her out to lunch and she said that she'd like that. She thought he was just being kind again, that she'd probably freaked him out with her weirdnesses and that she'd not ever hear from him after the phone call. She was wrong.
Six or so weeks later there was an email in her inbox inviting her to lunch. She accepted without hesitation. She was happy to give him the opportunity to feel as if he'd made things right.
His first words were - except for your hair you haven't changed a bit. Once again he was being kind, but he was oh so mistaken. She was nothing like the girl that he used to know. Other than her deep-felt love for all things four-legged almost everything she thought was important, her fundamental beliefs - it had all changed. She was an entirely different kind of person. She did not point any of this out to him because the lunch was about him, not about her.
They had a pleasant time together during which she successfully convinced him to taste a salad that wasn't made at Ragazzi's or the Olive Garden and unsuccessfully tried to convince him that eggplant was his friend, to which he replied - is it an egg or a plant? It was comforting to realize that his cheesy sense of humor was still intact.
She was amazed by the things he remembered - people, events, even outfits - things that she either had no recollection of or hadn't thought of in years. He recalled it all, down to the teeniest detail. She was surprised by this. He had really been paying attention all those years ago.
After lunch she suggested that they go for a walk. As they wandered about the arboretum, she was reminded of the very different paths they had taken. She did not have it in her to tell him that a long time ago she'd figured out that his breaking up with her had been a really good thing. She'd always wondered if he'd had some strange kind of wisdom at 19 years old. Was there some higher power that had told him that she'd never be happy as a young wife and mother, that her destiny was to go to college and begin figuring out who she really was? She'd never know for sure, but again she kept her mouth shut because today was about him finally reaching some kind of closure.
After their walk she drove him back to the restaurant, thanked him for a lovely afternoon and hugged him goodbye. She didn't have much time to process the experience because she had to rush to work to prepare for a 6 pm meeting after which she was going to enjoy her upteenth viewing of The Princess Bride with members of the student staff.
Many hours later as she was running her bath she realized that the afternoon had not only been about him finding a tiny thread of peace, it had also been about her. She realized in that moment that there had been a few months in her life when she had been absolutely and completely adored. And that was a good thing to remember.