Long rambling post ahead. Hopefully it will be somewhat coherent.
I’m going to work reading a chick lit book called *Engaging Men* once I read the backflap I realized I HAD to read it. Sounded a LITTLE too familiar.
Actress Angie Di Franco is tired of auditioning for the real-life role of wife, only to watch other women land star billing and walk down the aisle with her ex-lovers. A friend of hers is convinced that men are like jars with tight lids: When you give up trying to open them up to commitment, the next person who comes along gets to take advantage of all your hard work.
Almost a year ago, I remember having a discussion with John. I was there standing in his apartment in Arlington, VA. And I recall like the light of day me saying, without realizing that it was bubbling beneath the surface “I am not willing to prepare another man to find his perfect wife.” Ouch. Obviously referring to feelings unresolved lingering from the ex-Howie (and largely undiscovered, since I never wanted to marry this ex, ever.) I allowed myself to be a fill in girlfriend for over 5 years for a man I never imagined a future with (or did I?) As soon as I cut loose the ties, well, a year later…after he cut loose the ties I let loose….he ended up connecting with one of my good friends from college. Who was my *acting* date to my little brother’s wedding, since I did NOT want the family on my back about why I wasn’t going to marry Howie “we thought YOU would be first” blah. Howie was being quite clingy with me up until, OH THAT evening, so I thought that the girlfriend would offset the dynamic. Boy did it ever. The next weekend he was driving an hour and a half to take her out to dinner, and bring her flowers and and and…a year later they were engaged.
So the story goes.
When I uttered those words to John, I could NOT believe I was holding these feelings inside…I knew I was not happy with myself for being so needy and complacent over the years, but well, I VOWED not to be that woman ever again. Ever. I remember after that *discussion* John sitting on his computer chair and me standing over him in his lap…he held his arms around me and looked up to me with the most precious, beautiful soulful eyes I could have ever imagined, grasped me tighter and I just felt *that* that damn elusive *it* spark that you read about and brush aside. The father of my children, my partner for life, staring into my eyes, holding me tighter, keeping me safe and loved. Ugh. I cannot CANNOT let go of that feeling. I did NOT expect to have those feelings, ever. Someone who knew everything about me and loved me just the same. I am not sure how to deal with someone caring for me. I am the one who does the caring. And there he was in front of me. I knew we had a LONG road ahead, but I had never in my life been more certain that my life was going to end up with his…I just felt like fate had a different plan for me. And he was in Virginia while I was in Buffalo. All we needed was time. (I still believe this…)
A year later, well, so much is going on that there is no time for an us. As much as I want to hold on and be there, I can’t can’t pretend. I need more. (From him. NOT a *ring* but him…) Now. My heart is breaking, I miss him…but I am not going to let some silly *feeling* stand in the way of reality. And reality is, well, we are coming up on the one year date and well, I said I would never be that person again. I don’t want him to find his someone else, the person he flies on a whim to go see, the person he brings home to meet his family, the person he woos with romance. But…
Anyhow. My point?
I was reading this book on the way to work. Had all of that on my mind. I started listening to the 80′s at 8:00 to cheer up. Gain speed and momentum. Blah. Nothing good was coming on, until I hear the DJ say “Jen is not having a good night at work and wanted to hear this…” And Express Yourself comes on, interesting. Madonna was just on *Fresh Air* on NPR.
Don’t go for second best baby
Put your love to the test
You know, you know, you’ve got to
Make him express how he feels
And maybe then you’ll know your love is real
You deserve the best in life
So if the time isn’t right then move on
Second best is never enough
You’ll do much better baby on your own
Now how did THAT happen? So I suppose my mood is a little uplifted. I’m listening to music and bopping away the night…until the bus ride home when I start reading the book again. I decide to pull the last little bus ride aside and walk the 15 minutes back to my house, it is a nice Fall night and I have a lot stewing dreaming of grilled cheese as I enter my house. I also find myself stuck with the line from Les Miserables “You will learn, truth is given by God to us all in our time, in our turn.”
La la la. It is not my turn. I’m still working on me.
So I’m happily making my grilled cheese sandwich humming Les Miserables and I see that I have a letter from St. Paul’s Cathedral. The church I WANT to become a member of. Really. I’m planning on going to church THIS Sunday, get back in the swing for Advent. I miss this part of my life. I miss singing in church and participating in the services like I did when I was a kid. I feel a kinship to the grandmothers I love so dearly while attending service. I want to be this person, I need to get to church. So BEFORE I open this letter I am already thinking about this…and I find that the letter is a *welcome newcomer* notice for a meeting this Sunday.
While I am strolling down the letter, flipping the sandwich….I see a name at the bottom of the letter that strikes me. I look again, it is a name from the past. This man is a member of the *Newcomers committee* Huh? COULD IT BE?
S.S. is a man my age. A friend of my friends from High School. He went to college in my hometown and befriended my townie friends. He also was a friend of my ex. BEFORE I WAS DATING Howie in May 1997…I met S.S. the night of Howie’s graduation. Howie and I had a flirtation-friend thing going on from a distance for our entire Senior year (albeit at different colleges, but since he was friends with my HS friends at home, I just got a way with spending A LOT OF time at home that year.) By the time of our graduation, the tension was evident. But nothing was going to happen. He was moving back to NC to live with his parents and study for the LSAT and OH YEAH I was also planning on moving to NC with my friends and studying for the LSAT.
And before you think that this is an interesting coincidence, you have NO IDEA… My friends and I closed our eyes and picked a place on a map, and ended up with NC. A friend already knew people in Raleigh, so Raleigh it was. OF COURSE THIS PLAN WAS MADE before I realized that the friend I had a HUGE crush on, Howie, was not going home to NYC after school after all, but to RALEIGH, NC because his dad was transferred down south a few years ago. Huh? Weird. I swear to God it was a coincidence and match made in, well heaven, but the fact that he is marrying someone else suggests otherwise. OF COURSE Rachel and Brian met because I was dating Howie. So something good came of it, right? And Howie met his future wife because of me. So that leaves EVERYONE BUT ME…anyhow, that was not the point.
The point was it was graduation night 1997. I was crushing on Howie and I knew I was meeting his parents the next day. (His Jewish mom from NYC. Yikes.) Anyhow. We were just friends and I liked him. BUT SO DID THIS OTHER GIRL HE WAS FRIENDS WITH. I guess she found it to be her last chance for a crack at something too, and he ended up um, going home with her on a whim that night, since she was MORE THAN A SURE THING and all we were was um, good friends too afraid to kiss.
ANYHOW. That night I ended up staying up talking all night with this other man. We hit it off smashingly and spent the entire night together on a sleeping bag in the middle of a friends living room talking. I was moving to NC and he was going home to Rochester. I VIVIDLY remember thinking that he could have been, oh the perfect man. A good honorable, funny, dorky preppy glasses man. And I do recall (although we did NOT kiss, we were both very good…and wanted too…) the both of us saying “My God, why didn’t I meet you before now?” Because at that point, there was no point.
Yeah no point.
BUT IS THIS S.S. the same man? Is he in Buffalo? I bet he is married with children and running the committee at church. (I have a penchant for falling for these ultra good boys) Alas. So strange…so very very strange to see his, unusual name, staring back at me. Even if it is not the same person, the thoughts are still there…the *what if* and *not let time pass me by* moments. Lord knows I have had too many of those in the last, oh 30 years. Time to start living and not missing out.
Yeah. Or something. I think that is what I was trying to say, but my fingers are tired from typing. And even if this story goes no further…I sure can think of a few twists and turns for a book. With a HAPPY ending for our dear heroine the hope…is out there, not because of some man I met for one evening and emailed a few times, but for, well someone…given to me by God in my time…and that makes me smile.