Don’t think for one moment that I spent the entire relationship upset and miserable. There were many brightshiny moments there – moments that were highlighted and underscored and ALLCAPSed against the dull patina of our disagreements.
There was a dubious yet distinct childhood connection – he and my brother played in the same sports league. Their age difference meant they didn’t play on the same team (as far as I know), but he remembers seeing me at games and I remember BEING at the games but don’t remember him. (My brother sort-of remembers him with the haze of memory that comes with being away for years and years).
I was ….as in love as I can be. Contrary to the initial post in this series, I no longer jump expecting to be caught. Nor do I jump from dangerous heights – I cannot afford to be badly hurt again. I loved him with a jaded eye, noticing how easily he gave his physical affection and how reluctantly he committed to his own desire for a less dubious attachment.
He constantly brought up Marriage. I tried to discuss, to explain, to clarify my lack of need/desire/whatever you want to call it for a marriage certificate. I would say “I don’t believe in it” and he would reply “But *I* do!”. It finally came down to me telling him to stop bringing it up, that he had absolutely no right to commit to me when he was still legally married to someone else.
We constantly discussed adding to our already-large family (were we to solidify our relationship in some way). I was (and still am) ambivalent about firmly saying “No more babies I am DONE”. The discussion made him nervous – his youngest is in high school, his older two in college.
We watched movies together in my effort to have “a family occasion”. (In my world if you’re talking marriage, this WILL happen.) We watched Journey to the Center of the Earth with Joe sitting on his lap during the scary parts. We watched The Spiderwick Chronicles with both boys huddled on our laps as the scary monsters got their comeuppance.
He would pull my glasses off my face and say “There she is – there’s the girl I remember” when I grinned up at him myopically.
There was a kind of magic that happened when he caressed me, when we touched, when we kissed. It was the kiss of the long-separated, the newly-together, the couple who had been together forever (or so it seemed).
There were moments of snark, OH how there were. Our First Tiff brought a stuffed animal my way. At work. My eyebrow quirked as I looked at a coworker and said “Wow. So now we’re fifteen.”
We went to Daddy’s workshop, in search of tools. The smell brought immediate tears to my eyes, big tears rolling down my cheeks, the heart’s cry for Daddy surprising me with it’s vehement assertion. He pulled me to him and hugged me. He held my hand as I tried to talk to him, look around with the tears rolling down my cheeks, trying to press on and get done and get out of there before I became completely unhinged.
(It’s a good thing I can touch-type because the memory of that Daddy-smell day has the tears rolling down my face even now.)
I would reach up for a hug and we would stand there, bodies meshed, not-quite-dancing but swaying to our own rhythm. Until inevitably a little one would decide to be jealous and grab one of our legs and hold on for dear life.
He asked me once in our final discussion (TEXT!!!!) if I missed him.
He’s not the man I need, so it doesn’t matter if I miss him or not.