Sunday, April 14, 2013
Best left in friendship...
Recently I re-connected with an old friend. He was someone that I briefly was romantically involved with and then quickly realized that we were much better friends than lovers. We met about 20 years ago through a mutual friend. There have been long breaks between “getting together” and every time we talk it is as though no time has passed at all.
The last time we talked was right after my son died so it’s been quite a while. He had no idea the direction I took after consoling me after Brian’s memorial service. This friend never knew very much about my life before I met him. He knew that I was separated from my husband because of his alcoholism, but assumed there would be no divorce because I didn’t want to lose my military benefits.
When I told him that I had taken my husband back in, he was a bit surprised. He was not surprised when I told him why I had done it. It seemed like what he would have expected from me. There was no “OMG!” or “What were you thinking?” There was just acceptance and understanding. That felt good.
I was happy to hear that he had a woman in his life and was secure in that relationship. Believe me, he would be considered to be a “fine catch” in almost anyone’s opinion. When my mother was alive, she would always ask me “So what’s happening between you two? You know he’s the best one for you.” I would explain that sometimes things are just best left in friendship rather than push for something that could destroy everything. Mom didn’t buy my theory. If there had been another daughter in the family, I’m sure she would have been pushing her as well.
At this point in my life, the last thing I would ever consider is a relationship with anyone. I have my family, dog, and cat and to add a man would be simply insane. The fact that I have a husband is only a minor issue. Riley and I have not been a truly married couple for so many years, that sometimes it’s hard to remember what it was like to be happy to be around him. I have to re-read chapters in my book to help me remember why I fell in love with him in the first place.
Each time I read those chapters, I re-live the meeting and early days of our courtship. Sometimes I think, “How naïve can a girl be?” and get irritated that I fell for all the hearts and flowers. But, there was such sweetness in Riley, a gentleness that most the men in my life (father, brothers, uncles, cousins) never displayed except on rare occasions. Besides, the fact that my adult relationship experience was non-existent, gave me no reference from which to draw. I was like a lamb to the slaughter lead by a pied piper.
I’ve taken an excerpt from my book which talks about meeting Riley.
The weather was perfect for an evening walk. It was cool but not cold and the stars lit up the sky with a silvery glow. Our apartment was only a block from the lake which had a walking path completely around it. Walking around the lake was a popular activity in this city.
We took a couple of detours which allowed us to walk by stores that had closed for the evening. The windows were lit and displayed their products vividly. We discussed the fashion and I was full of myself as I explained the history of the style of clothing. I was in my element.
At the very far end of the lake there is a pergola that juts right into the lake. Standing there you feel surrounded by the water and trees. It is truly a beautiful place. That evening the moon shone across the smooth water like a mirror. The stars got brighter as each hour took us deeper into the night.
That’s where it happened. Riley kissed me. It was a sweet gentle kiss, but it was filled with passion. I forgot about the divorce, kids, age difference, I forgot all those red flags and enjoyed every second of that kiss.
We walked home, holding hands and talking about things that didn’t really matter. I was surprised when he asked me to have dinner with him on Saturday evening. I wanted to say NO! Every fiber of my being screamed out STOP! He’s too old!! He’s divorced with kids!! But, it seemed I was outside myself listening as I heard the words flowing from my mouth… “I would love to have dinner with you.” So much for being cautious.
It’s too bad that I didn’t listen to that little voice that said NO. In the long run, it would have saved me from heartbreak and disappointment. On the other hand, I would have missed a lot. I would not be where I am today. I would not have had the experiences (good and bad) that I’ve had over the years. As disappointed as I may be, I do not regret any part of my life with Riley.
Whenever I re-read those chapters, it’s as though I’m re-connecting with Riley. If just for a few minutes, I can connect with that sweet-starry-eyed time and that makes me smile.
at 10:41 AM