I get the same message a lot - most of the time from recently divorced women wondering when they’ll find someone. Wondering how long it takes. Wondering how hard it is. Wondering where their puzzle piece is, where their other half lives.
And the simple answer is that I just don’t know.
But tonight, it was different. She said -
“You guys make it look easy.”
For Craig’s birthday, I sent him a message every day. Something new every day. Something that I love about him. Something in him that I’m not willing to ever live without again.
For my birthday a month later, Craig - a man of very few poetic words - emailed me paragraphs. Important things, sweet things. Necessary things.
And what I didn’t really tell you, and probably because you don’t really need to know is that the weekend before my birthday, we sat at a restaurant for six hours. SIX HOURS. Our bill was like seven billion dollars, and I used every single free napkin four times for tears that randomly fell throughout our conversation.
[Sidenote: I cry at EVERYTHING. Grey’s episodes, songs, when my students sang happy birthday to me last week. All the things.]
Craig held onto my hand with some sort of death grip, and my palms sweated. My lip was raw from chewing, and I am so damn certain that there are moments in life where the blood leaves all parts of your body and rushes straight to your heart in order to force it into beating again, and again, and again.
In those six hours, we stood on a hundred precipices. A hundred ledges. A hundred decisions. Two divorced people who swore to never compromise again, softly, gently, slowly learning how to do it all again.
There’s this thing I’ve known about Craig the entire time I’ve dated him - I can’t tell him what to do. Example: In Year One, towels fell off the top of the dryer, and I told him to put them back on the dryer when he went to take a shower. And because landmines, and because scarred hearts, and because of everything-that-came-before-me, those words grated on him.
And so in those six hours at the restaurant with comfortable chairs, I said flippantly, “I can’t tell you what to do.” I’ve laughingly said it a hundred times in the years we’ve been together. But. This time was different. And in that annoying way that is also the very best way, he cocked his head to the side and slowly, carefully, calmly whispered, “Yes, you can.”
I shook my head, looked anywhere but him, basketball, the waitress’s ponytail, the woman to my right in the grey shirt. I chewed my lip. I thought about three years from now. Six. Ten. I thought about those damn text messages the week of his birthday.
When she emailed me tonight and told me that we make it look easy, I was tempted to laugh. I was tempted to tell her, “Noooooo, no, no. You were not there last weekend in the trenches. That certainly did not feel easy.” That felt like struggle. That felt like walking through soft dirt, or being lost in some suffocating wilderness.
At the end - when we’d both exhausted ourselves with deep, hard conversation, it was dinnertime. We left, my hand in his. His palms were warm, and I’ll be damned if that’s not one of the things I love most about him.
His hands are always warm, and they always reach out for mine.
Showing up for each other over and over and over again - even when it’s hard, or scary, or if you’re angry - the choice.
Showing up in the nitty-gritty.
Showing up in the yucky middle - the part where you're determined to get it right this time around even if it sucks for a second, even if it sort of feels like it's taking forever, or even if you have to take deep, deep breaths.
Every single time.
Choosing each other over and over.
It takes a lot of damn work to make it look easy.
. About Moi .
I love, love, love flannel sheets and I am really passionate about lists on post it notes and most of the time I'm sad that no one else is as excited as I am about Diet Mountain Dew. I also adore run-on sentences. And if you need an awesome virtual assistant, who is full of personality and really good jokes? Email me. I'm your girl.
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He saw her before he saw
anything else in the room.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald
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