The other day, Mike was driving me to the airport for a business trip. I felt uncharacteristically calm as my usual MO is anxiety before a trip. You know the free floating kind that sometimes erupts into misdirected anger…generally at Mike. Yet, he continues to taxi me to the airport for these trips. He has the patience of a saint and is easily the most forgiving man I have ever met.
We were tooling along the highway and he started telling me a story. It is a story I have heard many times before, but after so many years you run out of new material and you just tell each other the same story over and over again. I imagine when we are in our 70s sitting in an assisted living facility our son will visit us and think we are old and senile because we tell each other the same stories over and over again when in reality, we do that now and it is not the result of dementia.
This particular story he was telling is a good one. He and some friend whose name I can’t remember met a couple of girls while on vacation in
Like all stories Mike tells, there was more to the story like how there was a gas crisis and the girl’s father had to siphon gas out of his Cadillac so they could actually drive. No doubt, he gladly did this to get these boys away from his little Princess, but Mike argues that point insisting he, at least, was a perfect gentleman. There was also an offshoot about
My first reaction to hearing this story for the 50th time was to mock Mike for not only his silly little crush, but for still romanticizing it some 30 years later. Yes, I am that kind of wife. My husband patiently drives his irrationally angry and anxiety-ridden wife to the airport and she responds by ridiculing him. But, for some reason, on this particular trip down memory lane, I kept my mouth shut and instead of teasing him for being kind and lovingly human, I decided to be the same and share a story with him that I never shared before.
When I was 14 I went to
Still, I was crushed. For the entire 5 hour car ride back to
This next part gets a little weird. When I got back home I still could not stop thinking about this boy so I walked a ½ a mile to the pay phone at the Schwegmann’s Grocery Store, called information and got the phone number and address of
I had really forgotten about this incident and my inability to let go of this boy and how he made me feel. My heart healed quickly and no doubt I moved on to the next cute boy as young girls do, but telling the story again to Mike made me realize something about myself that I had forgotten. I like people. I like to hold the people I meet in my heart and keep them near. I don’t like to lose the people I meet. Over the years, as I have “matured,” I have learned to feign indifference about people I care about who either move away or don’t care as much about me. I have taken that heart I so carelessly wore on my sleeve and tucked it away. I have compartmentalized my emotions and learned the socially appropriate amount of care and concern I am supposed to show.
And, I have gotten so good at it that I almost made fun of my husband for not being indifferent. You see, if I had met my husband in
In my pained and pointed efforts to not seem like a clingy stalker, I almost forgot that sometimes, I just want to openly and honestly love my fellow human beings. I want to hug too long and cry when people move away. I want to put it all out there and not fear being mocked. I want to be like Mike. Or, at the very least, openly admire him for having the courage to do what I have forgotten how.