Old flame brings new perspective
I am sitting in a coffee shop feeling sorry for myself. I have too much to do – working, being a mom, being a spouse, “balancing everything” and too little time in which to do it. I am going over my list of Family To-Dos while I take this short break. Let’s see, groceries (don’t forget the celery), cookies for my son’s school activity – who has time to bake?
Well, Johnny’s mom seems to have time; geez, how does she do it all? She can bake, makes it to all her kids’ games and still has time to work, keep a beautiful house and a happy husband. Did I just say “keep a beautiful house”? Oh God, what am I turning into? When did I start caring about how people “keep” their houses; probably when mine turned into a perpetual disaster zone!
Ok, back to the grocery list…oh and dinner tonight, and that report for work. No, that report goes on the Work To-Do list not the Family To-do list. I will work on the Work To-Do list next. What else? Oh yes, I need to pick up an I-am-sorry-I-insulted-you card for my husband.
Now the work list; let’s see, I have that report for Andrew and the – I catch a glimpse of someone entering the coffee shop, holy smokes is that Gary? My old flame Gary? Oh man was he a good kisser. What am I thinking? I am happily married for goodness sake. Eek, what does my hair look like (primp, primp)? Who cares how I look? I have way too much work to do to worry about that (but of course it is my first thought). Do I look better than when we dated? Probably not, who looks better at 40 than they did at 20? And what am I wearing? I couldn’t find the shoes I wanted this morning because only one was in my closet; the other was last seen on my two-year old. Blue sweater! That’s good, it brings out my eyes, and black, slimming pants. Well at least I don’t look too “mom” today. (All this floods my brain in the time it takes him to walk in the door and get in line.)
Next, I do an inventory on my life. What is the life recap story I am going to tell? What do you tell a once intimate man about your current life and how it turned out years later? Is it good, overbooked, frazzled, crazy? Well yes, but you aren’t going to share that with him. Let’s see… I am happily married to a man I love dearly. Things are good, he loves me, I love him, we crack each other up and the sex has been really great lately. I mean the other night in particular was … wait a minute, I’m not going to tell Gary that – focus! Ok, short and sweet, happily married.
Kids – right, my darling dear angels! No really, I do have two great kids who make me laugh on a regular basis. They drive me nuts on a regular basis too but all in all they are good kids. After work, they say how much they missed me with lots of hugs and kisses. Everyone comments on how nice and polite they are. They both do well in school and have lots of friends. We feel really lucky. Hold on, too much detail. Keep it simple: happily married, kids wonderful.
Ok happily married, great kids, what else? My job: yes, my job is good too. I do like it and I have done well for myself – there I go talking like a person who worries about how others “keep” their houses. “I’ve done well for myself?” which is something my grandmother would say. “Well, he certainly has done well for himself, hasn’t he?” Focus, back to my job. I have advanced and really like my work. It is nothing that I imagined when Gary & I were dating. I have been successful and am well respected in my field. (still sounding a bit grandmotherly there) Ok, I think am ready for the encounter.
Married – yes happily
Kids – fantastic
Job – great
I primp my hair one more time out of nervousness. I can see his back and those cute buns. I notice how his shirt stretches across his shoulders and how very nice those Levi’s look. It looks like he has been working out. I don’t remember him sporting the Levi’s like that when we were dating…. good for you Gary; way to take care of yourself. I am getting closer and he is picking up his drink. Focus now, my life is good, husband good, kids good, job good. It is “all good” as they say. I am oh so close; he turns, I smile, lick my lips, and open my mouth to say hello, then blush. I look at my shoes as if I have never seen them before; they are the most fascinating things I have ever seen. I nearly run into him. That’s not Gary! I keep walking as this stranger stares after me as if to say something but doesn’t. I make sure I am not running into anyone as I leave the coffee shop, I don’t need to add any more embarrassment to this situation.
My coffee and I cross the street; I am smiling and almost skipping. My life is good, my job and family are all good. Just like the t-shirts say “Life is good”.