“I don’t believe in signs,” I found myself saying to TWD several house later as I sat in my car in the parking lot at Bryn Mawr.
“Yeah right,” he teased.
“Okay fine, I do. But still… what are the odds of that?”
We weren’t better. In fact, in some ways we were worse, but we were talking at least. And although neither of us could bring ourselves to say the “b” word (by which I mean the “break up” word) we both knew it was on the table.
Ten years ago I would have taken that CD as a sign that we were meant to be together. At almost-28, however, I’m not quite that naïve. There was, it turned out, a perfectly rational explanation for finding that particular CD in my ancient boom box. And a bachata doesn’t have the power to make your problems disappear. It just lets you to forget about them for a few minutes, but when you leave the dance floor, they’re still there and you find yourself wondering:
Is it always going to be this way?
Is he going to change?
And, if love is about acceptance, is it right to even ask him to change?
We talked for nearly three hours. About everything. And I do mean everything. At one point, I found myself remembering a story told by a fellow Quaker at my meeting in Trenton and even though I’d just thought it a nice story at the time, it took on a whole new meaning for me.
The woman in question was going through a divorce. She and her husband had been married for several decades but they decided to call it quits after finally realizing that neither of them could ever be exactly what the other person needed. The divorce proceedings were amicable, however, and they still loved each other so they decided to give themselves a week to grieve for their marriage together before moving on.
At the time, I remember thinking, “That’s insane. Just get yourself some cookie dough ice cream, a bottle of wine and get on with it!”
But this is why cookie dough and wine approach (or Reese’s Cereal Puffs, in my case) doesn’t always work.
After a week of grieving, they decided to stay together. They finally accepted the fact that they weren’t going to change but they were okay with that because they were still friends and they still loved each other.
That, in a nutshell, is what happened with TWD and me. Some things were harder to accept than others, and we both came away with a laundry list of things we’ve promised to work on, but we talked and talked and talked some more and by the end, I felt better about us than I had in a long time.
On Wednesday night, he took me out for an early birthday dinner at club on the Delaware River that I’ve been dying to go to for the past several years. He wore the sexy, black v-neck t-shirt that I badgered him into buying last summer that he hates but I love. He bought me a new pair of earrings and an entire bag of Smartfood popcorn for my drive up to New England. We danced and we drank and we danced some more and as usual, I found myself falling back in love with him the minute we hit the dance floor.
Is everything perfect now? No. Not quite. We both have a lot of work to do— in both the “acceptance” department and in the “compromise” department—but as far as we’re concerned, we’ve got enough going for us that it’s worth trying.