Here is the pic from my evening, prime with prime rib and my husband of nearly twenty-three years.
It can’t capture the tears that leaked out of the corners of my eyes, mascara and all, leaving black streaks down my cheeks.
“Do you remember that conversation we had, when I was nineteen and just a baby, in the Boston Market on Mississippi and Colorado?” (no longer there, I don’t add).
He doesn’t want to admit that he doesn’t remember it. “I remember…”
“What I said was true, and I said it to scare you, one month in to our relationship. I shouldn’t have jumped into a new relationship so quickly after the last, but I also meant every word of what I said.”
Those blue eyes could pierce you through Prime Rib Night at Bull and Bush, our semi-favorite place, marred by COVID and patio seating (his mar, not mine).
“That I wanted to have two kids, but really, I wanted to have one kid and adopt one?”
“Ahhh… yes.” The recollection of the moment is vivid in his expression. He is there with me now. He is here with me now.
“And you said…?”
I fill him in: “I can’t wait till I get to do that with you.”
One month in. Age nineteen.
And was I going to send those blue eyes sailing? Or grab on and look into them for the rest of my life?
“You know that’s not how it worked out.” (Three biological girls later). “But this is what I have now. And I know you will never see it because I’m the only one who has him, the only one who knows him.”
“And I know it’s about the damn money, it always is with you.”
Blues pierce me again. “It’s not about the money. God knows we have the money.”
“It’s about your heartbreak. You took him here, you brought him there, you didn’t like his appreciation, his lack of appreciation. He breaks you. He hurts you. And we all feel it. And I just can’t stand to see him hurt you.”
What I don’t say: I cried for two hours the other night when you told me not to buy him a ski pass for next year. When you said, again, not to include him as a part of our family. When you walked downstairs and abruptly ended the conversation. When I couldn’t put into any words how much I hated you.
And now we sit in your non-favorite seat, in the 16th-century English-Americana pub, chewing our prime rib and drinking our home-brewed beer, and you’re killing me with those baby blues.
And I was so mad at you and so hurt that I couldn’t see straight.
And the whole goddamn time, you weren’t thinking about money. You weren’t thinking about how he felt about a goddamn ski pass. You weren’t thinking about the hassle or paying for college or anything but.
And to have that kind of love, when a just-turned-twenty boy says, “I can’t wait to do that with you,” and twenty-three years later still says it (in so many words)…
There is no cut of meat sufficient. No house full of kids. No price tag.
There is just. Love.
One month in, 6348 months later.