The Life of Bon: 2020

Sunday, May 03, 2020

Last night I was remembering

The boy I dated around Christmas.

This was Round Two for us.  We dated ten years ago.  I was 23 and full of life and energy and convinced I was invincible against the world.  He was goofy and smelled good and tried to kiss me on our first date.  I demanded we wait until the second date at which point we kissed all night.

And then here we were again.  Ten years later and worser for the wear.

A decade of pain and heartache for us both.  Him working through the trauma of unexpected job loss, crippling debt, his mother’s quick sickness and death, his father's death by suicide.  Me working through the trauma of my own dad's sudden death, years of a troubled marriage, a quick divorce, single motherhood, slow healing.

He looked like a Danish soccer player.  Stupid tall and with a slight gap in between his front teeth.  Handsome and fit and strong and with a full head of blonde hair.

On Christmas night we walked in a silent world, in quiet neighborhoods.  It wasn't cold for Christmas.  My kids were with their dad.  It was a lonely and sad day for us both, in our own unique ways.  He spent the day alone, reading 1984 in the small basement apartment his uncle let him live in while he looked for a new job.  I spent the afternoon at my ex's, trying to manage dinner with his family, pushing through discomfort and sorrow and grief to see my kids on a special day.

We walked slowly, looking at the lights and the big houses and daydreaming about our own somedays.  Somedays with pretty homes and trampolines in the backyard and heated driveways.  Somedays with jobs that are secure, that don't leave you while your back is turned, marriages that stay healthy, kids who you don't have to say goodbye to every other Christmas, parents who live long enough to see their children into adulthood.

He was so shy with me during Round Two.  Round One he was confident, goofy, assertive.  Round Two he hardly touched me.  Slow to take my hand, hours and nights would go by without him initiating any physical contact.  Years of suffering and loss took a toll on his confidence and we slipped into largely platonic habits.

We walked slowly around the neighborhood.  Finally, I shyly slipped my hand into his and he did not let go.  No one else in the world for us to see on Christmas night.  No one knew where we were.  Everyone with their own families.  I suppose we were each other's family that night, looking for comfort, looking for company, looking for someone to make us believe we had someone.  That we weren't so damn alone.

After our walk we drove through more twinkling  neighborhoods, listening to 24 hours of Beatles on the radio.  I hesitantly put my hand on his knee.  We made our way to IHOP, the only place open late on Christmas night.  Two girls talked loudly and excitedly at the booth next to us.  We ate mostly in silence and left a generous tip.

Three weeks later and Round Two was over.  He received the news that he didn't get a much hoped for job.  We quickly fizzled from there- him not able to show up for the relationship, me not willing to be in another relationship where I show up alone.

But Christmas Night remains a really beautiful memory to me.
Two very hurt people.
Wandering slowly.
Half lost.
Half found.
Paul McCartney soothing us softly in the background, nah nah nah nah life goes on.