I meant it.
But you didn’t believe me. Or, you believed me, but you needed me to make a home with you. To create a space together.
Crazy, I thought. I was recovering from a divorce as shocking as it was disappointing. My high school boyfriend, who became a completely-in-love-with-me college boyfriend, then a fiancé, then my husband for three years before our Bessie arrived, pink-cheeked and cherubic from the minute she escaped my birth canal – that devoted and charming man left Bessie and me for another woman. Another life.
I should have needed years to get over that.
But oh no, a month after the divorce that surprised me with its simplicity – sign here and sign away the 10 years of love and marriage – you walk into the café where I’m frantically writing an article on “the joys of cooking simply” for one of the magazines I freelance for.
Okay, yes, I smiled back.
You receive my smile as an invitation and sit down at my table with a nod, holding out your hand. “Joseph,” you say as simple as that. And I’m lost in that invitation.
But I try my hardest to push you away. Fifteen minutes into this meetngreet, you sipping your coffee, me glancing at my half-written article with regret – I’ll never make the deadline – I mention to you that I’m newly divorced and the mother of a 2-year-old.
You should have stood up and run away as fast and as far as possible.
Instead, you ask, “When can I meet her?”
Remember how I said I’d go out with you but that you’d never meet my daughter. Separation of church and state – separation of love life and family. That kind of thing. You laughed. “Doesn’t work that way,” you replied.
So, here we are, one day into living together a year after we met. I should need my freedom. I shouldn’t like being here.
“Shouldn’t work that way,” I whisper in your ear as we stand in our family room, looking out at Bessie picking daisies in our new front yard.
You smile and squeeze my worry into love.