Some epiphanies are wonderful. They can be freeing, inspirational and life-changing, all in good ways.
Others just show you how fricking dumb you are.
Case in point: A few weeks ago I reconnected with a Guy with whom I had an on-again off-again relationship that lasted over ten years. I really, really cared about him, and we were pretty close, but we were wrong for each other in many ways. None of which I cared about at the time, of course. Ahhh, youth. To be brutally honest, he loved me but wasn’t in love with me.
We’d been close friends before we got together, and remained so throughout the years. We’d met in college, and shared a group of friends who are to this day my best friends. Husband knew him and they were friendly, but not close, and at the time Husband and I were years away from getting together. When Guy and I broke up for the last time (circa 1993) he started seeing a woman who he is still seeing today, fifteen years later. When she realized that he and I had a history it made her uncomfortable, and I was uncomfortable but braving it out, and he was really uncomfortable. He started pulling away from the group, the visits becoming more and more sporadic. Eventually about six years ago he stopped seeing us at all. He stopped calling completely about four years ago, and the last attempt at connection was the birth announcement I sent after Son was born, to which there was no reply.
We got the message. Given that I was now happily married and busy with my son he wasn’t even close to foremost in my thoughts, but occasionally I would think about him and wonder how he was. Then, a few weeks ago, I was doing a search for something and ran across a site that helped you find people, and they listed known associates and businesses and lots of cool, readily available information about people. I looked up myself, my friends, my family, high school people, my old boss and, eventually, that Guy. It listed a business that he had apparently opened, so I sent him an e-mail.
Mind you, Husband is the least jealous person I’ve ever known, but still I told him I’d found Guy, and was going to send him an e-mail. He told me to go for it, as I knew he would. Minutes later Guy and I were chatting, catching up on each other’s lives. Clearing up the misunderstandings that had kept him away.
We’ve seen each other a few times since. He tells me that when he told his girlfriend that I’d contacted him and was now married and had a child, she said, “Great! Let’s all get together for dinner!”. We haven’t yet, but I know we will. He’s the friend I mentioned yesterday who asked us to design a new website for his business. Last weekend I hosted a dinner party with Guy (girlfriend was out of town) and the closest of our mutual friends, and it was wonderful. As if no time had passed since we’d all been together.
As we chatted through dinner and beyond, one thing became apparent that I’d never noticed before….
Their favorite show (Stargate)…their politics…their conspiracy-theory brotherhood. Their slight paranoia…their passion…their cynicism…
And as it was dawning on me during a particularly spirited exchange between Husband and Guy I looked over at our friend I’ll call Godfather (of Son, not of Pacino) and he was grinning at me.
“Yes, ” Godfather said.
“I never, ever noticed before,” I said, my hands pressed against my face.
“Yes,” Godfather said.
“They’re so much alike!” I say.
Yes, indeed,” agreed Godfather.
I just put my hands over my face and tried to turn off my brain. Since that night I’ve thought about it some, and mostly hoped that sometime really soon I’ll find it completely amusing. Which it is.
Then, tonight, Guy called. After the usual chatter and discussion of the dinner party wound down, he said to me, “There’s something I noticed that night. My gosh, Husband is just like me!”
I love Husband. And yes, there are similarities. But the life and the feelings and the commitment that Husband and I share is far deeper and means far more to me than any relationship I’ve ever had before. By about a brazilian (does anyone else love that joke as much as I do?) miles. Guy is my past. Husband is my past, my present and my future.
So, we’ll stay in contact now, because good friends are good to have.
I just don’t want to know what else I’ve been so dumb about.