October, 2009, Sparks, NV
A young, recently divorced man walks with the young woman he is seeing to get Jimboy’s. For those of you who don’t know what Jimboy’s is, I feel terribly sorry that you either live in a place without a Jimboy’s, or live such a sheltered existence where you just have never experienced the best, terrible food there is. There are no Jimboy’s in Seattle, which is good for my heart, but bad for my soul.
But I’m getting off track, because I want a taco from Jimboy’s and all the orange grease that flows from within. Back to the story.
The new couple was very hungry for lunch. They could’ve driven, but the day was unusually nice, so they decided to walk. The young man was very taken with the young woman, and she seemed to be taken with him. All was right with the world.
As they walked, they talked and laughed about all kinds of different subjects, seemingly random, but connected by a word or look exchanged. It was the kind of conversation only new couples have as they are beginning to fall in love without realizing it.
Suddenly, she said something to him that stopped him in his tracks. The exact words were lost to other memories in his mind, or perhaps the chemotherapy he would have a couple years after. He does remember the gist of it. Basically, she said something insecure about her looks.
The young man was stunned. Here was the most attractive woman he had ever laid eyes on, disparaging her looks.
The young man remembers exactly what he said then. “After my divorce I promised myself I’d never settle for anyone who wasn’t worth it. So if you think I’m settling…you’re out of your fucking mind.”
The young man smiled to himself on the compliment he had given to the young woman he already cared so deeply for. They continued walking. As they walked, they were overtaken by a noticeable silence.
“Perhaps it was too soon for him to tell her that he wasn’t just settling for someone by being with her? Perhaps she’s just really hungry?” the man asked to his head.
When they arrived at their destination, they ordered and the young man, happily wolfed down two tacos, & a bean burrito. The woman, however, barely touched her food. The young man noticed. Concerned, he asked her what was wrong.
“I don’t really feel good, suddenly,” she said, her eyes focused on the uneaten food sitting lonely on the bright orange tray.
“That happens to me sometimes too,” said the young man, obliviously.
And so they left Jimboy’s, to return to the motorhome in the young man’s father’s driveway, in which the young man (& usually the young woman) stayed. As they walked, the silence grew.
The young man’s head was spinning. What had gone wrong? He retraced the day, but nothing came to him. Perhaps she was just ill, but he had his doubts. She just seemed distant. And sad.
About half way to the motorhome that would later affectionately be dubbed “The Shed”, he couldn’t take it anymore. He stopped, turned to her, and asked, “Was it something I said or did?”
Breakthrough! The young woman’s eyes welled up with tears as she stuttered out her reply, “You won’t settle? I know we’ve only been seeing each other a short time, but I thought you really liked me. Are you seeing other people?”
The young man was horrified, shocked, happy, sad, and amused all at the same time. “Oh my God, no, Sweetness,” he began, “I meant that with you, I’m not settling because I don’t think I’m settling for less than I deserve when I’m with you. I’m not saying I’d never settle with you. I don’t know what the future will bring, but I love being with you. And no, I’m not seeing anyone else.”
Her smile returned. They embraced each other right there on the sidewalk. They walked back to the motorhome yet to be called “The Shed” and laughed and talked the rest of the way. They talked mostly about the incident that just occurred. It is still a topic brought up between the couple, everytime they have a misunderstanding.
Despite the way the man has a tendancy to say things that can easily be misinterpreted, and despite the way the woman has a tendancy to misinterpret what is said whenever remotely possible, whenever the misunderstanding is cleared up, the man and woman still laugh and talk about whatever was misunderstood.
They talked and laughed the entire time they were dating. They talked and laughed at their wedding. They talked and laughed after they cried when the man was diagnosed with cancer. They talked and laughed while waiting for his blood counts to recover, even when it became clear they weren’t going to. They talked and laughed when he could stop the coughing fits from the Aspergillus Pneumonia. They talked and laughed when they found a donor. They talked and laughed when he got his transplant, & during each up & down on the rollercoaster of good days and complications thereafter.
They have the kind of conversations that only great couples have as they continue to fall in love, and know it.
If you are in a relationship, & don’t talk and laugh anymore, think about it. You’re probably settling.
I love you, Sweetness!