Archive for April, 2011

A Moment in Passing

There I was, new at my job, rushing to figure out what went where and who to ask when I didn’t know the next step.  It was a peacable place, bustling with energy at times and slow moving at others, yet filled with comeraderie and joviality. It wasn’t a bad place to spend my day.

And one day, still in my training period, when the rush of spring semester book orders came in and seniors filled the aisles with laughter and frustration as they tried to figure out what they needed to order and how many centimeters tall they were, I bumped into him.

Literally. I rounded a corner and nearly knocked him flat. I was equally as embarassed by bumping into him as I would be any other person of the opposite sex. Which is to say, I was red as a beet.

Even that level of embarassment, though, did not prevent me from noticing his reaction. He stood up straight, and finding himself in much too close a proximity to me, stepped back.


And then…danced around, for lack of a better term. When speaking with someone you know, generally you stand with about an arms length between you. He had gone from one extreme – being so close we ought to hug, to being an awkward two steps away – just far enough that in the bustle around us no one was sure whether we were in an actual conversation or not, and just far enough that speaking in a normal tone was difficult.

What the??? I thought as I watched him nervously shift his weight back and forth, taking a random step here and there. Isn’t this the guy I’ve known my whole life? Then why am I blushing and why is he… doing whatever it is he’s doing?

It was April. I had seen him just a week or two before. It hadn’t been so awkward then.

I wanted to say congratulations to him for his big news, but I didn’t want him to know that I’d heard it from my mom, who heard it from his mom within the first 24 hours of it happening, I think. So I waited.

Finally he stammered over the words after a few more awkward minutes when I asked how she was doing, and I finally wished him congratulations. He muttered some things about timing and families and something in the fall. I don’t really remember what he said exactly because I was so struck by how apologetic and regretful he sounded. I couldn’t figure out why – I was so hoping to have similar news of my own soon and couldn’t wait to be able to shout it from the mountaintops. I’m sure it was just a guy thing.

We parted ways on an equally awkward note, and I didn’t see him again for several months. Right around the beginning of fall, to be exact.

I helped his bride get into her dress, helped sew the last few stitches on her gown as the family and friends of his childhood (and mine) laughed and chatted and stood in familiar groups ouside in the sunshine. I watched him cry as he said his vows, and I watched her lay into him when he returned from the kidnapping of the groomsmen. I held my breath when they were supposed to be flying back from their honeymoon on 9/11.

My life moved on, my love found its permanent home in the heart of this man here next to me. I have no regrets. My life is happy and in retrospect I can see how poorly matched he and I would have been, despite the desires and wishes and support of our two families, who seemed to have fervently hoped we’d make a match.

His life? I don’t know. In pictures it seems happy. Fully of bustling activity, career, hobbies, and outdoor adventures that I dream of still doing in my happy dreams. But no babies. No children to fill their home and their hearts.

Not many words, if any? have been spoken directly between the two of us in the last ten years. Except, perhaps, this one completely vague sentiment:

“South Lake Tahoe was awesome! Nothing like driving 2 hrs to church through some of the most beautiful scenery in America! Wonderful!”

Yeah, not much, I’m sure I’m reading into that a whole lot more than what was meant by it, but tell me, who spent those two hours with him every week? They were peacable hours, listening to fernando ortega, watching the scenery going by, and in general NOT being awkward or contrived. We didn’t talk all that much, or have deep spiritual conversations, but perhaps he looks back and appreciates the memory of being able to have some sort of comfortable silence without contention. I just wonder, a little bit.