Holy cow! What a nice thing to say. I’m blushing. OK, so I’ve been sitting on a new fic because I am completely stuck on the ending, but you’ve motivated me to start hammering on it again. Thanks so much!
A funny thing happens now when I go to professional meetings and see dozens and dozens of people from all over the country who are long-time acquaintances. They avoid me. To be clear, they didn’t used to avoid me, but now that I’m a widow, talking to me makes people feel awkward and perhaps a little sad. You can tell a part of them is thinking they are so glad it was my spouse and not their own. And also, they really don’t know what to say. So I see them seeing me and trying really hard not to make eye contact.
I get it. I really do. And it’s okay.
So, like tonight in San Francisco, I went out on my own to avoid imposing my sad, widow self on my uncomfortable acquaintances. I don’t mind being on my own. I often prefer it. Tonight I met a man who is the photography editor for a major news outlet. He bought me a beer, and we talked for about an hour. At one point he said to me, “Wow, you are so interesting,” and I thought, “Isn’t that the best compliment ever?” So maybe being left to my own devices isn’t so bad after all.
I have the best friend. We’ll call her S. The other day we were driving around in Michael’s car, which had been parked in the garage for about a month. At some point S. took over the driving, and we were chatting, and I was looking out the window. Then, I just put my hand on her thigh. But not her thigh but his thigh, because that’s what we would do—for almost fifteen years—he would drive and I would rest my hand on his thigh. I almost instantly realized my mistake—this habit, now wrong—and S. just knew why without me saying anything. And we both burst into tears.
And aren’t I lucky to have someone who helps me carry my grief?
As I am cataloging for sale my late husband’s (500+) theological books, I keep coming across scraps of paper tucked inside pages with his handwritten notes. Most are cryptic and would make sense only to him, but I found one inexplicably set in between the pages of The Pilgrim’s Progress that is pretty easy to understand.
Under the underlined phrase “Are You a Good Husband" Michael wrote:
Are you a good man?
Do you have sex and romance?
Do you talk?
Do you do chores?
Are you flexible?
Do you have shared and separate interests?
Do you have shared and separate friends?
I’m pretty sure these are good questions for both husband and wives to ponder. Michael, by the way, got high marks for all these things. Me, not so much.