Sunday, August 20, 2006

The week of my life wherein people missed me

What does it mean, when someone says "I miss you" even though you've never gone missing? You've been here all along, easily located, within driving -if not shouting, stones' throwing or hugging distance?

This week my ex-husband admitted he missed me. Sure his wife would love to hear it. Nevertheless, it wasn't leering or creepy or a prelude to anything beyond that.

We did, after all, grow up together, have kids together, be kids together and have the kind of godawful brawls only people in love in their 20's are prone to having. I never much thought he appreciated me as a human being. More like "Wife Concept" - a blow-up doll with motility and an EverReady Battery.

Ironically, it was his friends, guys who were also my friends before the marriage, who gave me the human being warm fuzzies: reading my writing, helping decorate for holidays, complimenting dinner, treating me like an individual.

So it's of some minimal comfort to know, after 24 years of knowing one another, he found some value in me or our former relationship, or something like that.

And then, someone else implied they missed me. But it's not like I've been absent from school or moved to Zimbabwe, changed my personality or joined the Witness Protection Program. And it's not like my door's getting knocked down right now by all the people who've dropped out of my life. Maybe it's just a phrase, like "Good luck" and "Sleep tight" and "I'll talk to you later..." Something we all say just to fill up empty spaces in a conversation.

I really do know
what I genuinely miss, and the thing I'd run to if it were remotely possible: the way things were a few years ago.

If I could wave a wand and change my life I wouldn't leave the one I have now, exactly. Basic elements of it are nearly 40 I like the intrinsic me, a whole lot. Sure I could be more socially active, less prone to saying whatever I think at any given moment regardless of consequence, or date more, and I definitely need more sleep. But the basics - my brain, heart, general outlook, sense of humor, passion, senses of duty, loyalty and so forth are all things I really appreciate -- and the same things I'm looking for in someone else. And if I really wanted to be more socially active and date more, I would find the time and do so, like in the past.

The only thing bad about my life is what's happening to everyone else in it.

What I just want is to go somewhere peaceful and quiet, where these things aren't happening and I'm not the person designated to fix them all. Everything was like that in recent years, until some time last year.

Back then, it didn't even seem dull, all the nonstop movie marathons the three of us had, sleeping until 11 on weekends, dinner as a family every night, inside jokes and absolutely no big ripples in our happy little pond. The house was clean, the kids knew they had a mom who was there for them in all ways and who wasn't overtired, churlish, prone to tears at any given moment and more absent than present.

These may all sound stupid and dull to other people. But from where I'm sitting right now, they were perfection.
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