Skip to main content

Be Careful What You Wish For

                I have married myself. I don’t know how I did it, but I managed to meet the male version of me, right down to the weight insecurities and the penchant for fart jokes. Between us our combined age is somewhere around 19.

                This brings me great joy.

                I had decided after many long distance phone calls from my sister that I really wasn’t going to meet a nice guy by sitting on the couch in my living room. I needed to get out. “You’re not getting any younger,” she egged me on. “You know, those kids are going to grow up and leave you and then what are you going to do?”

                So one Saturday night I let the kids help doll me up and I drove about 10 miles due north of Syracuse to St. John’s Church in Liverpool. They were hosting a St. Patrick’s Day dance, and by God, I liked to dance and I didn’t care at that point if I did it alone.

                I tried psyching myself up on the way there.

                “Okay, God, it’s like this,” I said aloud in the car, “I want to meet somebody tonight and I want him to be funny and I want him to be bigger than me and most of all I want him to be kind.” I had been reading a lot of self-help books about the power of positive thinking and one of them suggested I just say aloud exactly what I wanted. Unfortunately, I failed to say “and I want him to be rich.” I can just hear my mother’s voice in my head, “It’s just as easy to marry a rich man.”

                Anyway, I looked around for the group of friends I had invited myself to join that night. I found them and sat down at their table. I fortified myself by bringing a couple of little airplane bottles of Jack Daniels in my purse. When I sat those down on the table, the guy next to me perked right up. I grabbed a Styrofoam cup of ice and a diet Pepsi from the parish hall church ladies. I noticed an unfamiliar liquor bottle on the table in front of the guy who I now noticed looked to be a bit of a sourpuss dressed like a canary. I had Jack Daniels. He had 99 Bananas and was wearing a shirt that matched the drink.

                He looked a little sheepish, which of course went straight to my heart. He watched closely as I set myself up with a little Jack and Pepsi and proceeded to get a grip. I think I picked up his 99 Bananas, examined the bottle and asked if he’d like to try some of my drink. Of course he did, embarrassed that he’d brought something you'd find at a Florida frat party.

                He still hung his head, though. A mutual friend kept coming by and talking out of the side of his mouth to my banana friend. I saw him jab the poor guy with his elbow more than once. Our friend introduced us and I found out the shy guy was named Chris. I could work with this. Finally, Mr. Yellow asked me to dance.

                We went out onto the dance floor, which I’m pretty sure was in a room where more than one wake had taken place, and the “disc jockey” looked to be close to 80. His sideline was probably bingo caller on Sunday nights.

                We started off with a little light dancing. I didn’t want to bust out my award-winning moves right away. I could already tell he was a nervous wreck, no sense in overwhelming him. We made it through a couple of songs and we had a nice rhythm together. I definitely wanted to try him out on a slow number.

                Finally DJ Jazzy Gramps played a slower tune and we went out on the floor.

                “So,” I said to him. “Are you divorced? Have you been married?”

                “Yes,” he told me. “I’ve only been divorced a year or two. I was married for 17 years.”

                Well, I thought to myself, he’s got my first marriage beat by six years.

                “I was married for 11 years and I’ve been divorced for around 11 years,” I told him.

                “Yeah? Well, I’m not ready for anything,” he told me.

                “Well, that’s too bad, because I am,” I said out of absolutely nowhere.

                He got a little quieter, but we kept dancing the rest of the night and lightened the conversation a bit. I’m about as subtle as a hurricane, I thought to myself. The music came to an end and he hadn’t asked for my number or made any indication he wanted to see me again, so I pulled on my coat and drove home, happy at least that I had finally gone out and glad that I had a good dance partner. Not just anyone can keep in time while I’m doing it up Davy Jones-style.

                I kept thinking during the days ahead that I wanted to find a way to see him again. I wondered if he ever thought about me. I wondered if he had other shirts besides that god-awful banana sweatshirt.

                Finally, about three weeks later, my friend came to me and said, “Chris would like me to give him your email, but I wanted to check with you first.”

                Was she crazy? “Yes, yes, give it to him!”

                Ah, he did think of me.

   That was six years ago. He still emails me and he still takes me for a spin on the dance floor, only now it’s in our kitchen while I’m making dinner. We don’t go out dancing much anymore, life has gotten in the way. We both have someone to share it with now, though, and that makes all the difference. 

        Let there be spaces in your togetherness, and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, and the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.   – Khalil Gibran


I remember it well.......Miss you lady! Sorry I am always awful at staying in touch. Saw your like on diocesan facebook and had to read your blog! Thanks for giving me a laugh and a warm spot in my heart!
Connie Berry said…
Miss you too! Thanks for reading and thanks for being there for me while it happened:) Love you!
Deb said…
I'm so happy that you're so happy. You deserve it. Do you remember giving me and Chuck this massive purple candle many, many years ago? It is huge and has three wicks. You were feeling like you'd never again have romance or love, and said you had no need for candles. I'm so glad you were mistaken. :)
(But you can't have the candle back. It's ours now, sucker!)
Connie Berry said…
thank you...I'll take it! You and Chuck I'm pretty sure do fine with or without candles:) wish you were here to make me walk:)

Popular posts from this blog

Getting well takes baby steps

So I’ve had what you could call a case of the pneumonia. It was not pleasant. And to top it off it happened in San Antonio, Texas. Like I wasn’t sweating before the fever.
I was there to see my niece Michelle, who by the way kept asking me, “Are you going to write about this?” which is funny because she’s a writer too. I naturally said, “Oh no, of course not.” And here we are.
Thinking back, the best part of that trip teeters between meeting my two great-nephews, Oliver and Isaac, and having a couple of beers with their Yaya, my sister, who I haven’t had beers with in decades. Like I said, it’s a toss-up. There’s also the fact that I got to spend time with my niece’s husband Alex. He’s a hardcore military guy. He teaches other military guys how to be military policemen. I’m not going to gamble on writing anything about him. He’s from Wisconsin though, which I like. And he likes to cook, which I also like.
I thought to myself before I ever left my nice cocoon of Martha’s Vineyard to tra…

Just sitting around doing jack

I think my blog may have been hijacked. I haven’t written in forever because I’ve been writing …for my job, which may mean I’m no longer a “jobless goddess.” I may just be a regular goddess.
I love the word jack. I could use that all day. Whatever, hopefully those who want to read the blog will read. Back to jack. It’s a cool freaking word. I had a brother-in-law named Jack who pretty much personified the word “cool.” He’s gone too soon and missed by everybody.
There’s Billy Jack, get back Jack, Jack Sprat, Jack Nicholson, Jack Berry, Jack in the Box, Jumping Jack Flash. And my favorite, a little ditty my sister introduced me to, “Jack Mother.” This is a something you say when someone cuts you off on the highway. “I’m sorry officer, I was cut off by that Jack Mother in the blue Subaru.”
My brother Steve has a friend named Jack. I thought he was about the greatest thing ever when I was 12. Who are we kidding? I probably still do. Jackie was hilariously funny and I loved to watch my brot…

Little women

I’m getting a real kick out of my co-workers these days. I’m working with about a half dozen young women — young being the operative word.
They’re all so freaking competent it kills me. They can write like it’s nobody’s business, they all take great photos to go with their stories, and they almost always laugh at my jokes. I call them ‘the girls.’
They’re either about to go to university, just leaving university, or all done with it and on their way. They do yoga and eat a lot of avocados. We live on Martha’s Vineyard and none of them know who John Belushi is but they all know they should keep using the same plastic cup for take out iced coffee over and over and over again. If they see a bug, they think twice before killing it. Actually they leave it for me to kill because they couldn’t possibly… and they know I won’t hesitate.
We get along just fine the girls and me. Oh, there’s a little trouble when I insist on running the window air conditioner up in our second floor office —ramsha…