It’s funny when you meet someone who is a reflection of yourself at an earlier age- but she was just that for me. She sat down at the table I was sitting at, on the crowded deck of the coffee shop. She was friendly and asked to share our table. My husband was in line getting us coffee, and I was saving us a seat with a good view of the ocean.
I recall my first thoughts when she struck up a conversation with me. She was exactly the kind of woman that my husband would like. It was just a random thought, not based on jealousy. She was dark haired, fresh faced, very feminine with a warm smile.
I realized that she was very much like me when I first met my husband.
She was younger than me of course, but she was also less jaded, less serious, and friendlier, warmer. She had that way of making sure that people knew she was listening to them, like they were the most interesting person in the room.
Now, I was no slouch. I was dressed in leather and riding on the back of his Harley down the Big Sur. My husband’s friends typically think he has it good- I’m a triple header. I look pretty good for my age, I’m nice to all his friends, and I encourage his hobbies like motorcycles. Still I was struck by how 20 years after we met, I am no longer like this girl.
And, It’s been a long time since I have been innocent and flirty with him. You know, the way women speak to men they’re dating. They hang on their every word, and ask questions about things they aren’t really interested in like “How did you learn to ride a big motorcycle like that?” No matter how often men tell me that they can’t stand a “femmes fatale” they all seem to trip over themselves to pick up her hanky when she drops it.
Still, rather than being jealous of the woman, I was sad for me. When did I get so serious? When did I lose my sense of wonder at everyday things? When did I forget I have an amazing husband who many women find attractive?
And, I was right. My husband showed up faithfully with our drinks. And, quickly, he was drawn to her- chatting and making friendly conversation. I wouldn’t call it flirty- he has too much class to flirt with a women with his wife sitting there. But, there was a heightened sense of interest- one you can see when you know someone very well.
They chatted until it was time to go. She mentioned how she’d love to live on the coast, but couldn’t because of her 12 year old. He laughed and responded “Wow, you have a son that old? When did you have him, when you were 10?”
And I remembered that my husband was a very smooth operator when he got my attention 20 years ago. And, I smiled at her when we said good-bye, even though I was feeling much less friendly by then.
As we mounted the bike and got back on the road, I realized I wanted to kick his ass a little. And I had to admit, it was my own fault. I knew he used to treat me like that, and my husband probably missed the flirty and fun girl I used to be that fell by the wayside.
Somewhere inside me the girl I used to be still exists. And I need to get her back.
We probably both miss her.