Who and How
Bobby: late-30s, Persian, divorced with two girls. About six-feet tall. We met at Gringotts.
First impressions: young goblin, skirt-chaser with a weak spot for white dresses with a swooshing hem line paired with fuchsia heels. He made frequent visits to my neck of the woods but was too shy to make conversation. So I was liberal with rolling my eyes at him.
Then I learned he was a Big Deal Goblin, so I decided it would be politically wise to stop being passive aggressive and try being polite. Eventually, I saw less of him and all of the above became forgettable, especially as I sank deeper into a depression I didn’t realize I was in.
After a very long time, though, it picked up again. Initially, I wasn’t receptive and it irked me that he would continue when he knew very well what my situation was. I became passive aggressive again and he, thankfully, backed off.
More time passed. Then one day, slowly and all at once, Bobby hit me like a wave. Just like your stomach sends your brain messages or growls audibly in hunger, a hole within me finally made its presence known and I listened. It said, “I’ve been here too long and I’m hurting. I won’t stop hurting without Bobby.” I realized in that moment that I missed him and was convinced that he was and is the missing piece in my life.
The rational part of me has a detailed explanation for why I think this happened. I was away, my mind had time to stop racing and in that stillness, I gained clarity in my life. But we forget that love is not rational. I hardly knew Bobby but was convinced that I was in love with him. I was a grown woman who has experienced varying degrees of infatuation and love, so I had no doubt about where my feelings for him fell on that spectrum. Bobby made me feel alive again and that is unchangeable. It was euphoric and a rare gift that I was fortunate enough to receive again in my life.
I think you need to really understand sadness in order to appreciate how we happened. I can see, from the average person’s perspective, why this is unbelievable, why there could be such doubt and disbelief. That none of you would bank on us. From your perspective, I can see that.
I was you once. I get it. Unhappy, disillusioned with life, fearful. Truly, you will not realize the depths of your misery until happiness is before your eyes and you learn that that there is not enough within you or your life to match it. And when we face that hurdle, we have choices.
The average person chooses the status quo. Rocking the boat is too hard, the risks are too high, there is too much to lose. You lose sight about what you could bring into your lives if you took that risk. Or, frankly, you are just cowards.
We don’t have revolutions anymore. We don’t fight for the lives we want as hard as we should. So when two people come along who do fight, who will rock the boat, who will dare to be brave when you couldn’t, what choice will you make?
Will you defend the status quo, to make yourselves feel better about settling for less than what you wanted?
Or maybe, will you be encouraged to finally start living with less regrets?
At the least, one would hope, you could be supportive of your friends who love each other, are choosing to live full and complete lives and are doing so with less support than they deserve.
Take a quick, deep breath in. Fill your lungs until they burn just a little bit. Hold the air in for a second and then let go. That exhale is an awakening that says, “Holy crap, you’ve been so unhappy! Because look at this thing that just splashed in your face! And you can’t wait for more!”
Bobby was the calm before the storm, knowing I was about to be hit by a blizzard with no coat on and embrace it. Focusing on the peace that would come after the dust settled.
Bobby was the tingling in my fingertips when I pretended this wasn’t happening, as if my soul laughed at me when I thought ignoring him was an option.
Bobby was the emptiness in my core that I felt when I drank too much red wine; the ache and the sadness that maybe this would never be. So I stopped drinking red wine.
Bobby was the delight in going to a Hallmark store and spending hours perusing the “For Him” section. Stocking up on cards like I was shopping at TJ Maxx, wondering if and when and how many I could give to him and how were we going to get there? How and when were we going to get to a place where I could shower him with these sappy cards? So I never actually went to the store or bought the cards because getting my hopes up was foolish.
Because the risks were too high, there was too much to lose and no one rocks the boat.
The world actually feels different with Bobby. Colors feel different, they are more vibrant. The air feels different, as if my senses are heightened to pick up every change in direction, the slightest of wind gusts.
I don’t remember what it felt like to see a sunset back when I was unhappy. Can you tell me? Because now when I see those citrus hues in the sky while I’m driving, I have to fight the urge to pull over and snap a picture to share with him. It makes me grin from ear to ear and my heart feels full because I know what a simple thing this is to be happy about: the small pleasures in life that we can finally give in to. Indeed, one of the best things about Bobby is my greater appreciation for being present in the moment.
Before him, I was numb in the present and desperate for a future that could be tolerable. I had checked out for so long that I wouldn’t have noticed happiness if it had walked passed me. Indeed, Bobby had to stomp by several times before my brain could make the connections.
And then, without saying a single word, we understood each other.
If you had no money in your bank account and someone told you they’d give you a million dollars to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you do it? I’m trying to put this in terms that you average people will understand.
We were two people with little happiness in the bank account who got a morsel of what life could be like if we took an insane chance. And we decided it was worth it. We listened to our gut. We did not let the fear of failure hold us back.
So, I took a risk. Then, he took a risk. Then, I got burnt and he fought.
He fought to fix things. He fought to keep me safe. He fought to keep me happy. He fought to make time for me. He fought to connect with me. He fought against me when I pushed him away. He found every loophole he possibly could to make this work and he used them.
And this is the main point I want to bring to the attention of all you average people reading this: Bobby keeps fighting when all of you would have given up. That is why we will work. That is also why you may not have had confidence in us. Because none of you would have fathomed making the effort he has made. And it’s silly to me that you don’t get it. For those of you who know him better than me, I ask: why do you think he’s been successful in life? It wasn’t just luck and it’s a shame you don’t see that.
2016 has been a mess for me. I’ve had to manage my grief; you can get a better understanding of what that means here. Along with that came a slosh pit of negative thoughts, emotions and behavior that all reinforced each other, you can read about that, too. It’s been an emotional roller-coaster that has taken its toll on us. Given the circumstances, what I went through is normal. But it took me a long time to realize that my anger was making me sick, it was destroying us and if I didn’t get a handle on it, I could lose him.
That would devastate me.
So for the sake of us, I forgave him and made a choice to walk away from the cluster-fuck that is this year. When I did, something wonderful happened.
I stopped feeling angry. I started to feel peace again. Forgiving him allowed us to get back to our happy place. Most importantly, my brain stopped distrusting him and, like a switch, it was easy to see the good in him again. It goes to show what hurtful things our brain can do when it suffers psychological damage and we can’t pull ourselves out of it.
Bobby’s also awesome because he still lets me enjoy my favorite perks about being single: we sleep in separate beds so my starfish formation is untampered and he seems perfectly content to binge-watch Netflix with me. He’s my best friend. I tell him everything from my struggles with becoming a redhead to what I dream about for the future.
I have started to make compromises, though: I recently gave up my perfectly functioning iPhone 5c for the iPhone 7 on his insistence. He’s also not a fan of my V-neck blouses. For his part, Bobby tries very hard to respect my boundaries. I do wish he’d help more around the house, though.
I’ve found Mr. Right with Bobby. He is it for me. The only other person I am interested in continuing to date is me. The chapters of my life with Dan, and anyone before him, are closed.