My book club is comprised of women with kids.
Oh, and me and my friend Alice.
Sometimes Alice and I hang out in the kitchen and drink our wine a little too quickly if the general conversation has veered into MamaLand and stayed too long. We’ve heard everybody’s labor stories. We know about the mesh panties. I will probably never have sex ever again.
As the only single woman in the group, I occasionally feel like the charity case, or a rare, exotic breed. Like a bird with plumage that they just want to pluck for use in their hats.
I am very well accessorized, after all.
A few days ago, we met and discussed Elie Wiesel’s Night. This book should seriously be required reading for all human beings. Go. Now. And read it.
I’ll wait. It’s short.
Anyway, after some obviously heavy conversation about the book (yes, we actually discussed the book for once! Hurray!), and after a few glasses of wine, the conversation turned for a bit to me. And my Get A Life challenge. And The Recent Unpleasantness.
One new member of our group was sitting next to me. She tapped me on the shoulder.
“So, were you in a relationship? Is that what they’re talking about?”
Oh, lord. “Yes. I dated a guy for seven years.”
Now, in the past, these conversations have left me a little melancholy. Maybe it was the wine. Or maybe it was the fact that The Recent Unpleasantness isn’t so recent anymore. But I honestly laughed my ass off talking about it. And it felt great!
Alice picked up the ball and ran with it. “And they lived together for five years, and even went on this romantic vacation to Paris and he was going to propose but he didn’t!”
Around the table, women made exclamations of surprise.
“Yeah,” I said. “We went on this amazing trip to Paris and he told me later that he was going to propose to me then but never got around to it.”
And this is when the true absurdity hit me.
“Well, he said it just never seemed like the right time. He said, ‘You were sick and it wasn’t right.’ I HAD A YEAST INFECTION! HE WOULDN’T PROPOSE TO ME BECAUSE I HAD A YEAST INFECTION!”
The eyes around the table got big and their owners laughed – guardedly at first, and then joined me as I really, really laughed about it. C’mon – talk about absurd! And thank god for small favors.
I hadn’t thought about that for a while. And I certainly hadn’t laughed about it ever. In fact, when he admitted to me – after a few scotches – on August 2, 2003, that the proposal on our trip hadn’t seemed right and that in the 18 months following the trip, he “just hadn’t gotten around to it,” well, I grabbed him at the waist and sobbed like my family had been killed. The noises that came out of my body shocked me as much as his drunken, stupid admission. I wanted to die. I wanted to kill him. Spasms of sobs rocked my body as we stood in the doorway of our bathroom.
And then he just walked away and got ready for bed like everything was fine.
That memory smarts just a tad. But the laughter? And the unexpected realization that “OMG, that is fucking ABSURD?”
Well, that felt great.