Years ago in the town I grew up, I came home from work and saw my friend’s truck in the driveway. He was there sitting on the front porch. He was waiting for me. The significance of this is, I barely saw or heard from him for probably two months. He had recently married a girl he met in a shoe store, in another state to boot.
I guess you could call it a hot and heavy romance because they were married two months later. I didn’t want to rain on his happy parade but I did try to caution him about moving too fast. I don’t think we were any older than 20, the two of us. The girl was about 18, if I recall.
At any rate, I knew when I saw him something probably wasn’t right. I walked up to the porch and asked him how he was doing.
“Long time no see. What’s going on, man?”
“Marriage problems, son.”
“Oh yeah, what kind?”
“The worse kind. She’s gone. Left this morning.”
Personally, I can think of worst ways to have marriage problems. She burns your house down, cleans out your bank account, runs off with your best friend, etc., but I guess the circumstances were bad enough for him as they were.
“Where to?” I asked.
“Back to Texas. To her mom’s house.” Came his reply.
I asked him if there was a particular reason. He said no only that they had been fighting. Not knockout, drag out fighting. It sounded like typical roommate-type squabbles.
Some others were telling him this was her way of blowing off steam. “Give her a few days,” they were telling him, “she’ll come back.”
That was nonsense. I’m not saying that all marriages fail when you only know the person for 8 weeks, but you certainly aren’t giving yourself good odds either. The fact that she left, with little theater or emotion and with no real reason, back to her mom’s house in another state, the place she was living only 4 months earlier, told me she realized she had made a mistake. In other words, she regretted her choice to marry my friend. She was gone for good in my opinion.
I let him do most the talking and I waited for the inevitable question.
“Do you think she’s coming back?” he asked me while looking down at his shoes.
I told him no as quickly as the words could come out of my mouth. There was no use in lying to him and I wasn’t in the mood to lie. He needed to hear the truth. Fantasy and reality cannot occupy the same space at the same time. And most times people want affirmation, not advise.
I can’t remember what exactly was discussed after that. I do remember he tried for several weeks afterward to get her back. During that time, I wouldn’t say he resented me but he definitely avoided me, or at least the conversation about her when he was around me. Then he found out she began dating her ex-boyfriend. Even a heartbroken man has his pride.
It was a carless choice made by both of them. They should have never married but life has its own way of sorting out the details. As long as you live, you’ll make mistakes and do things you regret. But the longer you live; you learn from those mistakes and discover second chances.
Did you know he saw that girl again last year? In the same little town in Texas, very close to the shoe store they met for the first time. They recognized each other and struck up a conversation. He learned that she remarried and has two kids. She even showed him pictures. She seemed happy and well, he told me.
My friend, too, remarried and has two kids. Both of them have moved on with the life they were intended to live.
I guess that is the way it should be. The only way it is supposed to be really.