It’s kinda like that scene in Definitely, Maybe.
We are on opposite ends of the couch, both our laptops in our laps, our legs intertwined, him working on lesson plans and me looking at hotels in foreign countries that have alabaster beaches and cobalt water. Every once in awhile we pass our computers back and forth accompanied by shorthand grunts and mumbles, so he can look at pictures and I can proofread his words.
Outside the sky has turned from peacock to flamingo, and is now sliding through shades of Clementine on its way to plum. The music that was playing has long since stopped, leaving us in silence punctuated by keyboard clicks and unintentional sighs. After a little while, I notice that my nails are tapping a solo now that his have been tucked behind his head. I look up and he is staring at me.
“You know this isn’t gonna work, right?” he asks, not accusing, not emotional, but rather matter of fact as though he just told me I am short or that hoes are having the best year ever.
“Yes. I know.”
We both sigh in unison, smiling at each other across our ivy vine legs.
“It’s ok, you know.”
“To not be ready.”
“I think so too,” I reply before pausing, “most of the time.”
“It is.” He untangles his long legs from mine. “Some things linger longer than we think they should. But even lingering isn’t forever.”
“It seems like it is. It feels like forever. And then sometimes not nearly long enough.”
“It just means you’re human. You’re not a hurt person hurting people. You are just a hurt person.”
In all honesty, part of me wants to get angry, and I can feel a bit of my defensive nature start to bubble, way down low in my gut. But beneath that is the truth, solid and weighted, extinguishing the fires of combativeness before they even spark.
I am hurt. And isn’t that what I have been afraid of admitting all this time?
“You’ll be fine,” he tells me and he says it so calmly, so incredibly sure that I believe him. “Better than fine actually. You’ll be beautiful.” He pauses. “You’re not used to it being you that’s wrong with a relationship, are you?”
“NO!!!” I yell, and we both burst out laughing.
Before our laughter subsides, the door bell rings signaling that our Chinese food has been delivered.
“I’ll get that,” he says grabbing his wallet and heading towards the door. “The Daily Show is about to come on,” he tells me, pointing at the TV over his shoulder. He grabs the food and spreads it out to where we have decamped on the floor as I flip channels. We pray, holding hands as we do before we eat. He interrupts before I finish, and without letting go of my hand, he holds his chopsticks up in front of his face.
“To better,” he says, his smile so brilliant and beautiful and bittersweet that I could burst into tears right there over my steamed dumplings.
“To better,” I intone and we tap our chopsticks together.