The day started out great. 70 degrees on the short, intense road ride. The Pretzel and Cadence crews went to the Willows and basked in the spring-like weather, especially fortuitous as it had rained for something like 5 days, or so it seemed. I got back to 3434 and raked leaves, scrubbed my patio with chlorine to get rid of the algae which kept appearing on my rug in green dog pawprints, and made the yam casserole for the family dinner. I thought of my mother's hopeful query the other day, when she was telling me what time to arrive on Thanksgiving, asking cheerily if I would be bringing someone to dinner. I paused, wondering why she thought I would be bringing someone to dinner, and then I realized Jackie had told her I was seeing someone. "No mom, just me."
Dinner was delicious, except my nephews were their usual really loud, screaming, exuberant selves, being 3 and 6. I vowed, over their hysterical banter, to call my gynocologist on Monday and get my tubes tied. But after 3 games of hide and seek and lots of kisses and hugs from them I thought maybe I could wait a few more years . . .
The phone rang. I answered it. A voice on the other line paused, took a breath, and said, "Is this Andrea?" Odd, I thought, I had not lived in this house for 6 years, but then I surmised this was an uncle or cousin.
"Yes . . . " The voice spoke slowly and deliberately, but I could not place it.
"Do you know who this is?" Damn, I freaking hate when people do this to me, no I don't know who it is.
"I have no idea."
"Ok", the voice said, speaking even slower, " . . then can I please talk to your mother?"
I handed over the phone, mouthing to her, I have no idea who this is. She took the phone and in a second it was revealed it was my ex-boyfriend of 6 years, the one whose generous heart I had broken, badly. He was dissapointed that I had not known who it was. After a brief chat with her, truncated by the rush to pull the turkey from the oven, my mother handed me back the phone.
So this was it, how perfect, to happen on Thanksgiving. I had wanted to mend fences; I wondered when I would run into him, this person who still maintained a relationship with everyone in my family except me, even after all this time. I figured it was time; he had 3 children now, an established relationship, a new and strange existence from the happy-go-lucky life he onced lived.
So I said hello, and in a rush of words I told him I had hoped to be able to talk to him again, thinking but not saying that his last words to me were so heavy with anger and grief. I told him I was happy for him, that I wished him well; that I was keeping busy racing my bike, hanging out with my dogs, fixing up my house.
He could not get over that I did not recognize his voice. He greeted my casual expressions of goodwill and relief with a practiced iciness. "You should have told me who you were," I scolded, laughing.
"You should have known."
"Rich, I have not spoken to you in like 5 years, and you sound different."
"It's only been 2 and a half years."
And then I knew that he was not quite over it. I had moved on, to the point where I did not even know him anymore, and he was hurt by that. I expressed a desire to catch up with him some day, but I knew this would never be arranged.
I felt that guilt again, which had blossomed into a deep sadness by the time I drove home alone, in the cold that had overtaken the spring-like weather with a howling fury.
I had much to be thankful for this year, and here was one more thing, a bittersweet denouement to a phase in my past which had refused to be quiet, refused to be buried in these hectic, ambitious years.