I have an old college friend who just found me on Facebook. I had an extra ticket to see a show and he went with me. This is the guy who I always wondered what would have happened if we had ever gone out. I remember him sitting on my bed and smiling as he said a bit shyly,
Tough: When are we going to go out?
Savvy: Oh...um, I don't think we should. It's just that you're Catholic and I'm protestant. I'm not sure it would work out.
I wouldn't say I regretted it right away. In fact, I didn't think much of it at at the time. My vision was to marry a fine Christian man and our marriage and wonderful Christian marriage/family/children were going to be a witness of Christ's love...as we know, that didn't happen...
Over the years I began to wonder what would have happened if I had just let go of some of my preconceived ideas about perfect religious compatibility that my friends seemed to have found as they graduated from college and many married. Tough stopped talking to me very much after that. Maybe if he had kept at me, I would have been a bit more convinced.
It's funny, some of the things that bothered me about him might not bother me today. Having been in the military and in law enforcement, he's very interested in guns and knives. It seemed a bit scary at the time, even though we met through ROTC. Yes, I used to be kind of tough, but not tough enough.
Having Tough roll back into my life was...well, challenging. I'm still not married and I saw that his profile had married on it. And then I found out that married doesn't mean happy for him. He has an interracial marriage (he is Latino and she is African-American) and the differences have gotten in the way.
In fact when a black man asked him about his having married a "sistah" the man said, "Better you than me." (My apologies to the Sistahs, but it came from a "Brutha.") He and his wife seem to hate each other. A mutual friend of ours has mentioned to him through the years, "You know where you went wrong...You didn't get together with Savvy." Wow. That was kind of cool to hear.
It was hard not to be nostalgic for a simpler time. It was hard not to flirt a little bit. It was hard not to imagine a different life if we had been together.
But then, there was always something of a flaw that I didn't catch onto at the time, but now have caught on to.
Tough: Yeah, I chatted you up when we first met and I realized that you were sort of a Jesus freak good girl.
Savvy: Well, that sounds about right.
Tough: I always thought you were a nice girl, I just wasn't always looking for that.
Savvy: Oh, and look what you got. It makes me sad, and makes me wonder if things couldn't have been very different if I had realized that there are Catholics who love Jesus just as much, if not more, than I do.
Tough: I've done very well other than the marriage part. I've killed Muslims in Iraq and brought two Catholic children into the world.
Savvy: Oh, haha.
Tough: Did anyone ever say anything bad about me?
Savvy: Bad about you?
Tough: Well, I always wondered if someone didn't say something to you about me. I was a bit if a man-whore even back then.
Savvy: OMG. Wow? really? I had no idea.
I must have looked really sad because then he advised me to go to shooting ranges, NASCAR, and any other man-oriented events. He suggested I move to someplace in the midwest or Idaho where people have more traditional values. I have to be honest, the prospect of moving up there doesn't exactly thrill me when I would have no friends and no boyfriend. He suggested I bend a little more.
Savvy: What about Portland?
Tough: It's a bunch of hippies.
Tough: Dirty hippies.
Tough: And you'll have to like smoking pot.
Savvy: Oof, no. I'm allergic to hat and cigarettes. Asthma.
Tough: I'm telling you, everyone who had half a brain from California has moved to Idaho.
Savvy: Boise? You're kidding me, right? What would I do in Boise? If I met the guy first, I might be willing to go out there, but I expect that it might be more of the same.
Perhaps to get me used to the idea or something, he told me many stories about his sordid past. How he did it, who he did it with, how often he did it, and that he hadn't been faithful to his wife and she wasn't faithful to him. It was sad.
Savvy: I feel bad. I mean, I wonder if I could have saved you from this if I had been good to you.
Tough: Well, our friend always said it's where I went wrong not going out with you.
Savvy: Um, I don't know. I was pretty resistant to the idea of premarital sex. I never did it with my ex-fiance. And I thought Catholics and Protestants shouldn't marry.
Tough: Too bad.
Savvy: If only you were single.
Tough: I will be soon.
Savvy: So, how long would you have waited in college?
Tough: To be honest, I didn't have to. Maybe two months, three max.
Tough: You're a nice girl. I always thought you were. You are now.
Savvy: Well, it's just that...I think you just burst my bubble. You probably would have dumped me because you thought I wasn't doing it right or something, or you wouldn't have been willing to wait. And that would have been devastating to me.
Tough: Do you know what the difference is between good sex and bad sex?
Savvy: Oh. Well, still, I would have needed to have a ring to make me feel comfortable. Let's just say, I was very resistant.
In some ways, I'm still embarrassed by our conversation. Though, I suppose when you are married, you do need to talk about those things. All these years I've had the illusion that my life might have been better if I had been with Tough. Maybe we both would have been better. Maybe I'm too sensitive for him. I was very amused by him asking what I would like him to wear.
Maybe he's the perfect combination of domesticated and tough. Like a pit bull. I'm sure the sweet is buried in the tough. But seriously, what a life it's been. Perhaps he would have tried just a bit harder to make me feel comfortable if he had known I would end up being alone all these years. I wish.
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