The backstory: I visited Mr. Montana, my old friend and new beau, for the second time this October. The wifi was still spotty-to-nonexistent, but I had darned fine cell phone service. I wrote to my Facebook Friends often and at length while I was away, sharing the best bits of what was happening and the thoughts that came along with them.
The part where you trust in divine timing and divine pacing because they’ve done so well, so far.
I didn’t get what I wanted today, and I need to trust that’s for the best.
I wanted to spend all of the coming winter with Mr. Montana, but he wants my next visit to last only a month. Twice as long as this visit, though a third of how long I was thinking (but did not say).
Our conversation is too dear to repeat, but I will say my disappointment wasn’t something I could hide even if I typically hid my feelings from him, which I don’t.
I silently wished we’d talked about it when we were 2000 miles apart so my facial expression would’ve stayed a secret. Aloud, he wished that he could read my silence in person as well as he can on the phone.
It’s not that he doesn’t want to spend more time together. He wants more, just not that much more just yet.
We were both open and honest, we just didn’t agree. That’s as good as it gets, except for the part where we want something different.
Nope, that’s not right. I have to keep reminding myself it’s not entirely different; it’s actually not at all different. We want the same thing, just more versus less – no – a lot more versus a little more, which is a good many miles away from “different”.
He apologized that he doesn’t have the impetuousness of youth, the blind enthusiasm of, “Hey, let’s move in together!” and I laughed. I totally get it. He’s been there and done that, and so have I.
Last time I did it, it lasted for 14 years that middled in marriage and ended in divorce. Last time he did it, it followed the same path and lasted about as long.
He’s concerned about what happens when we inevitably get on each other’s nerves. He laughed when I asked if he thought I’d throw the baby out with the bathwater – he’d never heard that saying before – but after the laughter he was still unsure of what I would do, of how my feelings might change when we’re not at our best.
This is the price of our sloppy breakup 15+ years ago, I’m sad to say, when things cooled off for me and I kinda faded away. And yet, that’s what brought us back together, if you remember? I tracked him down last year to apologize for that after finding myself on the receiving end of the same abrupt disregard. He called back two days later and things gently blossomed from there.
He stuck with me through the worst of the recovery and healing after my ex-husband walked out, and he was a vital part of the process. You may recall how close to the edge I was and how long I paused there? Well, I’m sure I wouldn’t have lived through it without his presence and balance, his ever-available listening ear, his humor, his calm, his experience, his guidance, his love.
And if I walked away now, I wouldn’t be the first person who benefited from his care and attention and then moved along, leaving him behind when I felt better.
But I’m already not that person, and he knows it. We’re past that point, and he knows that, too. This has shifted into something completely different, and the novelty of our situation is not a comfort to him.
As tidy as this isn’t, I can’t imagine how much worse it would be if we weren’t as honest and open as we are.
I mean, it’s messy. A one-month stay is an awkward thing. It’s too long to leave my cat at my mom’s but not long enough to warrant the expense and hassle of bringing him with me.
It’s too long to work with my cellphone as a wifi hotspot, but not long enough for the expense and hassle of setting up service here.
Coming back for a month means going through a lot for relatively little. The girl I was yesterday would spend and struggle to have even 15 minutes with a guy that chose her, but the woman I am now requires balance, aims for ease, and knows she’s worth the wait.
One month is long enough for him, but it’s not long enough for me, not in any way.
But then, I may be overly optimistic, yeh? And while that might sound like a rosy trait, it’s rarely a good thing. For his part, he may be overly cautious, but that’s not always a bad thing.
He said he could change his mind, that after I’m gone he might find he misses me too much to be without me. I reminded him that he doesn’t change his mind and, when he disagreed, I challenged him to remember one time that he had. When he couldn’t, he said that only meant he didn’t remember, not that he hadn’t ever, at which I grinned and snorted.
His steadiness, how well he knows his mind, and his unwillingness to voice anything less than certainties are the things I love best about him and the things I need most; I don’t get to pee on them now just because they’re in the way of what I want.
What I want. Hm.
Ya know the last time I got what I wanted? That’s the story that lasted 14 years and recently ended in tears. This story, the one I never expected, one I didn’t even think of wanting, is a chance for something better. In fact, it already is better.
So I trust that the pace he sets will serve me, too. That the time he needs is also necessary for me or will, at least, be useful. I was content with it before, and it’s worked really well so far.
I said he was going to miss me like crazy. He said he might. Then he said I might miss him a little, too. I said, “Yeah. A little.” #understatementisasuperpower
He says he loves me, and I believe him.
Which is not my nature, my habit, my talent, or my gift. Trust is a skill I aim to master – patience is too – and in accepting this outcome I feel like I just leveled up.
So. Getting what you want isn’t always good, losing what you have isn’t necessarily bad, and being asked to go slow isn’t a No.
Tomorrow I fly home and I don’t know when I’ll be back.
And that’s all.
Crys Wood is the copyeditor + proofreader at Paper Crane Publishing, making a career of her innate pickiness and love of words. She lives not-so-quietly in Big Sky Country with her sweet and cranky old man, a cat who is more of the same, and stacks and stacks of books.