This LetsBlogOff theme this week is about “taking a deeper second look at what appears to be an everyday common object or occurrence where something happens that makes you look at it in a different light. It could be an object, person or place. Or something entirely different.”
This weeks topic was a tricky one for me. I felt it would be entirely too easy to talk about one of the many second and third looks the daughter gets on an almost daily basis. I stared at objects around the house, at our rescue dog, and then at Sean. And I asked him what he thought about the prompt. The first thing that came to mind for him was us. And it is true. I wouldn’t have Sean if it hadn’t been for those second looks.
I remember it fondly. A best friend and I are talking about some frustrating lack of relationship or another. She wouldn’t have minded just being in a dating relationship with the one should would eventually marry. She didn’t want to be married just yet, she just wanted the comfort of having not wasted time and emotion on a dead-end relationship. And then the query that shifted the conversation: What if we’ve already met the guy we were going to eventually marry? What if she or I was already in a relationship of some kind with said man? At first this was a frightening thing considering the pool of available friends we had to work with, and who wishes their married male friends harm? We eventually erupted into hysterical laughter, launching the least appealing at each other in suggestion. Yeah, sometimes we could be mean.
I happened to know Sean at the time of this conversation. And he wasn’t among the least appealing nor was he married. Sean was one of the few of our mutual male friends who seemed so much more grown up than me, and not because he was two years older. He was working on his Master’s in Architecture, lived in a house, had piercings and great hair and smelled good. He was serious. I found him intimidating.
“I don’t date,” I told him when he asked me out. I didn’t date serious boys. I wasn’t the one looking at the long term. And my definition of dating wasn’t monogamous. I had a bachelor’s to finish, and then it was a job that kept me busy and flirtatious and content. Even as that changed, I wasn’t looking for the best available men I knew when I sent him that email years later.
I am not even entirely sure what brought Sean to mind when I emailed him out of the blue — on the day before Valentine’s Day, 2002. (I’ve never been sentimental about Valentine’s Day. Fortunately Sean is the Romantic.) It was a fairly simple email: “Was thinking of you. Wondering how you are doing,” kind of email. It was probably those very lines. “I read into it several novels worth of content,” Sean blushingly admits. And Thank God he did, because he was back and he was mine and we were dating long distance soon after.
Was it a fond memory that brought him to mind? One from before I so effectively warned him away. Or maybe after, being fully pregnant and over at his house, eating ice cream from the carton as there were only a few scoops left, or later getting stuck in the already oversized chair in his living room? Maybe I was remembering how we were going to get tattoos together, but while I was giving birth to Natalya, he was at the tattoo parlor getting his done. Or passing through that town even later, after we both moved away—a thought that maybe I should have followed impulse and kissed him during those few moments we had alone. Did I dream about him?
Sometimes I think about what if I’d taken that second look sooner, or if whatever clicked into place later had resounded earlier. How would our relationship have looked? In some ways we lost time. And in others, we gained. We’d changed in those intervening years, we both know. And with Natalya, there can never be a redo. I can’t allow that. However curious I may be, this is one second look completely lacking in regret. And this is one second look that inspires anticipation. What other clever revelation might await me? What clever revelation is already waiting?
What other second look might I ill-afford to miss?