Someone I haven’t seen in a while peeped out from behind the curtains. Husband #2 (as he was when we were dating) showed up on our Sunday night phone call.
“I miss you.”
The words floated out of my phone. I waited for the disclaimer that normally came with these statements. As in, “I miss you…some of the time.”
But there was nothing after that except some silence. I piped up, “I miss you, too.” And to show my appreciation, I added, “I like when you tell me you miss me. It means the world to me.”
“Wait a second. Let me go back to telling you more about why I miss you…”
OK, I thought. Here’s where the disclaimer comes in.
“I miss you and dinners with tablecloths. I miss sitting across from you with napkins and glassware and nice silverware and good food.”
I asked a clarifying question, “Do you mean when we ate at home or when we were out at a restaurant?”
“Both. I miss sitting across from you and having a nice conversation over dinner. I know there are some times that weren’t that enjoyable, but there were many times that were. I miss talking with you.”
With that simple admission I realized how little it takes to make me feel special. No big bouquets of flowers, no sparkly jewelry. No cars, stocks, bonds or real estate. All I need is for Husband #2 to tell me I mean something to him.
And to say it with sincerity— with honesty.
Boy, am I a cheap date or what? I realize this is all I’ve ever really wanted from him…to feel like a priority in his life. I don’t know what it cost him to utter those words to me but I know the effect they had on the receiver.
During our phone call he was funny, engaged and lively; there were a couple of other conversational items that reminded me of Dating Husband #1. The hour flew by. No talk of our relationship, some talk about our upcoming cruise (still a while away but I love to daydream), and a bit of talk about work. It was light and breezy.
And then he threw out the comment about missing me. Unprovoked. Out of the blue. Almost tentative.
We have another long visit coming up in a month. Time for a road trip. Most people view extended time in the car as torture but it’s when Husband #2 and I are most in the moment. Usually he drives and I man the map. While he has his eyes on the road, I talk about rivers that are winding beside us, the birds of prey flying overhead, or the towns that we’re approaching. We find little parks, scenic views, tiny restaurants, all of the things most travelers would blow past as they hurry from Point A to Point B. Taking the road “less traveled” is enjoyable for both of us. It reminds me of Robert Frost’s poem, The Road Not Taken:
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
I wonder if Husband #2 and I will ever have the chance to take the road not taken on some future day….