A 6 hour plane trip with lost luggage and a four hour taxi trip without air conditioning to get to resort that had decided to run out of Bombay as we checked in because everything was planned by my boyfriend Gary. I could tell he felt guilty. This was his trip. This was his chance to show me that he could be present in this relationship. This was all on him for once and yet I still felt liberated with everything going wrong. I was the one who planned things in my family. I was the one who was organized. I was the one who made sure my parents went to the doctor and got their blood work done. I was the daughter who called regularly to see how they were doing. I was the one who got a job first and gave my sister a place to sleep until she got her shit together. Then I met Gary and it was like I was looking at a life that I had always envied.
The night I met Gary we were at a party and he had a huge wine stain down the front of his shirt and he had spinach stuck in his teeth for at least ten minutes after we were introduced. He didn’t apologize for his appearance though, but only acknowledged that he was indeed a mess at times. The first few months were frustrating in a sense that he threw me off my rhythm. I felt more alive with him when we were running to catch the last train home or rushing into an antique store because it started pouring on our impromptu grocery outing because he forgot to buy tomato sauce. He would suggest that we stay up late to watch 1 more episode of Game of Thrones and when I would wake up feeling grumpy he would have already made me breakfast and coffee and packed me a lunch for the day.
And the things that drew me to him were also his downfall as a reliable partner. He unintentionally stood me up for our fourth date because he forgot he had to take his daughter back to school shopping. We almost missed my cousin’s wedding because he booked our tickets for the wrong weekend. He didn’t tell me he got a promotion at his job and that he needed to move to Washington D.C. until a few months before he had to move and that he had already accepted the offer!
I almost broke up with him right then because for as much as he made me feel alive he made me feel neglected and depressed at the same time. When I felt depressed I craved my routine. The knowledge that I was in control of work and life was my first true love. This man named Gary was threatening it all. He was disruptive. I told him he would have to prove to me that he could be there for me when it mattered and that’s how I found myself walking on the beach with a blindfold over my eyes and the sound of the waves in my ears.
“Gary, why are we on the beach and why are you holding this blindfold over my eyes like this?”
“Hang on, we are almost there.”
“What’s almost ready?”
I felt the tension on the blind fold release and I felt like I was in a dream. A bungalow was lit up with candles at the end of a pier. I had cut out a picture of something just like it when I was 16 because my parents had to cancel our beach vacation. I framed it and it has been hanging on the wall in my bedroom ever since. Gary had never mentioned that he even noticed it, but there it was replicated before my very eyes.
“C’mon let me show you where our bags are.”
“I thought they were lost?”
“Lost? Honey, I planned everything from the moment we left the house. We are actually only running a little bit behind schedule.”
“Planned? Behind schedule for what? We aren’t staying in that awful hotel?”
“It’s inside. You will see.”