Submitted by Belle Beckford.
“So what do you guys do for fun?”
I averted my eyes and played with my coffee cup. I always feel a bit uncomfortable when asked this question. Perhaps a bit embarrassed, actually. I looked up at him and answered:
“Nothing, really. We go out to eat lunch as a family every now and then.”
He persisted, as he always does. “But what do both of you do for fun when you go out? With each other, I mean.”
“That’s it,” I shrugged. “We do nothing together. He doesn’t like to go out.”
I launched into a cathartic monologue about my failed attempts at getting my husband out of the house with me to go on a date to break up the monotony of being parents. Not once in 15 years of marriage had we ever danced together, nor did he want to. Not while there were computer games to play and internet to surf. We hadn’t created any memories together and he didn’t see the need to either. I didn’t mean to go into all the detail that I had, but I always found it very comfortable conversing with my friend, knowing full well that his sexuality precluded the possibility of us being anything more than platonic friends.
At that moment, I realized I was beginning to tear up, so I stopped speaking and blinked hard to clear the wetness. I could feel the heat rising in my face and started to twiddle with the fingers on my left hand. That forced smile was working its way onto my face, the one that appeared whenever I was trying to fight back some tears. I swallowed hard. There was so much going on in my life that he wasn’t privy to and I wasn’t always willing to discuss the sad parts because of how it made me feel to do so.
By now my coffee had gone tepid. I thought about getting another one and maybe a biscotti, to break up the intensity, but I wasn’t in the mood to get up.
“You okay?” he asked. He was looking at me intently, seemingly trying to read my mind. But there was a tenderness in his voice as if he regretted asking the original question.
“I – I’m sorry,” he faltered, perhaps sensing my discomfort. “I didn’t know– I mean, I didn’t think—“
“No, it’s okay,” I reassured him, finally finding my voice. “It’s just that this particular issue has left me completely –” I searched for a word– “defeated. Yes, that’s it. Defeated.”
I shook my head slowly. “I just never thought it would be so difficult to date my own husband.”
An uncomfortable silence followed. Why did I always do this?
We were relieved when the waitress approached and offered to refill our coffees. I nodded, “Yes, thanks,”
She filled our cups and continued on to an adjacent table to clear up.
As she walked away, I tried to change the mood I had inadvertently created.
“Anyway,” I chirped up, in my best fighting-back-the-sadness smile, “why are we talking about me? We were talking about what you guys were doing for the weekend! Casco Bay, right?”