This weekend was a weekend of weddings with a heavy side of expectations and disappointments. Now there’s a sentence that will make you want to keep reading. It’s not depressing; I promise you.
We went to a friend of Kealoha’s wedding. Funny thing is, once upon a time, she was friend of mine. In fact, she was a housemate of mine fifteen years ago, in the very house I met Kealoha. She was the owner of the house and the hot tub (from which I emerged wrapped in towels). I lived with her for over a year or so and it was the first time in my teenager and young adult years (I was 22) that I lived in a home that was both beautiful and safe.
She was older than me…I think she was 35 to my 22 and I remember thinking how ‘old’ she was, something I laugh at now. Watching her get married, a peculiar thing happened. I was flooded with happiness for her, but I also felt regret…for ways I’d behaved when we were roommates. In my early twenties I was particularly self-centered. Lots of reasons for that, but a lot of it came down to immaturity. I didn’t understand loneliness at that time, or wanting to find a life partner, and I wasn’t very sympathetic to her wants.
Now, at almost 38, having felt deep loneliness and luckily having found my ‘life partner’ I can look back and think: man, I was an insensitive little turd. That’s right. A turd.
So I attended the wedding as I am now: 37, with my 2 kids and Kealoha and lots of learning under my belt, but my younger self was there too…in how people I haven’t seen in a decade or more responded to me, and that little ghost whispering behind my ear.
My roommate did eventually find love. She married and was happy for a time, and then became a widow. Then she found love again and the couple beamed with good humor and love and warmth. It was lovely. Plus, there was a crab boil afterwards. I don't know. It gave me hope for my girlfriends who are still searching.
It was light and summery and fun….and I just thought for a moment that isn’t life funny, the way it works out. 15 years ago, I never thought I’d have a family of my own, never imagined my life would turn out the way it has. Thankfully, where I’m at now is exactly where I want to be, even if all the details are different than I imagined.
Then for father’s day, we went over to Kealoha’s parents for chicken and corn and pie. Mmmm. After dinner and while the kids played over and around Kealoha, his mom and I went into the basement to look at photos. She showed me their wedding album from about 45 years ago. It was actually really interesting. I loved her dress and the bridesmaid’s….and how everyone was just plain young. She pointed out people in the wedding and on the dance floor and told me of their future.
Some of them divorced; some remarried. Some stayed single. Some were gay. Some died early; some died after a long life. Some struggled. Some were happy. Some she never saw again. It’s all very Our Town.
It was all so random…and then I had one of those moments thinking about the wedding we were just at, and the wedding we’ll have in October. How all these people will come together to help us celebrate. For that one moment, we’ll all be frozen in what will be (hopefully) a joyous occasion…and then life will go on. There will be heartbreaks, and disappointments and joy and love and twenty years from now who will be left? And who will be living exactly the life they envisioned they would?
Kealoha’s parents thought they’d be grandparents by now, but they aren’t. I feel for them. It's hard to have expectations and dreams that you have no control over. By this time, I thought I’d have a bestseller and a huge house and a kitchen with an island so big you’d get lost on it. (Actually, that was just a dream, not an expectation.)
I don’t know. I guess what I’m saying is I realized that even though you plan your life out, you never know what’s going to happen. I guess there’s something beautiful to that too. That life will, no matter what, surprise you.
My roommate found love not once, but twice. I’ve found love at 37.
We’ve all grown up, lived, suffered, rejoiced. I find this to be really, really comforting.