Chick Flick Confession
I have a confession to make. I love “Chick Flicks”, in particular those soppy romantic comedies in which the main character struggles through a relationship crisis but always ends up with the ’right’ guy in a ‘happily ever after’ ending. Understand, I enjoy many movies genres but this one fills my inner child’s love of fairy tales. As a young girl I dreamed of a handsome prince whisking me away on his white stead; I thought love for me would happen in just that fantastical way.
I am also a realist. Relationships don’t work like they do in the movies. Love isn’t easy. I’ve made plenty of mistakes and learned what does and doesn’t work. All in all I consider myself a lucky woman. I’ve been fortunate to have loved and been loved by a few wonderful men. Each one of those relationships took commitment, communication, compromise, compassion, caring and cuddles. If either of us gave up on these basics, the relationship ended. Most often I admit to being the one who quit first.
Fortunately, I learned and grew, and my second marriage lasted over 27 years, ending only because of my husband’s death. After he was gone, I decided staying single appealed to me. I’d gathered a wonderful circle of friends around me during the 5 years of his illness, had a job I loved and a social life that filled my life outside of work. Even when friends encouraged me to attend singles events or evenings out at a bar I declined. My constant response was, “If God wants me to be in a relationship, He’ll have to put him right in front of me.” Why would I want a man in my life at this age – someone bound to come with baggage – someone set their ways (like me) possibly with health issues and another family? And who knew what else!
But deep inside I still held a secret dream of a ‘happily ever after’ relationship. Every time I attended a romantic comedy I left teary-eyed with a sigh emanating from my very soul. Yet, I had no desire to put forth the effort and make myself available.
I still felt that way 3 years after my husband’s death. I had no interest in a relationship when I went on Facebook to look up old high school friends. Subsequent to connecting with a friend from elementary school after 40 years, I thought it would simply be fun to find out where people were and what had been going on in their lives. Although I remembered many of the people my high school page, I only wanted to contact one person, Hugh. We’d been involved in school musicals together, played bridge in and out of school and socialized after high school with our first spouses. I composed a lengthy email updating him on my life for the past 30+ years and asking about him and his wife.
Three weeks later Hugh replied with full account of his life, including the fact he was currently separated from his wife. He shared an interest in connecting to catch up on our lives. But because we lived a 2½ hour drive from one another it took several months of emails and phone calls before we actually got together. One weekend Hugh finally made it to my home. We went out for lunch, a walk by the waterfront and spent 7 hours talking. The day ended with him asking me to go on a date. I agreed instantly but then panicked. I didn’t want to date!!! I didn’t want a relationship.
I stewed for almost a week. By Friday, I’d gathered enough courage to call and tell Hugh, explaining as best I could. He calmly stated we could simply go on an outing – we wouldn’t call it a date. I breathed a sigh of relief.
We had a couple of these outings before I realized I was smitten. God had put him right in front of me but I hadn’t been paying attention. I realized I felt like I did when I watched one of those soppy films. Love had caught me unawares and demolished the steel reinforced, concrete wall I’d carefully constructed around my heart.
These days I feel as though I’m living in one of those romantic comedies. I’m happy beyond what I ever expected to be at this point in my life. Our relationship is like a favourite, well-worn shirt that has never faded with years of washing. My face breaks into a broad smile when Hugh calls me and I get excited every time he steps through the door at the end of each day. He loves me, makes me laugh, gives the best hugs and possesses a generous heart and spirit. And most importantly, the six ‘C’s are the foundation of our relationship: commitment, communication, compromise, compassion, caring and cuddles.
And here’s a funny thing, I haven’t watched one of those “Chick Flicks” since Hugh came into my life.
© Wendie Donabie 2012