Saturday, March 27, 2010

Waiting...a history.

We sat at the desk, midway down the hallway which runs the length of the floor where we work. She works in the ICU at this particular hospital, but this was my home base. The hall was dark, the work of the night had settled down with only the occaisional call lights needing to be answered. It was the space of time between charting and so we were beginning the process of checking charts. We were getting to know each other better, the way you do with the people with whom you work. The talk turned to houses and things real estate and it was interesting. Then we talked relationships. She is on her second marriage. Her first, like mine, had ended abruptly after a short period of time. Her second was going on fifteen years. "You work at it.." she said. Then she asked me how long I had been divorced. Eighteen years. Dylan was not yet one when it was finalized. It was horrible, painful and in sorting through the papers of my life I had found the divorce decree, the newspaper notice. One simple line which had our names and "divorced". .."And you never remarried?".."No, oh I've dated. But chose to stay single for my kids..(then adding) isn't for everyone, plus, the right man just didn't ever come along.".."Well, maybe you are happy being single." It was not the first time someone had suggested this. And yes, I am happy being single, yet still...

Lynda was the first roomate I had in Columbia. Before that, I had always lived alone. We shared a two bedroom apartment on (what was at that time) the far west side of town. She was and is a wonderful person. We got along as roomates, but after a year I decided to move back to a place closer to campus, and my work. We always kept in touch. In the intervening years I dated, had "relationships", got married, had three kids, got divorced. Lynda stayed single. She waited. I thought she was crazy for waiting. But she waited. "How did you do it?"..I asked her in later years. "How did you stay single for so long. (How did you go without sex?)"..."I took it on a day to day basis. You don't think about it every day, being single. But on the days when it felt like I would be that way forever I just reminded myself that 'I am single for today'". Oh yes, and she prayed.
She was thirty six when she met Rick. She had once been engaged, nine years earlier, but had not really dated in the intervening years. What began as friendship ended two years later in marriage. They remained chaste until their marriage. In their early forties she had their daughter, who is now ten. Did she ever regret waiting? "No. It was the best decision I ever made" she said laughing, happy. And Rick would agree.

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