Yeah, you read that right.
The X and I decided that it would be a good idea to try dating one another throughout this separation. To see if there is still something here. To see if we could find that one tiny spark buried beneath the hurt, anger, and indifference. To see if dating one another would be that little puff of oxygen that could feed that spark and return it to the flame that it once was. We have both changed so much over the past 10 years, exponentially so in the last year alone. I don’t think that either of us recognizes the other any longer. But we are both clinging to hope that maybe, just maybe, the people that we have become could love each other like the people we used to be.
So on Friday we had our first date. And it really felt like a first date. I came home, showered, and got all dolled up in the hopes that I could make a good first impression. After all, they say you only have one chance to make a good first impression. I suppose that also applies to re-dating your ex-husband. I was full of nerves and my stomach fluttered like butterflies. I was overcome with anticipation of seeing him again, but for the first time. Like any other date, I wondered if we’d have chemistry? Would we have anything to talk about? But also feared that this would truly mark the end–that my first impression would be my last. That he wouldn’t like me any more than the last time we said goodbye.
We met for drinks. Him, a martini. Me, a dark and stormy. I ordered the caprese salad. He ordered the beef tar tare.
One of the things that The X didn’t like about me while we were married was my picky palate. I’m simply not adventurous when it comes to food. I decide by looking at something whether or not I want it on my taste buds. It used to drive him crazy the way I would turn my nose up at anything that looked weird to me. So when he asked if I wanted to taste his tar tare, I said yes. He spread a little bite on the bread, sprinkled it with salt, and then sprinkled it with pepper despite knowing how I despise pepper. I gave an inch and he took a mile. But I smiled and silently accepted his dare. I knew it was a test and all I had to do in order to pass was the put the tar tare sprinkled with pepper in my mouth and swallow it. Somewhere, in the deep recesses of my mind, I think I thought that this one bite of raw beef would make him like me again.
I tried to like it. I really did. But I failed when he handed me the napkin in which to spit it out.
The plan was to have a drink and a light meal, go see a play, and then grab drinks afterward. So from the bar, we headed to the theater. The play we saw was called The Last 5 Years. This is the synopsis:
The show follows two timelines:
Cathy begins at the end of her marriage and relationship with Jamie
and ends with the moment following their first date.
Jamie begins with the first date and struggles forward through the relationship.
Jamie and Cathy rarely appear or participate in each other’s scenes;
only as silent objects, props for a focus, or to provide a hint of what once was, or could have been.
The Last 5 Years asks many questions:
Why do we fall in love?
Why do relationships fail?
Why do people grow apart?
Does success for one mean loss for the other?
Suffice it to say that this might have been the worst idea I’ve ever had. Of course we both took something away, but the take-away wasn’t nearly as enlightening or progressive as I thought it might be. Instead, we were both left with an overwhelming sadness over the demise of our marriage. Could I have been more understanding? Could he have been more supportive? Or was it the other way around? One line in particular really caught my attention–“Why do I have to lose because you can’t win?” As we sat in the small, dark theater and watched a fictional version of our marriage unravel right before our eyes, that one simple line seemed to sum everything up. But, really, in the end it just makes us both losers. No one wins because we no longer have each other. It’s just so sad.
We both cried quite a bit during the play. There is one scene on their wedding day (the only point in the entire play where the actors are on the timeline) that really touched us both. We sat there, hand in hand, as we watched ourselves in the actor’s faces say ‘I do’ and share their first dance as husband and wife. The tears were unstoppable at this point so we both just let them fall. We both expected to feel was a sense of grieving for what was, but in the end we were simply left longing and wondering where it all went wrong.
By the time the play was over, I was entirely too emotional to go out in public, so we headed our separate ways. Me, to our empty home. He, to who knows where. That night I cried my eyes out over the immense sadness that riddles my heart. I sobbed for the profound loss of something that I have always held so dear. But in the end, I felt a flicker of hope that maybe this isn’t over after all. If there is still something there to feel, then maybe there is something there worth saving.
For now, however, we’ve both agreed to let him plan our second date. Perhaps something that hits a little further away from home….