There was just one tiny, huge problem: I was getting dangerously close to thirty-five, my biological clock was thrashing wildly and my twenty-something live-in sweetheart was firmly rooted in Funville. Kids and commitment could wait. And for him, they really could.
I made myself miserable. Sure, our daily life was fun but when my youth had fled, he’d gallop off for kids and commitment elsewhere.
And my young beau didn’t get it. For “christmas” that year, he’d flippantly dug the dagger deeper, presenting me with what was obviously a gift-wrapped ring box. But wasn’t. And very much enjoyed the joke.
Back to February, 1998. My young partner becomes an uncle, again. He’s thrilled and proposes we drop in and meet the new baby.
I thought I could do it.
But I couldn’t.
I couldn’t face the beautiful new baby. I couldn’t face the joyful mother. I just sat in their kitchen. And waited. And felt wretched for doing that. And felt wretched for the envy and hurt and despair that made me.
And all these years I’ve hung onto that shame; cringed at my inability to suck it up and at least fake some happiness for the mother and child.
I’ve forgiven Mark for the engagement-ring gag. I’ve forgiven him for carting me over there.
It’s time I forgave myself.