Monday, August 15, 2005

Que Sera Sera

Nearly all marriages, even happy ones, are mistakes: in the sense that almost certainly (in a more perfect world, or even with a little more care in this very imperfect one) both partners might be found more suitable mates. But the real soul-mate is the one you are actually married to.  J.R.R. Tolkien                         
                            

We were sitting at an outdoor cafĂ© in a piazza built by Andrea Palladio in the quaint town of Vicenza, Italy when my husband asked me what I was thinking about. I was lost in the past for a while, thinking of someone.

 

 His name is Romano. He was an Italian civil engineer, the man whom I thought I would be married to instead of the lovely man in front of me. Romano and I went out on and off for five years. I thought he was my soul mate because we came from the same Catholic background and had a lot of things in common. He was thirty-eight years old and I was seventeen years old. I graduated from high school when I was barely sixteen. I was a college drop out working at a travel agency when I met him. I know our relationship stirred a lot of rumors but when I was with him chronology did not matter. He reassured me that he did not care what others thought and that our age difference did not matter because he really liked being with me. He respected my wishes and never pressed me to do anything I did not want to do. He asked me to marry him several times during the five years we were going out but I repeatedly told him that I was not ready. We dated and hanged out whenever we have the time to. He was working at an airport construction project long hours and was playing in his company’s soccer team most nights and weekends. I worked ten hours seven days a week to keep afloat and partied like a teenager should. He asked me to live with him so I would not have to worry about paying rent but I refused his generosity every time he broached the subject. Maybe I was not desperate enough to save a few hundreds in rent money or maybe I knew even then that we would not be together forever.

 

 My family did not have any objection about our relationship. They even tried their hardest to push me into marrying him. “What else could you ask for?” they said. “He is educated, has a stable job, has a home, and a car…” they would add. “I don’t know,” I would answer truthfully. Maybe I knew that my husband would come along and sweep me off my feet when I was twenty-two.

 

All our mutual friends knew that we were going out. Some of them were not very keen on the May-December angle of the relationship. They all know that after I broke up with my long term boyfriend in high school, I swore that I will never go out with a guy my age because of all the dramas these kind of relationships entailed. I was not equipped to deal with all the emotional complexity of young love.  I chose to date men a few years older than I was because they seem to have a very busy schedule and could not be bothered with all the details of my life. I like having a life of my own and not feeling that I have to answer to anybody. Maybe I knew that I would someday meet a man who will let me live the life I always wanted but did not have a clue of what it was at the time.

 

 I thought I loved Romano. I was happy when he called every night to wish me goodnight. I cancelled appointments with my friends to see him play soccer.I grinned from ear to ear when he sent flowers to my workplace or when he brought boxed meals at my office when I was working late. I was always eager to see a movie, go to dinner or watch a play with him. I even relished the time we hanged out at his apartment drinking his collection of Italian wines. I loved that he could have had his way with me several times but did not take the opportunity. “I want it to be a mutual decision. I will not coerce you into doing something you might regret later,” he said. And I thought,  “Please do!” but I never gathered the courage to initiate physical intimacy with him or tell him what I was thinking. Maybe he knew that I would not be his and I somehow I knew that we were not meant for each other.

 

I regret the fact that I seemed to have strung Romano along for five years. I did not intend to. It just happened that way. I thought I loved him until I met my husband. I remember feeling guilty when I realized that I am in love with another man. I met him at a restaurant and told him about it. I saw the pain in his eyes. Then he asked, “Are you sure?”  I just nodded my head and stared at the table because I cannot bear to look him in the eye again. I had to leave because I felt so horrible. He still called  every night to say goodnight (he left messages since I did not want to take his calls) and sent me flowers until I left to join my husband in his hometown. I did not give him my new address or phone number. I know he could have kept in contact with me if he wanted to but I am glad he did not. Maybe he knew that we will be both better off without further contact and that we were not meant to be.

 

Maybe I made up all the MAYBEs in this story so I will not feel so bad when I remember Romano. The only thing I am sure about is that I married the right person. I do not regret loving my husband twenty something years ago. I still love him and will be loving him for a long time to come. 

 

 

24 comments:

mom23nca said...

What a nice story.  I hope Romano is as happy as you are.

ally123130585918 said...

I really enjoyed reading that ... thanks ....Ally

samnsmile5 said...

I really enjoyed reading this...it is a great story.  Thanks for sharing!
My husband and I will be celebrating our 20 year anniversary in Sept. and I love him to pieces, still.  :)  There are times I still let my mind wander and wonder about my first boyfriend ~ it's fun to go back and remember.  It's okay because I know where my heart is.  :)
Michele  http://journals.aol.com/samnsmile5/lettingitallsinkin

klconard1 said...

Sometimes friendship mixed with attraction is a type of love that feels like the love of your life --- until you meet the true love of your life.  Don't feel guilt over having been confused about this; you recognized your true love when you met him.
Hopefully Romano found his true love and his happy ending also.
loving you
karyl

my78novata said...

I love that quote on marraiges. You know i just wrote a friend that everyone said we would not last a year and if we lsted two they would die of shock. Its been 17 and half. BLAH BLHA BLAH to them!!!!!!!!!!

chatzeekay said...

Romeo eww how romatinc for sure... Maybes can get it crazy just has bad as what ifs,

grofsand said...

..In finding the "right person at the wrong time" and "finding the right person at the right time" you were able to find two wonderful worlds..one to live in and the other to dream about!
 There are many who never find either world....be happy!

Very romantic and enjoyable entry!   Marc :)

boiseladie said...

Ahh.... love.....  great entry.

deveil said...

great entry, very thought provoking.  Beautifully put.

Derek

ryanagi said...

There are a couple of old boyfriends I wonder about from time to time too. But I know I married the right one. :-)

belfastcowboy75 said...

Congrats to the hubby. We finally win one over the worldly Latin lover. I also have to admire Romano for not persuading you into more intimacy than you could handle. That is a true gentleman.

judithheartsong said...

I love happy endings... judi

yakima127 said...

What a nice story...I am glad you have no regrets...JAE

dotcomdiva831 said...

what a great story....i feel the same way about my husband....it is true you gotta kiss a couple of frogs before you find that prince...lol

alphawoman1 said...

Somewhere in your heart even then you knew it was not your future.

briefhappiness said...

I was truly touched reading this.  I have friend who leave the past in the past, while I think about the "What ifs"  Everytime I do so, I still come away with the same conclusion--no regrets.  

I'm quite partial to older men, always has been and probably always will.  

Like Belfastcowboy said, he was truly a gentleman.

http://journals.aol.com/briefhappiness/Thisabovealltothineownselfbetrue

derasta said...

wow this was so moving...and you tell the story so beautifully, I didn't want it to end...thank you for sharing that part of your life.

http://derasta.bravejournal.com/

briefhappiness said...

After reading your blog, I got off the computer and started to read "Girls Night In," a book composed of short stories written by contemporary female authors.  "Traveling Light" was similar to yours.  I wanted to tell you the coincidence.

justaname4me2 said...

What a beautiful story. Sometimes I look at past relationships as a "teaching" stop for my next relationship. Maybe the 5 years with Romano, was the teaching stop you needed so that when you found your husband you would know he was the one to stay with forever.
Hmmm I love a happy love story!!!
Rebecca

acyrlicstains said...

wow, I love true romantic love stories.  I enjoyed reading this entry...I have to be honest sometimes I skip all the journal entries because the story doesnt catch me eye or maybe its my heart that has to be caught in order for me to read and your's did.  Thank You!
Renee'

sieblonde said...

I'm glad you are happy with your choice.  Too many of us can't say that.  ~Sie

oceanmrc said...

That painting is such a perfect illustration to your story.

aiibrat said...

there was a guy i thought i would end up being married, too.  but fate intervened and he's married to someone else now.  i kind of hope to meet my soulmate someday.  your story gives me hope.  -=)

frankandmary said...

I am 40. Never been married. I have my reasons.
Good Entry.