A few days after the first anniversary of my divorce, I had lunch with my ex-husband. It was exactly what I needed.
We briefly saw each other in December when he returned my Christmas DVDs to me, but we otherwise hadn’t spent time together since November.
I had plans to be in New York City, so I’d asked him if he wanted to get together. He responded that he would clear the calendar for the weekend so he could see me anytime.
I arrived at the Meatball Shop (my pick – they have veggie balls) a little early, so I texted him to let him know I had a table for us. He responded that he was on his way.
|Our lunch wasn't this romantic.|
Oh, his smile.
Max has one of those smiles that truly lights up his face. I know that sounds corny, but there really are people with those kinds of smiles. (I’m not one of them. I just have a regular smile.) His smile has always warmed me. Seeing that smile for me made me feel about 93% joyful and 7% terribly, terribly sad and wistful.
His big brown eyes shone as he walked towards me. Stone Temple Pilots was playing. We automatically opened our arms and embraced in the middle of the Meatball Shop. It was a rich hug, the kind of hug that only happens between two people who really, truly care for each other.
We finally sat down and chatted away for the next 90 minutes. We talked about everything and nothing. He asked if I’d run out of my stash of Mary Lou’s coffee, and if so he’d buy me more the next time he goes to Massachusetts. I told him about my half marathon training. He told me his best friend, who was devastated by his divorce five years ago, is engaged. I told him that my brother and sister-in-law are expecting another baby. He shared the latest on a huge project at work, for which I’ve always been his biggest supporter.
After our meat and veggie balls, three cookies, and a scoop of ice cream, we surrendered. The bill came and Max grabbed it.
“Max, come on,” I said. “You don’t have to pay. Let’s split it." Afterall, this was the polar opposite of a date!
“No, I insist,” he said, slapping down some cash.
I know him better than anyone, so I knew I would lose this debate.
“Fine. Then can lunch be on me next time?” I asked carefully.
He looked up from the bill and flashed that smile. (Oh, his smile.)
He walked me back to the subway. I had the fleeting urge to grab his hand – I guess old habits die hard. At the entrance to the 4/5/6 train, we embraced. Twice. We promised to do this again soon. I believe we both actually meant it.
I looked back as I walked down the steps into the subway. He was watching me go, making sure I got down the steps safely. We both smiled and waved goodbye again, and then I disappeared into the crowded subway.
When was the last time you saw your former spouse? What was it like?