Sunday, December 19, 2004


Lucy and I met as coworkers. She says that her earliest memories of me were of the phone calls I would make as my shift ended on Saturday afternoons.

I would be phoning a few friends to see what was going on that night. There was always something. We would meet someplace and find something to do.

Spontaneity vanished from my life when we married. We would plan our social life in advance, and meet our friends together.

This wasn’t always easy, as we had different attitudes toward friendship. She tended to form intense bonds with one person, lasting until she got sick of that friend and moved on to the next.

I liked having a large circle of friends, being close to everyone in it. Once I cared about someone, I was hooked, come hell or high water.

As it played out, our shared social life was determined more by her ethos than by mine. Once we became parents, even that fell to the wayside, as our single friends tired of calling us only to hear that we weren’t going out. We were tending the baby.

Life since my break up hasn’t been all that spontaneous either. Half of the time, I have the kids, so my time is spent with them. When I don’t have the kids, as a rule, my social plans are scheduled a week or so in advance.

May’s investment in my life began to eat up my free weekends. She lives some distance away, so we couldn’t just meet for dinner, or a night together. It was the whole weekend or nothing. When we met, I put aside work, laundry, and so on, to focus on a date lasting several days—particularly once she began to define a “weekend” as lasting three to five days.

The new freedom that was supposed to be a part of my life after marriage did not feel very free at all. My time was too rarely my own.

This weekend was supposed to be like most with May, several days spent entirely in one another’s company. When these plans were altered, I found that, for a change, I was free. I had many things to do, but my time was my own.

Late that afternoon, Marla called. You want to go to a movie?

Let's see, Lucy is picking up Jason at 6pm, the movie is at 8pm . . . sure, I said. Why not?

That felt so liberating. Sure I can go to a movie tonight. I’m free.

We walked arm in arm as we left the theater. I said, “If we had dinner or sex in addition to seeing a movie, this might be considered a date.”

“Well, I’m not hungry,” she laughed.

I guided our stroll back to my place.

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