Monday, September 17, 2007

Happy to be wrong

One of my all-time favorite running buddies is a guy I met 10 years ago, when he was in his mid-20s and new to Chicago. Warm, generous and very sweet, I liked him instantly. I mentored him at work and became his de facto big sister. He had quite the checkered history with girls. His gentle and genuine personality was at odds with his muscular, all-boy appearance, and I don't think many of those he dated realized how sensitive he could be. I remember many nights of drinking beer, looking at the stars, and listening to him ask how this or that "she" could have hurt him so.

So last year at about this time, when he announced he had met "The One" and he wanted to marry her, I was initially skeptical. He did, after all, have a tendency to fall a bit too hard, and it wouldn't have surprised me if she wasn't as serious as he was.

Then I met her. And hated her on the spot.

It was at a party. She obviously found all of our conversations boring and stared off into the middle distance, cig in one hand, cosmo in the other. I tried to draw her into the conversation by asking if she had a photo of her 5th grade son (previous marriage). My friend adored the kid and I wanted to see who I'd heard so much about. She seemed perplexed by my question and said "no." Now, really! What mom doesn't have at least one picture of her kid?

I chewed the inside of my mouth in frustration but murmured supportive things as a big, beautiful rock was purchased … as a proposal was meticulously planned and finally delivered in New York's Central Park … as a house was purchased in the far western suburbs … and as the three of them (my friend, his fiancee and her son) all moved in. I took cold comfort in the fact that at least a date hadn't been set yet.

This woman clearly was not as into my dear friend as he was in love with her, and wasn't it just making me nuts. All the concessions that needed to be made as they approached the altar were being made by him, and I didn't like that one bit.

The last week, just we three met for drinks. To be honest, if I'd known he had invited her, I would have tried to slip out of it. Now I'm so glad I didn't.

SHE'S NICE!

She wasn't bored by our conversation at the party, she simply didn't know how to jump in. She has no interest in sports, which we discuss a lot. Since English is her second language, a lot of slang goes right over her head. She not only likes my friend*, she loves her son. She just knew that neither I nor the other women at the party had kids and she didn't want to be one of "those moms" who bore people with photos and tales of their children. She's sounded genuinely, affectionately amazed by his growth spurt and how much food he can suddenly shove in during the space of a single day. It was nice to see this softer, warmer side of her.

I'm sooooooooo glad that she's not the too-cool ice queen I thought she was, after jumping to that first, unkind conclusion. (Shame on me.)


*Though I still don't know what they have in common beyond their affection for her boy. They really don't interact very much, and that concerns me. However, he is 35 now and I have to let him grow up sometime, huh?

4 comments:

  1. That's great! Isn't it nice to be pleasantly surprised by people??

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  2. Can I be the little devil on the other shoulder and say: YA, BUT

    Only time will tell, but I am glad for you that you feel a bit better about her.

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  3. I enjoy stories like these because my first impressions tend nearly always to be wrong. There is comfort in knowing that others make the same mistakes.

    I'm glad she's a nice girl.

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  4. really, you talk about Sports alot?? The fact that I feel like I am becoming a Cubs fan should be no influence.

    Mrs Duck had the same feeling about one of her brothers flock of chicks. Of course, once MD realized she was cool, she was dumped.

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