We should do what we have to do to be happy
I was sitting with my work-buddy and friend, let’s call him Jordan, in the late afternoon sun on the steps of Atlanta, on the Terrace in Wellington.
It was a Friday late in summer, one of those rarest of days in Wellington when it is warm because there is no wind. This day, the sky was also cloudless and impossibly blue. Big blue-green cicadas were belting out their love-songs on the big pohutukawa tree across the road.
Jordan held a cold craft beer and sipped from it as he talked in his lovely American drawl while I nodded and smiled and drank my chardonnay.
Jordan was impossibly gorgeous in the blond, American-hunk way, educated at an Ivy-league college, and full of enough ‘yes Ma’ams’ to melt your heart. He worked out and had the body to show for it.
I remember finding out exactly how strong he was one day when we were walking up Lambton Quay. I was chattering away at his side as we walked and one minute I was looking up into his face and the next I was face-planting the brick pavement on Stewart Dawson’s corner.
Before I knew it, he had scooped me up and carried me a few meters down the road, placed me on a bench and carefully examined my grazed knee. The graze on my knee was tiny compared to the size of my embarrassment.
I was thinking about this as he talked and realizing he had lost me, he stopped talking and smiled. Perfect teeth. Of course.
When he left New Zealand with his partner to go to live in Paris, I missed him terribly, but we kept in touch. I was overjoyed when he said he would be able to make it back from Africa where he was working on assignment and come to London during the week I was there on a work trip.
We had an ex-pat dinner with all our former colleagues in London the first night but the next day was ours and we spent it shopping, lunching and laughing and it was a joy to me.
I was leaving London that night for home so had already checked out of the hotel and as I was flying Emirates, I decided to take the complimentary limo that the airline provided rather than take the Heathrow Express.
‘Pixie’ he said to me as he put me in the limo but still holding the door open.
‘I don’t know what is wrong with men. If I was straight, I’d snap you up in a minute. You are such an extraordinary woman. Tell you what; what say in ten years, if we aren’t in serious relationships, we get married? I know it wouldn’t be what you’ve dreamed of but at least you’d not be alone, and you would be with someone that really cares about you. And if you met someone, you’d be free to pursue that relationship if that is what you wanted, and with my support’.
Years ago, before the scandal of his affair with his stepdaughter, I remember hearing that Woody Allen and his then partner, Mia Farrow, lived in different apartments on opposite sides of Central Park. I remember then thinking that this was so odd. Why be in a relationship with someone if you aren’t co-habitating?
Now, and after two marriages, I don’t think this is so odd.
People should do whatever they need to do to be happy and if living in different houses or even different cities keeps your relationship fresh, why not?
Married friends tell me I am so lucky to be single, but for myself, being single means I miss out on the things that are most important to me: like being in a Team of Two, having someone to share the good and the bad with, being there for him and him being there for me, being loved unconditionally, that last call of the day. You know the one: ‘hi honey. It’s me. How was your day? Mine was good. When are you headed home? I’m almost on my way’ or whatever your version is.
I still want that.
Don’t get me wrong. There are things I love about being single like being able to manage my own money for instance.
My first husband, an accountant and fund manager, had a thing about not buying depreciating assets and so for years we had crappy rental televisions and I had to write my assignments for uni at work because he wouldn’t let me buy a PC.
But we all have our quirks and relationships are all about compromise.
I don’t know if I could go as far as Jordan’s compromise though, but that ten-year pact is expiring soon.