I was finishing up lunch with a friend recently, when I noticed the time. “Oops, 2 o’clock,” I said. “Gotta go!” “Why the rush?” she asked, “Do you have a date?” “Well…. I am meeting my boyfriend.” I told her. “So, wait,” she said, “this is an afternoon delight kind of date?” I smiled at her and she sighed. ”Why don’t you just move in together already? We’d both see you more.”
My friend had a point.
Luis and I have been together for two years. We are in love and “in like,” we have some history, and we talk about our future. We’ve even discussed marriage, but we’ve both been married before, we’re each raising a teenager. We’ve both had full lives prior to our relationship. And, we both admit, we like our space.
Thankfully, in a meant-to-be sort of way, we literally live down the street from one another — he and his son on one corner, my daughter and I on the other. If we ever were to get married, I’m not sure either one of us would want this arrangement to change.
Because of our schedules, we only have sleepovers a few times a week, but by the time he comes over, it’s usually so late, we both fall asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillow. Then we are both up and out of the house early, usually before 7. While I wouldn’t mind a leisurely morning, sipping coffee together, talking about our plans for the day, it just hasn’t worked out that way. Therefore, our occasional afternoon rendezvous.
Perhaps it’s because we don’t live together, every meeting is full with excitement and anticipation. Mostly because, as a young widow and suddenly single parent, I do everything for myself and my daughter. Every ride, every meal, every project, every emotion. I walk the dog, take the trash in and out, change the lightbulbs. I pay the bills, make all the appointments, do all the laundry. I do Every Everything. And I cherish my time with Luis, and it continues to be special, because when I’m with him, it’s a reprieve from the every.
Luis too, is a single parent and it’s sometimes a dance whose house we’ll go to. I prefer mine. It’s light and cozy with clean sheets and towels, and I always have toilet paper. There’s lots of food in the fridge and somehow, even with just my daughter and I, Costco is still my favorite super market.
While Luis does for his son all of the same things I do for my daughter- the cooking, the cleaning, the care-taking — he’s a man. So they live like two bachelors — his fridge may have a carton of heavy cream, one left over Chinese food container, and an orange. I often want to scream, “No food back there!” when his son takes a plate of scrambled eggs and beans to his room, where the light from his X-box peaks through from under his closed bedroom door. And while they share a deep bond and lots of love, the lack of a maternal touch in their home is apparent. “Put a blanket on him,” I whisper to Luis when his son fell asleep on the couch one night. Luis looked at me, “Why?” They are indeed, a masculine yang to our feminine yin.
I told my friend that if things continue this way, Luis and I may be together forever. “I think he’s only showered at my house twice,” I say. “I hate you,” she said in the most loving way. “That really does sound kind of perfect.”
I totally agree.
Melissa Gould lives in Los Angeles with her teenage daughter and neurotic dog. She has been writing about her experience as a young widow and suddenly single parent for The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, and more. Visit her at www.widowish.com and on twitter @widowishwidow.
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