A few weeks ago I was making dinner when the phone rang. I answered, and a woman's voice said brightly, "Hi, this is Rosemary _, can I speak to Clay?"
I pulled the phone back and gave it the squirrely eye before answering with competing brightness, "Sure, just a minute."
Despite the relative smallness of our house, it took me a bit to find Clay, and I wandered around, calling, "Clay? Honey? Where are you, hon?" If it were me, calling, I thought, I would realize Clay is taken and hang up. I found him in the basement, working on some project. I held the phone out to him and said mildly, "It's for you. A Rosemary _?"
He shrugged at me, I shrugged back, and handed off. And then (I was so proud), I turned on my heel and went back upstairs. I didn't even linger around the corner. Through no fault of Clay's, I trend toward the suspicious. But I marched up the stairs and set back to working on dinner.
Not a minute later Clay came up the stairs and into the kitchen.
"Yup," he said, "my life is great. I'm MARRIED to a beautiful woman," here he walked over to stand behind me and put his hand on my back. "And I've got a daughter, and three sons, and another daughter on the way. *pause* Yes, you have a great life, too." He hung up and looked at me.
"Hi. Friend of yours?" I said.
Turns out it was an old girlfriend from the early 90s. She'd been thinking about him, and decided to look him up. It didn't actually bother me, partially because Clay was so worried it would. It doesn't make sense, I think, to blame him because an old girlfriend decided to fire up Google. Mostly, it provided me an opportunity to needle Clay a little and giggle.
That evening, though, when dinner was eaten and the dishes were done, I looked over at Clay. He was curled up on the couch with Raphael, watching some old TV show set in WWI. He and Raphi love it, while the rest of us find it somewhat incomprehensible.
I looked at him, this handsome man who has been my partner for three years now. I thought of how he'd described us to the mysterious Rosemary - his wife, his daughter, his sons, and his daughter on the way. The complexities of how we came to him don't matter. What matters is that each of us are his to love, the sum of his "great life."
I'd been feeling a little smug toward the voice on the phone, reaching out to someone who was clearly mine. But as I thought about it, I realized that I might do the same thing if I was in her shoes. It wouldn't matter if nearly twenty years had gone by. I wouldn't be able to rest, either, if he was my one who got away.
Thank God he didn't. Happy anniversary, love. Thank you for loving us all, so well.