Thankfully, the chaos belongs to other people for a change.
So, my buddy, J., got his ring back yesterday morning. We have him on, more or less, suicide watch. I’m not sure how many nights he’s going to be hanging at Hoffman’s Home for Wayward Boys, and he may not spend the entire night, but I’m sure he’ll be over more than once between now and Christmas.
Here’s how it went down….
Saturday night, J. stayed home from church because he wasn’t feeling well. And, in fact, we talked earlier in the afternoon about that and how the anitbiotics were draining him and making him feel even more depressed than normal. We also talked about getting fitted for tuxedos next weekend, in preparation for the wedding and as a show of good faith to L., J.’s fiance, that he was committed to the wedding. So, when he didn’t show at church, I didn’t think much of it, but I also noticed that L. wasn’t at church either, which was a bit worrying, considering the tender state of affairs with the wedding and their relationship. Ironically, I ended up sitting with J.’s last ex-fiance, who’s been through her own wedding announcement only to have it called off for reasons unknown to the general public. I have my own speculations on that, but nothing concrete. She was having a rough evening, too, but I managed to coax a smile out of her.
I may not have many talents when it comes to the opposite sex, but making them laugh seems to be chief amongst the ones I do seem to manage.
In any case, after church was over, I called over to see what J. was doing for dinner and he let me know that L. was over and they’d just had dinner. By then, I was outside in the parking lot and realized that I didn’t really feel like going to dinner with anyone, so I zipped home and indulged in a little Mickey D’s along the way. And, to be honest, at this point, I figured things were pretty well on an even keel with the two of them and the wedding and all. No worries, right?
I usually sleep late on Sunday, having been to church the night before. But yesterday, I got a call a little before 8:00am that woke me. I’m sure J. had been staring at the phone, waiting until it was a “decent hour” to call for some time before that. He tells me he’s still depressed and afraid to get married. He tells me that L. has suggested that he look at some other unresolved issues that might be causing his depression and the implication is that he’s still got cold feet about the wedding. He tells me that he thinks all the doubt is telling him not to get married yet and that he doesn’t love, really love, L. He tells me that she’s on her way over to “talk” and, probably, give the ring back.
He asked if I’d stay with him on the phone until she got there. Naturally, I just kept talking with him while I let the dog out, got a cup of coffee and pulled on a robe. When she arrived, J. told me he’d call after they were done.
That turn of phrase ended up being a little more prophetic than one would suppose.
They do, indeed, seem to be done. After a several hour “talk”, wherein she actually sung his praises, the poor bastard, she returned the ring. Sadly, because she adored him so much, now, the possibility of them remaining friends is, well, not very good at all. Seeing him that way would be too painful for her. Just like J. seeing K. when she made the announcement about her engagement, even though that, too, has been called off.
The really heart-breaking thing for me, however, was when J. sobbed into the phone that he might have just made the biggest mistake of his life, that maybe he did actually love her after all. I’m fairly certain that all I could muster was “Aw, dude…” What can I say in the face of that sharp a personal tragedy? Not content to ride it out, he’d done the worst thing and made a decision. A decision he’s not happy with having made. At least I had the presence of mind not to tell him that he really “screwed the pooch” on this one.
Besides, I’ve mellowed with age.
Now, I’m sure a part of him was thinking he could do better, but, really, I don’t think he could have. She isn’t the thinest, tiny-waisted thing, but her curves looked just fine. And, she was patient enough to have gone through this for more than two months, back and forth, which is more than anyone should have to endure. She’s also smart as a whip and was as caring and solicitous of his friends (ie. me) as a guy could ask for. But, now, she’s gone. Poor guy. I suppose only time will tell if this is a permanent thing or not, but, frankly, I don’t think he can crawl long enough, or low enough, to get her back at this point.
It’s going to be a long week for both of them.
Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries."