Sometimes life is funny. You think you finally have a handle on it -- oh, now I've got it, okay, I know how to roll with this -- and that's about when it throws a curve at you.
Here's what happened: I was out and about, doing my thing, when I nearly ran over a ghost from Yellie past. And when I say I nearly ran him over? I'm not kidding. I LITERALLY nearly ran him over. (This, by the way, is why you should NOT dart about in parking lots, people.)
I parked and got out of the car, thinking, "I am going to kick that guy's ass for scaring about 17 years off my life."
Except that's not what happened. What happened was this:
He looked at me.
I looked at him.
And we both started talking at once.
"Ohmygod, I almost KILLED YOU!"
"Hey!" he said, surprised. "You're back in town."
"Yeah, I --"
"This is SO COOL!" he said. "My wife is in the car! You can meet her!"
Once upon a time, before I met Mr Wrong and married him, but after I got done being in love with the Cutest Boy Ever*, I knew a very very nice boy. SO NICE. SO HANDSOME.
Did I mention the shy? Good grief with the shy. We had a mutual group of friends, so we hung out quite a lot, but getting him to talk was the most ridiculous thing. For a while, I thought that he just didn't like me.
I never realized that he did like me -- as in "he liiiiiiiiiikes you" -- until I was already dating Mr Wrong. There are lots of nuances to my personality, you see, and one of those nuances means "I will not realize that you are interested in dating me unless you take out a billboard, for I am sadly very clueless."
After Mr Wrong and I went our separate ways, one of my old friends said, "You really should have gone out with X.
"Oh, like that was an option."
"Duuuuuuude," she said, shaking her head. "REALLY? He LOVED you. And you -- were you. Which means I should have known you had no idea. Although how anyone could be that clueless?"
"He never said," I said weakly.
"Yeah. Anyway. He wouldn't have done this to you," she said, waving her hand in the general direction of my life.
Now, ten years later, here he was. With his wife. And a station wagon. And three really cute children.
"Wow," I said. It was raining. I was pretty sure my mascara was running down my face.
His wife, by the way, just looked dewey, standing there. I wanted to hate her, just for a minute, until he looked at her and I saw the way he lit up.
He was so happy.
We said our good byes and promised to keep in touch -- which we won't do, but you always say that, don't you? -- and I got in my car.
And for a minute, just a minute, I was depressed. If I had zigged instead of zagged, that could have been me, I thought. I could have had a station wagon and three kids and married the adorable and kind X. How would my life be then? Think of all of the depression and scarring I could have missed!
I drove home.
As I walked through the door of my apartment, I thought, randomly: Some of us ONLY know how to zag. Some of us never zig.
I realized, as I took off my shoes and shook out my umbrella, that even if I had figured it out and gone out with X? I'd still be standing here, alone, with a wet umbrella and a cat winding around my feet. We never would have worked. EVER. Because he's the guy who doesn't say how he feels and I'm the girl who pours all of my business out on the internet. He likes to climb mountains and I like to sit at the beach. He wanted those three kids, and I've never wanted children. I'm not the station wagon type. He is.
And that's okay. That's actually more than okay -- it's great. Because the truth of the matter is that Mr Wrong may have broken my heart, but I didn't break X's. And I would have. I was the person he thought he wanted, when what he really wanted was a lovely, cool, outdoorsy brunette, who would have three children and make him smile like every day is Christmas morning.
And so I just keep zagging along.
*Seriously. This was his nickname among all of my friends. And my mom. "Oh, Yellie," she says, "He was the Cutest Boy EVER."