It’s Aidan’s birthday party. He’s turning 7. I brought my vegan gluten-free pumpkin crumb cake, Alison’s favorite. Vegan. Gluten-free. Trying to satisfy everyone’s food issues. It’s not famous yet. Just really good. It surprised us all how moist it turned out the very first time I made it. She requested I bring it.
I told D. he could stay home that day… It’s easier if he doesn’t go to these things, he doesn’t like them anyway, and it always made me sad that he couldn’t be present to what was happening in our lives at that moment… A birthday party, our friends, kid’s laughter…cake.
So I show up alone with Ruby and Dylan. Drop our presents by the door. Smile and wave to friends across the room. The kids go off to join everyone else. I put my cake on the island in the kitchen and there he is. Blue T-shirt, close beard, green eyes, soft eyes, smiling eyes and strong arms.
In a flash I see him… he’s a Lover. Hugger. Crier. Baby catcher. Partner. Meditator. Yogi. Wounded soul. Boxer. Best friend. Blood brother. Pillar.
He smiles at me. We are introduced. I feel that thing… that feeling of exhilaration and disappointment at the same time. He’s amazing this guy. And he’s married, naturally.
Has two kids… he is taken. So am I.
We talk. He tells the group funny stories. We laugh easily. So easy. He’s everything… all of the things I’ve ever asked the universe for in a partner.
Why is he standing here, in this kitchen?
Why aren’t I with someone like him?
Where did I go wrong?
Yes, I’m not with someone like him… Not at all… I relent.
I accept it. Move on. We eat cake. Laugh at Madam Chocolate as she entertains the kids with her Vaudeville baking show. Her thick French accent and heavy bosom. It’s fun.
We say goodbye… it was great to meet you. I hug Alison goodbye. She sees it in my face. I can’t hide the disappointment for myself. We wish Aidan a happy birthday. Return home.
I didn’t know then that this day, this chance meeting, would change everything.