What started out as chitchat in the elevator spilled out into the hallway. Somewhere between our kids and the weather, the conversation took a sharp left and my neighbor began venting about his marital problems. Sex, of lack of, topped the list.
Most would have walked then, but I suffered from “friendly ear” syndrome and stayed put. Worse, I nodded.
“Oh, he’s coming on to you,” a friend countered when I shared the tale.
Doubtful. At 8:40 a.m. in my yoga pants and stained T-shirt I’m not what you would call “hot.” Also, this seems to happen. A lot.
“Oh, there you are ‘knitting lady,’” a mother at my daughter’s Saturday morning gymnastics class would say, pulling up a chair and ready to dish.
What also started as morning banter morphed into weekly therapy sessions as the woman unleashed tales of her husband’s name-calling and threats. Listening to stories about her emotionally abusive marriage, I soon thought I was the one capable of black flips.
Back flips into the guy’s you-know-what.
I realize most people would have walked on both strangers. Me? I hear the crack in the voice, sense pain and suffering, and lean in. There was also a part of me that felt this was an example of life presenting me with exactly what I needed to learn at that moment. In both situations, I thought: God, that could be me.
I had just ended a relationship after doing the waffle dance. Perfectly content, the man would have allowed the relationship to sail status quo for years. I also felt a special kinship with his sisters who reminded me of my two BFFs back home, so I was cozy, but there were also red flags. I couldn’t.
For many I realize being alone is not an option. Kids, finances, religion, the flat screen TV keep white knuckling bad situations. I get it. Yet, for me, I didn’t want to be the whiney, miserable fool, so decided after years of dating and being in a relationship, I’m taking the daring leap and flying solo.
Scary? You betcha.