At dinner you will sit facing each other, studying the surfaces. “Where have you been all afternoon?” he will ask, and you will say, “Don’t be mad; even when I was away, I was thinking about you.” I was thinking about how to fix you, you will add, but of course you won’t say it out loud.
You will take note of everything that seems wrong with the equation in front of you: he’s stubborn, and demands too much, and says all the wrong things, and scatters bad choices across the landscape of his days, and most of the time, if you’re being honest, he doesn’t really make a whole lot of good sense. You will wonder at what point you have to turn back, start over, throw your hands in the air and say, “Screw this, I’m getting a sundae.” You will wonder at what point you will be allowed to give up, accept that there is nothing here worth pursuing, nothing here worth working on anymore. You will wonder why you even tried so hard in the first place.
Then he will lean across the table and tell you, “I’m just glad you’re here,” and you will remember the beginning, and the way you felt back then: the thrill and the energy and the sweet caffeine rush of potential, the determination to see what other people couldn’t understand in this thing you could quite possibly love. The grand sweeping promise of it all.
You will remember why you got this far—you wanted a happy ending. You still do. So you will sit facing one another, studying the surfaces, until you finally gather the courage to make a move, to push things forward, to bubble-wrap all the fragile parts, the better parts, and keep them in a safe, warm, dry place; to continue. In the future you will fix whatever needs fixing, but for now, you will continue. Your mother always says the best is yet to come, and maybe in this moment you believe her.
Somewhere in between dinner and dessert, one of you will think, This is going to change my life. Of course you won’t say it out loud.
But feel free to write it down.