When we were young B was driving me to the airport and the engine in his car blew out in the middle of nowhere. He was mortified because at that point I was that dream girl he wanted to have. Forever. And a blown engine was not part of that equation of what to do to impress a girl. Nonetheless, he tried to remain valiant and cool so he put up the hood and poked around a bit, putting together this and that, in a futile attempt to get the car going again. As he worked I asked, “What can I do to help?”
“Nothing” he replied “Just sit there and look pretty.”
Being the 25 yo feminist I was, well, that just didn’t sit well with me. Sit there and look pretty. How dare he! What did he think I was, a piece of arm candy? And so I stewed about it a little before letting him know in no uncertain terms that I found that offensive and that I was more than just a decorative object.
Fast Forward 30 some years. Tonight B is cooking dinner and I ask him “What can I do to help?”
His response, “Nothing. Just sit there and look pretty.”
“Wow,” I thought. That sure sounds nice his telling me that I am pretty and all. And after all these years too. It really has a sweet ring to it.
“Remember you said that to me when your car broke down when you were taking me to the airport?”
“Yeah, I should have said it more but you got mad and told me you didn’t like it, so I didn’t think it was the thing to do.”
“I wish I hadn’t,” I said full of regret.
And with the benefit of hindsight I now realize how silly and hurtful that was to both B and I that I couldn’t accept his kind words. For 30 years I could have heard him tell me that I was pretty and I missed that opportunity. I could have heard him say “Just sit there and look pretty” with lust in his voice, with concern in his heart, or just admiring all that he saw and appreciating the complete package. Instead, I have missed 30 years of something that B could have said that was meaningful and playful to both of us. A shared memory of how far we have come and how far we could go because I was still his girl.
Regrets…I have a few.