Wednesday, August 05, 2009

The dare

This is part three of how I met my husband. Look here for parts one and two.

The phone rang at work a few days after our dinner together. I was confused at first when I realized it was "A." Wasn't he supposed to be in Paris? No, he explained that he'd driven down to his brother's new place in DC to drop off the last of his furniture and was now back in Boston for a few brief days. (His brother had just moved in with his new American sweetheart, now my sister-in-law, but that's another story altogether.)

He sounded nervous and it took him some time to get to the point of his call. I didn't care, I was drinking in the sound of his voice.

"I was wondering... I mean, would you like to... maybe, I thought, since I have one weekend left here in Boston..."

I could almost hear the intake of breath, the here goes nothing, before he continued. "We could go up to Montréal. Or to Québec City. I don't think you've been to either, no? Or," and he rushed to add a third option before I could respond, "We could also just go to Cape Cod for the day."

Now, calling another man's fiancée and inviting her to go on a romantic weekend takes a crazy amount of nerve. Doing so on the eve of a definitive departure across an ocean throws a dash of futility in the insanity (although it does put one out of harm's way should the jilted fiancé get angry). "A" may have been crazy, but he knew me better than I knew myself.

I, however, was too distraught to think clearly. I confusedly thought I'd make it a litmus test for my engagement: if my fiancé agreed to let me go, I would. If he kicked up a fuss, I'd say no. I wanted to prove that he still cared after months of not connecting, and, I'll admit it, I wanted to hurt him a bit. So I said yes to a weekend in Québec, telling myself that I could always cancel.

I met my fiancé later that day for lunch. Staring down at our sandwiches, we tried to hold a normal conversation, but the spaces between the words spoke more than the words themselves. We tried to sound casual, but we sharpened every sentence we chose into a sharp point, aimed precisely, and gouged.

"I talked to 'A' today." I started, matter-of-factly.

"Oh, that's nice," he countered with tepid enthusiasm.

"He asked me if I'd like to go..." Hesitation. Big ammo, not to be used lightly.

"...with him to either Montréal, or Québec City. Or, he also said we could go to Cape Cod for the day if, you know, you objected..." Apology entered my voice despite myself.

"I trust you. If you want to go, go." Evenly. No hint of jealousy. No anger. Just an answer, the one he thought I wanted; he was being the Good Boyfriend, he pretended he wanted to please. Should I rejoice or despair? I wanted to go, and oh, how my heart raced when I thought about seeing "A" again. Yet I'd lost my bet.

"I trust you," he repeated. Maybe there was some sadness after all as he confirmed his choice. But how could he trust me when he didn't even know me?

Serves him right, I thought, as I called "A" back to finalize our plans. We were going to Montréal together.


Isabelle said...

Oh my gosh, this is so romantic!
I can't believe the nerves of "A" ;)
He knew exactly what he wanted didn't he?

Sylvie said...

Wow! I wish more guys had A's guts! But this gives ME the nerve to try something...;-)

Polly-Vous Francais said...

Oh my. When do we get to hear the rest? And when are you going to publish a book? You write so SO well!

Parisienne Mais Presque said...

@Polly - thank you! Especially coming from you, who has what must be one of the best written blogs in Paris.

Next installment coming soon, I promise.

oilandgarlic said...

Did I miss part 4? I am curious how you ended up together if A is leaving soon..

Parisienne Mais Presque said...

@oilandgarlic - I still haven't written part 4, and it is way overdue! Maybe that should be one of my new year's resolutions?? Hmmm...