Saturday night we had guests over. My husband of 20 years, 6’3″ 220lb all stature, turned into a little schoolboy, afraid of his own shadow. I had no idea after all these years of being together, that his social fears would come out like a tennis racket strings shattering in mid-stroke. Of all the things that one would describe my husband, being meek or shy he is not. His norm is walking into a room and the crowd shouts F@%ddy! The guys gather around him like a pied piper, women say their hellos, and never flirt. He’s that guy, until this past Saturday night.
I reflect a bit on this evening and think to myself, most of our ‘group of friends’ are his friends. Especially in large, planned out parties. I take note of this as my college friends, some he knows, and others he is meeting for the very first time, enter our home with the ring of the bell. Couples, and friends from my 20s and late teens, to me it feels like an old episode of FRIENDS. I am Monica, he is Tom Seleck’s character Richard the Dentist (people have even said that we look like them). Ironic as I am wondering about how that Richard would have handled Monica’s friends.
I want to catch up and not babysit my 12-year-old husband. Though I feel at a loss for his youthful retreat. I ask the crowd to move to the family room, only a few feet away from where we were conversing in the kitchen, and couldn’t budge them. Why was this guy, my Tom Seleck acting like he didn’t belong in my past?
We are 7 years apart this is fact and part of the fiction of the original Monica and Richard or a bit more years separate them if I remember correctly. When I was in junior high, F@%ddy was in college. When I was in college, he was married to his first wife with a new baby. Did the age difference really make this evening of FRIENDS a disaster?
Could it be our lives only intersect when he feels most at home? Even in our home, I couldn’t budge him off the chair to get to know my new-old FRIENDS. My Joey, Rachel, and Chandler were in the house, yet as FRIENDS the connections never happened with F@%ddy. The episode of Richard and Monica hanging with Monica’s friends didn’t really happen in my lost memory either. So why was this modern-day Monica so frustrated with Richard? Does the past need to stay there with old boyfriends, love letters, scrapbooks and photos from fraternity dances? Or does my Richard today, need to get off his seat and pretend for a few hours that he can relate to my past without jeopardizing our future? Of course, I will never say anything to him, it is only here that I vent.