“Before we go any further,” said Kris, “this might be a bit too forward, but I know you’re a cut to the chase kind of person, so I want you to know that I’m single. You’re probably aware of that already, but just in case you weren’t, I wanted to clear the air. I was married for almost seven years, but I’ve been divorced for a year now.”
Normally Candice would have done enough research on a person to know even their favourite breakfast cereal, but she forced herself to not even look up Kris’ name after they went their separate ways. She didn’t want to know how he was. It hurt too much.
“I didn’t know that, actually,” she replied quietly. “I don’t know anything you’ve been up to for the last ten years.”
“Oh?” Kris tried to hide his shock and disappointment.
Candice took a deep breath and continued, “I didn’t look you up. Not even once. I cried for three weeks straight after I ended things with you but then forced myself to get my head out of the clouds and back into my books. Just thinking about you hurt more than I could say. So I didn’t.”
“Oh wow.” Kris sat back in his chair and let out a deep sigh. His disappointment was very evident. “Well I’ll be honest that kind of hurts, but I understand.” He paused, wondering if he should just let it all out on the table now or not. “I’m not sure if I should say this, but I thought about you a lot. Even when I was married I wondered what it would have been like. Or what could have been. I checked your social media often, to see what you were up to. I even subscribed to a couple New York lawyer blogs and magazines to see if there was anything written about you. Every time you won a case I cheered quietly from afar. I was so proud of you. I even wondered what it would be like to tell people that you were mine. Not mine possessively, but that we were together. I imagined going to parties with you and everybody staring at us. You, because you’re so beautiful and successful. And me, because they thought I was so lucky to have my arm around you. And for the last six months, especially, I imagined going to bed with you every night and waking up with you every morning. Cuddling on the couch and drinking our morning coffee, like we used to do.”
Candice’s eyes were wide and her heart was racing. She held her breath as she listened to him say these words. Who was this man that just entered her life and why did he wait so long to get here? She reached across the table and wove her fingers into his. They sat there looking at each other, not saying a word. Tears welled up in both of their eyes.
“So what happens now?” Candice whispered.
Kris took a deep breath, “well, I guess we order dinner.” He winked at her and started to laugh.
She smiled and rolled her eyes, “ahh yes,” she said, “I remember all your silly one liners. I see that hasn’t changed.”
Kris shrugged, “Those fun little quirks left for a while when I was busy, trying desperately to make my ex-wife happy and dying inside at the same time. But now that I’ve done some inner healing and found myself again, they’re back.”
“Well I’m glad they are,” said Candice, “you wouldn’t be the same without them.” Now she hesitated, wondering if it was her turn to clear the air. “Kris, we haven’t seen each other in a really long time. And even though I’m a different person now, it feels so right to be with you. We both felt that way back then, and it’s clear we both feel it now. But I’ve made a life for myself that I really enjoy. I work really hard and I’m happy. I ended things with you ten years ago because I felt like we both wanted different things. You wanted a house in the suburbs with three kids and a dog. I wanted a thriving career and an apartment in the city. That hasn’t changed for me. I love my life. Having you in it would be amazing, but I don’t want any of those other things.”
Candice expected Kris to either try to convince her to change her mind about her dreams, or end the night and any other possibilities.
“Well, I’m not sure if this changes anything for you, but I’m actually not able to have children. My ex-wife and I tried for over five years, but after many tests and procedures, we found out it was me who was the problem. It took me a couple months to come to terms with it, and be open to other methods, such as adoption, but by that time, Michelle had moved on and gotten pregnant from a guy at her gym. So I guess you could say I’m a thriving career and apartment in the city kind of guy now, too.”
Candice wasn’t expecting that reply. Eyes wide, she covered her dropped jaw with her hand, “Oh, wow. I am so sorry,” she whispered.
Kris shrugged, “Its fine. I’ve made peace with it all. Things happen in life that are beyond our control and we can choose to be angry about them, or learn from them and move on. I’ve done a lot of soul searching and have really discovered who I am and what I want out of life.”
“And what do you want out of life, Kris?”
Kris looked deep into Candice’s beautiful, blue eyes. “You.”