I shaded the orange sunlight from my face with a straw hat. As I lounged among the dandelions, my mind ran off with my thoughts like a hamster on a wheel.
I remember the day he broke off the engagement.
He had just dropped me off at home, where I lived with my sister. He had just dropped the bombshell: “This isn’t working.” Tears hadn’t even come yet. Shock had set in and sorrow would come later.
“Why? What did he say?” My sister asked once I’d told her.
“He said we’re ‘too different.'” I, of course, refused to agree, and told him as much. I also told him a bunch of things I shouldn’t have, things like “you’re too much of a wimp for a relationship” and other things I probably shouldn’t have said. Now my whole mind felt like it was under anesthesia.
“I’m sorry, Lily.” My sister’s eyes showed her sincerity, but she patted my shoulder awkwardly. She’s never been a physical touch kind of person.
“What do you think?” I asked.
“Do you think we’re ‘too different?’ Because I don’t. He’s being irrational. And scared.”
“Well…” She paused.
“Well, I’ve always thought it was interesting that you’re so introverted and he’s an extrovert. You’ve said he’s a workaholic, and you enjoy a leisurely pace. He’s clingy, you like your space. You’re a penny pincher, he’s not. He’s a vegan, you love bacon. You’re…”
“Thanks, Cam,” I said sardonically. “You know, he and I are the same sometimes. We both love the outdoors. Remember the old gazebo in the yard that he and I always hung out in? We agreed on that. And we had love for each other in common.”
“But is that enough?” Cam asked.
I always thought it was enough. And now, a few months later, I still do.
Laying among the tall grass, the tall grass in my yard by the old gazebo, I I rolled over and a tall dandelion shaded my face. I held the stalk in my hand, staring philosophically at the fluffy seeds. Folklore had it that if you wanted to say something to an estranged loved one, you could blow the seeds in the direction the loved one lived and the message will be carried off. Not that I believed it, but I found myself telling the poor dandelion:
“I never meant those things I said. I hope you can forgive me. And…” I rolled my eyes at the thing I’d been holding back. “… and I love you so much that I’d even give up bacon for you.” I frowned. “But if you love me, you won’t ask me to change.” I paused and regained my solemnness. “I hope we can find each other again.”
I blew the seeds into the sky and rolled back into the grass. I must have dosed off in the warm sunlight.
“I thought I’d find you here.” That voice.
I sat up in a flurry, dandelion dust and my own hair flying every which way. “How did you find me?”
“Knocked on your door, but your neighbor told me you were back here.” He offered his calloused hand and pulled me up.
I spoke first. “I’m sorry.”
“I know. Me too.” He paused. “And I love you.”
I already knew that. “I love you too.”
Sometimes things don’t even need to be said, but the words are so beautiful you say them anyways.
That was almost twenty seven years ago, and we’ve been married for twenty six. Ever since that day, no one has been able to convince me otherwise about two things: the truth of the dandelion folklore, and the hope that two people, no matter how different, can work together.