Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Thai with Tom

Faithful followers know I've spent some time recently staying with Jeremy and his dad, and that just over a week ago a very dear friend who's gone to bask in warmer weather for the winter most graciously invited me to stay at her apartment while she's away.

It's been a rough time, to minimize it greatly; there has been much hurt, much chaos, and much confusion. But I was taking all the necessary steps to heal, found myself surrounded by love and care, and was going to figure out where I was headed and set a course to get there.

And then -- on the day I found out I'd have a new, cleaner (sorry, but it's true!), and quieter place to stay as I decompressed and reassessed and gathered myself together to move on -- Tom called me.

It was January 26th -- what would have been our 13-month anniversary, if I hadn't moved out of the house believing that we were no longer in a relationship. He hadn't wanted to let the day pass without some acknowledgement.

I was in the kitchen when the phone rang, and it had a generic ring after I'd pre-emptively removed his personal ringtone ("Pictures of You," by The Cure); I didn't know who might be calling me late in the evening, so I didn't bother to rush on over ... those I want to talk to regularly have individual tones to identify them readily. Only later did I get the voicemail and hear some trepidation mixed with sincerity and a genuine effort to reach out.

I called back.

We had a looooong talk -- processing the previous few weeks, sharing where we were at that moment both physically and otherwise, and just connecting. It was painful, but it was a good conversation.

We talked a few more times after that, and sent a few benign emails back and forth; it was clear that the prior situation -- which had been triggered by an exceptionally bad reaction to some medication -- was resolving ... slowly and deliberately and carefully.

And then, we decided to meet for coffee one afternoon. Tom -- rather than the unfamiliar and unwanted person who'd seemingly replaced him for awhile -- arrived. I'd been fearful of whom, exactly, I'd be meeting ... which version of him.

It was extraordinarily awkward and uncomfortable at first, and there was admittedly a desire to flee. We engaged in minor pleasantries before getting into the heart of the situation. What had happened? What was his reality vs. mine? What might have prevented this, and what might be done to get past it? Was there any desire to get past it???

To his credit, Tom let me talk and cry, listening carefully and not running from the challenge ... it was an exhausting afternoon for both of us. But once it had all been aired and -- most importantly -- been heard and validated, we were free of it. And we found that each of us was willing to try to see what might be salvaged. No rash statements that we'd be better together than ever, or that everything was fine now that we'd talked. But we were willing to try, as the angel had told us to do back in June.

Tom's sister, Anne, had been so excited to know that we'd planned to meet that she'd told him to take me out to lunch rather than just coffee. I was coming from a brunch, though, so I wasn't hungry at that point. But after hours of delving into our hearts and the wounds that had been inflicted upon them, a little sustenance was necessary ... especially now that we were friends again. That warranted a celebration!

So Tom and I went to the Old Siam by Siam Kitchen to enjoy some truly exceptional Thai food. We'd eaten there before and enjoyed it immensely, so it seemed a logical choice for that evening. And after the usual brain paralysis when faced with too many stellar choices, we settled upon two options.

The Pork Stir Fry was just amazing, with generous portions of tender pork and chunks of colorful, crisp vegetables in a slightly sweet sauce. Served with sticky rice and fragrant tea, it would have been more than satisfying on its own. But there were two of us, so we ordered two entrees to share!

The Chicken Pad Thai was even more delicious than the stir fry, though who could have imagined such a thing??? Each ingredient supported the whole, and yet each retained its identity such that the flavors of the bean sprouts or the finely chopped peanuts, for example, still shone through.

We ate well -- I alone ate 2 platesful, which I really needed after weeks of not eating enough because of stress. (Misery is a great tool for weight loss, but not particularly recommended as a diet plan!) We shared two pots of tea, and continued to talk; as our day-into-evening progressed, our conversations became less bitter, less strained, warmer, friendlier, more affectionate. It was nice to shed all of the anger and resentment and hurt.

So, where do things stand now with Tom? We talk and email numerous times throughout the day. We've seen each other most days since our coffee and dinner "date." We're trying to analyze and face some of our recent situations so that they don't repeat themselves; we're working hard to rebuild what was once so precious to us. We'd like to think that this was a necessary episode to make us stronger, both individually and jointly. We're going slowly and prudently, doing our best to be honest and to face some issues that aren't particularly comfortable.

We believe that we once had a future together. And so -- if it's meant to be -- we plan to continue working toward that, encouraging and supporting each other along the way to reclaiming an "us."

To everyone who's offered prayers, good thoughts, empathy, a shoulder to cry on, hugs, places to stay, meals, and all the other overwhelming and humbling gestures of love and kindness -- thank you so, so much. Clearly, the generosity of your hearts is enveloping Tom and me ... :)

Relax and Make Friends Blog Hop


TexaGermaFinlaNadian said...

Wow, thanks for sharing this Mary. And I enjoyed the way you linked back to various other stories so new followers like me could catch up. I am glad that the resentment is gone. And even if ya'll just stay friends, how nice is it to have that toxicity out of your being? All the best to you. From what I know of you, you only deserve the best!

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for sharing all of that with us Mary! I know what you are going through and it is never easy. All you can do is what feels right for you because in the end, only you know what truly makes you happy! I'm glad you got a chance to talk...that's always such a wonderful way to heal! YAY!! I am a firm believer in the power of can over come just about anything! (((((((HUGS))))))))

Unknown said...

Mary, I am truly happy for you and Tom. I pray that things go well, and the two of you are able to overcome the obstacles that stood in the way before. :)

Karen Harris said...

Personally, I find that there's not much that can't be made better by great food. I'll keep you and Tom in my thoughts, hoping that you keep moving in a positive direction. Thanks for sharing your update.

Life Happens said...

I'm so sorry things didn't work out between you guys. But I'm happy that you are slowly rebuilding your friendship. :)

Whatever the future holds for you guys, I wish you the best of luck!

Leanne said...

Oh, my dear friend ... my heart beat heavily as I read this post. I've thought of you so often the past few weeks, and I am glad to hear that there is communication taking place, and the ability to focus and **nuture**. I will continue to support through good and bad, as that is what friends do, my dear. And I wish you peace and love. As the first commentor has said - YOU deserve the best!

Candace said...

Aw, what a great post, Mary! I'm happy that you were able to take these steps toward healing. I will continue to keep you both in my prayers. I know this has been a difficult journey for you and I wish you all the very best. You definitely deserve it. *hugs*

Now, as I often do when I leave your blog, I must find something to eat. :)

Rachel (Diary of a Recovering Chocoholic) said...

I'm glad to hear things are looking up!

And I love your new header!!

Cranberry Morning said...

You kept me on pins and needles through that post, Mary. What an emotional roller coaster. By the time I was done, I felt ready to eat that Thai meal too! I wish you the very best, as you see how the future unfolds.

Team Chastain said...

Spring is full or rebirth, renewal, and maybe...rekindled love...
*hugs* to you. You guys are always welcome to come visit the beach here down south!! :)

Robin said...

I am glad that you are working through things slowly. It sounds like your relationship will be the better for it, no matter how it turns out. Of course, I hope it turns out that you get back together, but even if you just become very good friends again, that is still a win. So happy for you.

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