We were in the city last weekend, driving through old neighborhoods where Handy Dad and I spent the first few years of our marriage.
It's weird how things come full circle. We had coffee at the Starbucks where we met, shopped in the very same stores we did 15 years ago, and generally marvelled at how different the place was. Our old house where Jake spent the first year of his life is now gone, replaced by some gazillion dollar mansion. It's been years since we've been able to do this for the day, and now we visit around once a month. I still haven't gotten used to that.
We finished our shopping and began driving back in the direction of home, and on the way passed a Denny's restaurant. THE Denny's restaurant.
The Denny's restaurant that after significant people in my life had issued an ultimatum that I choose between them and God or my husband, where Handy Dad (at that time, Cute Biker Guy) and I met and talked about our future. We were engaged at that point with wedding rings on order, and needed to discuss whether we were going to still go ahead, despite the extreme reaction from those closest to us. I still remember sitting in the vinyl seats, drinking coffee, and looking at him across the table. How he reached across the table to take my hand and I knew without a doubt that he was the man for me.
But was I willing to risk it? Rish losing everyone that was close to me, for him?
At the time I had thought that Cute Bike Guy was so self assured, so calm, so thankfully predictable and steady, while I felt like my entire world was spiralling out of control.
Me (pointing out the window): Remember that Denny's?
Handy Dad: How could I forget that Denny's?
Jake: What are you talking about?
Me: That's the Denny's where Mom and Dad decided that we'd still get married.
Me, (turning to Handy Dad, who is concentrating on driving): Were you ever afraid that I would run?
Handy Dad: (quietly, barely audible): Yes.
I looked back out the window, contemplating the traffic. Jake was suddenly uncharacteristically quiet, as if he knew this was an important conversation, and strained to hear our words.
It's amazing how time changes perspective. 15 years ago I was a scared, insecure 20 something who desperately wanted to please everyone in her life. That Denny's signified a turning point which started me down the road of following my heart, not other people's opinions. I turned to Handy Dad and smiled, because I knew now that despite my fear and insecurity back then, nothing would have kept me from him. Not even the prospect of losing my entire support system.
"I never would have run from you."