We had a most pleasant evening. My brother served us a delicious meal and we all enjoyed the lively conversation. We drove back to my condo. Mike, sitting next to me, was visiting me briefly on his way to South America. I had met him many years ago when I came to America on a Fulbright scholarship; Mike had just returned from his Fulbright year in Germany and spoke German nearly better than I. His parents invited me for Christmas and I loved his father’s great sense of humor. My parents invited his parents, and vice versa. But marriage? To his and both our parents’ disappointment— No. Don’t ask me why. I couldn’t have explained it.
“I’d better fill up my tank,” I said, driving into a station. We had driven many miles that day and the tank was nearly empty. “Not now!” he objected grimly. “You can get gas in the morning.”
“I don’t think I’ll make it to the station then,” I pleaded.
“Then have them deliver a can of gas,” he replied.
“Who delivers gas to a simple mortal like me?” I protested, and proceeded into the station. “Don’t you budge, Mike, I’m good at getting gas.” And so I did, glad to have a full tank again. He didn’t budge.
Back at my condo I peeked into my kitchen, and stopped in surprise. “Look at this, Mike!” I called. “I wish my children could see this; they’d love it!” A snow-white snake of soap bubbles was creeping out of the dishwasher and along the kitchen floor. Quite comical, I thought.
Mike came into the kitchen and his face darkened. “What did you do?” he demanded sharply.
“I poured in a bit of dish soap; the Comet was too lumpy and I didn’t want to let you wait,” I explained. “These are the cleanest dishes in town!” I laughed. “Years ago, when the children were little,” I continued, smiling happily, “we went skiing at Mammoth Mountain. It was a beautiful day and I brought a bottle of bubble soap along. We blew them into the gentle breeze—the bubbles glowed in all the colors of the rainbow.”
“How can you be so stupid!” he thundered. “Every ten-year old knows better!” A long, angry lecture followed, but I hardly heard him. Instead, my smile broadened with delight. I suddenly knew the answer to a long-time puzzle. Mike had visited me after his first divorce; I was divorced too. My friends all liked him. Mike was good-looking, very successful, and could be charming. “Marry him!”, they all urged me. But the idea didn’t appeal to me; I don’t know why. And I did not marry him.
He had recently divorced his second wife, and I, enjoying the single life, was still single. The same question came up again: Should I marry him?
I finally knew the answer. Deeply grateful to that heavenly intuition that had protected me twice before, I walked him to the door, with a Cheshire cat grin on my face, and said good night. Lovingly I scooped out loads and loads of bubbles, enjoying in peace the feeling of being human and subject to making mistakes. This one had offered not only great insight, but also many a laugh.
Until next time,