Haven't you ever wanted to be part of something special?
He was the charming sort of hippie that my mother always warned me about. There was so much passion in David that I couldn't help but listen to him. I had always loved a man that could feel something. A man that could be moved in a powerful way was -and is- so rare. Most men are moved to act in violent, possessive ways that are more reminiscent of a jealous child than what I had pictured in my college brain as "man". We met by complete chance, I was going into law, politics, and business communication. He was somehow in the technical field while he clutched his biodegradable coffee cup.
We had a few communication courses together. I wasn't foolish, how does that old saying go again…my mother didn't raise no fool. I knew then when boys were paying attention to me and I wasn't embarrassed of it. It was more like he was embarrassed, he'd watch me in class and if I caught him he'd look away and flush scarlet. Other than being passionate he was horribly cute. I don't think he noticed that I listened as attentively to him as he did to me, but that's part of David's charm.
One day on the way to one of my law classes, I tossed my very non biodegradable plastic cup into the trash. Or I thought I did. I'll admit that sometimes I'm too focused and I get tunnel vision. I had missed the trashcan completely. Next thing I know a familiar voice starts yelling at me. David has this way of stuttering when he's excited, but he feels so very deeply that it almost makes you strain to pay attention. I turned around slowly and put a hand on my hip and he stopped in mid sentence.
He blushed like I knew he would and the cup slipped from his slender fingers. It was a gamble, but I walked up to him, picked my cup back up and dropped it in the trashcan. He began to apologize amidst stutters and comments that I really should pay more attention. "I'll accept your apology if you take me to dinner" I really did love making David's mouth drop open. He grinned like a silly boy then and nodded.
Our first date had been to a butterfly habitat. We walked there from the dinner that he cooked at his apartment. I wasn't a butterfly sort of girl, really. I found them to be silly and a little pointless. But to hear David talk about them, and how short their lives really were, it made me sad. Butterflies live a month or so at the most, and a big chunk of that life is in the form of a fat, ugly little worm with legs. They spend their whole lives in a flurry of movement to just become something and fill their purpose. There are no second chances for butterflies.
Suffice to say, I was completely wrong about the butterfly.
I learned to appreciate a lot of things with David. I learned to see things through his eyes and feel with some of his passion. He asked me to marry him at that butterfly habitat and I said yes, despite my mother's warning that passionate young men would never amount to anything. David wasn't just a hippie; I'd seen his senior projects. I knew how amazing his brain was. The future excited me so much.
I began to work as well; though we argued more the more I got into politics. For all his intelligence and passion David doesn't understand that sometimes even good people have to do bad things. He can't wrap that big brain around the simple fact that sometimes the lesser evil is for the greater good. It's as if, to David, the right thing will always be right, no matter what.
That mindset was silly and a little pointless. I was beginning to tire of all of his biking and passion for one little thing at a time. He didn't move, he didn't grow. It was like David was stuck as a caterpillar that never wanted to even try to become a moth, let alone a butterfly. Eight years at MIT and he worked with television. He'd turned down jobs left and right that conflicted with his morality.
I wasn't that sort at all. I wanted a fast track and I could find it. There was nothing that I couldn't overcome or climb over. And when a new presidential hopeful came to me and asked me for help I was more than ready to get on board. In hindsight, I did spend too much time working. It was that same problem of tunnel vision. I wanted very badly to become a part of something important. I wanted to do and move and be seen. To be seen and heard would make all the difference, people would listen then. The greater good would be served.
David is perhaps the gentlest man to ever punch the president. The fact that he wasn't the president yet did help keep him from jail. I had been livid at him. I was too angry to think that he'd felt alone, that maybe I was being neglectful. No, I was too focused on what he wasn't. And what he had done. David had turned into that stupid, violent boy from the passionate and powerful man I married.
Our divorce wasn't messy. David knew how disgusted I was at his actions and his lack of action. He knew very well that I had expected so much more from him. I didn't stop to think that maybe he didn't need to move the world to be happy. I didn't even stop to consider that he had everything he wanted in his life. How horrible would it be to mean so little to the person who was everything?
If I stop and reflect on that, however, my hands go to my phone and they dial his number. I bite my lip and close my eyes and try so, so very hard to delete him from my address book. His mother still sent me a card every year on my birthday. They stopped coming this year, however, she fell ill.
I hate having bodyguards follow me around, but being part of the president's staff means I have to give up certain freedoms. David didn't like attention. But I visited his mother anyway. She'd always been ruddy and sharp. I left the guards outside and hugged her. She'd gone pale in the past three years. "Are you proud of yourself?" she asked me.
"Of course I am." It was a silly thing to ask, maybe a little pointless. But the elderly are done with their lives. And she had always been so very kind to me. I didn't want to say anything hurtful. By now I was excellent at lying. I could fake happiness so well that even I believed it.
On the way home I wondered what David thought when he watched the television. I wondered what he would say if someone asked him if he was proud of me. My stomach knotted up when I realized that I knew the answer. He'd call me a liar, perhaps, but never nothing more nasty than that. David doesn't have that within him. No, he wouldn't even say that. He would say that he was disappointed.
He would say that there was only so much time that one had on this planet and that if they didn't do all that they could for themselves to be happy then they were missing the point. Sometimes… when I'm being honest with myself, I think I was completely wrong about David too.
I was part of something special.