I knew exactly what she meant the moment she said it. Adriana did not.
“Nice what?,” she asked.
“A moustache above his ass. Look!,” she said, pointing at the tuff of hair on my lower back. Adriana laughed. I was already self-conscious about the seemingly random growth of hair on my lower back. Despite being on my lower back, it was too low to be considered back hair, so it was more or less an extension of my butt hair, lost in a no man’s land, in search of an identity until one was found in Melody’s perfect, succinct description: “Buttstache.”
With that now out of the way, I proceeded to join Adrian and Melody, weaseling my way in-between them. My intentions couldn’t have been more blatantly obvious. It occurred to me that this was quite likely the closest I would ever get to Hugh Hefner’s status.
Melody opened the wine and poured it into three flimsy, plastic cups she grabbed from our room. They were already wilting from the heat of the tub.
When I received my wine, I immediately proceeded to spill some of into the tub. Adriana – accustomed to acting French – raised her glass for a toast.
“To new friends.”
As we lightly “clinked” our cups, I wondered if it was possible for the heat to actually cause them to melt into one another. It wasn’t.
“So, Jimmy. If you don’t mind my asking, what exactly happened to your marriage anyway?,” Adriana bluntly asked.
“Can you elaborate?,” Adriana followed up like an inquisitive news reporter.
“Maybe he doesn’t want to,” Melody chimed in.
“No, it’s cool, I said, going on to explain how “once upon a time two people fell in love. One person changed (her) and expected the other to change with her (me) and when I was unable to change, what began as a fairy tale ended in a nightmare that I haven’t woken up from yet.”
“And look at you now,” Melody said with a wink.
We all laughed. She had a good point.
“I guess things aren’t so bad after all,” I added. And it was then that I noticed that this moment – this very moment – marked the first time that I could honestly say that I had moved on. We sat in silence for a moment, enjoying the moment, sipping red wine and reflecting on our own lives and everything that led to this exact moment, until Melody finally spoke up.
“If I tell you guys something, can you promise not to tell anyone else?”
“What happens in Canada, stays in Canada, right?,” Adriana said.
“My husband told me he’s leaving me.”
“What?,” Adriana asked, shocked. “When?”
“About a month ago.”
Since I knew nothing about Melody – let alone her marriage – I sat back and listened, sympathetic in the shared experience of being left behind by the person you loved more than anything.
“You guys are the perfect couple.”
“That’s what I thought,” Melody said in agreement.
“Why did he leave?”
“He claims he can’t be the person he wants to be with me.”
“What does that mean?”
“His dream of being musician. He knows I’m supportive, but he feels that he holds himself back too much from really pursuing it, even though I told him he should do whatever it takes.”
Melody finished her wine and poured herself another cup.
“Wow. I’m so sorry. Is there any chance he’ll change his mind?,” Adriana asked.
“At first, I thought so. But I’m finally starting to accept the fact that he isn’t. The thing is, I love him too much to beg.”
I took that as my cue to enter into the fray.
“At least you supported him. That’s the most you can do. My wife used to support me. But then she suddenly didn’t. I wish I could tell him how lucky he is.”
Adriana proceeded to put it all into perspective.
“I know this sounds awful, but here I was feeling so sorry for myself for not having anybody to come home to. But then I heard this and I remind myself how great it is to still be single.”
“Good point,” I said.
“In all actuality, despite how it sounds, I’m still a little bit jealous … of both of you.”
”You sure about that?,” Melody said.
“I know the grass is always greener on the other side and all of that, but at least you guys know what it’s like to be loved. Some of us are never that lucky.”
“But do you want to be in a relationship,” Melody asked.
“Most of the time, I don’t. But lately, I’ve become more aware of my ticking clock. And feel the urge to do something about it. So deep down …”
“We’re all unhappy,” I finally said, half-jokingly revealing the truth.
“I thought I was happy,” I elaborate. “I thought we both were. Now nothing is the same and I have to redefine what happiness even is. And somehow get to the other side of sadness.”
“The other side of sadness,” Melody echoed. “I like that.
“Kind of like ‘over the rainbow.’”, Adriana added.
“Is it just me,” Melody began, “or is this turning into a grown-up The Breakfast Club all of a sudden?”
Adriana and I laughed.
“It’s going to be like we make this awesome connection, learn something about ourselves, but then never make a connection like this again,” Melody said. We all laughed, because we knew she was right.