“That he’s not here is nice,” mused Alisha as I typed the title to this post.
But seriously, I promised my sponsor Rob that I would write something nice about Henry. So here it is.
Before Henry and I started dating, we were just co-workers who occasionally hung out. It was 2001 and I had just met my biological dad’s mother and her sister Charmaine for this first time. Now, for the last 21 years of my life, all I heard was horror stories about how my father’s alcoholism, drug addictions, and the abuse who let loose upon my mom’s face. He was a monster, and not someone I spent a lot of time thinking about.
But sitting there with my grandma and her sister, looking at old photos of him and hearing about the good side that he apparently harbored, I felt really conflicted. Guilty for hating a man I barely had a chance to know, since he died when I was three. I was always thankful that he never had a chance to inflict pain on me, but these women were making me wonder if good things could have come from him being in my life.
I left their house that day and went straight the cemetery, where I sat by his grave and cried. My boyfriend called me while I was sobbing and said, “Oh. If you’re going to be crying all night, then I’m not coming over.”
Then I got a call from Henry, who wanted to know if I wanted to go on a drive with him. When he heard me crying, he said, “Where are you?” I told him and he said, “Stay there.”
He found me in the cemetery and brought me water. We leaned against his car and he let me cry. He let me talk about my family and my feelings and quietly made sure I was drinking the water; he would always lecture me for not drinking enough.
Later that night, my boyfriend wound up coming over anyway. We sat at my dining room table while he ate the fast food he brought over for dinner (for himself, nothing for me). And I sat there, watching him eat, and I realized he was totally not the person I wanted to be with. I made him leave.
“You still up for going for a drive?” I asked Henry when he answered his phone. We wound up sitting on a big rock in a deserted parking lot by Station Square, talking and laughing and just having a good time getting to know each other.
And then I broke up with my boyfriend.