I made it to the front steps before I thought, “You know, Raquel, you don’t actually have to go.”
I knew that of course, but a part of me did want to go back. After what happened the first time, I wanted to prove to myself I wasn’t a chicken shit. I wanted to address this strange paradox that’s going on: someone so eager for a connection she gives her number out like confetti (supposing there’s any truth to that statement at all – my Julia Roberts wig doesn’t think so) and someone so scared shitless of being in a relationship, particularly an unavoidably abusive one, she’s seriously considering joining a nunnery.
To be honest, I wasn’t actually thinking all that as I made my way up the walk into the church sanctuary. What I was actually thinking was this week’s session isn’t in the sanctuary – it’s in the adjoining hall. We’re not sitting in pews today, instead, we’re sitting at tables. Tables covered in white table cloths and centre pieces that include candles.
Ok, it’s not too late to turn around.
Linda sees me then and waves.
Shit, it is too late.
“Oh hey, Raquel, you made it!” she says cheerfully.
“Yep,” I gulp and fake a smile.
“Actually, Mackenzie is a single now, so you can sit with her.”
Great! I mean, what a pity – that’s really too bad. But I couldn’t help feeling better about the afternoon knowing I had a date.
“I guess I’m your plus one,” I joked and sat down at Mackenzie’s table.
I met Mackenzie at the last meeting. Like me, she went through RCIA – she converted to Catholicism as an adult. She’s really easy-going – and funny. And excited about the program.
This afternoon’s lecture was about temperaments and how to understand you and your partner’s temperaments better. Mackenzie and I made educated guesses about what temperaments we think we’d like our future partners to have. I circled personality traits that scared the be-Jesus out of me.
Finally, I owned up. I looked around the room to make sure no one was going to hear me. It was like saying “bomb” on an airplane – I was about to bring up the “D” word in a Catholic church – but somebody had to ask it. I leaned over and whispered to Mackenzie, “I’m afraid of being stuck.”
There was half a moment’s pause. Then she nodded her head, “I know. Me too.”
Love of course, isn’t about being stuck, but not every relationship is love. And I’ve had a real hard time in the past telling which ones were and which ones weren’t. I think Mackenzie maybe understands where I’m coming from. I was glad she was there.
Eternal commitment is well, a big commitment. I’ll leave that topic for another day. Having another person to share my fears with – and not throw them back in my face – is a human connection I feel blessed to have made.