“It’s so funny,” my daughter says when she tells me she is baking her father a vanilla cake for his birthday.
“What?” I ask. I’m driving home from a nice evening at Bohemian Caverns, an iconic DC jazz club I had managed to miss in all of my years in Washington.
Thanks to a jazz and blues Meetup group, I finally experienced the truly cavern-like atmosphere of the dark, mood-lit club. It’s so dark you could indeed surreptitiously stroke a lover’s leg, a fantasy suggested by a first date crush I encountered awhile back.
But I digress – a couple of times. We might as well break for a lunch of Add a Pinch’s baked mahi mahi. Now back to the story.
“What’s funny?” I repeat on speakerphone.
“You and Dad say the same things a lot of the time,” my daughter says.
“Oh, you mean because I wanted a vanilla cake for my birthday too?” I ask.
“Yes. And a lot of things are the same,” she says.
“What do you mean?” I’m starting to get curious.
“Like when I look in his frig, he has a lot of the same foods.”
“Really? That’s surprising since he doesn’t cook,” I assert.
I remember her telling me how he didn’t have much food in his refrigerator when he first moved out of our marital home to what was apparently a small, depressing apartment. Just desserts I had always thought — though, inexplicably, I felt sorry for him too.
“Oh, he cooks,” she says. “It’s more that he has some of the same stuff. You know – lots of vegetables.”
“Well,” I say, not feeling as sensitive as I normally would given my nice evening, “we did live together for a long time.”
I thought about our respective states for a moment. “And we seem to have some of the same medical issues,” I offered. “Like our bad knees.”
“What else?” I ask. I’m getting really curious now. I hadn’t thought of how we grew together and became more similar in quite some time.
“I can’t think of anything else,” she says, “but it happens a lot. And it makes me smile.”
And then I remember how, like many long-time couples, we grew more similar in dozens of little — and some big — ways from liking the same foods to seeking a similar lifestyle in retirement.
And, like many long-married couples (today would have been our 40th wedding anniversary), we also grew apart in big ways.
I am reminded once again of the oddities of life and how love is forever until it’s not.
I’m not the same person he came to not love. I’m stronger, better, more confident and centered, full of creativity, and much less vanilla.
And so we can’t really be the same in any of the big ways any more – even if we both still like vanilla cake.
Until next week, happy dating or not dating.