Sean and I were playing cards in the living room. The radio was on in the background and a song came on that I hadn’t heard in a long time. That’s when I said the words that can never be unsaid.
“I haven’t heard this in a long time. My old girlfriend used to consider this ‘our song’”
“WHAT?!” came the voice from around the corner. It was my wife Bridget.
I slapped my forehead. I didn’t realize she was within hearing distance. She poked her head around the corner.
“This song reminds you of her?” she said.
“It was thirty years ago,” I pointed out.
“I always loved this song,” Bridget said. “Now it’s ruined forever.”
“I’m sorry,” I said.
She smiled when I said that, as if she realized that these were just moments in history before we even met each other, as if it merely amused her, because she had been the winner in the Rick sweepstakes. After all, I married her, and dedicated my life to her, and raised a family with her.
“What was your song with your other ex-girlfriends?” she asked. It really sounded like she was merely curious.
“Dad, it’s your turn to deal,” Sean said.
“I’m playing cards with the boy, here,” I said.
“It’s OK,” she said, still smiling. “You can tell me.”
“What about you?” I asked. “Didn’t you have any songs with your old boyfriends?”
“No,” she said. The smile was slowly fading. She repeated the question. “What songs did you have with your other girlfriends?”
I know what you’re thinking here. You’re thinking that I should have said I didn’t have any other songs. That would have been the smart thing to do. But it’s not what I did. I actually told her the name of another song from another girlfriend.
“Good,” she said. “I don’t know that one.”
“I know that one,” Tommy said from the dining room. “It’s on Dad’s iPod.”
Thanks a lot, son.
“Play it,” Bridget said to Tommy, pointing at the iPod dock next to him in the dining room. Tommy did as he was told, and soon the opening notes of the song were playing.
“Oh no,” she said. “I like that one too.”
“It was thirty years ago,” I repeated. “These songs don’t mean anything at all to me now.”
“I know,” she said. And if you were there, you might have even believed her when she said it. It was a very convincing performance.
This happened a week or two ago, and since then, both of those songs have come on the radio while we were listening together. Each time she looked at me, and sadly shook her head.
We’ve been married for more than twenty years, and she knows that I’m devoted to her, and that there is no reason in the world to be jealous. She’s not jealous. Not really.
But I can also tell that those songs really are ruined forever.
And for that, I feel like a complete knucklehead.