I am not close to Dave's girlfriend. I like her a lot, and I enjoy her company, but we are not close. Maybe because the only times we ever see each other are at bars where our boyfriends are playing music. It's a little loud for heart-to-hearts. Perhaps we should take this up with the band.
So I was a little surprised when she pulled me aside with a conspiratorial whisper. It must have been in the break between a song, or maybe she was actually shouting, but it just seemed like a whisper, as if she were embarrassed to have to discuss a personal topic.
"Hey, do you, like, ever worry when they leave?"
This was last Friday, at the local show meant to send the band on their national tour. Two nights later, I made granola bars and wrapped them each in plastic wrap. I think I put too many chocolate chips in, but my tester disagreed. And then the afternoon after that, he took his bag of granola bars, his phone charger, and probably a bunch of other things, too, and headed toward the first stop, Knoxville, Tennessee. I did not cry when we said goodbye. I did not grumble about the eight weeks that would pass before I saw him again. I was an excellent imitation of a supportive girlfriend. And it came mostly naturally.
But back to last Friday, when they were very much still here, evidence of which was blaring into my ears. While I might have accepted the idea of his upcoming absence and was even dealing with it like a mature adult, it was still at the forefront of my mind. And so I knew exactly what she was asking.
"Of course." Are you kidding me? My boyfriend is leaving for two months to go to bars all over the country and meet girls with low self-esteem and high blood alcohol levels. I'd have to be stupid not to realize that many men would be singing "I've Got a Golden Ticket" as they waved goodbye, eating my chocolatey granola bars. I trust him, but sometimes a little voice tells me that I'm incredibly naive to believe any man, no matter how wonderful I think this particular one is, can resist that kind of temptation. But these are just silly nagging doubts that I shoo away. If you shoo something away enough, eventually it stops coming back.
"Oh thank goodness." Her relief was visible. She may have been scared to ask me, in case I reported that it had never even occurred to me that my boyfriend could hook up with girls in a variety of cities across the midwest and along the west coast and probably never get caught. I wondered if she saw me and Josh as a model couple, an example of a stable relationship where both parties were always confident in the other's love and fidelity. Maybe she trusted Josh when she wasn't so sure she trusted Dave. If even Sandra worried about Josh, then hers were not an indication of her own insanity, or worse, her boyfriend's guilt. They were just silly nagging doubts that she could shoo away until they stopped coming back.
The funny thing is, as my young man and I said our goodbyes before he headed west, he reminded me to be good. I think this is absolute madness. I'm going to be going to the same job I always go to, at a software company, working with married men. It's not like I have to hold myself back or anything. Being a faithful programmer is pretty darn easy. I know that my rock star boyfriend has nothing to worry about and in my reasonable moments, I know that I don't either. Jealousy does not listen to reason. Instead, it interrupts and says, "Yeah, but..." Thus the shooing.
But if he is trying to get to sleep in that smelly van somewhere near Wichita and is kept awake by thoughts of me straying into the arms of someone else, he'll remember that I love him and I don't cheat on him. He can shoo that silly nagging doubt away. Or he can call me up, even in the middle of the night, and we'll shoo it away together.