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Same man, different dress.
The first time, I am in a limousine that he has rented for a special out-of-town dinner. He gets down on one knee just as the limo makes a sharp turn, causing him to fall over in a not so princely way. But I don’t care. We have dated for three years. He is asking what I am wanting to hear, and I say yes.
Cracks in our love story begin to widen after our wedding shower. We are addressing the wedding invitations, all the while realizing things aren’t quite right. There are obvious differences; he’s Jewish and I’m Catholic, he’s 13 years older, he’s a musician working late night hours while I have a day job in accounting. Yet from the first time I walked into the club and saw him playing the keyboards, I was smitten.
We decide not to send the wedding invitations. Instead, I spend the day canceling the venue, florist, photographer and the princess style dress fitting while hot tears flow onto the unsent invitations.
I take a few days off work and fly to my hometown, only to find that my feelings of emptiness and despair follow me like a lost dog in the night. My mom hugs me at the airport. She cannot find the words. We drive home in silence. The next day, I wake up with the same uneasy, empty feeling. I decide to go back to my job and face my new normal.
My ex-fiancé and I attempt dating each other, but there is too much hurt and blame. We decide to completely separate. Months go by and the daily grind of work and life gets easier. I date a little, trying to find a replacement guy with no luck.
Almost a year after our break-up, I get a call from him. “Let’s go on a boat trip along the Mississippi River, just the two of us.” Much of our courtship had involved the boat he owned with his brother, the Sun Ship. I think about it and, throwing caution to the wind, I say yes.
We are literally trapped on the Sun Ship for three days. Enough time to talk about what really matters to us. We discuss family values and religious beliefs. A few months later, he again proposes. This time, at an Italian restaurant, while I am in the powder room, my beshert writes “Will you marry me?” on the paper tablecloth.
I again say yes. This time, the dress is a simple silk beaded sheath. We marry and when our children are toddlers, I choose to convert to Judaism.
March 23, 2021, will be our 30th wedding anniversary.
Tina Rafowitz is a retired accountant and recruiter who started writing as an “empty nester.” She writes short stories about her neurotic shih poo, Gibson, but specializes in nonfiction, including travel adventures and, most recently, a cookbook. She and her husband, Ivan, live in Wayzata, Minnesota and belong to Bet Shalom Reform Congregation in Minnetonka. The Rafowitzes have two adult children, Adam, 28 and Mia, 26.
Top photo: The Rafowitzes in Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, Mexico, 2016