I remembered an incident in my life after reading my writer friend, Barbara Ballinger’s story, “What’s in a name.” Her story sparked a memory dating back twenty-six years.
After attending a Friday night Sabbath service, in the oldest synagogue in Europe, my intoxicating and over the top romance with Sheldon Good almost came to an end. It was over a name–a title.
From the moment I met Sheldon Good, I was hooked. As I write this story, I envision his silhouette twenty-six years later. I see him getting out of his car in a grey suit, blue shirt, and beautiful tie. I was hooked before we spoke! He was hooked, too, watching me walk out the revolving door of my parent’s condo building in a white silk shirt, black and white houndstooth jacket, pleated black skirt, and of course, darlings, red lipstick and high heeled shoes!
He took my hand and said, “I feel like I know you,” and I felt my little heart pitter, patter, pitter, patter. (I still feel the same way today. How could I not with an ultimate concierge like Shelly?!)
Our romance was a whirlwind. We traveled our journey without a map or itinerary. We just knew we wanted this trip to last our lifetime.
How our romance almost ended
After the religious service, cake, coffee, and tea were served, as is the custom, in an upstairs room.
I remember that I was wearing a black patent leather trench coat with a red hat that I covered with several souvenir pins of different cities we had traveled to over the last several months. My cap was, and is still, a conversation piece.
An older man approached me. I was forty-six years old. He was very handsome and dressed superbly. We began to chat. He asked me my name. I asked him his. His name was Paul Reichmann. Our conversation turned to his business. I was able to converse with him on his real estate venture because Shelly and I had visited his holding in Canary Wharf.
Shelly walked up. I introduced him to Paul. And then Paul said, “Oh, this must be your wife I have been talking to.”
Shelly was caught of guard and replied, “No, she is my ‘friend.’”
I almost died! I excused myself and went to sit on a bench. I was humiliated and embarrassed.
Shelly immediately came over and saw the tears running down my face. I had no control over my tears. They just kept pouring out of my eyes and flooded my face.
“What is wrong?” he asked.
“You called me ‘your friend.’ You embarrassed and humiliated me. How could you?” I sobbed, quietly.
“I am so sorry,” he said. “But you are my friend,” he said.
“I am more than your friend.” I responded. “You could have at least said, ‘No she is not my wife, but she’s my best girl.’”
“You are my best girl! You mean everything to me,” he continued pleading.
I could not stop the tears as he said over and over again, “I love you.”
Nothing could console me.
We left the synagogue; walking back to our hotel, hand in hand.
The next morning we drove to the airport to catch our flight to Chicago.
As the plane took off from the Czech Republic and soared up into the beautiful clear sky and out over the ocean, Shelly took my hand and said, “I would be so proud to introduce you as my wife, instead of my friend. Will you marry me?”
No tears this time, darlings! It took me a second to answer, “Yes!”
I think choosing the appropriate title for your loved one can be a dilemma. I think it is important discussion to engage in with your significant other.
I think I would say, “This is not my husband, but he is ‘my guy.’” I would emphasize the word “my,” take his hand in mine, and smile.