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OPINION: Incompatible?

September 23, 2021 at 11:30 a.m.

Thoughts of our vast differences now make me smile. How could it be that two people, two who were so different, could have been so very right for each other? Funny, how what might on the surface have seemed to be so impossible became not only possible but was the only way two lives could have become so very beautiful.

I wondered, did Robin and I have more in common than not? It was after that question posed only to me that I gathered an ink pen and a blank white sheet of printer paper. I drew a line dividing the right and left sides of the paper and began to write.

At the top of the left side of the paper, I wrote the word "compatible" and to the right of the blue ink line I wrote the word "incompatible." It took only a few minutes of thought before I began to write. When I believed the work was complete, I looked at the two separate lists. The words listed under the name "incompatible" far outnumbered those to the left of the line.

But what significance did that really have? Had those differences between Robin and I been all that important? Was there a chance that I really didn't love her or she me? I told myself, "no," that wasn't possible. After forty-six years together, there was love.

Love has no interest in the ink written on a blank white sheet of printer paper. No lines drawn or observations noted mean anything at all and the differences once scribed there are meaningless and of no consequence. I truly believe that.

My wife loved the cool clean morning air and, in two shakes of a lamb's tail, she was out from under the covers. She awoke each morning with a love for the upcoming day and the greatest of anticipation for the new and exciting things that it might bring. I, on the other hand, preferred the evenings. I looked forward to the end of each day and the sight of the orange sky in the west as the moon begged the sun to leave, and, when it left, I felt at ease.

My best friend loved to travel and the location was of little importance. When we were young, summer was a time to pile our vacation necessities into the car and start driving. She was always excited and in what seemed no more than the blink of an eye could be packed and ready to go. However, we each had our very different perspectives about the drive to Colorado, Minnesota or wherever the journey might take us.

I wanted to make as few stops along the way as possible and counted the hours and minutes until we arrived at our destination. Robin had a quite different feeling about the drive there. She always wanted to stop at every tourist location along the way. She wanted to see the world's largest ball of twine or the strange animal with two heads. For Robin, getting there was half the fun.

To dance or not to dance? While Robin greatly preferred the former, I the latter. I suppose it was my sometimes clumsy attempts to move to the music which discouraged me. Robin, on the other hand, loved music so much and I could often see in her eyes how much she wanted to move to the rhythm of that music. There were times, and I'll admit I was nervous, when I asked her to join me on the dance floor.

She was outgoing and I was shy. I waited for the party to end while Robin hoped it never would. I needed someone like her to show me the better side of life and, for some inexplicable reason, she tolerated someone like me.

As part of my job, I had seen the worst that humanity had to offer and had been privy to the most horrible things that one person could do to another. But Robin believed that goodness and decency lived within everyone, not just some of us. My wife was the eternal optimist and believed that life would go on forever. I knew that forever was too far away and her life and mine would someday end. I just never expected forever to come so soon.

Each night as I sleep, I dream of her and, in those dreams, I see her face so clearly. I awake and bid hello to each new day, each fresh morning and, as the new day's sunlight finds its way through the blinds, it is then when I feel such a terrible emptiness. There are moments within the passage of the minutes and hours of each day when I thank God for the life I shared with Robin. I always knew the two of us were in many ways so very different and yet we were just right for one another.

Over the course of forty-six years, I scooched a little in her direction and she a bit in mine, but we remained two very different people. We never became alike as two peas in a pod. I guess that's what made our lives together so interesting. Maybe we both came to love those many differences in each of us; who can say for sure.

Disagreements, sure we had our share but then, what couple hasn't? The eternal spirit of love isn't dampened by the harsh coldness of an argument. Love knows that the sweet warmth of reconciliation is not far off and, when that day comes, two hearts will embrace and once again smile.

Yes, we were in many ways so very incompatible and in no way one and the same. I miss Robin so very, very much and I want her to know that, as the years fall away, she will be forever on my mind, compatible or not!

Stan Fine is a retired police officer and Verizon Security Department investigator who, after retiring in 2006, moved from Tampa, Fla., to Noel. Stan's connection to Noel can be traced back to his grandparents who lived most of their lives there. Stan began writing after the passing of his wife Robin in 2013. Opinions expressed are those of the author.

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