Being someone’s You

There are some things I really miss.

Lots of them, actually.

When I called him, I knew he’d pick up if he could. And if he couldn’t I knew he’d call me back as soon as he was able, and probably send a text before that.

When he answered my calls, I’d often say, “It’s me,” and he’d answer “Hello, You!”

I miss being someone’s You.

In his phone contacts, he had me listed as AAJill, so that my number would show up at the top of his list.

I miss being at the top of someone’s list. I miss being their AA.

Sometimes I’d have an itch on my back that I couldn’t reach. I’d simply ask him to scratch that particular spot. It was no big deal.

I miss having something as simple and complex as an itch being no big deal. I miss having someone to scratch my back.

I miss having someone who has my back.

The other day, I got tangled up while trying to get out of a complicated bathing suit. Seriously. It would have been hilarious if I wasn’t trapped, contorted and alone.

The suit had lots of criss-crosses in the back and I found myself unable to navigate the web of straps. In the old days, I would have summoned for my husband’s help. He would’ve given me a hard time about it, and we both would have laughed, but he would have helped me free myself from the fabric.

I miss his help. I miss him teasing me and giving me a hard time. I miss us laughing together. I miss having someone who will help free me from life’s tangles and awkward spots.

He was really proud that I wrote this column. He’d bring it up in conversation with people we didn’t know well, and I’d sort of cringe because I didn’t want the spotlight on me.

I miss having someone be proud of my writing, or any of the things I do. I miss him building me up.

We used to take each other for granted. After 33 years of marriage, I think that’s pretty common, but it isn’t necessarily a negative thing. He took it for granted that I’d prep the coffee every night. I took it for granted that he’d pour me my first cup every morning. I took it for granted that we’d go to bed together each night. He took it for granted that we’d make the bed together each morning.

I miss being taken for granted and having someone to take for granted.

He talked about his grandparents and how they used to shop for dinner each day at the supermarket. We couldn’t wait to do that. To waste time at the supermarket, as a couple, without kids, carrying one of those mini baskets because we didn’t need a whole cart.

I miss that this never happened for us.

I miss lots of things that happened and never got the chance to happen. Many details. I miss everything. The things we had and the things we planned for. I miss him.

That won’t change. But I am here and he isn’t and I have to do the best with what I have. It isn’t my first choice, but it’s what I’ve got.

It’s what we’ve all got. Making the best with what we have.

While still remembering how nice it was to be someone’s You.

Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright and author. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.