We Fell In Love In A Foreign Place

I love being Mrs. Winters. I just love the name. Winters. Truth be told, it was Scott’s Dad, Sanford, who changed it to Winters with an “s”. I guess it was during the Korean War, everything he owned in his name, up to that point was “Winter”. Maybe “Sandy Winter” was just too precious. We’ll never know.My father in law died while Scott and I met, back in 1983. At any rate, Sandy Winters for me, is just fine. Always did find it creepy his dad and I share the same name. My mother in law used to hate to say my name, in the beginning.(and of course, now I can totally understand that feeling) She even told me once, straight up: “I am not going to call you Sandy. I won’t.” Yeah, that’s about the time I should have hauled my ass out of town, as fast as possible. Yet, I didn’t.

I met Scott the summer I graduated from college. My first Internship in Shakespeare. I had plenty of Classical Theatre experience, but no Bard on the boards work, to speak of. In reality, I had no business going to do an internship in New Jersey. My roomate had been accepted, and at the last minute, I decided to throw my hat into the ring, and get out of New Hampshire and find some space to figure out why I did not want to marry the most perfect boyfriend a girl could hope for.

Yes, folks. Big scandal. Sabotaging a relationship and not having the guts/maturity to end it in a correct way. I left for New Jersey and fell hard for a handsome, charming Hebrew. He was aloof and proud, entitled and seemed like a player. I was auburn haired and English, pale, blue eyed, intense, hardworking and earnest. When I met Scott, I was a snob. I knew what was art and what was fame. I wanted Art. He wanted Fame. It was hate at first sight. I actually asked him, sarcastically, if his dad was a funeral director or a mobster. He drove a diesel black Cadillac, with a white leather interior. He hid in the back of the theatre, during work calls, reading Othello. He showed up for work calls in white jeans, and boasted about his work on Soap Operas. What a putz. I even called him, “Winters”, not even by his first name. Oh, it was on. I hated that guy.

Then, I was cast as the understudy for Lady Anne, in Richard III. We were doing The War of the Roses Trilogy. I had never performed Shakespeare on stage, had never been a professional understudy, had never been away from home, had never dated anyone Jewish. Lots of never. I fell in love. He was sexy as hell, and God, did he know how to use Shakespeare. It was so seductive. I felt beautiful.  The costumes.The stage combat. Actual fighting with real swords and shields! I loved the words, the sultry heat, the long hours, the independence. For the first time. I had found a place where white and recessive and petite was beautiful. I was an artist. I was good. I wasn’t the girlfriend or the best buddy of the beautiful leading woman, or even the daughter. I was myself. This was heady stuff.

Growing pains, sure. Heartache? Definitely. I was under the perception that The boyfriend wanted me to be “The Writers’ Wife”. (He didn’t) This was the early 1980’s, and young women were told not to be tied down by men’s ideals and goals, Go and find your own. This was the new road traveled. I was terrified of being absorbed into a man’s identity. It was a scary and confusing time to be a young woman. What I probably needed was some time alone. As life happens, that was not to be.

I did finally get the chance to say I was wrong and I’m sorry to that wonderful guy I hurt. He is still wonderful and married, with two beautiful daughters. “The Writer Boyfriend” reached out to me this past year, when he had heard from a mutual friend that Scott was critically ill. He has walked the same valley, first with his wonderful Dad, and more recently with his mother in-law. We spoke about his success as a writer, (he has been published many times) and Scott’s writing achievements. I joked about the fact that I’m still living with an artist who walk around the yard, talking to himself. (Looks crazy, but they are actually speaking dialogue out loud, to see if it sounds correct and natural.) He told me when I was applying to internships, I had asked him to mail my applications for me. Instead, he held on to them, wrestling with the decision to mail them, or not. “You would have never known”, he said. “The Writer” was right. I would have been none the wiser. After a couple of days, he decided he couldn’t live with himself. He mailed it. Truth be told, I  believe in fate, but my belief in people is much stronger.

So, it’s my anniversary. Our anniversary. The first one in heaven. I still feel married. I am still in love, maybe more than ever. Words? I am still in love with words. The person who I discovered is still a work in progress. Being a widow is hard work. I am finding out more about myself, everyday. I have “miles to go, before I sleep”. The woods are lovely, dark and deep. it’s true. But I do have promises to keep. To myself. This journey of finding me, continues. For the first time in my life, I feel as if I am enough. No relationship needed. Now that is something to be proud of.

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