We roll up to the bowling alley, a little late as usual. He gets out of the car ahead of me, his Captain America sweatshirt hood pulled up over his head, his hands deep in his jacket pocketsd, and heads to the side door. I sigh and follow. As soon as he opens the door, we are greeted by a blast of warm air and the sounds of 14 pound bowling balls thumping on the hard wood lanes. We know the drill. We've been here before. He gets the rental shoes, I pick out the balls. We search for our two team mates, easy to find because they are the only black couple on our league, Andre and Pam. She's quiet, intelligent, loves to read and cooks like nobody's business. He's loud, a full-body hugger, gregarious and calls everyone "Big Time." I like that.
Let the games begin. Our team is in last place. We're lousy bowlers. It drives Robert crazy and most rides home after Thursday night bowling are long and silent, except for the sound of his fuming from the passenger seat. My husband promised me three weeks ago to be better. He's stopped trying so hard to be the best bowler ever. And I can see that, I can. He smiles at the better bowlers. He even high-fives them when they get a strike. He puts his arm around me while we watch the other bowlers, kisses my cheek.
This might be okay, I think. Because we're not usually that couple. We stay home and watch movies a lot. We hone in on some new TV show and watch it fanatically until we get sick of it and move on to the next one. We eat take-out chinese in bed, me with my red wine, him, usually sucking down a can of Diet Dr. Pepper. Every now and then he gets crazy and has a drink, Southern Comfort and Diet Coke. Because everything goes better with Coke. Anyone knows that.
So, maybe, just maybe, his sour attitude he had at the beginning of our bowling league adventure was just him learning how to adjust to this new couple and not so much about his competitive angst. This new couple who is beginning to step out of their comfort zone, predictable routines, and try new things. But bowling, right? I know what you're thinking. How mundane. How predictable. How middle-American. Baby steps, people. Baby steps.
First the bowling league, and last week, a cruise to Cozumel, Mexico. Not so boring. Robert even got a little crazier, drank a few Margarita's and smuggled a coconut from Passion Island all the way back to our little house in Louisiana.
It sits on our mantle.
He named it Wilson.
Wilson reminds me that there's a whole, wide world out there and we're going to explore it together...me, Robert and Wilson.
Right after I finish this glass of wine and the leftover shrimp lo-mein and watch a few more episodes of The Big Bang Theory.
Because that's pretty cool, too.