Monday, December 11, 2006

Sunday afternoon I was sitting at my desk sorting through the remaining details of a project when my ‘puter erupted in the ‘Raymond’ ringtone (Je T'aime by Serge Gainsborough, tacky I know). “Up early, huh?” Answering the call with a question. “Yeah, how are you?” Was his reply. We exchanged a little small talk and then he paused for a second and asked, “Can you move your company to Indianapolis?” I can’t tell you how happy I was that he brought the subject up and asked for what he wanted. Then we talked.

For those of you who have recently joined us, you may not know that R and I grew up in the same small town. We were in kindergarten together and through out elementary school. Often he was the annoying boy sitting behind me pulling on my pigtails. Kenny and Grace babysat for him and his siblings; our parents were friendly if not close.

My parents came to that town when my Dad took a teaching job at a small college nearby. A spiffy new PhD his hopes had been for a position at a major state university. But teaching opportunities were rare then, and as he put it, at least he wasn’t driving a cab. Kenny was a toddler and Mom was pregnant with Grace; they settled and built a life. They bought a new house in a small development on an extension. In a couple of years Leah came a long and then a few more after that yours truly, mommy and daddy’s little accident. Along the way Mom started a small business for an outlet and a second income.

While my roots were shallow in our town, Raymond’s are deep. On both sides his ancestors settled in the area during the early 19th Century. His family name adorns several place names and ancestors are well represented among the counties business and political leaders. While his family didn’t farm his grandparents did and as a child I remember field trips to see the cows and goats and to learn how a dairy farm worked.

In his voice I could hear the hope that I could move the business, but he had prepared himself for the reality. When I finished speaking he was quiet for a moment and the asked what my thoughts were. I mentioned New York, London and Paris and gave him a synopsis of the tradeoffs. Deprecatingly he asked, “…not Columbus, Louisville, Nashville, Cincinnati or Pittsburgh? Or maybe even St Louis or Memphis.” “Nope,” I replied, hopefully conveying a smile in my voice.

He was quiet again and then he said he didn’t like the idea of NY since I would be gone so much on top of not liking the city anyway. Not speaking French made him nervous about Paris. He then volunteered that he’d purchased a set of teach yourself French CDs. I let him know that, that made me happy and thought to scratch those off my Christmas list.

We talked about how London would work; he hadn’t thought of it as an alternative thinking it was Paris or nothing. I asked him if he knew his company had offices there and in France, and that his job existed in both places. He knew about the locations but not the positions and suggested that maybe he could transfer. So that’s where we are.

We talked more him about how difficult this is for him and how happy he’s been with his life. I acknowledged that and let him know that I appreciated how difficult it is for him and the extent of the sacrifice that I’m asking him to make.

We said our goodbyes and I leaned back and thought how much R reminds me of a character in a fairy tale that sets out on an adventure, but when he reaches the edge of the known world struggles to take the next steps.



Blogger niadarkandlovely said...


It sounds hopeful to me, as he did not say a firm no.

Fingers crossed for you.

11:14 PM  
Anonymous VJ said...

It's always the edge of the known world that's the scary part. Some folks never get beyond it, and their families are there set in place for generations. There has to be some spirit of adventure there, some openness to the possibilities of discovery and for sharing a life with you. We remain ever hopeful, but it'll be a long haul for him & his folks. We may know it's worth it, but he'll have to be convinced about that. Cheers & Good Luck! 'VJ'

11:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It sounds really good to me. I'm so happy for you. It takes time to get your head around such big changes and it seems like R is making a sincere effort to figure out a way to make you both happy. I think a slow pace is probably best because you know that he wants to make a decision that he will be able to live with for a long time. I think that something that might help him make the decision is if he knew that one day (even if it is 20 years down the road) you would be willing to move back to your home town, that you could see yourself being happy there. For me, having moved to Paris to be with my husband, its something that I find incredibly comforting, knowing that he would come back to Small Town USA with me one day if I really needed to make the change. In reality, I don't know that I could ever be happy living here again, but its important to feel like the option is still there.

6:14 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

Hmmm. Move back there? I'm not sure he'd believe me if I offered.

Since leaving for college I've returned four times and we're planning a fifth to see his parents and tell them.

But a thought. I am feeling good about the possibility of his joining me. He's come a long way in a few weeks.


10:43 PM  
Anonymous VJ said...

All good to hear Kim. BTW: london & the City are absolutely booming lately in the financial sector. He'd have a leg up on his competition if he took a transfer overseas and did well. But he'd need to be a bit more ambitious than he's been so far in his career perhaps. It's a thought! Cheers & Good Luck! 'VJ'

5:44 AM  

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