I don’t remember making promises except on rare occasions…as I realize I did not promise to marry ‘til death do us part’ except maybe for my first marriage, when I said “I do.” Luckily, I never promised to obey in 1969, but granted “I will try to obey,” which makes me smile a near laugh, as I write this. One promise is outstanding to me.

It is while sitting in the Elmira high school auditorium next to my two teenage daughters, listening to their father (then divorced due to him coming out as gay) sing magnificently, “The Impossible Dream” that I make a very clear promise, like a low-flying plane dragging a huge-lettered message of advertisement to sunny-beach-goers below, to mySELF. I am a newly graduated (1985) Marriage and Family Therapist sobbing. I am aware of a huge audience surrounding me, hearing my breath-filled sobs and blowing of my nose. Yet, I promise to my self, I will never again be embarrassed of my tears…I had connected in a heart-felt way; tears are healing as sunshine.

As we walk out of the auditorium into the lobby at the finish of Man of La Mancha…a man I had never met before walks up to me and says, “You are stunning.” I am shocked with happiness that my eyes have been so clearly seen.

Now it is August 2011, and I am looking forward to a date with Jimmy, to whom I am very attracted, since we met at a ballroom dance weekend a couple of years ago. We “made love” a couple of times, more than a year ago, after which he broke us off. After I spontaneously appeared at his door this past June, being in Syracuse for a meeting at Syracuse University, one hour from where I live in Ithaca, he emailed me that he wished he hadn’t had company and that we could have had lunch together that day. He went on and on about how great I looked and how he wanted to get together for dinner and catch up on our lives. We spoke on the phone a couple of times before we decided on our date for Friday night, after telling me about how he can’t keep a straight face at his dance lesson of the Paso Doble, where he eventually breaks down laughing. I think to myself, I bet I know why, because he has admitted to his childhood fear of his father and now his dance partner has put on a face of anger, part of the role in this dance.

He tells me on Friday afternoon to call him after my 4pm client, to make final plans where to meet. “I do.” I get his voicemail and leave a sweet message. An hour goes by. I call and leave another message just after 5pm. Another hour goes by. I leave a concerned message just after 6pm. I wait until after 7:30pm, and realize I have been ‘stood up’. And, although I cry easily these days, I felt no need for tears. No sign of anger.

Two more weeks have gone by and I have not heard back from him, although I wrote a caring email and called his work, finding out he is okay, when the girl states that he is not in yet. It is my birthday today, and I wish I was celebrating with him; I sense the presence of the scared little boy inside Jimmy, sadly with no room for Tears for Fears.