Let It Go
My wife does not hold onto anger or disappointment. It is one of the steel rods that form her character. Had she held grudges, our relationship would have ended within 6 months.
We’d just flown to Nice from Paris, where Jodi joined me for an exhibition of my paintings arranged by my university. We’d been dating only since February, and the sea and Provençal sky stretched blue in both directions as we sped west to our destination through an orgy of summer sunflowers and lavender. Leonard Cohen sang Hallelujah, as we finally pulled into the driveway nestled into the verdant hillside two blocks uphill from the beach. The air was sweet and hot. Dozens of sailboats sat in slips in the small local harbor, while speedboats cut white scars in the distance. One towed a rainbow parasail.
French Riviera Parasail, acrylic and graphite on paper, 11″x16″, 2004, Stuart Sheldon
The whole scene eased the muscles in my shoulders and made me eager to pour a glass of rosé, take off all my clothes and jump into the little bean-shaped pool. Jodi and I stepped inside to check out the place, as our dear friend, Richard, brought our things in.
“Time to wine, dine and recline,” I said, looking straight into the Mediterranean from a few steps inside the front door.
Piscine, acrylic and graphite on paper, 11″x16″, 2004, Stuart Sheldon
Jodi looked around with a satisfied grin, as Richard shut the front door. “Where’s my suitcase?” she asked. “What do you mean?” I said, staring down at the luggage. “It’s not here,” Jodi said. “I distinctly remember wheeling it to the car. It has to be here.” We went back and searched Richard’s sedan top to bottom. Nothing. A sick look crept onto Jodi’s face. “I cannot believe this!” I growled.
Cote d’azur, acrylic and graphite on paper, 11″x16″, 2004, Stuart Sheldon
Jodi had impressed me by packing everything she needed for Paris and the Cote d’Azur in a small black rollie suitcase. She’d shopped just for this trip and had it all in that bag: brand new willowy summer dresses, a new bikini and a Paul Smith dress shirt she’d gotten me for my Paris show. Now it appeared that, as Richard and I juggled the luggage in the Nice airport parking lot, we’d managed to leave her bag next to the car, each thinking the other had tossed it into the trunk. Poof … all she had for the trip was the clothes on her svelte back. I immediately called the airport. Nothing at lost-and-found. I called the Nice police as the sun was setting. “I’ll drive back right now and search for it,” I said. “That’s crazy. It’s getting dark. Let’s just wait till tomorrow,” Jodi said, glancing outside. “Honey, I’m so sorry. I really don’t know how we managed to do that.”
Hillside, acrylic and graphite on paper, 11″x16″, 2004, Stuart Sheldon
She looked me in the eye, and I fully expected her to unload. But she paused a few seconds and collected her thoughts. Then she bit her bottom lip, looked down and shook her head. She raised her eyes and with great resolve exclaimed, “FUCK!” Then, with surprising enthusiasm, she said, “Alright, where’s that rosé?”
And that was the end of it. No drama. No fireworks. That reaction alone was reason enough to marry her.
Jodi doesn’t sweat the small stuff. But, lucky for me, she forgives the big stuff too. Thanks, Honey!
Life is short. Let it go!