I can remember being second for as long as I can remember; I was born second in my family, for starters. There was never a chance for me to be “the favorite” anything to anybody; there was nothing special about me, so I spent my life wanting to be “the first” or the favorite of somebody.
Many times in my life, there has been somebody who was number one to me; that special person who was a favorite aunt or uncle, or the one I would think of before anybody else. Each time I was married, the husband du jour was number one in my life; I tried to make certain he knew he was more important than anybody else was.
Conversely, my husbands have not responded in kind; they have been narcissistic, and more concerned the children knew they were loved than preserving a relationship with me. I actually had the conversation about my desire to come first in our marriage with my last husband; he found me to be selfish and immature. So goes my last divorce.
I have been spending the holidays with my uncle; I suppose I always thought of him as my “second favorite” uncle; but I have never said it aloud. My other favorite uncle is one whom I have not spent much time with since I was very young; I have simply held those memories fondly.
The other night I overheard him on the phone talking to a friend; he was explaining my visit and he described me as being his “second favorite niece”. He said it without one hint of irony or hesitation; juts flatly stated the truth. Second. I was stunned.
I have no idea who number one is; however, I suppose it does not matter. He is only second to me as well, why should I expect to be any higher on his list of favorites.
The realization that I was once again second left me feeling cold; I would have almost felt better if I had missed the mark by six or seven. I obsessed over which cousin is better than me enough to be the favorite, and why. Is she less talkative? Smarter? Does she play a better game of Scrabble? Live closer? Visit more often?
Finally, I have resigned myself to being second place, the runner-up. I imagine when the time is right; I will be the favorite to someone…
When I enter the world of the three-dimensional people and Technicolor…