To start this, this story happened years ago. I have been married to my wife for 12 years and we have been together for 14. This story takes us back to my single college year. I was young, dumb, and eighteen. This is almost literally a full lifetime ago. To tell the story, I think some back story would be relevant.
While I was at college one of my roommates was dating this girl (Kristy) who was in marching band with us. She was in my trumpet squad so I knew her pretty well. I was dating someone else at the time, that gave me the best breakup I ever received (another blog post for another time). Close to the end of marching band season, the girl I was dating gave me the mentioned breakup and I was single. Somehow this other girl had a big blowup with my roommate and they also broke up. In the end only one of three of us in the dorm room were seeing anyone.
This was a time that brother came up to stay with me for the weekend. He would have been 12 at this time. I think it was the normal little siblings weekend sometime in the October timeframe. It wasn’t unique – but at the same time it didn’t seem to be common for tons of people to have their little brothers or sisters at the school. My brother had the freedom of staying out late and hanging with my room mates. We were doing just that. This relationship was put into motion because I took him out around the campus that night.
My brother and I were out rollerblading around the campus (how dated does that sound?), and ran into Kristy who also was a rollerblader. We spent around an hour or so tearing up and down the quad and around buildings. It was fun and probably one of the last times my brother and I had a normal sibling bonding experience. It was getting late and everyone was tired. My dorm was the closest so I went up and dropped my brother off at my dorm room to play with the computer while I went to walk/roller blade Kristy back to her dorm room on the other side of campus. I returned to my brother about 2 hours later and he was hanging with my roommates and just fine. I spent the next day with my brother until he left sometime in the afternoon and then I spent the rest of the day with Kristy.
It was a fast whirlwind relationship and she came back with me for the weekend sometime in December and stayed at my Dad’s apartment with me for the weekend. The most interesting experience was watching her fascination with seeing Lake Erie frozen over. Something I think that most of take for granted growing up on the lake, but she had never seen it before and was filled with awe. We walked around town, and I introduced her to some of my friends from my hometown. We headed back to school and we were a few weeks from winter break.
Winter break came around and my father had purchased a house across the town. I was staying at my dad’s house and one of my friends was in town from Florida. I didn’t have my license yet, but my friend did. We thought a great idea would be to take a two-hour drive to New Philadelphia to visit my girlfriend. My father was kind enough to lend me his Beretta for the trip. We picked up another one of my friends and off we went to New Philadelphia. Thinking back this was the last long trip all three of us ever took together.
I honestly had no idea where New Philadelphia truly was, but we had a map. The drive took a little over 2 hours only mildly going over the speed limit. I had her home address and phone number and that was all I thought was needed. Following the map and stopping for directions once inside New Philadelphia we managed to find her town house. We stop by and knock – no answer. We didn’t have much else to do and we didn’t want to give up and just head home. We noticed a mall on our drive in and thought we would go hang out there for a while and try again later. She wasn’t expecting us, so sometimes these things happen.
We are walking through the mall and I spy my girlfriend in a jewelry store. She was in a jewelry with another guy. This gentleman was a marine whom she had supposedly broken up with before she started dating my roommate. I went up and confronted her, and they were picking out her engagement ring. I was floored, but managed not to get into it with her boyfriend (ex?)(betrothed?) in the middle of the mall. Which of course this is a good thing since I was 150 lb geek and he was a marine. She tells us to come over to her house in about an hour and we would talk about it.
We manage to get to her house and at this point the marine was ready to tear me limb from limb. I stuck it out and my two friends backed me up (one of my few true brave face moments). Kristy managed to calm him down and control him long enough to get him into the car. Of course this included the standard stay back and don’t provoke him on the way to the car. My friends bless them offered to chase after him when he tore out of there and pull the baseball bats out of the trunk. Sensible me didn’t take them up on the offer.
She explained to me he asked her to marry him and insisted on buying a ring even though she hadn’t said yes. I of course was young dumb and eighteen. For some reason I believed her enough to kind of trust her, but not enough to stay with her. So while she blocked off time with me (who knew who might show up next) we didn’t stay too long and headed out to the gas station. I was heart-broken, angry, and didn’t know what I wanted to do. I thought about going back. I thought about cutting her out of my life (kind of hard when she sits two seats down from you in band). I didn’t know what I was going to do.
My friend from Florida had to call and check-in (mind you he was 18). His parents told him that he had to be back at the house in a little over an hour. It had taken us over 2 hours to get to where we were. I think we took my father’s Beretta to the limits of driving on the way back. At one point we almost hit a cop car backing out of a driveway. We were lucky that there was too much traffic behind us that he couldn’t get out and immediately come after us. Either way we took the first back roads when we were out of his sight that we could. We manage to do the two-hour drive in an hour and half, only getting him home slightly late.
In the aftermath, it turns out she was engaged though she says she called it off when she managed to get back to school 2-3 weeks later. In the interim I managed to get back together with my girlfriend I had before I went to college. Since there is some overlap here, here is a couple relevant paragraphs I did when I wrote about her (remember young, dumb, and eighteen):
School rolled around and I reconciled with my girlfriend (Kristy)from the previous semester. Now for some reason this should have been a straight break up with Kim moment. I held off for a couple of days and Kim came down to visit. The situation was not a surprise to my college girlfriend, she knew what was happening. I took Kim to the local mall and we walked and talked, but my college girlfriend stalked us and was obvious about following us. After getting back to the car Kim asked what it all was about, I explained and broke up with her. She dropped me off at my dorm room and I thought then that she left. I went up and spent time with my college girlfriend, while this was happening Kim proceeded to make out with my roommate’s best friend. That’s the kind of rebound girl she was.
At this point you would think that the Kim college years era was over, well not quite. I get a phone that she is pregnant and needs to talk. I arrange it that I come home that weekend to talk to her. Problem was college girlfriend insisted on going and I had not told her about the pregnancy. I manage to get up north and slip away for a bit to talk to Kim. This leads me back home and my college girlfriend is upset. She tells me she is pregnant (I had not told her Kim was pregnant yet). So I’m 18 years old and I find out in less than seven days that I have two girls pregnant. To add to the top of the tower here, college girlfriend and I break up.
So let’s step back for a moment here to right before the break-up. Logic me in place seems to mean that Kristy figured out Kim was pregnant and wanted to throw her weight against that notion. In retrospect seeing that I caught her buying an engagement ring so some leeway to talk to an ex-girlfriend should have been allowed. So she figured it out, and then she found out that Kim was pregnant. I was staying at my mother’s house and this lead to a very loud and heated argument in my mother’s living room at around midnight. We woke up the house. I also had two friends over witnessing this whole train wreck play out in real-time. Kristy was so upset she broke up with me. She left with one of my friends who said he would drive her back to school. I almost came to blows with him as they were leaving. I think my mother held me back.
They didn’t drive back to school, they went to his parents house (he was still a senior in school). Yes they did that night, and that’s are far as I’m going to discuss it. They started dating for a few weeks and then he broke it off with her. He had another girl and Kristy was a psycho. Here is where we go back to the other piece again:
A few weeks later I’m dating someone else and I find out both college girlfriend and Kim have miscarriages within a week of each other. I don’t tell anyone and did not tell either one of them, so it’s coincidence that they both told me, and today I think they were both lying to me over the incident. Around this time period my grandfather died and I was dealing with that also.
The night Kristy told me about her miscarriage I just took off walking. I walked for 3-4 hours that night. I walked for miles dealing with this. The weather was a mixture of flurries and freezing rain. It eventually moved into heavy snow. At the time I didn’t care. My roommate knew what I was going through and was worried about me. I showed up right before he was getting readying to call someone. I walked in with I then immediately sat down and wrote this poetry / essay piece:
Slowly as the sun shrinks and the blowing leaves stop their travels, life does not contain the same vibrancy. My footfalls thud heavily upon the freshly snow-covered road. The constant thumps comfort me sadly. They will never leave me, even if I wanted to run from them.
My heart is iron. It is dulled and heavy, tempered by remorse I do not understand the people that ask “Why me.” Everything that has happened through my destiny is, in part my doing. The cracks in my iron are not my fault, but I could have avoided them. It is as if I opened my chest cavity as loves swings a sledge to my iron. Never dodging the strike, I am knocked down by the blow.
Thump, thump, thump………..
The advice of avoidance has been given time and time over. I have been told, ” You fall in in love too easily.” How can that truth exist, something so hard and rare never happens easily. I have been truly deep in love three times in the expanse I call life. One lasted for nine months. I loved her with my all. When I was with her I traveled through different social circles. She is now engaged to be wed. The past slips silently through the cracks in the floor.
The second love of my life was one of my best friends. I loved him like a brother. I would have taken a bullet for him or gave him the world. The sun set on our friendship when he broke his word to me. After the promise broke it’s binds, he continued turning the knife in my back. He is now hunting me down because he thinks I returned the favor.
Thump, thump, thump……….
The last love of my life I continue to weep oceans of tears for in the late hours of twilight. One day she is by my side, hand in mine, telling me how happy she was. The next she isolated me and shut all the corridors connecting us. I have knocked on all the doors but I do not get any answer. As it looks I will spend my future alone. She always asked me how I knew she was the one.
When I was with her time and space held a different dimension. Happiness was not a possibility but a constant. My heart and mind held no doubts in the dark corners. Mu soul was content. Her smile radiated like a summer sunset. Her eyes held the mysteries of the cosmos. One of these mysteries is why she shut me out, I hope someday I can solve it. I can remember the past. My heart was content.
Thump, thump, thump…………..
The final breaking tore my heart in two. I do not think I can have as true a love again as I had with any of these three. Each moment is painfully filled with happy memories. It is ironic how happy memories can hurt worse then a physical wound. Some people claim I am gifted with the skill of writing. Many times I have regarded this skill as a curse, I can watch the snow plow go down the street beside me and as soon as that image reaches paper it will never be forgotten. All three have poems and writings associated with them, that will never leave me in peace.
Glancing at my surroundings I no longer know which road I am on. I do not know how I got here other then a couple hours have passed. Distances are irrelevant anyways. These walks are to sort out my thoughts, not to see how far I could go. distance is a dimension in which I do not have an existence. The important thing is the thoughts that filter through my weary gray matter. The thoughts that run rampant through fields of neglect and sorrow reap fertilization they receive.
Thump, thump, thump………………
Not that long ago I lost my grandfather to a slow painful series of strokes and bad medical conditions. We had never been close and to all my memory had never really sat down and talked. About two or three weeks before he passed away I went to see him on my way to school. It hurt so badly to see the big strong man I had been visiting for so many years, so sickly and small. I could not stay long because my heart sank to unchartered depths at the sight. The only good memory I have is when he said my name in recognition, something he had not been doing for anyone else.
I have had many scars in my so far short existence, but I only hold one fear. It is not a fear of depth or pain, I have made my peace with those. Each day I have lived I have cherished every second. If given the option to do it all over again…. I would not take it. All the events that have happened have molded me into the man I’ve become. The nagging fear has not happened, but it might someday. I won’t tell you what it is, but pray for me it does not come true.
Thump, thump, thump…….
As I turn down the next street I find my bearings. I can now start the long trek home. I will go back a different way then I came. What fun is it just to retrace steps you have already taken? The world will continue to turn and I’ll continue walking, sorting out my problems. If you should ever see me, give me a short wave or a nod. I don’t need a ride, just time and distance to help stitch my emotional gashes. I do not need to hear a friendly voice, I have my feet hitting the pavement going thump, thump, thump………..
During the walk I was in a bad place. I managed to survive. There have only been a couple of times since then that I have felt as depressed and miserable as I did that night. Kristy and I did get together a couple more times, but it didn’t stick more than a couple of days. We had been through too much. I don’t remember the last time I talked to her, I don’t even really care. I did look her up on MySpace to check on something. I didn’t message her or friend her, I just checked and she had two kids. Both would have been too young to be mine. So that was just to kill a lingering question of what if she was still pregnant and lied about the miscarriage. That lookup settled one thing that haunted me a bit through the years.
As a final aside – she races lawn tractors competitively now…………
Young, dumb, and eighteen – that is all I have to say for myself.
Reading through I apologize for all the asides – but since I mostly write stream of thought this kind of thing happens.