Sunday, May 10, 2009

Playing Cards

Life is unfair.  It just is.  That's a lesson you begin learning early, for most people.  Sometimes bad things happen to good people, and the bad guys win.  The best you can do is look at the cards you're dealt, and play the game.  Sometimes you have to bluff, pretend things are fine, or hide when things are great.  Sometimes you get lucky.  And sometimes you learn to count the cards, give yourself a minor edge.  But in the end, life is a game of cards, you win sometimes, you lose other times.  But you play the cards you're dealt. 

My biggest win of my lifetime so far is my husband.  And I almost, almost didn't see what a great hand he was.  I mentioned once that I would tell our story, and now, with my stress level at high, and looking back on all the hands that sucked, or the times I should have folded, it's time to tell about the greatest turn of hand.

When I was 13 my parents moved from the city to a small town.  I say they moved, because I wanted nothing to do with it.  I cried for months, literally.  So, I didn't notice people.  I didn't notice Garret.  But boy, God must have been smiling that day.  He took a lonely boy and a sad girl and let them meet for the first time.  I don't remember it, but Garret can tell you in detail about noticing me, seeing me and falling for me.  He can tell you that I sat one row over.  He can tell you he tried talking to me (although I am sure it was simply hello, he's kinda shy like that).  Like I said, God must have been smiling, amused that we were finally meeting, knowing the journey we would go on together.  

I noticed G the next year, freshmen English, Mr.Holst's class.  This time, it's G who doesn't really remember.  He sat 2 seats ahead of me, and I remember noticing how quiet he was.  I didn't notice him much past that.  And for most of the rest of our high school education we didn't see each other or interact very much.  We had some similar friends, our groups overlapped.  Garret was a band geek, and I did theatre and choir.  Our groups interacted, but we didn't.  Senior year, we did Science Knowledge Bowl together.  I was taking college Biology and got talked into it by my professor.  These were the days when I still preferred to hide my intelligence, so if it weren't for Mrs. Welch I would have never done it.  We practiced, and then did the tournament.  And still, God must have been toe tapping, waiting for the two of us to wake up, because although we both knew the other was involved, there was still limited interaction.  

Then, it was the last semester.  I had decided that I was not going to senior prom.  It had only been a year since the end of a major relationship, a very bad hand, and although a year now seems so long, then it was still painful, I didn't really like or trust guys, and I decided I wasn't going.  But a couple friends decided otherwise.  One was like the inner part of a penn diagram---band geek and choir person.  She told me that Garret didn't have a date, and needed one, and asked if I would consider going with him.  Then another friend told him that I didn't have a date yet, and he should go with me.  Without either of us talking, it was agreed we would go together.  He was supposed to call me, but I had my own line, my own answering machine, and I never heard from him.  So during a pep rally in the gym I walked up to him and went off.  And he was pretty pissed himself.  Turns out he believed he had left multiple messages and that I had never called him back.  It was finally decided that apparently he didn't know when to start talking on an answering machine. 

But what was decided was that we would hang out enough to get to know each other before prom.  So we went out.  A lot.  Movies, dinner, time at Barnes and Noble perusing the books we both loved.  Our first get together was on St. Patrick's Day.  I remember because I pinched him for not wearing any green, and when he went to pinch me back I said I was wearing green, just not any clothing he could see.  I imagine he turned bright red.  I was lying.  Oh well.

Prom was a mess.  He was nervous, I was disinterested in him as more than a friend, and he was clearly smitten.  We did dinner with a big group of friends, he paid for everything, years later admitting it made it feel more like a date for him.  He always was the one holding on to the hope.  Then pictures and finally dancing.  It's only now G can actually slightly dance.  Then, all he would do was slow dance, so on the fast ones I danced with girlfriends and other guys.  He was a bit jealous.  And then at after prom he went off with the other people we were with to do sumo wrestling and the velcro wall.  I sat down and played a lot of black jack.  The cards again, I know.  I now can admit I was trying to be a bitch.  I didn't want him getting the wrong idea.  In the end, he left early, and I went home with my mother.  

(it's a pic of a pic, not the best quality, but one of the last pics in our wedding album)

The rest of the school year and summer we hung out a lot.  Enough that close friends thought we were dating.  We weren't and I cleared that up real quick.  But after a while, I considered it.  He and I have always been able to talk to each other in way that we can't with anyone else.  No pretenses, no false modesty, and no holding back.  But things began to crumble after a night at Olive Garden, where I told him that if he ate a black olive from the salad (a food item he still is not a huge fan of) then I would kiss him.  He ate it, but forgot about the deal.  So when he was dropping me off at home, I leaned over and kissed him.  And he just sat there, not moving, stunned.  I remember saying something grandiose like there, he now had some experience before college.  Because other than a few games of spin the bottle when he was younger, I was his first real kiss.  I remember marching inside and declaring I didn't like it, not in that way.  

Before I went away to college G and I were supposed to do one last dinner and movie.  But things were noticeably different.  Garret was noticeably in love with me.  So I e-mailed him telling him that I got the feeling he wanted to be more, but that I didn't, and if it was going to be weird then we would just skip the dinner and movie.  Garret e-mailed me back saying he had liked me at one time, but didn't anymore.  Dinner was still on.  

It wasn't until 2 or 3 weeks later, when I was at college that he e-mailed me to tell me he had lied.  That he was in love with me.  That he was afraid that if he had admitted it, we wouldn't go out that last time.  I was so mad, I didn't speak to him, I didn't respond for over 2 weeks.  And let me just say, he was pissed and I got a not so e-mail where he called me a bitch and basically told me I was rude not to respond, to get over myself.  In the end, we remained friends.  But that's really only the beginning of our story.  Our hands had been dealt, but no decisions about how we would play it had been made.  


  1. Where's Part II? I'm hooked! I have been wondering how you guys got together.....there have been alot of hints dropped, but never the full story.

    I love how you wrap the element of fate or destiny in there. I do WISH I believed in that - your story almost makes me!

    Looking forward to the next installment.