Sunday , 20 May 2018

Carpe Diem Y’all: The Boy Next Door

“His name was David.  He was the boy next door.  He loved me.  He loved me as much as any 8th grade boy knows how to love.  He loved me from an up close distance, and, he never let me know it.  Had I but looked beyond the impossible curly brown hair that shagged his face, and the gangly limbs that hung from his skinny thirteen year old torso, I would have caught the love he had for me shining true in his clear blue eyes, each time he tried to sneak a peek at me when he thought I wasn’t looking.    

At school, we rarely spoke, beyond nods and grunts of recognition.  But at home, tucked safe in our tree-lined neighborhood behind the colorful walls of the clap-board houses we nicknamed The Pink House, The Blue House, and The White House, it was a different story.

Each afternoon I crossed the empty lot that separated my house, The Pink House, from his house, The White House.  The big red bean bag chair plopped in the corner of his room under the watchful eyes of his Farrah Fawcett bathing suit poster was one of my favorite places to be.  The sound of his mother puttering around in the kitchen would waft in with the smell of whatever chicken fried dinner they were having that night, and would mingle with the sound of Bob Seger playing from the radio. 

I sat there day after day.  I would flip through magazines while David tried to impress me by flipping stacks of coins off the back of his elbow into his hand.   In between finished articles and coins exploding and scattering like silver pieces of shrapnel across the hardwood floor, we would discuss a wide range of topics important to the future class of 1980, yet the fact that he loved me never came up.”

The above is an excerpt from a memoir I wrote called, “The Boy Next Door.”  My written words run through my mind as time marches toward our quickly approaching 10th wedding anniversary.  It doesn’t seem we’ve been married that long, so I guess the old cliché is right, time does fly when you’re having fun. 

The story goes on to say that we went our separate ways after high school.  Twenty years later, fate intervened, in the form of a telephone call from his mother, who decided to follow up on David’s question to her, “I wonder what ever happened to Michele.”  Long story short, our friendship renewed and grew, ultimately resulting in our marriage on November 20, 2001.

As I reflect on the past ten years, I can’t help but think of how I closed the story of how we came to be.  I’ll set the scene – It is Valentine’s Day, a few years into our marriage.  I wake up alone, and as I look at the empty pillow next to me, I start to cry.  I let the reader wonder for a bit: Why is she crying?  What happened to David?  Where did he go? As I move to get up, a pink envelope falls from the pillow to the sheets.  I open it to find a creamy white card trimmed in pink:

To my Wife with Love on Valentine’s Day.  I rediscover each day we’re together, sharing so many good things, that nothing means more than my marriage to you and the feeling of joy that it brings.  I rediscover your warm, special ways that make you a wonderful wife, and I know in my heart that you’re prefect for me, and I’ll love you the rest of my life.  I’m so thankful we are together.  Love Always, David.

Tears of joy blur the words I read.  The bedroom door cracks open to reveal an impossible mop of curly gray hair trying to sneak a peak around the corner.  I laugh out loud as my husband bursts into the room, his clear blue eyes sparkling with mirth, as he carries in our morning coffee.”

Happy Anniversary, David, and Carpe Diem Y’all, Michele

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