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May 9, 2007

Happily Ever After (or Part II)

Fall of 88 brought my last semester of college, a practicum course teaching preschool in the University Child Development Lab, moving into my girlfriends house- while she moved a few hours away to begin her career in teaching- and my 22nd birthday (God, that sounds young now). I was in that place of 'what's going to happen next'? I was finishing 4.5 years of college with no firm plans of where to go next. Where to move? Where will I find a job? What will I do with the rest of my life? I had always wanted to travel around the US, or really anywhere, with a VW van and a dog. I had the dog already... The one thing I did know was that in nine months I would have to start repaying my student loans. A job seemed inevitable.

I had been visiting my girlfriend on the weekends- she couldn't possibly come see me with the new job and all- and during our last weekend together she had told me, out of the blue- "you know, if I had to choose between you being my friend, or my girlfriend, I would choose my friend" WTF? She was older than me by a few years and in control (somewhat) of our relationship. Looking back now I recognize it as one of the few times in my life that I felt a certain sense of powerlessness and vulnerability. I relate it to being involved with a woman for the first time and really participating in my first long term relationship. But I digress.

The Child Development Lab practicum was intense. The instructor was very demanding and it was a lot of work. I couldn't believe that Käri had not warned me ahead of time, since she had just finished. I decided to hunt her down and tell her so. I knew where her parents lived, so I called information and got her parents #. Her parents were kind enough to give me her # at graduate school. And so began a few weeks of non-stop talking by phone. Those endless phone calls where no one really wants to hang up- so they just keep going on and on. We talked about school, family, girlfriends...life. Never once did we discuss "us". Or what might be happening here.

I do remember one particular conversation where I griped about the girlfriend never coming to see me and that she had better come for my birthday and bring me something good! Kär said she'd meet me halfway if my girlfriend offered some lame excuse to miss my big day. The girlfriend came- but I was kinda hoping she wouldn't-.

Käri still had other friends in town and a few of them were going to be performing in a local theater ensemble. They invited her up to watch. So, even though Kär had others she could stay with she asked if she could stay with me. In fact, I think it went a little like this. "If I can't stay with you, I won't come". Who was I to say no? Makes my belly a little jittery even now.

So there I was in my driveway, washing my truck, when she pulled up. Matching outfit, birks, curly blond hair, green ray ban's. Such the fashionista! Suddenly, I was a bit of a wreck, give her a hug? touch her? Yikes! The emotions I had been keeping under wraps were eking out and I was now, very aware of them. What was happening here?

We spent the evening having a few drinks, meeting some friends, having a few more drinks, then to the only gay bar in town (shots of tequila were involved here), and finally ending up at Lyons restaurant for some late night, slightly inebriated, banter. (We must have had dinner some where along the way, but I can't seem to remember that detail.) As I recall, we talked about the world series, and answered questions like "if you were a car, what kind of car would you be?" There was a definite undercurrent of emotions and tension.

The next morning came quickly. After a night full of "what are you talking about?", countered with the oh so intelligent "well what are you talking about?", it was obvious, there was much to figure out. Kär had split with her previous girlfriend for good, but I was still tenuously with mine. Oops.

Käri never made it to her friends performance the next night. As she left my house at the end of the weekend, the phone rang. It was my girlfriend, who over the next three hours, became my ex-girlfriend.

AT&T sent us thank you notes with our bills over the next few months, there were a few weekend trips, and two months later, Käri and I were living together. This October we will celebrate 19 years! We did get married in SF a few years back, but that was more of a political statement then anything else. Although, we did have a surprise wedding shower a few months later. Since the gay and lesbian weddings were all annulled, we are now living in sin, with eight children. Oh, well.

The Children. Well. There was never any doubt that we wanted to have children. If it had been only up to me they would have started appearing in our house about three years into our relationship. We waited eight years.

How our children came into our family will have to wait for another day...


Sandy. said...

It makes my belly jittery just to read it.

Would the story be the same from her perspective? :)


LeLo in NoPo said...

I'm loving reading this story...for a lot of reasons, but one being I know that child development lab and spent time there around the same time. Bikeriding in Chico is so familiar, as are late night trips to Lyons. But wasn't there a chicken place out there past Lyons as well?

A hot girl on a bicycle is a hard thing to resist. ;)

Tricia said...

Käri was not so sure about posting "our story" to the world. She's read it. I'll have to see if she'd be interested in adding to it or commenting...
LeLo- small world, eh? I am so sure we know some of the same people. And were probably at Cherry St. at the same time. Chicken place? Hmmmmm...Can't remember that.

TruLove said...

Lyons! I totally forgot about Lyons! We used to go and order water. Sometimes, we'd get cheesecake with a side of hot fudge...wow, it's a bummer that it's Butte Community Bank now. They don't serve cheesecake with a side of hot fudge...

Anonymous said...

Ok...from an ex Lyon's waitress...Hello...we were raising kids with our tips...thanks for ordering water...

harvestmoon said...

Oh, that is SO SWEET! The kids and I handed out flowers to those getting married in SF those many years ago...I wonder if we saw you two...

Tricia said...

I think we were married on the 19th- it was a long night of driving down, getting the kids back to sleep at midnight and then driving to the court house at 3 am to sit in the drizzle... It was good though! We didn't get any flowers, but you may have seen us... Fun idea!