I have absolutely no idea why this popped into my head this afternoon, but I’m running with it.
Long, long ago, in a faraway time and a faraway place, I had this boyfriend who shall remain nameless. He was very exotic looking (to me).
I was slightly older than he was, I was 28, and he was about 24. He was born and raised in New York State. His family background was from somewhere in the Baltics…I want to say Croatia, but that doesn’t sound quite right. He was thin and graceful, and had the longest black eyelashes on the planet. He was completely different than any man I had ever been associated with in any kind of “romantic” way.
So one day, he told me I needed to back off because I was smothering him. That’s funny, because I’m not the smothering kind. Plus, I thought we were a team. I wasn’t smothering him any more than he was smothering me.
There’s a simple explanation for this. I discovered from his roommate that he was seeing someone else too. And I learned that that someone was a lot more accommodating about his drug usage. What? What drug usage? I mean I knew he smoked marijuana a lot, which I didn’t do because I didn’t like it, but according to the roommate, he was stoned most of the time.
Which Unnamed Boyfriend later confirmed. He wrote me a letter, saying, I’m sorry. I wasn’t thinking clearly.
So here’s the kicker. He was in Naval ROTC. So when you graduate or drop out of school…you belong to the Navy. So the day came when it was time, and he had to move to Pensacola to report for duty. Until that time, I think both of us avoided the subject.
I was ever so thrilled when he selected me to go with him for his move to Pensacola. You know,instead of that other person. And it turned into the trip from hell.
He drove this really cool red convertible, and I shared the drive. At one point while I was driving, there was a massive thunderstorm and I wanted to pull over. I couldn’t see a foot beyond the headlights. I couldn’t see the road. He said, keep driving. I did. Crying the whole time. A tiny part of my brain said, in order to make sure I follow your directions, are you willing to die?
Eventually he took over the driving–after the storm. He looked over at me in the passenger seat and said. You look terrible. You are too pale and you have dark circles under your eyes. (You think?) It must be because you’re old.
Then we got to Pensacola. We slept on the floor in his new apartment, which was my first ntroduction to Palmetto bugs, aka, giant cockroaches, I cooked my first red snapper. I went with him to the Navy store to pick out his first uniforms. We took a tour of Pensacola neighorhoods, and he said, Which one do you like best? Which would you prefer to live in?
And then I went home. And very shortly afterwards, I learned that he he paid for Other Woman to come and live with him in Pensacola.
How foolish did I feel? Let me count the ways…
But here is the real kicker. I Googled his name…and found him. It was very strange. Would I contact him? Not in this lifetime. He looks nothing like he used to. Of course, neither do I. But in the picture, you can’t see his eyelashes.