365 Reflections - Reflection 18

029One of the reasons I started blogging was to preserve memories for my son. No, I am not dying of some terrible, brain-rotting disease. I just wanted him to have a collection of things written by his mother so that when and if he ever wanted to know me as a person and not just the rule maker, provider, disciplinarian - whatever... he would have stories he could go back to and learn more about me. If I were to be brutally honest, I guess I also wanted to leave my own mark on the world. Some form of art that says I was here and that I matter. Today, I turned to a writing prompt for my inspiration. The writing prompt I chose is "Tell the story of meeting your significant other." So Alex, as they say, this one's for you.

It was the summer of 1988 in Bloomington, Indiana. Midwestern summers are particularly hot and sticky with humidity. I was a full time college student at Indiana University studying Finance. I had arrived to the college life after serving my time in the Air Force and as a result, I never lived in the dorms, Living in Air Force housing was quite enough community life, thank you. At the time I met your dad, I had moved from an apartment I shared with a weird guy into the room of a house owned by a weirder woman. What I did not know at the time I moved in with her was that she suffered from manic depression and fibromyalgia. Her ailments were so debilitating that there were stretches of days where she never left her room. Her one and only real rule was that no men were allowed to spend the night. I paid for school and living expenses with the help of money I earned from being in the Air Force and by working in the evenings as a cashier at Kroger.

It was at Kroger that I met your father. We were both in our twenties, but your dad, at 6'2", with blonde hair and a burly build, did not look like any of the other much younger and adolescent grocery baggers. The first time I saw him I was smitten. He was wearing a plaid, button down shirt that I later found out was one of his dad's hand-me-down shirts. It had short sleeves that came down to just above your dad's elbow. From the size of his forearms, I knew there were some pretty hefty biceps under those shirt sleeves and I was more than a little curious to see them.

Eventually, during the next few days after he started working, he was assigned to my lane and we exchanged small talk. Your dad has an ease about him that draws people to him. Because he is so well read, he is adept at small talk although he'll swear he hates it. On the 5th of July that summer, I left work at 6pm and decided to surprise him by showing up at midnight which was the end of his shift. We sat in the parking lot of that Kroger until 6am just talking. We talked about everything from politics to the military and there was never an awkward moment. I went home that morning absolutely in love, having finally met a man that I was so in tune with. It really was like we were two halves of the same whole. We shared the same opinions on many, many things. From that day forward, we were inseparable. It was a giddy time and love was in full bloom. Back then, there were no cell phones - we were tethered to walls and we actually spoke on the phone - a lot. For hours at a time if I remember correctly. We spent our breaks together at work and then spent time together outside of the grocery doing homework. We made road trips to meet our respective parents - his in Evansville and mine in New Albany.

Another thing I remember about that summer is the California Raisins. There was a big promotion with Claymation commercials with these really cute figures singing classic Motown hits like "I heard it through the grapevine”. For some reason, there was a partnership with a fast food chain where if you bought a certain meal, you could collect one of the PVC figurines. Your dad loved those things and we spent the summer eating crappy food and collecting them to decorate his dash. For a trip down memory lane, click here.

Well, this is not the great American novel nor is it my great novel. My job this morning was to write about meeting my significant other so I'll stop here. I am sure there will be other prompts that will encourage me to write more about this same topic. But you'll just have to wait for those.

Until tomorrow.

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