Friday, September 11, 2015

"Her" - Part One

The windows of the suburban Karate studio I'm sitting in are almost completely fogged over, save for a few spots where kids press their faces into the glass to peer inside.  It's not even halfway through the hour-long class before someone props the door open, letting in some of that awesome Michigan winter evening.

I'm here to see Her.

It's 1990 - 2 days before Christmas - and I'm sitting amidst a group of observers in the lobby area.  Though the studio had become a second home over the years, that night I felt like an alien.  I clutched the mix tape I'd made for Her and wondered how much further in over my head I would get.

At least this much more.

Sensing my tension, one of the people next to me asked if I was a student at the school or just an observer.  I nervously replied that while I was both a student and an instructor, my reason for being there on that particular evening was to meet with another student to exchange Christmas presents, meet with Her mother and hopefully get to spend some time together.  I continued to describe Her as only a 13 year-old boy can do, nervously stammering on about how beautiful and kindhearted she was.  (SD - For the record, this girl was so far out of my league it's not even funny.)

I finally caught a glimpse of her auburn hair as she exited the locker room.  I quickly excused myself and went outside to make a few deals with God.

At least I think it was God.

A quarter of a century later and I can still recall every detail of her face as she walked out of that door into the night air. My gaze caught her soft brown eyes contrasting against a razor sharp smile that betrayed her depth and intellect.  Her upper lip adorned with a tiny scar from a car accident that she and her father were in when she was younger.  The lightly falling snow getting trapped in her hair before melting gave it a silk-like shine.  I even remember the smell of her perfume as we gently brushed our lips together.

I didn't stand a chance.

When does this story get to the funny?

After a couple of minutes, she laughed and asked in her Tomboyish way if I was "ready".  I think we made snare drum marching noises as we walked back into the lobby.  We specialized in Gallows Humor.

"So, when is your mom getting here?" I asked as I kicked the snow off of my boots.

"Oh, she's already here." she said, with a barely perceptible smile in her voice.

I knew before my eyes confirmed it.

She was pointing at the woman I had been talking with.

Not sure if funny or sociopath...

Now dear readers, if you've ever been skydiving you likely know the exact inner monologue I went through as her mom approached us smiling like the Cheshire fucking Cat:

We've bypassed funny and went straight to horrifying.

"FUUUUUUUUCK.....okay..okay...don't panic, we trained for this.  Check altimit..err...I mean boots tied, fly up, nothing in my teeth?  Pull the main.  STOP.  BREATHE.  We got this.  Good.  Breathe.  Scan left-right.  Shit, is this Her lip gloss?  It tastes like it.  I probably smell like Her too, but there's no way to jump back into the damn plane, so hold on and prepare for the PLF!"*

She owned me from that point on.

This wasn't so much a turning point in my life as it was the beginning of something extraordinary.  She came from a Catholic family with strictly enforced rules. (Notice that I didn't say: "strict rules")  Interestingly enough, she was more protective of her heart and honor than her parents were.  Though it may sound self-serving; she knew what she was worth and wouldn't settle for anything less.

(SD - Women please take note, this kind of behavior will drive a man 100% chewing-on-the-furniture-fucking-bonkers. There exists no quality in a woman more attractive than self-esteem.)

*Parachute Landing Fall : Adj. - A basic technique of hitting the ground in a round canopy with a full combat load that minimizes risk of injury.  See also; PFL**

**Pretty Fucked-up Landing : Adj. - A basic technique of hitting the ground in a ram-air canopy with a full combat load that maximizes the amount money your orthopedic surgeon has available to spend on weed and hookers.  See also; "Marine Mike's Motorcycle Incident" - One man's passionate attempt to achieve flight from level terrain in a 1/2 ton wing suit.

In the fall of 1991 I moved into a large studio office behind our house and began living my life as an adult at 13.  I went to two schools during the day, taught Karate a few nights a week and spent most weekends with my paramour and her family.  When we turned 15 we both got jobs waiting tables together at Denny's.  This was both as tragic and hilarious as it sounds.

So many memories from those years:  The first I Love You - events at her school - church every Sunday with her family - That. Little. Black. Dress. - the lesson at the play - the shirt thing was cool - the Detroit River fireworks from the Canadian side - her writing - Jack and Devon - her piano recitals - making mix tapes - indoor soccer - Chocolate Chip Cookies - the dance floor to ourselves at senior prom while the DJ played "No One Like You" by Scorpions.  All eyes were on us.  (To this day, I have no fucking idea how she pulled that off)

Not every memory is rainbows and puppies though:  At her Senior Homecoming dance it became clear that she had appendicitis, which led to a terrifying and intense night.

I was completely terrified of losing her.  To me, hospitals were not a place people went to heal.  It's where they went to die.  I sat in an all too familiar waiting room feeling an all too familiar tension.  For example: The moment the surgeon explained to her dad that they had to run a pregnancy test as a precaution before they began surgery.

"She'd better not be pregnant." her father said, giving me a look that made my insides cold.  

"That would be impossible."  I stated matter-of-factly.  "She's never had sex."

I could see the skepticism written all over their faces.  17-year-old kids do not stay celibate.  I admittedly became a bit testy: "With respect, I think when it comes to this particular subject, I know her better than anyone."

If that seemed like an awkward moment, about 30 minutes later I broke a long silence in the empty waiting room with:

"She's a virgin."

Her dad looked at me incredulously.

"You know how I feel about her.  I wouldn't lie about that at a time like this.  Under other circumstances, admittedly I might.  But not here.  Not now."

His gaze softened and he nodded his head.  This made logical sense to a logical man.  It also had the advantage of being true.  We were very reserved about using restraints....or something.

(SD - So remembering back to our Gallows Humor: About ten seconds of silence passed after finally getting him to believe me, when I had to quell a gigantic urge to jump to my feet and exclaim: "Wait!  You can't get pregnant from anal can you?")

I don't want to die without any scars.

Next up: A Clarification and Disclaimer  Until then, chew on this:  If you died during auto-erotic asphyxiation, would you rather whoever found you told everyone or made it look like a suicide?

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