In the Beginning; A Letter to My Husband

September 04, 2017
We first met at a bookstore, which is ironic since you don't like to read. You've read one book that you weren't assigned, Dante's Inferno. I believe you tell me this because you think the complex nature of the book gives you some kind of street cred or literary pass. What I remember from that first encounter are your eyes and how unbelievably kind you seemed. You don't remember me at all. I was just some hugely pregnant chick who wandered into your store. How funny fate can be, no? You were close enough to reach out and touch us both, your future wife and the boy who would call you Dad. But, that scene wasn't even a blip on the great cosmic radar yet.

'Can I help you find something?' you asked. Possibly. But, can you give me a few years? I've got some pretty heavy shit I'm going through at the moment. So, I went home, put 90s grunge in my Discman, and daydreamed about the guy with the eyes. I'm almost positive this is why I think of you instantly when that genre comes on the radio. Like Pavlov's dog and his bells...except it's Nirvana and your face.

You had long since faded from my memory when you clocked into work at Hop's the second time we met, so I didn't even recognize you. I was getting a drink for a table and you came around the partition. By the time you walked away, the counter was covered and it was spilling onto the floor. "He's cute, isn't he?" a coworker asked. "I'm going to marry that boy." I said. But, in truth, I only said 'marry' because what I actually intended to do with you isn't something you just say out loud without knowing the location of your boss. Every day, I would throw ice at you and you would smile. I'd talk to you on my loop through the dish pit. And, I always found spare dishes to have a reason to loop through the dish pit. "Here, sir, let me get you another fork as I see that one touched two different vegetables on your plate."

I really, really liked you. One day I decided to show you a picture of Dylan. I wasn't ready for you to meet him, as I preferred to keep him out of my dating life, but I didn't want to keep his existence from you. If it was a dealbreaker for you, I'd rather just face that sooner than later. You laughed nervously and asked if he was my nephew. The child with a tiny version of my face? Umm, no. But, it didn't change anything between us. One night, I offered to give you a ride home in my janky '87 Firebird with the 400 big block engine, which you actually liked. As it turned out, you were, ahem, in between houses and living with your mama. So, we made out like teenagers in the parking lot at Heartland Apts. You asked me out, sorta. We made plans to meet at the bar, which I now know meant you and your best friend and maybe even your sister were supposed to meet me at the bar whenever you felt like showing up. After I sat there for hours, I got so mad at you that I left the bar and drove back to your mama's with the intention of telling you off. Lucky for us, I am easily confused by parking lots and so I turned in, did the circle drive in front of the complex's clubhouse and wound up right back out on Wilkinson Trace. Defeated, I just went home. The next time I saw you, you acted like nothing had happened at all, and asked why I didn't show up. I kept my crazy in check and said it must've just been a misunderstanding. This was uncharted territory.

And, then I showed up to work one day and you were...gone. I didn't blame you. Our boss was a complete asshole and I didn't last two weeks without you. I had given you my number, but I didn't have yours. I wasn't going to stalk you at your mama's. Though, I mean, I definitely wanted to. I couldn't believe that those few months of working together was the entirety of our story. I missed you. Weeks passed, and then I started dating a childhood friend I had no business dating. We had been the best of friends, even sharing a locker during junior high. But, he was a solider who needed someone something to do when he'd come in, and I was bored. One night he said we should get serious about each other. By 'serious', I knew him well enough to know that he'd still date whoever he wanted back on base, so I told him it sounded good to me, but that I was still a little hung up on a guy and if he ever called, I'd be gone. I think it was about a month later when you finally called.

"Is Cameron there?" a voice asked.
"Bergen LaBelle, where in the hell have you been?" I answered.

You said you had just moved into a house on campus and was wondering if I could come by soon. No shame in my game, baby, I told you I'd see you sometime the next day. I tied up my loose end right after we hung up. Looking back, I don't remember actually pulling into your driveway, or very many details of that old house on Regents Ave, but I hope I never forget the sight of you leaning your 6'6" frame against the doorway as you looked down at me. My playful fussing about you disappearing and making me miss you was instantly met with a softer, apologetic tone as you pulled me closer to you. I must have lost my bearings because I fully intended to play hard to get to teach you a lesson. Cameron Thomas would wait for no man and you had better remember that, buddy. Oh, but you seemed genuinely sorry. There wasn't enough air in the tiny space between us for me to be sure. I was sure I had been mad at you earlier, but it could have been just another lifetime. Could I stay the night? No. Yes. 

Then you put your lips on mine and every other man in this world blended into a conglomerate of Not You.
Your room back then. This one was in a series of pictures we took with the timer.
 You blushed & laughed when I pounced on you before the timer went off. 
(to be cont'd)
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