My child is a natural born romantic. He completely believes in love at first sight, soul mates and all that mushy love propaganda.
Instead of being some future Lothario, I am quite certain Cole will be a “one and done” type of man, finding that one girl to marry and take until the end of time.
So imagine his shock, his surprise when he found out that Mama had had a crush on a boy long before his daddy.
“You what?” he asked from the backseat, leaning forward as if he had misheard.
“I said: ‘That was the boy I just knew I was going to marry when I was younger.'”
The simmering glare beneath his lashes showed his disapproval.
“What about Daddy?” he asked.
“Cole, I didn’t know your father then. Besides, you know I have been married before.”
“You should have known Daddy. And as for you being married before, we all are allowed one mistake in life. Mine was that day I got a ham sandwich at lunch instead of turkey … and ate it anyway because I was starving.”
Only my child would see a correlation between a ham sandwich and a failed marriage. However, both did involve swine.
“Was there more than one?” he asked.
“More than one what? Ex-husband? No. Just the one. That was enough.”
“No,” Cole pressed, an interrogatory tone to his voice. That child is going to be an attorney one day, I just know it. “How many other boys did you think you were going to marry when you were younger?”
“I don’t know,” I answered honestly.
“You don’t know?” he was shocked beyond words at this. In fact, my child, who much like his Mama is never speechless, couldn’t say a word for a few minutes.
“Tell me about them,” was his directive.
“There’s not much to tell,” I replied.
“Tell me about them,” he repeated.
I sighed. Where to start? Like I said, there really wasn’t much to tell. But I told the child what I knew.
The main one, the boy of all boys, was a boy I grew up with at church. He was tan with a beautiful smile, even when he had a mouth full of metal. At one point, that boy got a perm that made him look like he had an afro.
Despite his poor hairstyle choices, I was enamored of him. I spent my Sunday’s staring at him across the congregation, doodling his name on my bulletin and drawing hearts around it. I would write Sudie Adler (Not his real name, mind you. He is still alive and well somewhere in the vicinity of the Classic City) on the top of the bulletin and just knew we would have three or four or five kids. I was in love. Don Adler did not know I existed, but I was going to marry him.
My best friend would roll her eyes and shake her head.
I had two strikes going against me. One, she didn’t mention; she didn’t have to. I was aware I was chubby.
Boys didn’t notice girls whose shape was round instead of curvy.
And, I was two years younger than Don – a horrific no-no back in the day of high school coolness.
I shamelessly stalked this boy, learning how to drive on his road as I went back and forth past his house. I made my best friend drive me by there too when she got her license until one day she pulled up in the driveway and honked the horn. I screamed like I was being chased by a chainsaw wielding serial killer.
“What are you doing?” I had cried.
“You make me do this every week; it’s time you got off the pot and announced to the Almighty Don Adler your undying love and devotion!” she said.
I slinked to the floorboard of her car. The horrors, the horrors – surely, I would die from embarrassment right on the spot.
But, I didn’t. Thankfully, my best friend knew he and his family were gone that day and did that to hopefully give me confidence to learn how to face my crush. All it did was teach me to not ask her to drive by his house anymore.
Any stalking I did from then on out, I had to do on my own or at the wheel of Mama. Or I called his number to hear his answering machine message just about every day. He had a Tone Loc song in the background; I thought it was the coolest thing ever.
One day I got up the nerve to ask him out – something that was unheard of back then -but I had to. It was the summer debutante ball and I needed a date. He couldn’t take me, but was polite in his let down, doing his gentlemanly best to not crush my feelings.
He was going out of town that weekend but could we maybe go out for lunch after church when he got back? Who knew Pizza Hut could be so romantic?
“What happened to this Donny person?” Cole interrupted to ask.
“He married someone, and they have two kids now, I think.” I wasn’t real sure even though his grandmother and Granny were close friends.
“So even before you married that other person, you had liked another boy?” For Cole, the fact that Mama had thought she was going to marry someone other than his daddy was just devastating news.
“How many others were there besides this Don Adler person?” he asked.
I didn’t answer but distracted him with the offer of Dairy Queen.
It’s best the rest stays secret.