It’s been an interesting experience telling this story. Each day new memories coming barging in. Most of them are wonderful, although some not so much. Of course if the memories were all good, we’d still be together and if they were all bad we wouldn’t have stayed together four years. I guess that’s why the story has been fun to tell.
The real issue today is whether I’m remembering things the way they happened, or the way I wish they’d happened. I’m trying very diligently to tell the story truthfully. Of course, with all writers there are embellishments, as well as things I leave out because I already look like the world’s biggest jerk. But for the most part I tell the story as I remember it striving to keep it honest.
And today as I was trying to figure out what comes next in the tale, I realized that something I wrote last night wasn’t true. I had not remembered it correctly. And that’s prompted an examination of everything I’ve been saying. Wondering if perchance I’m remembering the whole story incorrectly. And I don’t suppose we’ll ever know. The memories are mine. They are embedded in my brain and, although I can remember exactly what Sam was wearing the day we met, for the life of me there are huge chunks of our relationship that I don’t remember at all. And then something I hear, or say, or do will jog a memory and it brings the story forward.
Which happened today. Only it brought the real story forward not the glamorized version I told last night.
In my last post I said that we returned from Atlanta and school started and Sam would be at my apartment waiting for me when I returned from work. That’s not even close to the truth. A year later it would be. But in the fall of 1991 that was not the case. The school year that started as we returned from Atlanta found Sam rooming with a friend from high school. A friend that he’d been lying to all summer about how we knew each other. He didn’t come to my house every night. In fact it was very much like before. He would stop by for a couple of hours and then head home when it started to get late. He did spend the night a couple of times but it was very stressful for him and he couldn’t relax.
Last night’s version of that story wasn’t true. I’m going to go back and reread all my posts over the next couple of days to see if there are other things that I’ve stated incorrectly.
As for what happens next.
I worked. I designed. I studied. I worked. I designed. I studied. And I pined after the 5’10” boy who I was hopelessly in love with.
He was busy as well. At the time he wanted to be a state senator and so he was taking his required classes as well as trying to figure out what the course would be to become a politician. He was still working a part time job, although less so. And his great love…he was in the university marching band. I kid. Sort of. He was in the marching band. And he hated it. He could barely play his instrument and used to joke that he only played the whole notes. I think he was in the band because his parents expected him to be there. After whining about it for more than a month I finally convinced him that if he hated it as much as he said he hated it, then he should just quit. About two weeks later he did.
And our lives continued. The seasons changed. Summer faded into autumn. Autumn faded into winter.
And then it was Christmas. Yippee for Christmas!
I love Christmas. I used to anyway. I’ve become a bit of a Scrooge as I’ve gotten older. At least around the socializing. I tend to spend Christmas day on the sofa with lots of Chinese food and sappy movies on the Hallmark Channel. But I still love putting up a tree and decorating. And in 1991 it was no different. Plus I had a boyfriend that liked decorating as much as I did. Sam and I went shopping for the tree. It took forever before we found the tree we liked, that would actually fit in my apartment. He helped me decorate it, with all of the ornaments I’d stolen from my parents. And in no time the place looked great.
And I remember getting my first Christmas gift from Sam. It was cold outside and we were sitting in my living room. It was early evening and we’d built a fire in the fireplace. (This was the last apartment I had with a working fireplace). I was in my famous green bathrobe and we were enjoying the tree and the fire and were making out on the sofa. Somewhere I have a picture of this evening. By this time Sam had already brought a couple of gifts for me to put under the tree. While we were sitting there he asked me if I’d like to open a present. I didn’t know how to respond.
I’ve never been a peeker. I’ve never wanted the surprise ruined. I’ve never wanted the gifts early. I’ve had the chance to cheat (insert joke here) and know what I was getting as a gift many times but I’ve never done it. I’ve always wanted the anticipation to last. I think part of this has to do with getting such lousy gifts growing up that if you don’t open the gifts then there’s always a possibility it might be what you want. And so I’ve always enjoyed waiting. That is unless I’m doing the giving. I’ve often given gifts early because I get excited about them. I’ll tell you about the Tiffany ring I gave the asshole, David, on our first anniversary sometime.
So when Sam asked I didn’t know what to say. Of course I wanted to open the gift but I also wanted the anticipation to last. I figured since there were many more, how could it hurt to open just one. And so he picked one of the gifts from under the tree. And he handed it to me. And I sat there. And breathed in the moment.
And I opened the gift.
And it was a Christmas ornament. The first of many that he would give me.
And it said. “Our First Christmas.”
I don’t remember any of the other gifts he gave me that year. I don’t remember many of the gifts he gave me throughout our relationship. In fact, there are only three that stand out. One was Christmas gift. One was a birthday gift. And the best of all was a Valentine’s Day gift. The other’s don’t matter. The three that I remember will always be the standard which I hold all boyfriend’s gifts. No one has come close to matching them.