The Zombies Ate My Brains

Rescuing what might remain of the grey matter.

WEMon: The Weird Ways We Say, “I Love You”

Inspired by Writing Essential Group and the July 21st challenge

Today’s challenge: write about the weird ways we say, “I love you”.

  • Write about the guy who gives his wife snow tires for her birthday.
  • Write about the mother who loves just a little too much.
  • Write about the perfect, “I love you” that came just a little too late.
 

I haven’t written a lot about two of the men in my stable of ex’s. One is The Good Ol’ Boy and the other is The Rebound. Both were rebounds, actually, and I stayed with each about two years, mostly out of fear of being alone. If I had been older, wiser, more experienced, less fearful, I would not have stayed as long. Hell, I probably wouldn’t have lasted beyond the first date! But this knowledge came later. Back then… I was woefully ill-equipped to pick a suitable mate/partner/boyfriend.

Here’s the story about The Good Ol’ Boy.

In the early 1980’s after I separated from The Cowboy, I met KG while I was vacationing on the Bruce Peninsula. I stayed at a cottage with another friend and her sister. Almost the instant that we unpacked our bags, a knock came at the door. It was the neighbour from three doors down inviting us to a bonfire that night. Sure. Why not?

Later, comfortably seated at the fire, a charming and slightly tipsy fellow introduced himself. He is KG. He owns the cottage next door. He’s very good friends with the host and hostess. We chatted and I enjoyed the attention, because this was the first time since the breakup with The Cowboy that I had the interest of another fellow. We exchanged signs of the zodiac. I’m Aries. He’s Leo. Oooh, that’s a good combination! [This is where I insert the emoticon for an eye roll] As a matter of fact, his birthday was that very day! Well happy birthday! Give us a kiss? Sure, why not?

He was forty-six, twenty years older than I.  He was a single dad and his four children lived with him, the eldest was nineteen. He told me the story of how he survived a plane crash. He was the pilot and the weather conditions deteriorated so quickly…Oh, how terrible! How awful for you! You poor man!

And so it began.

We (that is the cottage “we” meaning he and I, his kids, the host and hostess of the bonfire night, and anyone else who may have happened by) took paddle-boat rides in Georgian Bay, competed in Euchre tournaments, and any number of cottage-y events. Never a dull moment.

I slept with him later that week, much to the dismay of my cottage-mates. I shocked myself, truth be told, but stuffed any anxiety and apprehension down the denial tubes and sat firmly on the closed hatch.

We continued to see one another on weekends when KG flew from his home near Toronto to the airfield next to the cottage. As the weather allowed, he flew to London airport to pick me up. Ours was a long-distance, twice-a-month relationship when flying weather was good. Otherwise, I drove the four hours from home to the cottage. Which was a huge deal for me, since I had just learned to drive. Fear of being alone trumped fear of driving.

He rarely called. I was the one that made the weekend arrangements. I was never truly comfortable in the relationship, yet I persisted in keeping it alive. We spent most of our time together in the company of the bonfire people, and usually drunk.

Gradually, I tired of the weekends. Yes, lots of giggles and good times, but only that. We had no real engagement with one another, beyond the boudoir, that is. Any time we spent together alone and sober was unbearably awkward.

For Christmas he gave me a partially used bottle of White Shoulders. It was his mom’s favourite scent. It may have been his mom’s bottle. I had gone to great lengths to enlarge his favourite image from a flying magazine, had it framed and captioned. And he gives me a half-empty bottle of cheap cologne…

This was my wake-up call. One that I heeded, for in the meantime I had met The Performer. I was seeing two guys at once. It was time to call it quits with The Good Ol’ Boy before he was a bona fide cuckold.

Our last day as a couple, KG and I and the rest of the cottage entourage sat outside on the deck. Some new people were visiting. They had rented the same cottage I stayed at two years earlier. KG was regaling them with the tale of the plane crash and the weather conditions that deteriorated so quickly…Oh, how terrible! How awful for you! You poor man!

“KG”, I said. “Let’s go for a paddle-boat ride.”

“OK”

A few moments later we toured the harbour. We said nothing. Or almost nothing. Maybe, “Oh. Look. Is that a fish?”

It was excruciating.

But I did it. I told him that it was over.

At the time he didn’t put up much resistance, for which I was grateful. However, once we were both back home, he started to call. Usually drunk. He missed me. He had heard that “The Performer” was nothing but a gigolo. He wanted to come by to see me. He cried. I took pity on him. I said sure, Sunday is fine.

He arrived with a florist’s box. It may have held a dozen red roses. I don’t know, I never opened it.

From his pocket he pulled out a ring box. It contained his ex-wife’s engagement ring. He proposed.

After I sent him on his way, and after I talked with the hostess of the bonfire, I learned that he was very upset with me about the roses. If I had only opened the box, I would have surely known that he loved me.

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Categories: Relationships

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51 replies

  1. From his pocket he pulled out a ring box. It contained his ex-wife’s engagement ring. He proposed.

    Huh? What? I don’t see the problem.

    WHACK!! someone just hit me up the side of the head.

    (I’ll be back in a bit, I have a litter box to clean. Still don’t see the problem.. mutter, mutter, mutter, geez woominz….)

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  2. Good grief, it’s all as unreal as a reality show! Astounding, lol!

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  3. They were probably the same roses he gave his ex-wife.

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  4. Would it have been ok if the bottle of cheap scent had been full or nearly full? I agree half full (or empty) is bad but at what point does it pass the acceptability test? Men really don’t know these things 😇

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  5. There but for the grace of ….

    Oh, yeah, never mind. I’ve had a few of those GOBs (good old boys) myself. I do NOT miss those days!

    Well told, Maggie.

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  6. I don’t know if I was a candy, flowers, and jewellry kind of girl. I never had a chance to find out :/
    I know I really like them now though 🙂
    It seems to me that he was a loser on so many levels. Congrats on breaking free … and writing a really good story about it. I particularly liked the part where you “stuffed any anxiety and apprehension down the denial tubes and sat firmly on the closed hatch”. Such a great description of something I’m done so many times!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s an odd one, this wooing thing. All of the icons of the day – the flowers, the jewels, the candy – just think Ava Gabor and Green Acres… these were supposed to be the key to the vault, you should excuse the imagery. Disney/Hallmark/Hollywood broadcast it far and wide.

      All I could think about was the insane expense for a hollow gesture. But that’s just me.

      Glad you liked the “denial tubes”. I think all this talk of submarines the day before set me up.

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  7. Wow, Maggie, I love this response to the challenge and your story. Still, you should have been grateful it was perfume rather than a half empty bottle of shampoo.

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  8. Wow. I was still creeped-out about the leftover perfume when you got to the reusable ring!

    Three men proposed to me. Another thought we should live together. One started talkin about marriage before we’d even been intimate. The one I married never did propose to me, but he did say, “We should prolly pick a day.”

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ah, a Leo. Don’t you know that you put an air sign with a fire sign, you are bound to get a lot of hot air.

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  10. shaking my head…words elude me. Maggie, you have had one helluva life. But you know, I really like the smell of White Shoulders….Given this guy’s history, who knows what was really in the box! Roses? Spit on it, bud!

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    • I know. As I wrote this I thought to myself, calling “White Shoulders” a cheap cologne is a cheap shot. I like the fragrance, too. Neighbour south has a flowering shrub that reminds me of this episode EVERY time I pass.

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  11. Wait – – how did you know it was a recycled ring? Was it engraved or something??!

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  12. This is so delightfully expressed Maggie! I love the way you say, ‘…sat firmly on the closed hatch..’
    I can relate so well to you and your experiences! Thank you for sharing this remarkable story! ❤

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  13. Love this tale, Maggie. The neighbour’s flowering bush reminding you of the ‘dusty’ repurposed perfume bottle is just plain cruel!

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  14. You escaped that chump, and about that I’m very glad and impressed. Better yet, you had the smarts to know that you’d escaped. You deserve so much better! Cheers to offloading jerks from our lives and keeping only the good people around us. And to writing great posts about the jerks, which never ceases to be a rewarding activity as long as it’s still cathartic and can perhaps also teach some less experienced persons the warning signs. 😉 😀
    xo

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  15. Don’t be so picy about the ex-wife ring thing. It’s not like her her cut off finger was still in it. Was it?

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Trackbacks

  1. WEMon: July 21, 2014 – The Weird Ways We Say, “I Love You” | Writing Essential Group
  2. WEMon: July 28, 2014 – Man vs. Machine | Writing Essential Group

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