The Story of Us: Marrying Age

The Story of Us: Marrying Age

Jan 25

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clark-and-salinaWhat is “marrying age” exactly? Is it simply the age at which you can legally perform your nuptials this side of the border, or is it the heel-of-the-hand-to-the-center-region-of-the-forehead moment when a girl realizes that she doesn’t need any more “friends”, particularly those of the male persuasion? However you define it, I am quite certain I had reached that age judging by the fact that I had sworn off going to any more weddings until I had a warm-bodied date by my side, and I occasionally slipped the latest issue of Bride Magazine into my shopping cart at the Target check-out line when no one was looking.

I met Clark when I was 25. By that time, I had three and a half serious relationships on my dating record. {The half was a commitment-phobe who was holding out for, and I believe may still be holding last I heard, for a Hawaiian Tropics model with a mission to promote world peace, so we don’t actually count him}. The first was a sweet country boy who wore cowboy boots and wide-rimmed hats, and listened to nothing but Tim McGraw and Bone Thugs N Harmony . Nothing screams “You’ve Got Game” quite like Bizzy Bone. I was 15, and he was in college. He had a driver’s license and a real job at a convenience store. He was the kind of guy who was just sweet enough to sit through the Titanic with me four times and take my little sister out for milkshakes to show her how a true gentleman should treat a lady. He gave me my very first kiss in the back of his Chevy pick-up, and I’m quite sure he didn’t tell my little sister about that particular “gentlemanly” gesture. It was the sort of teenage romance that makes for a good country song. Every time I hear “Strawberry Wine” I think of parking just over the fence of the airport runway and watching the planes take off overhead from the bed of his truck. That was before parking just over the fence of the airport runway wasn’t a sure-fire way to get yourself shot on sight. Ah… the pre-threat level orange days.

And then, I went to college. Not only did I gain the traditional Freshman 15 {which I promptly lost thanks to Robert Atkins before they discovered that his diet would turn your kidneys to hockey pucks}, but I also gained a new and more “sophisticated” lease on life. In this melting pot of cultures and interests {of which I took particular interest in boys with surfboards and acoustic guitars}, the world was at my fingertips. Once I traded my American Eagle cardigans for Rainbow sandals and threadbare T’s, it was the beginning of the end for Bizzy Bone. By my sophomore year, he had waited his last day for me to turn in my new DMB collection for a full refund and ride off with him into the sunset. But it was too late. We drifted apart… him toward the altar with one of my hometown friends and me, well… I just drifted…

…into my first band.

He was a guitar player with shaggy curls and I was a background singer with wicked stage fright. Our love debut was a Battle of the Bands contest where the lead singer thought it would be a sure win if we all wore head bandanas and matching T-shirts that said “Make Seven Up Yours” for the big show. That should have been my first clue, but I was just smitten enough to think that was a splendid idea. He was a philosophy major who read Kierkegaard and quoted Nietzsche. He spoke Hebrew and together we were going to join the peace corp in Nepal where we would live on bhat and tarkari in the back of his Sahara Jeep Wrangler. It was a brilliant plan, that is, until he philosophized his way in and out and in and out….. and then in…. and then out again of our Bohemian fantasy leaving me a wilted flower child with nothing but a few coasters he spun for me in Intro to Pottery and a Rusted Root album to numb the pain. Although we can all agree that beatnik isn’t my best look, you never forget your first heartbreak.

It was years later when I met The Marine. He was an ex-marine, but nevertheless, he completely looked the part. Without so much as a wrinkle in his perfectly pleated khakis, The Marine had a high-paying job, a company car, a mortgage, and an 11-year head start on life. As for me, I had just landed my first cubicle job and had barely dipped my toe in the Real World. Everything I owned fit in the back of my Chevrolet Monte Carlo. It seemed like only yesterday I was skipping my Senior baccalaureate to go see Ja Rule in concert, and suddenly I found myself on a steady diet of chiaroscuro where the conversation seldom strayed from the topics of home equity loans, Caribbean cruises, and 401k packages. I was bored out of my mind, but that was until we had been dating all of 3 weeks and The Marine announced that the only logical conclusion was for us to start considering engagement. I began to suspect that this wasn’t “The One” when during one of our usual Brazilian feasts, The Marine reached over the table and began to cut my meat. He cut. my. meat. I headed for the exit shortly after he showed me his collection of blazing white bath towels with all of the Polo horse ponies facing up and to the left next to his clothes closet where every hanger was spaced exactly two-finger widths apart. I had seen Sleeping with the Enemy one too many times to know that my future with Semper Fi would have me running for my life in a Carol Channing wig on a bus with a one-way ticket to nowhere. I spooked and blamed it on Daddy issues, and thankfully, that was the end of The Marine.

Needless to say, by the time I was of “marrying age”, I began to wonder if I was even capable of recognizing “The One” if and when he ever did cross my path. He eventually did, but I was among the last to realize it when it happened.

To be continued…

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  • carol peterson

    My dear Apothic Red buddy….please write a book. Seriously, you have a true gift. I have always enjoyed reading your blog, but I’m actually sitting here disappointed that “your story” has ended and I must wait for the next installment. Carry on!

  • Dew

    It does seem like yesterday . Love your story sweetheart . Brings back so many memories of us.