Hello, my friends. It’s been a few weeks since we corresponded, and Thanksgiving seemed a perfect time to touch base. I have a story to tell as well.
I don’t know what your plans are for Thanksgiving (my US peeps) or for Black Friday (US and Canadian peeps), but in my home, we’re having a quiet, laid back sort of holiday. Although it’s not a holiday in November up here in Canada, it feels like one. My husband and I are both taking Thursday and Friday off to reach down to our US roots and celebrate with our friends, even the friends who live so far away.
But that’s not all I wanted to say. I promised you a story. This one is a tidbit from my own life, and it’s brief.
Living in Los Angeles in the early 90s was a pretty busy time for me. I was working as a technical writer for a very large road building firm (think freeways), and although I wasn’t thrilled with the job, it paid the bills. I had two very young daughters, splitting their time between me and my ex-husband. I missed them.
Thanksgiving approached, and since my ex’s family always threw a humongous Thanksgiving party, including games, a feast, lots of conversation, many children, etc., I knew it would be cruel to keep my daughters away from the fun, so my ex had them for the holiday. As I am a person with virtually zero family, I knew Thanksgiving was going to be a lonely day.
Then I got invited to an “orphan’s Thanksgiving” party. There were going to be many friends there, and it was designed to be a get-together for people like me who had no family to share the special day with. I RSVP’d in the affirmative right away.
Thanksgiving rolled around and I got all dressed up, made up, perfumed and prettied for my night with friends. I got to the party and was greeted warmly by many people I knew. I was a little surprised by how many people were orphans like me, but I felt right at home.
When I saw Ken there, I remembered the frosty-freezy reception I gave him when we’d encountered each other in person for the first time at a Halloween party the month before. I fully expected to give him a cold shoulder on Thanksgiving as well, because he was there with the same girl, and I’ve never been one to flirt with someone who’s “taken.” I would be polite, of course, but distant. That was despite the fact that I found his writing compelling, when I read it on the online bulletin board we both participated in. He was interesting, fascinating even, but off-limits.
Well, the evening started off pleasantly enough, but soon I discovered that Ken’s relationship with the other girl was on the rocks. That he was there with her only because they’d RSVP’d as a couple and didn’t want to back out. They weren’t officially broken up, but it was obvious there was nothing left there but a shell.
He was charming, he was funny, he was incredibly intelligent, and had a forceful personality. He often dominated conversation without being domineering. I was more and more intrigued by him, and many times remembered his writing, where his thoughts about relationships so echoed my own.
We flirted a bit, then more. The other girl glared at me — apparently, she wasn’t quite as finished with the relationship as Ken was. That was not good, as far as I was concerned.
Eventually, toward the end of the evening, it was blatantly obvious that Ken and I were on the track to something interesting. I was still very cognizant of the other girl, and didn’t let things progress past a casual flirtation.
Then he asked me out. I was so torn. I so wanted to share some one-on-one time with this incredible man, but also aware that we had many friends in common, and I’d be a “homewrecker” if I appeared to be the cause of his finally breaking up with the girl who remained interested in him. So…reluctantly, painfully, I said no to his invitation.
I did offer a caveat, though. I told him that I’d go out with him one month after he’d broken up officially and finally with the woman he’d been dating. One month. I didn’t want to start going out with him only days after he’d ceased the relationship because I could be considered a cause of the break up. I wasn’t the cause, and I didn’t want that reputation.
By mid-December, everyone knew that his relationship with “M” was terminated. He and she were still friends, but not dating anymore. Ken is the kind of guy who keeps those friendships — we orphans are loathe to leave people behind once we’ve formed a bond. So they were on good terms, but both free to date others. She took up with another guy pretty quickly, but Ken waited. We chatted online a few times, we talked to each other on the phone, we took the time to get to know each other without dating.
When a month rolled around, I was in Washington DC at President Clinton’s inauguration, where I’d been invited to attend a big inaugural ball. (Not an opportunity anyone should ever pass up, no matter what party you voted for.) So, even though we’d reached “the day”, we couldn’t spend it together.
I came home and within 24 hours, was greeted at my door by Ken, bearing chocolates and flowers and a great big smile.
I have never looked back from that day. We got married about two years later.
Thanksgiving is special to me because it began a romance I know will carry me through all the ups and downs of my life. It’s been almost 21 years and I’m hoping for at least 21 years more.
Happy Thanksgiving! May your day be as beautiful a memory as mine.