I’m Young, I’m Wild, and I’m Free

Part Three of my Belated Valentine’s Day Story

(Parts one and two are here and here, if you are interested.)

K and C had plans to go camping with his family and friends that following weekend, Memorial Day, 1989. They asked my daughter and me to join them.

How could we refuse?

I was so infatuated (?), I was having a hard time sleeping. And eating (well, except for an occasional Reese’s peanut butter cup, because everyone knows it’s never a bad time for one of those). All I knew was, I was having the time of my life. I had no idea how I was going to make up the cash I’d lose taking a Saturday off, but if it was going to end, it may as well end after boating, one of my favorite things in world to do.

The weekend was perfect. Fun and romantic and….steamy. But when it was over, we went our separate ways as planned.

I wondered if I’d ever see him again.

He didn’t wait long to call, and soon we were taking turns traveling back and forth to see each other. When we couldn’t be together, we spent hours on the phone, and that was back in the day when everything was long distance. He was smart and funny and cute and kind and affectionate….

Everything my heart had always wanted in a man.

But I was free, and was stubbornly determined to “do it on my own,” so I sowed my wild oats.

By that I mean I went on exactly one date, with an old friend. It was awkward.

And he wasn’t K.

In the meantime, the crazy ex decided I might not be so bad after all. Apparently supporting himself was harder than he thought. He looked genuinely shocked when I made it clear I wasn’t at all interested in doing that again. So, he did what any red-blooded asshole would do, he waited until we weren’t home to break in and take everything of value. Which, for me, consisted of a lawn mower, my dad’s gun, my tip jar, and my address book, the latter of which he promptly used to call K and threaten his life. (I can’t remember what K said to him, and I don’t care enough to ask now, but fortunately he never heard from him again.)

He had gone through C’s things, too, so not surprisingly, she no longer felt safe living with me. The police said, as long as we were still married, there was nothing they could do about it.

When he started showing up and calling me at work, I knew it was only a matter of time before things got really ugly again. I called my mom’s best friend, AKA Auntie Dar, and she offered to put us up in a house she had purchased to flip.

So much for “doing it on my own.”

A few days later, my daughter and I packed up our meager belongings and ran off to Chicago.

Not long afterward, K followed.

Here’s a link to Part Four — Living on a Prayer.

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