Saturday, March 7, 2009

Opening The Vault: Part Twenty Seven

In a long distance relationship, you have to work twice as hard to stay together -- especially when there’s a 16-year age difference. That struggle intensified as I approached one year of dating my California-based sweetheart Mark (a.k.a. Sparky).

After two tumultuous encounters back to back, we decided to start dating other people. The tricky part -- though this was understood, we never explicitly talked about it.

As the younger half of our May-December romance, I was craving a male distraction of the local variety. Sure enough, during the second half of my senior year in college, that’s exactly what I got. I now Open The Vault to Volume #57 and take you back to the spring of 1995...

March 7, 1995
Mount Holyoke College,

South Hadley, MA

Dear Diary,

I had a date tonight with Dave, a DJ I met last Friday at a campus party.

Amazingly enough, I actually had a good time -- he’s cute, funny and impressed with my vocabulary. I even enjoyed the goodnight kiss. He was polite enough to ask if he could kiss me.

Mount Holyoke: My beloved alma mater was the backdrop for an unexpected senior year romance

“Could I make a strange moment any stranger?” Dave quipped, before leaning down to lock lips. He’s tall too -- a nice change from Sparky.

I realize that a lot of what made tonight enjoyable was that I wasn’t overanalyzing every little thing that happened. I have a bad habit of doing that with Sparky.

We spoke today.

“What’s on your mind?” he asked.

"Can't I just be calling to say I love you without an ulterior motive?"

“No,” he said with a laugh. “I know you, you’re pondering something.”

I was -- the possibility of going to LA next month.

Sparky lamented about his financial situation, mentioning the recent $500 bill from our Valentine’s excursion to The Poconos. I thanked him again for the trip and he said--

“I have to save for graduation.”

He made it sound like this milestone in my life was special for him too. Like he has every intention of being there.

* * *
March 13, 1995

I had a great time again with Dave. He had me laughing quite a bit -- and also wondering if there’s anything left to salvage between Sparky and I.

After a movie, Dave suggested we go for a walk on campus. We sat on a bench by the lake. He took my face in his hands and kissed me, eventually nibbling on my neck and earlobe.

As he put his arms around me and took my hand in his, Dave told me I’m terrific and incredible. When I returned the compliment, he said--

“That’s because I’m kissing you.”

Back at the dorm, there was a message on my machine from Sparky. I called him back and he asked where I’d been. I lied and said I was out with a girlfriend. I felt kind of duplicitous, but it’s better than feeling miserable -- which is what I’ve had enough of with Sparky.

* * *
My romance with Dave ended up getting me through more than just the long-distance blues. Dave would be right by my side when carelessness on my part led me to a brush with death.

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