Much as I’ve tried not to, I have invariably compared Mr. Right For Now to the men who have preceded him. A 1996 weekend getaway to Delaware with my then-beau Larry found me doing exactly that.
Having endured plenty of highway drama with my California-based ex Mark (a.k.a. Sparky), I was more than a little anxious about my first road trip with Larry. As it turned out, I had nothing to worry about -- apart from Sparky’s lingering ghost. I now Open The Vault and take you back to Independence Day of ‘96...
July 4th ,1996
Broadkill Beach, DE
Larry and I drove down here this morning. Much to my surprise, our four hours on the road flew by.
During our journey, Larry confided more about his colorful past, namely how he kept himself afloat financially after his father’s death when he was 16. It included stealing from a store he worked at.
I could feel my sense of propriety flare up. Immediately, I caught myself, looked out the window and took a deep breath.
It doesn’t matter, I reminded myself, you’re not going to marry him.
With Sparky, I treated every example of our different upbringings as a catastrophe of epic proportions. I loved him so much that it pained me to know we weren’t compatible, a pain exacerbated by his ability to properly address our problems.
Unlike Sparky, Larry listens to whatever frustrations I feel and try to cease the bothersome habit (e.g. provocative pillow talk). Considering he’s been a part of my life for nearly six months now, I have reached this wonderful comfort zone with him. But, of course, we’ve been together on a regular basis -- a luxury that Sparky and I never had.
When the Eagles’ song “Love Will Keep Us Alive” came on the radio, I couldn’t help wondering how vacations with Sparky might have been different had they been supplemented by a normal relationship.
Our differences notwithstanding, how could I feel anything but self-conscious and insecure during our trips? I felt the tremendous pressure of trying to compress the months we were apart into one isolated holiday.
Still, it seems like another lifetime ago that we were blissfully in love. I was a different person then. I’m more of a woman now -- I only wish Sparky could see that.
* * *
As I tried to convince myself Sparky was in the past, Larry and I were approaching a milestone of sorts. The occasion would prompt me to wonder if it was time to say goodbye.