I didn’t talk to AH the night I saw another woman driving his truck. It was back in the pre-cell phone days and he had to call my house or work and vice versa. By the time I got home from hanging out with my friends, it was late and he knew better than to call my house that late. My mother told me he’d called and what he’d said about the woman being a friend with a broken down car and I had no reason to not believe the story. I was already getting over it and letting go of what I assumed was some form of cheating by the time I went to bed.
The next day was Saturday and I had to work again from 12-9. My career at the time was as the information booth receptionist at the local mall. I loved the job. I could do my homework there, wear cute outfits and see my friends. I rented strollers and gave directions and answered the phone. It was totally fun and totally easy. That afternoon, AH showed up at the mall with flowers and explained and told me he hoped I wasn’t mad at him. Of course I wasn’t mad, I thought it was actually an example of his good nature that he would help a friend. He came back at nine, took me to dinner and all was right with the world again. A few days later he told me he loved me.
The next weekend, a friend of mine was having a Halloween party. I was helping her with it and was very excited. My mother made the AH a long Dracula cape to wear and I dressed up like a saucy witch. We looked good and had a good time. About eleven o’clock however, he told me he was not feeling well and thought he needed to go home and go to bed. My lie detector was undeveloped in those days and I thought nothing of it. He took me home, I cleaned off my make-up and went to bed. I was happy and content. I’d had a good time with my older handsome boyfriend and I felt good. I called him the next day to see how he was feeling and he said not much better and told me he needed to stay home and rest. I wanted to see him, but didn’t really mind because I had papers to write and I really needed to stay home as well.
The next few weeks were strange. Where previously we had spent all of our spare time together, suddenly, he had to work, or help his dad or brother with something. He had taken me out to the country to meet his grandmother a few times and suddenly he had to go do all kinds of things for her. He suddenly had a number of job interviews at schools that took a while to get to. I was busy with school and work and although I missed seeing him as much, we still went out once or twice a week, so I didn’t think too much about it. The Saturday before Thanksgiving, AH invited me to his house to have lunch with his parents and then go to a movie. When I got there, his parents were not at home and he was working on his truck. He said he was having trouble with it and he had the hood up and all the necessary tools laying around. He said that he wasn’t going to have time to go to the movies, we could still do lunch, but we’d have to go out. We went to lunch, I dropped him back off at his house and I went home.
We talked very briefly over the next couple of days. My parents and I were going out for Thanksgiving that year. It was just the three of us by then and holidays were kind of lonely and sad and we were trying new things. The plan was for me to go to dinner with them and then go to the AH’s house for dessert with his family. I was looking forward to it, but by then, even my naive self knew something was wrong. I didn’t know what it was though. I thought that maybe I was too young for him. He was looking for his first post college job and I was a 19 year old kid. He was staying with his parents until he found the job, but he had lived on his own far from home for years. He’d had a life. He owned stuff. I still slept with my stuffed dog. I was way out of my league and I truly thought that was the problem. Hot and glamorous I may have been, but I was still just a girl.
It was the Tuesday or Wednesday before Thanksgiving when an old and trusted friend called me and simultaneously broke my heart and saved me.