Category Archives: I Married The Easter Bunny

I Married the Easter Bunny – The Epilogue

So Mark went back to New Mexico, I stayed at home until March while everything got re-arranged.  The USAF moves kinda like molasses, so they finally got our stuff moved and I finally went out there.  It was a big deal to me, as I had only lived at home my entire life and moving from the Greater Cincinnati area to Alamogordo, New Mexico was like moving from earth to the moon.  The anchor store in the mall was K-Mart.  But life in NM is a whole other story that I don’t have time for here.

We have had some down times, but honestly, I have to say that our life has been mostly up.  We are still, after all this time, best friends.  We’d rather be with each other than not.  We still have fun together and we still like each other, which from what I can tell from looking around is HUGE.  We still talk to each other, about everything.  We don’t keep secrets and if something is bothering one or the other of us, we talk about it BEFORE it becomes a problem.  He thinks of me before he does anything.  He even checks with me before he arranges work trips to make sure it is convenient for me and the family.  He is a good husband and a good father.  It is wonderful to know that my children and I are his first consideration.  It is a blessing to have a husband whose first interest is my happiness and comfort.  I will never understand how I got so lucky.

As far as the parents go, the Dads are both gone, but my Dad considered Mark a son and taught him how to build stuff and fix cars and plumbing.  Mark’s Dad considered me a daughter and was always good to me and always made sure that my mother-in-law kept Fig Newtons in the house for me.  For a year after he died, they tasted like sawdust and I couldn’t eat them.  Almost two years later, they once in a while taste like Newtons.  I’ve pretty much switched to Vanilla Oreos at their house though.  The Figs will never be the same.

The Moms are still here.  My mom is suffering from some flavor of dementia.  The specific type is really not all that important as it is six of one, half a dozen of another.  But I CAN say that she always considered Mark a son and once she got over the shock of my defiance, she let it all go and things have been fine.  In the last couple of years, since my Dad is gone, she likes Mark better than me and that is ok.  My mother-in-law treats me like a daughter.  She helps me quilt and we laugh together and talk regularly.  She knows now, that I’m a good girl and I always was.  She realizes that I make her son happy and we have the same kind of relationship that she and Grandpa had.   We are good friends and it makes me happy.

We have two beautiful, smart children that make our lives complete. Without them, I don’t think either of us would be able to breathe.  They are the greatest blessing that God has ever decided to grace us with.

I wrote all this down, because a friend of mine asked me where I found him and are there any more of him running around.  I found him when I wasn’t looking, at the mall.  In a bunny suit.  Two years younger than me, getting ready to leave for the Air Force.  Improbable on every single front, but we made the right choice.  In spite of everyone’s doubts and best efforts, we did it anyway and have never looked back.  The old wives tale is true.  Happy is the bride the sun shines on.   Thanks for reading all this peeps 🙂


I Married The Easter Bunny Part X – We Actually, Finally, Get Married

The day after The Wedding That Wasn’t, we got together again and talked some more.  He had gone home and thought about everything that happened and he realized that I was right.  Nothing had gone the way it was supposed to, or the way WE wanted it to, and then with me sick, it was just all wrong.  That evening, he took me down to a beautiful spot in the hills above Cincinnati where we could see the city lights and re-proposed to me.  Properly this time.  No over excitement about a new ring, no rushing.  It was waaaay better than the first time.  That afternoon, he had called the reverend and made arrangements for us to go to the church the NEXT day and get married by ourselves.  The day after THAT, he had to leave to go back to New Mexico and the USAF.  The funny thing about all of it, was that the day we finally ended up getting married is my mother’s birthday.  L-O-EFFING-L!!

While I cannot remember many details of the Wedding That Wasn’t, I CAN remember the Wedding That Was.  I wore a cream-colored skirt and a pink sweater with a lace collar.  I wore the lace tights I was going to wear with my dress, my fancy blue feathery garter and a pair of cream-colored flats.  I wore my great-grandmother’s cameo pinned on the middle of the collar and my hair was down with the sides pulled up the way I always wore it and still wear it frequently today.  Instead of the big, beautiful, fairy light accented bouquet I had made for myself, I carried the small one that I had planned to throw at the reception.  Mark wore dark dress pants and a white shirt, red tie and tweed jacket.  My brother-in-law came along and took pictures.  The rev married us in the little chapel instead of the big sanctuary.  It was quiet and kind of dark.  We spoke quietly.  It was just us and it turns out that was the way it was supposed to be.  Everything we’ve done since has been best when it was just us.  It was warm for January and we left the church with our coats over our arms.  There is an old wives’ tale that says “Happy is the Bride the sun shines on.”  When we walked out the door, the sun was shining brightly.

We drove over to his mom and dad’s house.  His mom was laying in bed throwing up.  His grandmother had also been sick.  I’d had a virus.  It wasn’t nerves, or cold feet, or lack of love.  I wasn’t being selfish or immature.  I hadn’t broken down from the stress I’d been under.   Although I don’t like anyone to be sick, knowing that I wasn’t the only one, was one of the great reliefs of my life.

We left his house and drove over to mine.  I got my little overnight bag and hugged my mother.  We got in my little car and drove to the Hilton for our wedding night.  We finally relaxed and had room service for dinner.  The next morning, I took him to the airport for the flight back to New Mexico.

I didn’t move right away because the moving arrangements with the Air Force had to be re-worked.  I missed him more than ever, but at the same time felt better because I knew that nothing and no one could step between us ever again.

Next time, the epilogue.

I Married The Easter Bunny – Part IX – The Wedding That Wasn’t

We were to be married in a beautiful Methodist church.  Since it was January, most of the Christmas flowers were still in the church and due to the color of the stained glass, the color of the flowers, various shades of pinks and white, coordinated with my chosen colors.  We were going to add some other things, but honest to God, I can’t remember what those things were going to be.

We got to the rehearsal and did it.  The only thing I remember was someone behind us yelling,  “WE CAN’T HEAR YOU!  YOU NEED TO SPEAK UP TOMORROW!”  I kid you not, that is all I can remember, and I have no idea who it was.  I don’t remember how I got to the rehearsal dinner.  I don’t remember who I sat with.  All I remember is that it was a pizza place, we had the party room and no one ordered me a plain cheese pizza.  At the time, the only pizza I would eat was plain cheese and everyone, EVERYONE who knew me, knew that and I was the Bride and no one got me anything that I wanted to eat.  I recall leaving, sort-of.  I don’t remember where Mark was.  I don’t remember saying goodbye to him.  To tell the truth, I don’t remember him even being there, even though I know he was.  One of my girls took me home after a loooong time of riding around and talking.  I don’t remember what we talked about.  I’m pretty sure I just downloaded everything I had been through over the last couple of months.

What I do remember is getting home and vomiting.  And then vomiting more. And again.  And again a few more times.  Pretty much all night long.  There was no way I was going to be able to get married the next day.  I called Mark in the morning and told him I couldn’t do it.  He offered to rent a wheelchair for me.  Carry me.  Have the reverend come over to the house.  I didn’t want to do those things. I looked horrible.  I felt horrible.  The last couple of months had traumatized me, the night before sucked and I was sick.  I still wanted to get married.  I still loved him, but I was not going to do it like that.  Everything about the lead up had sucked and the actual wedding was going to make me happy, not another level of miserable.  He was not happy with me.  My mother was thrilled and to be honest, although we have never discussed it, I’m pretty sure his parents were only sad that he felt bad.  His side called his people.  My parents called our people and some people we couldn’t get ahold of.  I personally called the friend’s mom who was supposed to provide the food and she said and I quote, ” Oh that’s ok.  I don’t even have anything started yet.  To be honest, I haven’t even bought the ingredients yet.”  My intuition was right about that one.  I called my DJ friend.  HE said, and I quote, ” Oh that’s ok.  I forgot and scheduled another gig for tonight and was trying to figure out how to be in two places at once.  This takes a HUGE load off.”  Check TWO for my intuition.  My mother called the cake people and they said they were loading it into their van right then, what did we want them to do?  Mom said deliver it here.  So they did.  Box after box after box of cake.  It took up half the living room.  It was freaking delicious.  Lesson to be learned?  Hire freaking professionals.  Had the wedding happened, we would’ve been listening to the radio and eating G-DAMN CAKE because my caterer and DJ would not have shown up!!

A couple of hours after I talked to him, Mark came and picked me up.  We went off alone and talked.  I told him that I still wanted to get married, but I couldn’t do it like that.  After everything that had happened and then being sick, I just couldn’t do it.  He said he’d have to think about it.  He took my ring and took me home.  What had been the worst eight months of my life just culminated in the worst twenty-four hours I had experienced.  Ever.

I Married The Easter Bunny Part VIII – The Planning

The very next day after blowing up at me for being engaged my mother quit trying to talk me out of it.  She wasn’t happy or particularly helpful, passive aggressive is probably an accurate term for her attitude.  To her credit, she only threw one more tantrum during the whole rest of the engagement.  When she asked when we planned to have the wedding and I told her October, she lost it.  It was only four months away, I’d miss Christmas etc, etc.  So I talked to Mark and we agreed to put it off til January.

The next few months should have been fun, but overall, they were not.  My parents offered to give us money and skip the wedding.  At first I agreed, re-arranged my plans, then changed my mind back.

No one seemed happy for us but us.  His side was unhappy because we didn’t want kids there and because we weren’t going to play country music.  There was a minor flap over the food and the location of the reception and I’m pretty sure they didn’t like my veil, which I showed them in an effort to include them in the bride side of things.  The rehearsal dinner was also an issue.  We wanted it one place, they wanted it another.  They won because they were paying and because they didn’t want to do something more or different from they had done for their other son.

Things were even worse on my side.  My parents didn’t want to spend any money.  I bought a pretty dress, but it wasn’t remotely anything that I really wanted.  The only place I could have my reception was the American Legion Hall that my Dad belonged to because they were going to let us have it steeply discounted.  I didn’t want to have it there.  It reeked of cigarette smoke and reminded me of a bunch of old guys sitting around playing cards and dying Easter eggs for the annual Legion egg hunt.  I don’t remember what we were going to decorate the hall or the church with, I only remember that I had to do it myself.  The morning of the wedding.   I made the bouquets and we did not hire a florist.  The mother of a friend of my husband’s ran a catering company and wanted to do the food as a gift.  My mother-in-law told them one thing, we wanted something else.  I talked to the mom and worked out a new menu, but I felt weird about it.  I didn’t really trust the whole thing.  A friend of mine was going to DJ for us, but he seemed to be blowing me off.  We agreed to everything and planned it all and then I never heard from him again.  When I called to confirm a few days before, he almost seemed to have forgotten.  I had to go over all the songs and timing and everything again and he seriously didn’t seem to know any of it.  Again, I felt weird about things and didn’t really trust the situation.

The only thing I really liked was my cake.  It was a huge multi-cake extravaganza with bridges and a lighted fountain and mounds of frosting flowers.  It was beautiful and cost more than my dress.

We went out and bought a cake topper, cutting knives, a guest book, garter and all the other paraphernalia a wedding needed, but everything felt wrong.  The girls would have beautiful dresses and the guys would be handsome in their tuxedos.  My mother made her dress.  She wouldn’t spend the money to buy one.  My mother-in-law wouldn’t wear a long dress.  No one, and I mean no one would cooperate.  Even when I tried to get my husband to help me, he just said whatever you want is fine.  Just do it and tell me when and where to show up.  None of it was fun and I was worried about all of it.  I was alone.

We should have taken the money and run, but I just had to have a wedding…

I Married The Easter Bunny Part VII-The Engagement

As soon as the Christmas holidays were over, Mark had to go back to Biloxi, Mississippi to finish tech school.  That spring, I flew down to visit him.  He found a beautiful condo for me to stay in and it was a great long weekend.  We went to the beach, I met his friends and went out to eat and sight see.  We thought about driving over to New Orleans for a day, which is kind of funny because New Orleans is now one of our favorite places, but we decided not to because it was just a little too far.

On the last day I was in MS, as we were driving from lunch to the airport, my legs started to hurt.  They hurt so bad in fact that I could not sit still.  I just kept squirming and wiggling and then I started to feel sick  Not nauseated, just sick and tired.  By the time I got on the plane, I felt like I was starting to run a fever.  By the time I got to my layover in Memphis, I was so sick I barely knew which end was up.  I managed to get to my connecting flight’s gate and found a seat right under the speaker where flight announcements were made.  I concentrated on listening because I knew I had to get home.  Suddenly, I heard the words “last call” and “Cincinnati.”  I realized that I was about to miss my flight.  I stumbled to the gate, stumbled down the jetway, stumbled to my seat and passed out for the entire flight to Cincinnati.  The flight attendant had to wake me when we landed.  I exited the plane and walked right past my waiting mother, I couldn’t really see.  She grabbed me, got me home, took my temperature and found out that it was 104.  I don’t remember anything about the next week.  Apparently, she took me to the doctor who diagnosed me with the flu.

I don’t recall talking to Mark while I was sick but I’m sure I did.  When I recovered, I found out that he and half of his squadron had been in sick bay because they all had it too.  Whether I took it down there or got it there and brought it home we never could figure out.  In our family lore however, it is still referred to as the time I almost killed  half of the Air Force with my Martian flu.

Not long after this episode, I got a very interesting phone call.  AH had been dumped by his B and he called me.  He told me how sorry he was for what he had done and asked me if I would go to dinner with him to talk.  I chuckled and told him no thanks.  When he asked me why I told him that I had found someone who really loved me, who would never cheat or lie.  I told him that he should have thought about what he was doing before he did it.  The conversation lasted a little longer and there are more details that have been lost to time, but I DO remember the end.  He told me again how sorry he was and that it took the end of his relationship with her to realize he’d been played for a fool.  He realized that she never completely broke up with her REAL boyfriend and he realized that I was the root of her attration to him.  He told me he felt like an idiot and that he had made the biggest mistake of his life.  My response?  You ARE and you did, click.  I had never before or since felt so fulfilled by hanging up on someone.

In May, tech school was done and Mark came home for a couple of weeks before he left for his first real assignment at Holloman AFB in Alamogordo, New Mexico; a sort-of Godforsaken place about 90 miles north of El Paso, Texas.  Rumor has it that the valley had been a fairly verdant place before the nuclear bomb tests at the nearby Trinity Site, but that is for later in the story.

When he came home in May, he started working on me in earnest to get married and move to N.M. with him.  He’d been suggesting it for a while, but I wasn’t ready.  Finally, during that trip home, he convinced me that we at least needed to be engaged.  We went shopping for a ring, found one that fit that he could afford, and got engaged.  He wanted to give it to me in one of his signature romatic methods, but I had already seen it and I just wanted to get the show on the road if you know what I mean.  So in a very unromantic, mall associated location, he asked me to marry him, put the ring on my finger and sealed the deal with a kiss.  Even thought it was not the ideal proposal due to my impatience, I was happy and excited.

When I got home, my mother completely ruined it.  Even though I had told her that I figured we would get married sooner than later, she apparently didn’t believe me.  She was already in bed when I got home.  I ran up to her room, which wasn’t really dark, held out my hand and said, “Look what I got!!”  She responded in a less than enthusiastic manner.  The only words I remember exactly were mine.  The gist of her reaction was, why?  Why would I want to get married and move away?  Why would I want to marry a boy in the USAF?  Didn’t I know how hard and lonely my life would be?  On and on and on.  Sucking away my happiness and trying to talk me out of it before the ring even had a chance to warm up on my hand.  She and my father had a life-long unhappy marriage and when I responded to one of her complaints, that just because she was unhappy in marriage didn’t mean I would be, she completely lost it.  She got right in my face and and asked me how dare I throw that up in her face.  She then took her wedding ring off, gave it to me and told me to get married with it.  She then turned her back to me and wouldn’t talk to me anymore that night.

I went into my room feeling sad.  I was so happy with my choice and I wanted my mother’s approval.  I made up my mind that there was no way I was going to let her talk me out of getting married the way she had talked me into breaking up with my high school boyfriend.  I loved Mark and for the first time in my life, I was going to directly and openly defy my mother.  Although the wind had been knocked out my sails, I was still happy and the next day would be the beginning of the plans.

I Married The Easter Bunny Part VI

Once Mark left for the Air Force, I was pretty bereft.  I was lonely, I was bored, I was lonely.  During boot camp, he was allowed to call home in a pretty limited fashion.  Most of our communications were in the form of letters.  If I happened to be at work or the store when he DID call, my heart was sick because I never knew when he’d be able to call again.

Once he went to tech school, I was not only bored and lonely, I was insecure.  He was allowed to have a little bit of a social life and social life in tech school consisted of drinking, going to the beach, and bars and drinking some more.  I was sitting at home doing very little.  After my recent experience with cheating, my psyche was a wreck.  If he didn’t call or was late calling or if he wasn’t there when I called him, I was sure he was cheating on me.  He wasn’t, but I was afraid that he was.

Speaking of calling, my social life at the time consisted of talking to him on the phone.  We’d talk for hours.  My Dad worked for the phone company, so our long distance bills were free, but his weren’t.  He was using a huge chunk of his pay to pay for the calls.  I’d help him when I could, but I wasn’t doing much better in the money department.

After about three months of not seeing each other, he finally came home at Christmas.  I think he was home for two weeks and they were an awesome two weeks.  He bought me a little promise ring for Christmas that year.  I knew he bought it because he used my employee discount at the jewelry store were I was now working.  The very one that AH and B had tormented me in.  Anyway, the ring was beautiful.  I was a little heart with a fairly decent sized diamond in it.  I knew it was coming, so he decided to come up with a creative way to give it to me.

He hired a Santa Claus to deliver the ring to my house.  He came over for Christmas Eve dinner and just about the time we got done, someone knocked on the front door.  He started smiling and told me to go answer the door.  I had no idea who it was and felt a little apprehensive as I got up from the table.  I walked to the front door and very clearly could see Santa standing on the front porch.  Instead of opening the door, I turned around and ran back to the dining room.  Mark and my parents saw the look on my face and asked me what was wrong.  When I told them Santa was on the porch, Mark said “Well go answer the door!”  I have a weird shy streak and really didn’t want to open the door, so Mark came with me and we let him in.

Long story short, Santa made me sit on his lap and gave me my ring and a few other smaller gifts before he took his leave to finish his Christmas Eve duties.  When he left HO HO HOing and everything, I thought I was going to die.  But I loved it.  A few seconds after he left, we decided to look out to watch him go, but he was already gone.  The super weird thing that happened that night though was the way he left.  We have no idea where he went.  It was actually a snowy Christmas that year and when we looked out, there were no footprints in the snow.  None coming up the porch stairs pointing at the house for when he had arrived, and none going down the porch stairs pointing away, from where he left.  We actually opened the door all the way and looked to either side thinking maybe he walked to the side of the porch and jumped off into the yard to walk to a car or something, but there were no footprints.  None.  Santa had delivered my promise ring and disappeared without a trace.  I have no explanation other than it was really Santa and he sprinkled us with some kind of magical Santa dust that has protected us to this day and will hopefully continue to protect us for the remainder of our lives.

Next time, the actual engagement and the wedding that almost was.

I Married The Easter Bunny Part V

So after months of feeling like crap, I decided the time to move on was here at last.  I also realized that I needed some extra money.  Spring was beginning and this college girl needed new clothes, so I went to Sherry, the mall manager and asked her if I could work at the Easter Bunny booth during the season.  She said sure and that is when, oddly enough, the rest of my life began.

I worked the picture booth taking the pictures several times and it was just fine.  I was the bunny once and it sucked.  It was hot and smelly inside that stupid paper mache head.  It was not conducive to getting drinks of water or scratching your nose.  It was also confusing.  Does the bunny talk?  Does the bunny just pat the little ones on the head and send them away?  The bunny doesn’t have fingers, so the bunny helper gave the little kids a lollipop and coloring book which took off some of the pressure.  Also, it seemed the stupid, stinky head harbored germs.  I did my stint as the bunny and came down with a horrific, snotty, sneazy cold.  I didn’t want to be the bunny on my next shift like I was scheduled to be.  I wouldn’t be able to breathe or wipe my nose or get drinks.  I knew there was a teenage boy working the booth with me, so I called him at home and asked him if he would don the stupid suit for me the next day.  Of course he said yes.  Initial contact had been made.

The next day, I went to work in a shortish blue and white striped dress, a red belt that was one of those super cool Limited slouch belts and red heels.  Popped collar and carefully curled hair accompanied the outfit.  I was 80’s hot and I felt great, in spite of the snot.  I walked into the mall office to get my bunny stuff and my savior was sitting there with his elbows on his knees staring at the floor.  His first glimpse of me was those red, red shoes.  In retrospect, it was like a silly scene from a movie.  He looked at the shoes and scanned up to my face, swallowed really hard, regained his 18-year-old composure in the face of my 20-year-old sophistication, cleared his throat and popped out a manly “HI!”  I knew exactly who he was and that he was there to save my butt, but of course I had to act like I was not sure who he was.  “Oh, are you Mark?”  When he responded in the affirmative, I helped him get in the stupid suit, picked up the cash box, grabbed our elderly mall-cop escort and headed out into center court for our shift.

It was a really slow night, so I stood over by the bunny and talked to him.  It was really nice.  He was a nice person.  He sympathized with my cold and told me that he would do bunny duty for the remainder of the season whenever we worked together.  I was appreciative, he was nice.  When we got our break, I stopped at the popcorn store on the way back to the office and bought us a couple of cokes while our elderly escort took him on back.  We had a half hour break because of the heat of the suit, and we sat in the empty mall office the entire time talking.  We talked about my school, his school, our friends, spring, the mall, Easter, the bunny suit, Kings Island, cars, food, the lake, our families, music and on and on.  Every time we worked together, we did the same thing.  We’d talk.  About everything.  We’d get bored at the booth because weeknights were slow, so I’d grab the basket of suckers, take my bunny friend by the arm and we’d walk around the mall looking for little kids.  We became friends.  Really good friends.

Finally toward the end of Easter Bunny season, we decided to go out and hang out after work that weekend.  We were buddies and we enjoyed each other’s company.  I was not interested in him in a boyfriend kind of way at all.  I was done with that remember?  He was cute.  Very, very blonde and he had nice legs, but I really didn’t care.  I also couldn’t imagine actually going out with a boy two years younger than me.  I had just never thought of such a thing.  So with that knowledge firmly stuck in my brain, we got off work Saturday night, left my car at the mall, got in his car and proceeded to cruise around for hours.  Talking.  We decided we didn’t want to actually go anywhere so we just drove.  It was a pattern what is still repeating itself to this day.  Drive and talk.  Stop for a snack and a potty break, drive and talk some more.  By the time he took me back to the mall for my car, it was obvious that our hanging out had evolved into a date.  We decided to do it again.

We went out every chance we had.  We did all the usual stuff, movies, hanging out with friends, eating out etc., but the thing we enjoyed more than anything else was either driving around alone, or sitting by the lake or the river someplace with a picnic and talking.  We talked more than I had ever talked to anyone else in my life.  We really got to know one another and like one another as human beings.  After about a month of this, he invited me to his prom.  I did not hesitate for even one second.  I had been out of high school for two years and my undying wish was to go to another dance.  So I got a beautiful white, full length halter dress, told none of my friends and went to prom.  We had a blast.

After prom, he graduated and we proceeded to spend the entire summer going to Kings Island Amusement Park.  He had worked there for several summers and I had been hanging out there for years.  We had our season passes and we wore them out.  Part-time work doesn’t provide lots of cash for dating, so KI was a great way to actually go somewhere and have fun.  We’d split sodas and snacks and stay there all day til it closed.  Then we’d drive back roads home and then sit on the porch swing at my house and talk.  We’d been talking all day and we could still talk half the night on that swing.  Sometime in June, he told me he was going into the Air Force in August.  THAT sucked.  I had previous experience with boys going in the service and it was awful and I didn’t want to go through it again.  For some reason though, I decided to put up with it.  I didn’t want to lose this boy who it seemed was the perfect person for me.  We were attracted to each other of course, but our emotional and mental connection was unparalleled.  We suited each other in every way but especially in the ways that count.  We were friends.  We were each in love with our best friend.  So we continued to spend each and every available moment together and at the end of August he left.  I went from being happy again to being sad again, but in a completely different way.

I Married The Easter Bunny Part IV

The next three and a half months were miserable.  It quickly became apparent to everyone except AH, that B was going out with him for no other reason than to hurt yours truly.

They would come to the mall and walk up and down across the center court from the info booth holding hands and laughing and kissing.  I did my best to ignore it, but I watched every move from under my bangs.  Apparently, my lack of a reaction spurred her to greater action.  Suddenly, they started frequenting the jewelry store right next to my desk.  She would try on engagement rings and hold her arm up as high as it would stretch and squeal with extremely loud delight at the sparkle as she wiggled her fingers.  He just stood there like a big dope while she preened and shot not so subtle side glances in my direction.

Their next stop was the art store just across from me, where she would point out paintings high up on the walls and gesticulate wildly while apparently explaining where said mall artwork would hang in their future home.  Again, he stood by, smiling once in a while, but not really reacting.  I think he was finally catching on because I noticed him starting to look my way.  He was twenty-five years old for God’s sake, it took him long enough…

A couple of my mall friends, bless their shoe selling hearts, started trying to help.  They knew who the two of them were, so my handsome shoe-boy friends started appearing out of nowhere to flirt and laugh and touch my arm whenever they saw the AH and his B show up.  What those two didn’t know was that one of them was married and the other one was gay.  They were just trying to help, and not long after the boys began to intervene, the hurtful mall visits came to an abrupt end.

Since AH must have realized that they were being bullies and refused to come to the mall anymore, they suddenly began showing up very publicly around town.  I’d see them at the gas station, she’d look up and see me in my car and be overcome with a fit of uncontrollable passion and literally LEAP into his arms and start kissing him.  It was nauseating and I was moving past hurt to pissed off.  Then one day, I saw her in her ex-boyfriend’s car outside the bank kissing HIM passionately.  Then I saw her driving his car.  Then I saw her with the AH again.  I realized I was no longer hurt OR angry, I had become indifferent.  I no longer cared.  If he was that stupid, I didn’t want him anyway.  I just hoped that when the idiot finally realized he’d been used, that he’d have a painful moment or two over the stupid mistake he’d made.

Another thing I realized was that I no longer cared about boys.  I was finished.  I realized that at some point, I would date, but I would NEVER allow anyone to get that close to me again.  It had been my experience that they always disappointed you.  They either waited too long to do what they said they would do, or they got overly possessive and jealous and cut you off from everyone but them or they lied and cheated and were stupid.  I decided that from that moment forward, it would be my way or the highway and the highway would be an easy choice  because I was never getting emotionally attached to a male ever again.

About halfway through March, I began to find out how wrong I was about that.

I Married The Easter Bunny Part III

After an awkward couple of weeks with AH, I knew something was wrong and I was hoping that whatever it was we could talk about it and fix it.  After the lunch and movie date that mostly wasn’t, someone I trusted more than just about anyone on earth called me with news that I thought at the time would kill me.

When I was a little girl, I had a friend named B.  She lived in the country and going to her house was one of my absolutely most favorite things in the world.  She was one of my closest friends until we hit puberty.  As everyone on earth knows, there is nothing worse than a girl between the ages of about eleven and fifteen or so.  Suddenly, rumors, innuendos and outright lies by third parties ruined our friendship. Then boy troubles started between us and it went even further downhill.  She basically became my nemesis and worst nightmare.  A friend who knows all about you who now hates you.  She knew the exact right place to stick the knife in and she was an expert at then twisting it so it would do the most damage.

So, a night or two before Thanksgiving, my friend called and told me he had something important to talk to me about.  He had been at a party the previous Saturday night and my frenemy B was there with none other than AH, my older handsome boyfriend.  The people at the party were way too young for AH to be hanging around with and he didn’t know any of them really.  They weren’t just at the same place and standing together, they were there TOGETHER.  On a date.  In the truck that was so broken down that afternoon that it couldn’t be driven and had to be worked on half the night preventing it’s owner from going to the movies.  The news could not have been worse.  I would’ve been hurt no matter what, but the WHO of the situation made it a thousand times more torturous.  Of all the people in the world for him to choose to cheat with, it just had to be her.  I thanked my friend, hung up the phone and proceeded to die inside by degrees.  I think now it was divine justice for the clumsy handling of my high school boyfriend breakup, but at the time, it was just the worst thing ever to happen in the world.

I was not going to act like a simpering whiney baby though.  Oh no, not me.  On Thanksgiving Day, I sqared my shoulders, but on a super cute black dress and heels and went to dinner with my parents.  After dinner they dropped me off at the AH’s house and his parents made all over me.  They had no idea.  We had a piece of cake and left the house.  We got silently into his truck and started the drive home.  He knew that I knew.  Everyone in town knew that the boy who called and told me was close to me.  B knew that he would tell me.  That’s why she took AH to the party in all likelihood.  It was time to force the issue.

AH proceeded to lie some more and drop a couple of bombshells that were actually true on me.  The first revelation was that the woman I saw driving his truck was not just a friend, but his ex-girlfriend.  She WAS however going to pick up her daughter.  HIS daughter.  He proceeded to tell me that he was going to have to leave our relationship because he was going back to his ex and their daughter.  He said it was time for him to grow up and take responsibility for his family.  The only part of that story that was true was the fact that the little girl was his.  I told him that I was kind of confused by what he was telling me because the story on the grapevine was that he was dating B.  He said it was not true.  He told me that whoever had told me that was straightup lying.  He said he only knew who B was because she came into the store where he worked every once in a while.  I told him that I could not believe what a liar he was.  I told him that the person who told me had my complete trust and that I felt like a fool for ever believing HIM.  I got out of his truck, went into my house and woke up the next morning a changed person.

I Married The Easter Bunny Part II

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.