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i once saw where a guy was working to recollect one moment from each year of his life to see if anything could be discovered by the exercise. not having many original ideas myself i figured i would try it myself. and as per usual i figured what's the point of doing it if i don't share it to the world. so feel free to step into various points in my life, for what it's worth.
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1990
the picture to the left was taken just weeks after marty and i began dating. at the time marty and i attended universities separated by a two hour drive. after a magical first date over the christmas break that took us both by surprise, we spoke daily. my side of those conversations mostly took place while sitting on the foul chair at our knees and more than one of those conversations ended when i saw stripes of light on the edges of that equally foul window blind behind us. the only thing that saved me, financially, that semester was a ten-cent a minute dorm rate on long-distance calls and a wonderfully supportive mother.

in one of our conversations marty excitedly told me she had a friend passing through my college town on the way to some other college town, probably KU, and thought she could catch a ride and get dropped off. for days after this announcement that giddy, special rush reserved for young love coursed through me. a few days before she was to come she called to say her ride fell through. i forget the reason given but clearly remember my desperation for an answer to the problem. my scrambling mind screamed at its workers, pulling them from their collegiate studies for a solution. then it came, surprisingly fast.

i'll pick you up.

what?

i'll pick you up.

you'll pick me up? but you're where i'm trying to go.

i know. i'll drive in and get you. and bring you back.

but, that's like two hours. one way.

yes, but the two hours back will be with you.

and so it was. i got out of class mid-afternoon, drove two hours to st. louis, picked up marty and then drove two hours back. and during the two hour return, we never played music, we never sat in awkward silence. the car was alive with animated conversations and much laughter, as was the entire weekend.

what marty didn't know is i would have driven twice or even thrice that distance for the chance to be next to her that weekend. it was not possible for me to be near her enough, watching her every mannerism wether she was talking, eating, laughing, untangling a knot in hair, scanning a problem with her eyes, or writing its response with her precise pen, or, my most favorite, the unconscious curl of her upper lip when in deep contemplation. to call my state spellbound would barely suffice.

fact is, i could write for ten hours or ten days and never capture the intensity of my early attraction to marty. the immediacy of it still baffles me. the standing joke between us has always been while such certainty for me is a gift as i've never questioned our pairing, the rub i had to shoulder was that marty did not share in this sentiment which, obviously is the flip side of the coin. in hearing our tale, a young person still in search of his partner recently asked how i straddled that admirer-stalker line without scaring marty off (or getting the authorities involved). i thought on that for a good thirty seconds before confessing that i did not know. maybe the key lies in an observation of another friend of mine who once told me he was struck by the number of things i got in life by just looking kinda helpless and non-threatening. i'm sure when he sees this picture of me in my shiny vest, he's going to upgrade his description to pathetic-looking, bordering on abject.



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