Perils of Moving Day
Kevin's friend Roger backed his truck into my driveway. I could
hear the swoosh of the mattress going through the door. I was in the
kitchen, not trusting the guys with my grandmother's china.
I had lined the boxes with newspaper, and chosen white tissue
paper to surround each delicate piece.
I heard the screen door shut, and inhaled
the scent of azalea bushes surrounding the entrance to my place. So, it
was decided. Kevin and I were moving in together. My parents wouldn't
approve, so I hadn't told them.
"Katie," Kevin would say, as he
put down the remote to look at me.
"Why pay for two places, and run back
and forth forgetting half our stuff?"
"Kevin, that was the least romantic
proposal I've ever heard," I said, grateful for our easy ways, but
sometimes I wanted more tradition between us.
Like an engagement ring sitting poised on a
delicate gold band, presented to me in a small blue box. Stories my
aunts liked to tell during card games my mother held when I was little.
Remembering all the romance before my uncles, those still among us,
sprouted beer bellies, and were taken over by their remote controls,
switching one loud game for another.
From my vantage point, there was no dimming
of the love my aunts and uncles shared, stretched and grown through the
turmoil of children and layoffs. Their girl talk, unguarded with my
mother's blush wine, proudly served in stemmed glasses, let them
reminisce their dreams when love was new; their waists tiny; and their
hopes untainted with age or loss.
Was I craving these traditions my aunts
spoke of so colorfully, or was something off between Kevin and me? I
could list the friends and family who spoke of my luck in having met him
and sparked his interest. I was in complete agreement to the point of
feeling defensive of my own worthiness, and few things were as
captivating as Kevin's eyes...when he removed himself from the sports
viewing that so consumed his free time.
And then there was the trickle of doubt
that swept through me when I thought of Richard and the charge between
us that rocked my world. His saying he needed space, and wasn't ready
for commitment; my wobbly re entry into the world of dating; the
smoky-eyed guy who applied ice to my head when I slipped at a party
wearing too high heels - the guy I was moving in with today.
"Katie," he said, peeking into the kitchen. I nearly
dropped my grandma's gravy dish. "We need you to go to Home Depot
to get more packing boxes. Roger's buddies will be here in two
Typical Kevin to let things go to the last
minute. Home Depot was the last place I wanted to be on a Saturday. I
shifted gears, got a better head about it, and went to my car, squeezed
in at the corner.
Given to believing in celestial signs and
signals, I breathed a sigh of relief when I found a parking spot close
to the entrance of the store. Perhaps this move was blessed by the gods.
As I asked an orange- aproned employee to direct me to the boxes, I
caught sight of a profile that ground me to a halt. I hid behind a sign
to take a better look.
The old familiar jolt, the high that was everything Richard hit
me like a shot of Jack Daniels. I missed that spark, but not the
slights, the freeze-outs....the angst.
He spotted me, placed the tools he was holding onto a display
table, and gifted me with one of his heart-stopping smiles. I stayed put
and he came over and pulled me close to him. I remembered his scent and
the turmoil of his infidelities, and my leaning on Aunt Sally during one
of our episodes.
"He's not the right one, Katie. You'll know it when you meet
him. My parents hated Tony at first, but I knew...and he never
disappointed me, 'did you Tony?' "she said to the empty placemat.
"All that glitters isn't gold"
she added, my tears welling up again, loving her, and missing Uncle
"Katie, it's so good to see you," Richard said,
bringing me back to the present.
'Catch a coffee?" He said confidently.
He had the look he had when I made him fess
up that he did hit on my friend Mariah.
"No thanks, Richard,"
I said, "Give
my best to your parents," I said, meaning it.
I didn't check out any boxes, and felt in
my bones that Kevin was not right for me. I turned and headed to my car
knowing that we wouldn't be moving in together, not today...not ever.
His kindness had healed me from the dregs of my break-up with Richard,
but he didn't inflame me as Richard had, and I knew there was somebody
out there who could make me feel what Aunt Sally felt for Uncle Tony..
somebody with Kevin's goodness who sparked me as had Richard, without
his glaring flaws.
It wouldn't be easy disappointing Kevin, but he deserved better
than what I felt for him.
The sound of Aunt Sally's voice on the phone overwhelmed me with
relief. She accepted my dropping by for a quick chat,
to shore me up for what I was facing, and would not disappoint me
in her counsel or her kindness.