Sunday, February 25, 2007

Love Story Chapter 5: February 24, 1969

I can still picture it.

Monday morning I saw Dee at breakfast. He was already sitting with some others so I said "Hi" in that awkward day-after-the-first-kiss kind of way. We had classes, and then we sat together, with a group, at lunch. It was fun, and we teased and laughed easily. Dee said he was going to study in the "apt" that afternoon. He didn't invite me, but I figured he'd told me because he hoped I'd join him. After about an hour I took a candy bar upstairs. The door was closed so I knocked and then opened it. Dee was sitting on the couch with another girl.

Her name was Susan and they were looking at her camera. How stupid could I be? Of course he'd like a girl with a camera! He loved cameras! I was an idiot to think the kiss meant anything. For all I knew, he'd bet HIS roommate he could kiss ME! I'd told him I had a boyfriend . . . what was I thinking? That he liked me? Who likes a girl who talks about FDR?? Stupid, stupid, stupid!!! And I just walked in on them! Oh, how dumb! I quickly handed him the candy bar, backed out of there, and fled.

Down in my room I could feel tears prickling behind my eyes. Could I be jealous? We were just friends, weren't we? I'd only known him a week. He wasn't even my type! Besides, supposedly I was in love with my boyfriend . . . of course I was. This was just a little fling, after all. What did I expect? I was just embarrassed by the situation—no big deal.

By mid-afternoon I had a roaring headache and an upset stomach. What would I do when I saw him? Just act normal? Act like I didn't notice or care? I couldn't show how humiliated and hurt I felt. It was all a disaster. He didn't like me after all. He'd probably liked Susan all along.

The Infamous Susan

I came down to dinner late and sat with a group at a big table. Dee came and sat in the only seat left, at the other end. I smiled and acted totally put-together and casual. Susan happened to be sitting at the table, too. I ignored her. Everybody was talking and the subject of having kids came up.

"How many kids do you want?" someone asked at my end of the table, and I said "Twelve."

"Marty wants 12 kids!" and then from the other end someone else said "Dee wants 12 kids, too! You guys ought to get together!" It was kind of amazing. This was 1969, birth control was the new thing, population explosion and women's lib—nobody wanted 12 kids! Yet here we had each independently told a group that we did. The conversation went on, but it was like we were the only ones at the table when we smiled at each other.


There was a concert downtown that night, and some of our students were performing with the University orchestra. I came downstairs ready to go and saw Susan walk up to Dee. I kept my distance, and then when a group started to leave I joined them. Right then Dee came up behind me and took my arm, asking if I was ready to go. Part of me felt so relieved and happy I wanted to cry. The other part of me bristled that he was acting like we were a couple, when he had been dallying with another woman all afternoon while my heart was breaking. The relieved part of me won out, I let go of my pride and we strolled downtown together.

Salzburg at night

After the concert we went to the Blaue Gans, a restaurant we have been back to many, many times over the years. Dee bought me dinner, (one of only 2 times the whole semester that we didn't go Dutch) and we had our first "relationship" talk. He asked me what was the matter (I had been less than perky, in that totally annoying, girlie way) and after very little coaxing I told him how embarrassed I'd been to walk in on him and Susan. He told me it was unplanned, that she had just gone to that room to study as well, and it was very uncomfortable for him, too, knowing how it looked to me. We both told each other how much fun we were having together, and reminded ourselves that we already had individual future plans, so we could enjoy our time in Salzburg without strings.

We had weathered the storm. Our friendship was in tact. We walked home feeling at ease, and relaxed. We held hands, but there was no kiss goodnight. We were on solid ground. I hated Susan.


Kelly said...

As always, I love my little glimpse into your past. I feel like I'm reading the book about a movie I've already seen. I know the ending, and the general going ons, but now I get to read about all the details.

Stie said...

Don't leave us hanging! Finish the story...

anna jo said...

marty, I am eating this up! I love a good romance story... and I love this glimpse into the young marty and dee... keep it coming, I'm on the edge of my seat!