"Finding Your First Love"
My parents were married for thirty years. And I thought for sure they would never get divorced. Not because they publicly adored each other or looked at each other with meaningful looks—quite the contrary. I thought they would stay together forever because divorce happened to other people, not my family. But it did happen, and they divorced when I was twenty one. I knew it was better off that way, but I still crawled into bed and gave it a good old cry.
I couldn't possibly imagine my parents with new boyfriends or girlfriends. Gross! It made me sick to my stomach to even think of them getting naughty with someone else. But after a year or so of my parents being "on the market," my mom called with an amazing story from her past. There was this boy named Tom who she dated from the time she was fifteen to age twenty. Tom was her high school sweetheart. They went to each other's proms and have pictures to prove their growth through puberty together. They were madly in love with one another, until one horrific day...
My mom found a picture of another girl in Tom's wallet, not even a naked one, and she freaked the hell out. Tom swore to my mom it was only in there because the girl gave it to him, and that was it. Mom didn't believe him, of course, and threw him out. She was devastated and avoided Tom at every cost. Tom didn't give up, though. He knocked on doors, showed up at her work, and tried everything aside from handing her a gift box with his balls in it to get Mom back. Mom then quickly started dating this guy named Dan, who happens to be my dad. He had just returned from serving in Vietnam, and was after my mom like she was a hot little cupcake. As my mom put it, they were waiting to have sex until they were married, so they decided to tie the knot in a matter of months. The wedding was set and was a week away. But she felt sad; it just didn't feel right. Tom showed up that night and said, "Please don't do this. I love you, Linda, you're my life, don't marry that guy." Mom started bawling her eyes out and said, "I'm sorry, but my mom already paid for the wedding." They both cried, and then she did what she had to do: she threw him out of the house as fast as she could. She knew he was the love of her life, but there was nothing she could do about it. They never saw each other again. Ugh! That killed me. I couldn't believe that for thirty years my mom's heart had been in another place!
As soon as she finished telling me this story, I started freaking out. How romantic! I mean, the part about not really wanting to marry my dad was a little upsetting, but this sounded like the love of her life. I told her that we should try to find him—maybe he was divorced, too. Pretty much all the baby boomers were divorced, so I thought her odds were pretty great.
She replied, "I did find him."
To give you a little backstory, my mom worked as a janitor in a courthouse. Yes, a janitor. She cleaned up jail cells and bathrooms and actually enjoyed her job. That's just how living saints roll, I guess. Apparently she'd been cleaning a courtroom the day before, and a lawyer came back because he forgot his briefcase. She looked up, and it was Tom. They both stared at each other in silence for a second. My mom uttered, "Tom?" It was like the Luke and Laura reunion on General Hospital, but without the male perm. They slowly approached each other in shock. She said he looked exactly the same, except he was bald. She said they talked about how long it had been and compared notes on their families. Then my mom dropped the "I'm divorced" card, just to see what he would say. Tom replied,
"I'm separated from my wife." Ding Ding Ding!
I said, "Mom, it's meant to be. This is the love of your life! I can't believe you guys found each other like this." But being more Catholic than the pope, my mom replied, "Well, I can't pursue anything until he's completely divorced."
I begged her to at least go to dinner. She already believed she was going to burn in hell anyway for getting a divorce from my dad, so I said, "Why not just be naughty, since you're already going to hell?" She laughed, and I was able to hear in her voice an excitement I hadn't heard in years.
Mom and Tom were married in April 2000 and are still going strong. They talk about "doing it," and it completely grosses me out. But I'm happy she's happy. As for my dad, he's still single. Please write to me if your mom is looking for a guy who can dance like a spider monkey with a little too much whiskey in him.
In the meantime, Facebook your first love. Hopefully he doesn't look like Don Rickles!