Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Before we continue, I need to back up. You need to know about Vicki--the first girl I almost married. I worked at the movie theater when we met and was still dating her when Saint Joseph Hospital hired me.

Vicki graduated from Sacred Heart and still had a boyfriend back home in Louisville at Bellarmine College. From the start she was clear they planned to marry. Fine with me. Marriage was the last thing on my mind.

Petite with an almost boyish, athletic figure, Vicki had a blond Dorothy Hamil pageboy and a long, thin face. She wasn't a flashy dresser and paid no attention to what everyone else was wearing. I always blamed a lifetime of Catholic school uniforms for her lack of style.

We met through the Honor's Program at the University of Kentucky. She had a full scholarship to pharmacy school from a big drugstore chain and worked part time at stores in Louisville and Lexington while she was in school. In return, she promised to work for the company for so many years after she graduated.

Guys could come into the lobby of Donovan Hall any time, but were only allowed up in the rooms between certain hours on specific days. If you went up to the room you had to sign-in and out. Since Vicki's roommate had absolutely no social life and was always in the room, I didn't go up very often.

I still lived at home. While allegedly watching television, we made-out on the sofa in the basement once in a while. Mostly we made-out in movie theaters or in my car.

We thought we'd found the perfect place to park and climbed into the rear of my Vega hatchback to enjoy some much-anticipated privacy. We were shocked to find out we weren't the first to think of parking at Shillito Park. Who knew cops would actually sneak up and shine big flashlights in your car?

In the beginning Vicki went home every other weekend. Before long she was skipping weekends in Louisville to do stuff with me in Lexington. Then she took me to Louisville to meet her parents. Things were getting serious.

Mother loved her. So did everyone else. She was cute, outgoing, smart, ambitious and most important (at least as far as Mother was concerned), Catholic. Having a pharmacist in the family was just icing on the cake.

I knew all about Mr. Boyfriend-in-Louisville from the start. He didn't know about me for quite a while. Vicki came clean and told him all about me over Christmas break. For a while I lived in fear certain he would surely come to Lexington to beat me up or worse.

Even so, unless one of us was working or out of town, we spent every waking moment together. She told me the boyfriend was safe, secure, familiar and predictable. She thought I was wild, exotic, totally unpredictable and for that reason, exciting but more than a little scary.

We went out to celebrate my 20th birthday. Vicki showered me with gifts, including several 8-track tapes of my favorite groups (Journey & Queen) and bought me dinner. But the big gift was announcing that she and the Mr. Boyfriend-in-Louisville had split up. She was all mine.

If they planned to marry and she was ditching him for me, could only mean one thing. Vicki was throwing caution to the wind for the first time in her life and going with unpredictable. Oh shit.

I ditched her like a hot potato then dodged her like she had a disease I didn't want. She was the reason I quit going to school after midterms. I couldn't face her. I know I broke her heart.

My heart was breaking too for reasons I didn't understand. On some level I knew it would be wrong to marry Vicki. Had I known the truth I could and would have told her. But since I didn't know myself I couldn't possibly explain it to her.

I saw her again a couple of years later. She was engaged to the old bf and about to graduate (with honors) from pharmacy school. She told me she felt bad about me dropping out of school because of her.

I told her it wasn't her fault. I wanted to tell her I'd done her a favor, but didn't. I don't think she ever found out I was gay. If she knew maybe she'd understand it wasn't about her at all.

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