Our Coast-to-Coast Romance in 3 Acts continues with Act 2
When we last saw our newly-met lovers at the Houston airport, Sara was flying back to California after that eventful Thanksgiving weekend of 1989.
She had explained to me that it would take her at least 2 months to get everything sorted out. After all, she had to quit her job, leave her now-ex-lover, the Creep, get her belongings packed up, and then move them and herself to Austin.
That was Sunday after Thanksgiving.
That evening, I called my folks, who had hosted our meeting there at their house but remained unaware of everything else that had transpired elsewhere through the weekend. Saturday evening, Sara did tell them she wasn’t married — as she had let them believe — before unexpectedly leaving their house a night early.
Now, I called them to say, “Sara and I are getting married.”
They took it remarkably well, as if this sort of upheaval was not only routine but to be expected. Mind you, as my mom called all the friends and relatives to spread the word, she always added, “Pray for them.” Thanks, Mom — never hurts.
Monday morning, I walked into my boss Cathy’s office, and told her, “I might need to take some time off sometime soon.” She looked up, puzzled, until I added, “I met somebody…”
At that point, her eyes shot open, her jaw dropped a little, then she reached for her phone to call the secretary. “Hold ALL my calls!” She walked over to close the door, then sat back down, propped her chin on her hands expectantly, grinning, and said, “Tell me.”
See, everyone at work knew me as a long-time (thus presumed “confirmed”) bachelor, so no one saw this coming. Cathy got to hear the story first as I proceeded to tell her about my weekend to her great delight.
I finished up with “That’s why I might need to take some time off sometime soon…”
“Whatever you need,” she beamed.
“…and I don’t know when I might need to take it off…”
“Whenever you need,” she nodded encouragingly.
I called Sara at mid-day (California time) at her work to talk.
“Remember I said it might take 2 months?” she asked. “I’ll think it’s gonna be more like… 2 weeks.”
“Okay,” I said eagerly — anything that got us back together quicker sounded great to me.
Turns out, Sara’s eventful weekend was not over yet. Flying back, she began to worry about how and when to tell the abusive Creep she was still living with that she was leaving him. As it turned out, he made it extremely easy. Enraged by having to wait because the flight had been delayed — obviously her fault — his first words to her at the airport were, “Get in the car, bitch.”
Oh this is going to be so easy, she realized. She waited till they got back to their house before sharing her news. Suddenly contrite, he began to beg her to stay. As she left for the holiday away from him, he had even told her he wished that she would find someone else. But now that she had, he tried desperately to back-pedal, promising to treat her better, to be nicer, to do whatever she wanted — but it was far too late for any of that to matter.
Monday evening, I had another important phone call to make — to Sara’s mom, Ginny. Sara had already told her what was up, but I needed to speak with her myself. Of course, we did not need her permission (nor that of Sara’s step-father, nor her “BF” as she called her biological father at that time), but we wanted her blessing.
So I called her. And I charmed her. Firstly, I was not the Creep — whom she had met and detested. Secondly, she had also met Joanie, whom she liked, so she had a positive point of reference for me And thirdly — well, I was charming. She was delighted to talk to me, excited about Sara’s news, and laughing at all of my jokes (I am funny, sometimes).
Though we had no details set yet, Sara & I had talked about getting married in Connecticut so her step-father, struggling with the beginnings of Alzheimer’s, could attend. Ginny, of course, loved this idea, and started wondering about the particulars: how soon? had we set a date? did we have any particular place in mind?
Somewhere in the conversation, I jokingly suggested, “Well, maybe we’ll go ahead and get married down here and then just re-enact it up there.”
Dead silence, followed by Ginny snarling, “I would kill you.”
Okay — a New England wedding it is. I can tell when a joke falls flat…
A little later that evening, Sara called. “I’m flying into Dallas on the red-eye. Can you pick me up at 6 in the morning?”
Of course I could. Sure, I’m thinking — it’s only a 3-4 hour drive. Leave within the hour, maybe nap a little on the way, and I can get there with, well, a few hours to spare.
But first I had to call my boss, Cathy, about the half-day class I was scheduled to lead the next morning. “Um…you know that time I said I might need to take off? Well, I can’t teach that half-day class tomorrow because I have to pick Sara up at the Dallas airport in the morning. Sorry…” Cathy told me not to worry and to go fetch my sweetie instead.
Then, I had to place a quick call to my old friend, Mike, to see if I could use his place in Dallas as a place to rest temporarily before going to the airport. First, I broke the news.
“Hey, Mike — I’m getting married.”
I left for Dallas a little after 10pm that evening, driving into the night. I stopped a couple of times for quick naps, then drove on, arriving at Mike’s place sometime after 3 or so — just enough time for a nap there before heading to the airport to pick Sara up.
Next: Lovers reunited