If you are a regular story reader here, you know that posted within my stories, my true accounts, is a longer story line about my girl friend, (now my wife), and me – our early years together from the time I first laid eyes on Sheila, up until our marriage. You can find all of these stories by doing a search on the category Kim Saga within my story blog site. In the last story, Summer of Discontent, (link), I had written about the summer immediately after we were told that we were not allowed to see each other and I ended that story with high school about to begin in 1975.
It was Fall, 1975 and school had begun. We both looked forward to school that year because it meant that we were once again a couple. We saw each other everyday. We coordinated our schedules, even attending a couple of classes together just so we could maximize our time together. As steadies, we had exchanged class rings but Sheila would remove hers before going home at night since technically she was banned by her parents from seeing me. Banning us from seeing each other only strengthened our resolve, making us more determined. We were seniors now and soon we would turn 18 next year.
Other than our school time together, it was a tough Fall since we still were not allowed to see each other. One day Sheila was being picked up after school by her mother. I think Sheila’s car was in the shop or perhaps she was grounded from driving for a short time. Regardless, we thought we had a few minutes after school together and so we proceeded to head to the McDonald’s which was located right across the street from the school parking lot area. There was a small empty field in between the parking lot and the street. On this day, the field was a little muddy and so as not to tip off Mom that we had gone over to McD’s together, I offered to carry Sheila piggyback style across the field. We hadn’t gotten 20 steps yet, (muddy steps), when we heard a horn honking behind us. Nabbed by the Mom! “Crap!” (Is what I seem to recall coming from Sheila’s mouth). I turned around, carried her back to the edge of the lot, set her down and said a simple “see you tomorrow, I love you”.
But that’s how the Fall and Winter would run that year. Sheila and I doing our best to maximize time together and communications, (remember – our texting was the exchange of love letters), and her Mom running interference. The most brilliant Mom Interference came in the Winter of that year.
For our Science elective, I had signed up for Biology II and Sheila had signed up for Comparative Anatomy. One of the longer projects that Sheila had to work on had to do with reconstructing a skeleton of a cat, (I seem to recall). Whatever the project was, Sheila had a lab partner. Her partner was male, a relatively nice guy that I did not know. Time together to complete the school project was encouraged by their teacher. “Time together” was encouraged by dear old Mom.
I’m an experienced parent today and each of our boys has had girlfriends that we thought, well let’s just say, we thought our boys could do better. Sheila’s mom thought she could do better than the author of this story too, so I don’t fault her today for trying to do her best to get Sheila to see the error of her ways. I have the benefit of hindsight too though, so I know this tactic rarely works. But Sheila’s mom can be persuasive. Have you seen Everyone Loves Raymond? Do you know the mother character, Marie, played by Doris Roberts? Well that’s Sheila’s mom. She has the same influence over her children as Marie has over Robert and Raymond. So when Sheila was encouraged to go out for a pizza and a movie with her lab partner, guess where she was going? You got it – for a pizza and a movie.
Our feelings and sensitivities are very raw as kids. It’s easy to get sidetracked. Sheila was confused too. She loved me, but the only quality time we got together those days during the Fall and Winter was around lunch or on occasion, a skipped class to hike over to Frisch’s for a Big Boy hot fudge cake. When Marie offers to pay for the movie and pizza, you take her up on it and you have a good time with the lab partner. Hmm…what to do about that boyfriend of mine – do I tell him? Nah….
I knew Sheila was meeting Mr Lab Partner, and I had heard a rumor that they were also ‘dating’, but Sheila swore up and down that it was false and that she loved only me. I admit today too that I was pretty much of a pushover where it came to Sheila; she had me wrapped around her finger and so I believed her.
But then, one day my eyes were opened. Lab partner, like many boys, played on the football team. One of his teammates came to me one day and the discussion went about like this:
Hey Robbie, (friends from elementary school still called me Robbie), Lab Partner has been bragging that he is dating your girlfriend and is going to steal her away from you. I personally don’t like this Lab Partner guy and if you give me the go-ahead, I’d love to go kick his ass for you. He’s not that strong and I know you could do it yourself, but we’ve been friends for many years and I just think what he’s doing is wrong. Want me to kick his butt?
I was furious. Now I believed the rumors. I’ve always maintained though that fighting should be a last resort. I also had my own pride and I believed in myself. A guy wants his girl to want him. He doesn’t want to have a girlfriend who’s going to go out on him all the time so I decided I needed to fight fire with fire. So I said to my football buddy – thanks dude for being a good friend, but if it comes to that I know I can handle myself just fine. And so I began plotting my strategy, (once again Stratego comes in handy – link).
Later in the day, Sheila and I were walking through the hallways together to our next class. As we passed one of the classes, there stood LP (lab partner) and I almost lost it. I started to slow down. I even stopped in the hallway. Sheila knew me well enough by then to know that she didn’t want to see me lose my temper. I’m one of those even-mannered types who doesn’t lose his temper, but when I do, look out! Sheila, sensing I was close, kept tugging on me, saying over and over – let it go Rob, come on, let it go, don’t start something. So after maybe ten seconds, I began slowly walking.
And I had my plan. I was going to set a couple of small fires ablaze in order to extinguish a larger one – revenge dates! I was going to show Sheila that she wasn’t the only one who could play around behind another’s back. I needed a date and it had to be quick. I needed to find a girl, (or two), I thought would accept an offer to go out and I wanted them to be cute, (having a ‘reputation’ would be handy too if I could find a perfect match).
The first girl I asked was a girl who sat in front of me and my lab partner in Biology II. Her initials were KL. I surprised her by asking her out for Friday night. She asked, aren’t you going steady with Sheila? I said yeah, but we’re sorta’ separated for the moment. Want to go see a movie with me? She accepted. Next up was a girl who always made eye contact with me in the halls. She always seemed to have a ‘thing’ for me, (or maybe that was just my male ego running rampant). Girl number two’s initials were JF and she was even more cute than KL. JF had an older sister my age and lived just a block away from me. I called JF on the phone that night and asked if she’d be interested in taking in a movie with me for Saturday night. The ego was boosted when she responded with an “absolutely!”
Well, the hard part was over. Luckily, both girls had accepted my invitation. I asked to borrow the car that weekend from my mom. Mom asked – aren’t you and Sheila still dating? I told her what I was up to and she said OK and didn’t even ask me anything further. The theater I planned to go to was downtown and I knew that one of the employees there knew Sheila. I was hoping she’d be working Friday or Saturday night so the word of my dating would get back to Sheila with the speed of a Japanese bullet train. Fortune was with me on both nights as Sheila’s friend was the ticket taker on both nights. I smiled as I handed over my tickets both nights – one hand holding out the tickets and the other hand holding the hand of my dates.
The dates went perfectly, as planned. I picked each of them up, we went out to Richard’s, (local pizza joint), saw a movie (yes, I got to see it twice) and then a little evening drive to Four Mile Creek Park for a little make out session. The make out sessions were light, just some kissing and hugging. I got a feeling that JF might have gone for more, but all I wanted was to have a good time with each of the dates – I wasn’t looking for sex. If things didn’t come back together as planned with Sheila, I might want to see one of these girls again. I was honest with my dates too – I told them Sheila and I were supposed to be going steady and I also told each of my dates that they were revenge dates. They each laughed at that and seemed to like it, like they took it as a compliment? I told them I didn’t know if I’d be asking them out again, but that I had a great time and we’d see what happened next week when we got back to school.
It didn’t take long….I think Sheila approached me even before school started.
Did you go on a date with JF? (Apparently JF had a little bit of a reputation and so JF bothered Sheila more than KL). Yes, I did.
And did you also go out Friday night with that girl, KL? Yes, I did.
Sheila was hot, she was boiling mad, but then I simply just said – it hurts, doesn’t it. You think it’s ok for you and LP, but not ok for me?
And that’s when it all came together for Sheila. She was guilty. She knew she was guilty and she knew that I knew she was guilty. And that’s all it took. She asked me if I was going to see JF again and I asked her if she was going to tell me the truth. Sheila confessed, told me everything. She apologized for deceiving me, (firstly trying to blame it on Marie Barone), but she came clean and swore she’d never cheat on me again. That was all I needed so I swore I wasn’t going to ask out JF again. As long as Sheila would be true to me, I’d be true to her. The shot over the bough had delivered its intended message and had been received.
I had been faithful to Sheila up to this point in time. I didn’t really get a thrill out of seeking revenge, but this lesson helped to teach me a lesson. Something I’ve shared with my boys as they are growing up; that there are times when the only solution to a problem is to create an equal or stronger action. It is all that works for some people and it is extremely effective – how long has it been since another nuclear bomb has been dropped?
I loved Sheila with all my being at this point in time and I really wanted to be on equal footing with her. I wasn’t quite there yet and there was still quite a bit of growing up to do…..but one day soon we would be equals; a story for later.
Take the time to watch the wedding advice from Marie