In the Kim Saga mini-epic, I had left you in January, 1978. I had left Des and agreed to go back with Kim. The first couple of months of going back were a little rough as we were both going through the process of breakups with our current flames. Kim had a new boyfriend at the time, just as I had Desiree.
After leaving Des, I guess I was not yet finished sowing the wild oats. It would be rather crass of me to say that I still wanted to taste a few more Taco Bells, but it seems to fit for my behavior at the time. The seventies were a rather ‘free’ time, AIDS not even being whispered yet. I had a couple one nighters with various female coworkers and then came Kathy. Kathy was a gorgeous, tall 16 year old who had lied about her age to get hired. We were only hiring 18 year olds at the time for a new store to soon open in Springdale.
Kathy was an adopted child, the oldest of four adopted children in her family, none of them blood relatives. She was intelligent, very well adjusted and always seemed happy. She seemed to want to just dance and screw. Kathy loved sex and not just any sex – kinky sex. She liked semi public places, once in the closet at work and on another occasion, she had me park in front of her best friend’s house. She had told her friend to look out the window at a predetermined time. Who was I to deny her?
Kathy was a short, several week fling while I was sorting things out with Kim. I was 19 at the time, almost 20, and didn’t find out about Kathy’s age until a couple of weeks into it. We both knew, (I think), that it was not going to last very long. She knew I was in transition with Kim but she didn’t care. Like me, I guess she was just looking for a good time. One night we got into a petty argument over what, I don’t remember, but I used it as the excuse for ending things. She was cool with it, even thanked me for the “fun while it lasted”. She left an impression on me; she was the only girl who ever tried to teach me to dance, (without laughing until her stomach aches, that is).
Towards the end of March, 1978 Kim and I were a pair again, both of us working and dating each other. In tandem, we each were trying to figure out how to continue our paths towards higher paying futures. I was a strong Assistant Mgr and in just a few months was already being promised my own store soon. After leaving Miami, my mom ran across an advertisement from ICS, (International Correspondence School), showing how to learn accounting and even earning an Associate degree. I looked into it and found that it was accredited and that I could transfer my credits to the local college in Cincinnati. So I signed up.
Meanwhile, Kim had been working at The Gap, (if I’m recalling this correctly), when a friend of hers told her about this program being offered at the local vocational school. Actually, the program was offered by the State of Ohio. A few lucky, interested and qualified people could earn a full scholarship to an LPN training program while even being paid minimum wage earnings. Kim had never before expressed an interest in nursing. Her passion was art, but hey – full ride AND you’re going to pay me to attend? She went through several interviews and tests and voila! She became one of the lucky few to be awarded the scholarship.
Soon after getting back together, I had gone back out, purchased another engagement ring and planned to pop the question again; a re-popping ceremony I guess you could say. Our relationship had always been a little heated, Kim being the temperamental type, when one late afternoon we were in another one of our petty, heated arguments. We were deep into it on the front stoop of my home on Prytania when I just got so mad that I felt I would make the best point by asking her right then and there. I put her on pause, telling her I’d be right back. I flew up the steps and into the bedroom I shared with my three brothers. I grabbed the ring I’d had hidden and flew back down the steps and out the front door.
Kim was waiting there, still mad at me for what, I don’t recall. I do however remember thinking that for some reason she was accusing me of not wanting to get married to her or something like that. I remember producing the engagement ring in sort of an ‘oh yeah, well what’s this then’ style and that’s when the heated argument ended and the tears began. One thing about Kim – she can come off as a toughie on the exterior but I know her best and I can tell you that there’s a real softy in there. Sometimes I get the feeling she’s afraid to show just how soft she really is.
Well, not two weeks later we were sitting together over at her parents house, just chatting or playing cards after a dinner. We hadn’t set any kind of wedding date when in passing, her mom just kinda’ blurted out – well, I don’t know what’s holding you two back now from setting a date. And that’s when it hit us both, (or at least hit me). She was right; I was soon to get the Hamilton Taco Bell as the manager. I already was making decent wages as the Assistant Mgr and now Kim was to be bringing in minimum wages while studying to become a nurse. I ran the numbers instantly in my head and out loud I said – your mom’s right, let’s do it, let’s set a date.
I’ll never forget the look on Kim’s face as she set right across from me at the dinner table. It was one of surprise, shock and excitement all at once. I had just turned 20 and she was 19, soon to be 20 in the summer. Right then and there, Kim and her mom pulled out a calendar and decided on a weekend in October. In less than a few short months we were going to be married.
And they lived happily ever after…..or did they?