I chose to date one or two … hmmm … how shall we say … “challenging” men?
Yes. That was definitely my first word of choice.
For example, a certain fireman I dated (don’t be blinded by how hot they are in those uniforms!) was supposed to come to my apartment at night so I could drive him to work in the morning because his truck was in the shop.
I got home from work and waited. And waited. Called him. No answer. Waited. Called him. No answer.
It’s 1 a.m. I bolt from bed and drive to his apartment. His truck is there. The one that’s supposed to be in the shop. I knock on his door. He answers.
Candles are lit and a girl is sitting on his couch.
He kindly introduces us. “Mandy, Shannon. Shannon, Mandy.”
The next morning as I sob out the story to a group of hardened Al-Anon ladies one of them asks, “But did you still drive him to work in the morning?”
We all laugh, because we know if he’d asked I probably would have.
So imagine my concern when I’d been dating Henry for two months and he’s supposed to pick me up from the airport. As I head into baggage claim, I hear my name over the P.A.
“Shannon Bradley please report to the yellow courtesy phones. Shannon Bradley…”
I dash to the courtesy phone where I am informed by the operator that Henry can’t pick me up at the airport because he’s been in a car accident. He’s fine, but his car is totaled.
As I hang up I think, “Oh yeah, sure. Sure his car is totaled … because of that woman giving him illicit pleasure while he was driving.
Or maybe his car isn’t even totaled and he’s with wife and kids I don’t know about in Tujunga. Or or or he’s at House of The Seven Veils/El Torito in Manhattan Beach/sorority row at UCLA/a dominatrix parlor.
I sit in the airport shuttle heading home thinking that I’ll never be lucky in love. That all men really are jerks. That it was better to find out sooner rather than … oh who am I kidding. I’m devastated!
As the airport shuttle turns the corner onto my street tears wend their way cinematographically down my cheeks and the eggs in my ovaries curdle. I’ll always be unlucky in love!
But wait …
I see a figure sitting on my front porch in the dark dark midnight night.
Henry unfolds himself from his sitting position and strides across my lawn to greet me at the curb. I jump into his arms. He’s here! For me. Even though his car is totaled. Finally, I am home.
I have watched this man over the thirteen years since that moment take care of me, our girls, his parents and siblings.
Say a prayer for my Henry today as he and my in-laws struggle with a family illness. In the words of James Gandolfini accepting an Emmy for The Sopranos (and I think we can all agree Jimmy and I have a lot in common) “If it weren’t for you honey, I’d be a jackass.”