I was in love; at least I thought I was. In hindsight, it was probably just lust and an infatuation with the girl in question. Everything would have been okay if I had stood strong in my beliefs at the beginning. Everything would have been okay if I hadn't been afraid of losing my girl.
The lack of standing up for my beliefs and a fear of losing my girl friend led to that very thing; the loss of my girlfriend. We would still be dating and probably engaged, if I had just accepted what she did. But I don't believe that I would have been happy or secure in our relationship.
My name is Ron Beckman and I met Donna Hanson in college when I was 21. She was a little heavier that the fashion gurus suggest as the perfect build. At 5 ft. 6, Donna had a body more like Marilyn Monroe rather than the skinny fashion model type. It suited me; I had always felt a woman should feel like a woman and not like another guy. She has natural blond hair, an outgoing nature, and sort of a 'what the hell' attitude.
She was dating several (3 or maybe 4) guys when I first met her. We were in a few classes together and met in the study groups. I had known Donna for about two years before I asked her for a date. By this time she was dating just one guy, Brian Johnson. He was good looking, rich, arrogant, and a big man on campus. Did I mention that he was arrogant? In other words he was everything I hated.
Donna told me that he was a little upset that she would dare go out with someone else while dating him. Donna informed him in very clear language she was a free agent and could do what she wanted, because she hadn't made a commitment to anyone.
I am 6 feet even and we fit together very well. I'm dark complected, courtesy of some Cherokee genes and we complimented each other. I found that I really enjoyed Donnas' company and not just for her good looks and body. She was intelligent and fun loving. (Don't forget she was very pretty.) We seemed to hit it off very well, and one date led to others.
Donna wouldn't date during the week on school nights as her education had first priority and she counted Sunday as a school night. That left just two nights of the week available to spend time together, and Brian got one of those. Brian would take her out on a Friday or Saturday and I would take her out the other night. She would seldom date either of us two nights in a row.
I was going out with another young lady as Donna refused to stop dating Brian. Barbara was the sister of a classmate and we really had good times together. She was tall, slender, freckles, and auburn hair; a true Irish lass. Barbara was a little more serious and a little more mature than Donna. She wasn't a student having dropped out of school and held down a full time job.
Donna wasn't overjoyed to find out that I was squiring around another girl. I guess she chewed on it for about a month and then confronted me. Sitting together in the student union after class one day, she asked me what I was doing.
"What am I doing about what?" I wasn't sure what she was talking about.
"Why are you dating another girl," Donna wanted to know.
"The same as you Donna, I'm having fun," I answered. "You don't expect me to sit and wait for the one night a week I get to see you, do you?"
"If you care for me, you will wait to see me," Donna said.
"Seriously? You're joking, right? I'm supposed to sit at home until you can find time for me." I was being very sarcastic. "I really like you Donna, but I am not going to be at your beck and call waiting for you to tell me it's my turn now. Especially while you're still seeing that ass Brian."
"Why do you need to go out with that girl?"
"Why do you need to go out with Brian?"
"Brian is fun and likes to be with me," Donna answered.
"Ditto Barbara," I responded. "I enjoy my time with her and I'm not limited to one night a week either. This conversation is a dead end Donna. You have no right and a lot of nerve to ask me to stop dating other people. Until you decide to be exclusive with me, I will continue to enjoy spending time with other girls. That includes Barbara."
Donna wasn't happy with my comments and told me so. I believe she was waiting for me to apologize and agree to quit dating others but that wasn't going to happen any time soon. I really liked her but I wasn't going to be her puppet. She left the table in a huff. I think I had made her mad.
Her parting shot was "If you can't see things my way I don't think we should go out on Friday." Now I know I had made her mad.
That effectively broke our date for the next night. If I had maintained that attitude, my life would have been a lot easier.
Saturday night I was at my apartment settling down with a pizza and some beer. I was going to spend an evening alone with the boob tube. It was 7:30 when my phone rang and I saw that it was Donna. Surprised, I answered her call.
"Hello Donna. What's up?"
"Hi Ron, I have good news, but you have to get a move on. Brian had to go to some family thing at the last minute and isn't available. I have tickets for the new musical that opens tonight and you can take me. Now hurry up and get over here," Donna informed me of my good fortune.
"You've got to be kidding me Donna," I was pissed. "You don't really think I would go for this, did you? After breaking our date last night you expect me to save you because Brian broke his date with you. This has got to be some kind of sick joke."
"No Ron, I wanted to be with you and I shouldn't have broken our date for last night. Now we can be together tonight. Then we can get back to normal next week."
"You're not as smart as I thought Donna. The more you talk, the more you dig a hole for yourself. Let me explain in small words for you. I like you very much but I will not be a date toy for you anymore." Time had come for the ultimatum.
"If we continue to see each other it will be just you and me. No dating other guys and no Brian, just me. Got that? Only you and me. See you around, kid." I hung up before she could say anything else. Enough already, no more of the dating merry go round.
After the phone call, I thought of something my dad had told me. He had met both girls at different family functions. I had taken Donna to my cousins wedding and reception. Barbara and I went to a family BBQ at my dad's summer cabin. Donna wasn't the type to rough it like that and I think my family made her uncomfortable. Barbara liked my family, especially my dad, and didn't care what we did as long as we were together and had a good time.
Donna was a formal dance, musical theater, fancy dinner, and movie premier type of date. Barbara was almost anything to have fun type of date. Hikes, picnics, Easter egg hunts, whatever; she always seemed to have a good time.
The BBQ was winding down and Barbara was helping with the clean up. My dad and I were flaking off with a couple of beers supervising the women as they worked. He looked at me and told me "Barbara is the pick of the litter. She will always have your back and be a rock to lean on."
"You've met Donna," I said to Dad, "What do you think about her?"
"This is gonna piss you off, but remember you asked. Donna is the type that will always be there when she needs you. If you look in a dictionary at 'High Maintenance' it will show her picture."
"Come on Dad, that's not fair," I exclaimed.
"You asked, and that's what I see," he finished. "Anyway it's your life and you need to follow your heart. Sermon over." Dad went to get us a couple of beers.
A word about my dad. When I was 16 or 17 I knew it all. My dad was old fashioned, out of touch, and didn't know anything about modern society. At least that was what I thought. By the time I got to be 20 or 21 it surprised me to see how much my dad had learned in just a few years. God we were really dumb as kids.
I didn't hear from or see Donna for about a month after that Saturday phone call. (Three weeks, 2 days and about 8 hours, not that I counted) She called on a Thursday and asked me to meet her at the coffee shop at 7:00.
This must be important, I thought, she never goes out on a school night. At 7:20 Donna walked over to my table and sat down. I had almost left twice because she was late. Typical Donna, everything revolves around her.
"Hi Ron, sorry to be late," was Donnas' opening. "I have done a lot of thinking and I miss our time together. Can we start seeing each other again?"
"Just like that Donna? For a month I don't see or hear from you and now you want to get back together again?" I replied.
"I've been doing a lot of thinking. When I left you at the student union, I was mad, that's why I broke our date. Then when you wouldn't see me that Saturday, I got really frustrated. It did make me stop and look at things in a different way. I realized that if I could date others you should be able to date others too. I let my pride keep me away from you this long but I decided I rather see you than have my pride. So here I am."
I sat for a minute, thinking about how I should answer her. There was no doubt that I wanted to spend time with her, but did I want to go back to all the bullshit of the dating merry go round?
I didn't believe I wanted to put myself back in that situation again. "No Donna we can't go back," I informed her.
"Oh please Ron. Why not?"
"I would like very much to spend time with you Donna. I just don't want to be one among the many. If we start dating again you will have to drop the others. We will be going steady or be exclusive or whatever you call it. There will be only you and me with no outside parties involved. That's how it has to be."
Donna looked at me and finally responded, "I'd like that Ron, just you and me. I'll tell Brian tomorrow night that it is our last date."
"Whoa, just a second. Did you hear what I said about it being just us? What's this about Brian and tomorrow night?"
"We have a date for tomorrow and Brian will be out of town until tomorrow afternoon. It wouldn't be fair to call him at the last minute to cancel."
"I don't like this at all Donna. We are not even back together yet and you are already going to date someone else."
"This is different Ron, and after Friday night, I will be all yours. I'll tell Brian then that I won't see him anymore."
"Why is it okay to break up with him during the date and it's not okay to cancel the date? I don't see the logic here."
"It's just that I can break it to him more gently in person. After all I still want him to be my friend. It's no different than before, when I dated you both. Except this will be the last time. Please Ron."
I didn't like it one little bit, but I agreed she could see Brian this one last time. I wasn't real happy with this last date but I was afraid she would go anyway. Then I would have lost her again. Maybe that would have been the best thing that could happen.
After that last date with Brian, things went really well with Donna and me. We spent every weekend together and I even saw her on a week night sometimes. It was six weeks into our commitment that the next problem jumped up and bit me in the ass.
Donna called me on Wednesday and told me she couldn't go with me on Saturday to my dad's birthday party. I of course wanted to know why.
Donna said, "I have to go to a charity affair with Brian."
"WHAT? A charity affair with Brian, what are you talking about? We are not supposed to be dating anyone else and now you want to go out with Brian again. I don't think so Donna."
"Brian and I had planned this date before you and I became a couple. He has been in Europe with his family since that last night. He has planned on me to go with him and doesn't have time to get an appropriate date now."
"Bullshit, you told him on you last date that it over between you two. He has had six weeks to get another date. You're not going."
"Well, you see I didn't tell Brian we were done on that last date. He was leaving for Europe the next day and I figured when he got back he would know about us. I forgot about this charity thing until he called me today."
"Looks like he'll have to go alone or take his sister or something. I can't force you to not go on this date; it has to be your choice. If you want to stay with me, you won't go. Just remember you are responsible for your actions. If you go with him, we are done."
"Oh please Ron, don't be that way. It wouldn't be fair to back out on Brian now. I don't want him, I want you, but I have to keep my word to him. I've already told Brian that it was strictly platonic, that I was just going save him embarrassment. Please Ron; it's just this one time."
"Fair to him? What about being fair to me? I let you be 'fair' before and that was supposed to be the last time. Now this is going to be the last time. How many more dates with him are you going to remember? You know, just to be fair to good old Brian. How about being fair to me? You promised to go to my dad's party that night."
"Ron, I'm sorry. I really have to go with Brian, please understand. I'll stop by you place after wards and we can spend some time together. It shouldn't be late."
"Don't bother Donna. You heard what I said; if you go with him we are done. Your choice." I hung up before she could say anymore.
Back at my apartment, I paced the floor. I couldn't think of anything else to tell Donna that would change her mind. Then I realized it had to be her choice; if it wasn't by her choice it would only cause trouble between us later. I went to my dad's party alone. After the presents, food and birthday cake my dad motioned for me to join him outside. We walked out on the deck with a couple of beers.
"I thought you were bringing Donna," Dad remarked.
"She had other plans, Dad. I think I'm about done there."
He studied me for a few seconds and waved his hand for me to explain. I told him about Donnas' first last date with Brian and about the charity ball she went to tonight.
"I told her that if she went it would be over between us and she went anyway Dad. Nothing to do but shine her on. It will always be something and I will always be expected to accept whatever it is. I don't believe I care to be entertained by Miss Hanson anymore."
"Easy to say, hard to do Son," Dad told me. "If you love someone it's hard to give them up. Personally I don't think you really love Donna. The problem is that you do think you love her. It makes what you need to do much harder, but I'll be here for you if you need anything."
My dad as usual had my back. It made it a little easier, but not much. I said my good byes and got to my apartment at 9 AM. My folks had a hike out by the lake planned for tomorrow, early. I thought I would veg out for a little before going to bed.
The boob tube was showing some kind of fancy ball or something on the public access channel. I got a beer and was going to change the channel when I realized the ball was the one than Donna and good old Brian were at. Though it was torture, I had to watch and see if I could catch a glimpse of Donna.
Sure enough there they were. The TV camera was panning across the patio at the country club and Donna and Brian were sitting on a bench at the back of the patio behind some shrubs. The shrubs hid them from the patio entrance to the country club but not from the view that the camera was showing.
I must not understand the definition of platonic. I thought it meant with an absence of romance or sex. They were trying to swallow each others' tongue. Either that or Brian was checking the condition of Donnas' tonsils. He was also apparently checking for lumps in her breasts because Brian had the top of her dress down and was playing with her breasts with one hand and the other hand was up under her skirt.