"You should go. It will clear up a lot of problems that we have," Jessie (Jessica) told me.
"I don't want to go, don't need to go, don't plan to go," I responded. "And you're the one with the problem."
The ongoing debate continues. The action being debated was the 10 year reunion of my high school class. We had been discussing, more like a spirited debate really, for the last six weeks about whether I would go to the reunion. Jessie was adamant that she wanted me to go and I was just as insistent that I wasn't going.
We have Jessica Bailey on one side of the question and me, James (not Jim please) Leitch with the opposing position. Jessie was my girl friend of two years and now my fiancée for one. There is no way I can tell you how I feel about her. I won't go into soul mate, love of my life etc. etc. but put all of them on steroids and you'll have an idea of how much I love her. I believe she reciprocates my feelings.
I met Jessie in college when I was working on an advanced degree. She was in her senior year carrying an education major and I was working on a Masters in Education. Just two wanna be teachers. Well I had been teaching for 3 years and returned for my Masters so I could teach at the college level. Later I would go for a Phd.
I must admit that it wasn't her brain that attracted me to her in the beginning. Jessie isn't tall at 5' 5" and has a surprisingly voluptuous body without being overweight or chubby. She has a very muscular frame, which I didn't find out until later. Jessie has auburn hair and the bluest eyes ever, at least in my experience.
We match up very well as I am 5' 9". So Jessie can wear 4" high heels if she wants to and I am still taller than her. (She does wear them in the privacy of our home, but I'm getting ahead of my story) If I were shorter I would be called broad or husky but a better description would be solid and stocky. Just a normal guy and certainly no movie star.
I knew one of her professors very well as he was my faculty advisor. So I sometimes sat in on his class. As I was leaving his class room after a lecture, I bumped into Jessie and knocked her arm load of books to the floor. She began to berate me for not watching where I was going, calling me a clumsy jerk and other compliments. One look at Jessie and I was cold cocked, smitten, and any other term that means "love at first sight".
Not being a romantic type of guy, I have never believed in the "love at first sight" cliché. That is until I met Jessie. I stood there and listened to her berate me as a fool not saying or doing a thing; I was mesmerized by her. Finally I came back to life and helped her pick up her books. "I'm sorry; I should have watched where I was going."
For the first time Jessie actually looked at the idiot that had bumped into her. The insults stopped in mid rant. It was Jessie's turn to stare at me. Later Jessie told me that she felt the same reaction to me that I had to her. "I should have watched when I was walking, not your fault," Jessie said trying to make up for her insults.
I walked her to her next class, carrying her books for her. Now isn't that sweet, just like in high school. Never mind. When Jessie came out of her class I was still there, waiting for her. I wasn't stalking her but I wasn't going to let her get away without taking a shot.
"The least I can do after tackling you like a line backer is take you to dinner," I told her. I know not the best way to get her interested. What can I say, I don't have game. "My name is James Leitch, by the way."
Jessie introduced herself and accepted my invitation. That was the beginning and the end, the beginning of our life together and the end of our being alone. I was considered by many, so I have been told, a very eligible bachelor and meeting Jessie took me off the market. After that first dinner we were almost inseparable. I guess we had both found what we wanted. It took a whole three months of dating before Jessie moved into my apartment. It was sort of silly to maintain two apartments because we were always with each other.
Two years to the day, actually on the anniversary of our "running" into each other I proposed to Jessie. Almost before I could get the ring out of the box she was shouting "yes". We set a wedding date for the first week after she finished her preliminary work on her masters. That would take about eighteen months because she was going to school and working at the same time. I offered to support her during that period but she wanted to earn her own way.
Jessie had a couple of months before she reached her goal when I received the invitation to my high school reunion. It was the second of these invitations I had received but this one was hand written and signed. I was sitting in our living room going through the mail, read the invitation, studied the signature, and chuck it into file 13, you know the trash can. Jessie apparently had perused the mail before handing it to me. When I threw the invitation away, she dug it out of the trash, read it, including the signature and handed it back to me.
"Aren't you going to your reunion?" And with that question, Jessie started our month long argument.
"No, I don't want to go," I answered with conviction.
"I think you should go. Bobbie certainly wants you to go because she sent a hand written invite. You won't be satisfied until you bury that past relationship," she said with a little heat. "And put an end to it."
"No, you're the one not satisfied because I have put an end to it ... That relationship is dead! I'm not going and that's final. Please don't mention it again." I put my foot down. Yeah we all know how much good that does, don't we men?
Why all this debate about a high school reunion you ask. I will have to go back into my history and life to explain. Please bear with me.
I have had two serious romantic relationships in my life. My first relationship, my first love, is the one that was causing all the turmoil. The girl or women in question was Barbara Ann Johnson, known as Bobbie. I met Bobbie in high school and she was a blond blue eyed beauty, and she wanted to be a party girl. I was a party guy and was just the one to teach Bobbie.
We dated a few times and started going "steady" in our senior year. Again, I was in love and it wasn't "puppy love" but the real thing. I was 18 and knew everything about everything at least in my mind. Our relationship quickly went past the making out in the back seat of a car or the couch at her house while her parents were upstairs asleep. I had learned a few things as most boys do and was happy to teach Bobbie everything I knew She was an avid student and a quick learner.
Bobbie was a green eyed, very well built blond cheerleader type. She wasn't a cheerleader, that took too much physical effort on her part, but she looked like the stereotypical cheerleader. She had this quirky little smile and full lips that could wind me up at any time. She was almost 5' 7" and had these long legs that went all the way to heaven.
I took or she gave me her virginity on prom night. Whichever way you care to look at it, the deed was accomplished in my car. The car was an old 65 Chevy Impala with a huge play area known as the back seat. It wasn't the last time that my car was our play pen. I loved that car and really missed it when it finally died.
I went to a small local college that was dedicated to the educational field as I had wanted to be a teacher for a couple of years. For whatever reason, Bobbie went to the same school. I have no idea why. Maybe she wanted to party with the college crowd.
Bobbie and I talked about getting married after our college graduations and I gave her an engagement ring. We made it to our sophomore year before trouble raised its ugly head. I should have realized something was amiss one Friday evening at her house.
We were both still living with our parents and had set up a routine for our weekends. On Friday nights we would spend the evening watching T.V. or movies either at her house or mine. Saturday was our date night and we would go somewhere like dinner or a movie or a dance and adjourn to my car most of the time. Sometimes we skipped the actual date part and went right to the sexy part.
On this particular Friday evening, Bobbie seemed a little standoffish as she had been for about a week. I put it down to a female thing and didn't really think too much about it. Until the phone call, that is. When the phone rang, Bobbie jumped up like a shot to answer it. As I listened Bobbie's side of that conversation alarm bells should have been going off in my mind. They didn't because I was young, in love, and trusted my fiancée.
Bobbie was on the phone for over thirty minutes. It was very discourteous, something you wouldn't do to a stranger, much less your boyfriend slash fiancée. I could hear Bobbie's side of the call and if I didn't know better I would say she was flirting with whoever she was talking to.
I sat there getting madder and madder; I even went out on the front porch and thought about leaving. In hindsight, I should have. Finally I heard Bobbie say that she would see whoever she was talking to very soon and she hung up.
"Who was that?" I asked with anger.
"Oh, it was Julie my girlfriend from high school," Bobbie answered. "We going to get together soon and go shopping or something."
"You certainly ignored me for a long time. That wasn't a very polite thing to do Bobbie."
"Well you shouldn't be so possessive James."
The conversation went downhill from there. After about twenty minutes of this back and forth bickering, I said, "Your actions were insulting. I'm going because I might say something I shouldn't. See you tomorrow night."
On my way home in my big empty car, I thought again that Bobbie's actions might be because of some female, PMS type thing. I'm a guy, I don't know about things like that and I don't pay attention to those things unless they interfere with our play time.
On Saturday at 5:00, I called Bobbie to see what time to pick her up for our date. Her mother told me that Bobbie had gone out with Julie and wasn't due back until late. Okay, now what the hell? Bobbie never told me about cancelling our date or mentioned going out with Julie instead.
Now my feeble brain began to see that something was haywire. Bobbie's behavior the last two weeks, the phone call and flirting last night, and now standing me up combined to put a little seed of doubt in my mind. Maybe she and I weren't as solid as I thought. Now that I thought about it she had not made any comments about our wedding in the last month. Normally at least every other week, Bobbie would talk about where to get married or how big of a wedding or where we would go on the honeymoon. But she had not mentioned our plans for the last month.
When I arrived at my home I sat in the car for a few minutes trying to think of what I should do. Should I be reactive or should I be proactive. Should I wait until tomorrow for Bobbie to call me or should I call her? Or should I go looking for her tonight? If I found she was doing something more than just a night out with a girlfriend, could I be adult about it and keep from busting some guys head?
I didn't know about being adult but I did know I couldn't sit at home waiting. Firing up the big Impala, I began my search for my wayward fiancée. I didn't think Bobbie would run all over town and there were only a few places close at hand to search. I got lucky at Tulley's, the third bar I checked. If you can call it lucky finding your so called fiancée dancing and drinking with some other guy.
The bar had a back door and I used it to slip into the place. I had done this at the other places too. If Bobbie was "misbehaving", I didn't want her to see me; at least not until I had proof that she couldn't deny. Sitting at a table near a small dance floor was the merry group. Bobbie and a girl I assumed was Julie were sitting with three guys having a good old time. Two of the guys took turns dancing and flirting with Julie, but Bobbie and the other guy were acting like a couple. They danced, flirted, with each other and ever kissed a few times.
At that moment Bobbie was gone, as far as I was concerned. No matter what happened later, we were done. When Bobbie and the guy danced, his hands were never someplace they shouldn't be and they weren't making out on the dance floor or at the table. There were a few hugs and a few light kisses but nothing really bad. None of what she was doing would pass the fiancée approval test you understand, but it wasn't that bad. It wasn't that she was doing anything slutty or anything; it was that Bobbie was doing anything to begin with.
Now should I be proactive or reactive? Reactive called for me to approach the group, knock the guy on his ass and break up with Bobbie. I'm not a coward, in fact my temper has led me into more fights than I care to remember, but there were three of them. In addition Bobbie's "guy" was three to four inches taller and 30 to 40 pounds heavier than me.
Reacting to the situation at the bar could lead to me getting my ass kicked and maybe going to jail, a hell of a combination. Discretion is the better part of valor. In other words don't write checks that your body can't cash.
Being proactive called for me to go home and prepare for my next meeting with Bobbie. I would prepare my assault on her and her actions and try to hurt her verbally as much as she had hurt me. Make no mistake, we were done.
The next day, Sunday, Bobbie called me about 2:00. "Where are you?"
"I'm obviously at home Bobbie. Why?"
"We were supposed to go on a picnic at 1:00 and I'm waiting for you to come by and get me. Why are you so late?"
"I'll be right over, but I don't think we will be going on any picnic. We need to talk."
(For a change a man got to say those four words that mean nothing but trouble.)
"You're right we do need to talk, but we can do it at the picnic James."
"There won't be a damned picnic. We will talk at your house, I'll be right there." I hung up and began the short drive to Bobbies. I know I sounded like I had everything under control but the truth was that I was hurting badly. Bobbie had destroyed our relationship and our future together. I couldn't believe what she had done to us, to me. If I wasn't such a macho type, I would be crying like a baby. Before this was over I may still cry.
Bobbie opened her door and tried to give me a hug but I walked passed her into the living room. I could tell by the look on her face that she thought I was just mad about her missing our date. I'm sure she thought she could talk me out of my mood. We sat down on the sofa side by side.
"You wanted to talk, so talk Bobbie. I don't have all day." My abrupt manner shook her a little.
Bobbie began her tale. She was sorry about last night, but she had gone shopping with Julie and forgot about the time. Julie wanted to see a certain movie so Bobbie called to ask me to join them, but my mother said I was gone. Bobbie apologized for going with Julie and not calling earlier in the day.
"So you guys went to the movies huh? Okay, anything else you want to tell me?"
"Well I was going to wait until you were in a better mood, but yes there is something else. James, I love you but things are moving a little fast between us and I think we need to have a "time out". You know, sort of let things slow down a little. Just for a couple of months. I'm sure I want to marry you but I need a little space." Bobbie was almost beaming, she was so proud of herself.
"Jesus Bobbie we been going together for three years, how can you say things are going too fast?" Will you be dating other guys during our "time out" or will you be sitting at home on Saturday nights?"
Bobbie hesitated a little then answered, "Well I will be socializing but I wouldn't call it dating."
"When will this "time out" start?"
"Next week is the Board of Education dance and I thought we could go to the dance as planned and start the next week." Bobbie had this all planned out. She would get her chump to pay for the dinner dance and then have him wait on the sidelines for a couple of fun filled months. "After our two months apart, we can get back to our lives together."
Now it was my turn. "If this slow down is supposed to start after next weekend, why were you out drinking, dancing, and making out with a guy last night at Tulley's? The bar closed at midnight but your mother said you didn't get home until 2 A.M. Movies my ass, Bobbie. You and Julie had this set up for the last month and I'm supposed to just sit on the sidelines while you go out and party. Don't think so girl."
Bobbie was shocked that I knew about last night. She started to deny or explain or whatever and put her hand on my knee. I took her hand and pulled off the engagement ring. "If you're going to "socialize" during our time away from each other, you won't be engaged so you won't need this. "Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining, Bobbie. This is nothing but an excuse for you to make it with some friends of Julie's. Its' got nothing to do with things going too fast and everything to do with you wanting a little on the side."
She began to try and deny and lie her way out of this bullshit, but I cut her off. "I loved you so much and we could have been happy together. But that wasn't enough for you, you wanted me to sit and wait for you while you played around. Not going to happen. You're nothing but a lying, cheating, manipulating bitch as far as I'm concerned. You destroyed us Bobbie, I'm out of here; we are done. I won't wish you good luck because I hope you fall on your ass."
I stood up, put the ring in my pocket and walked to the door. Behind me Bobbie was saying things like, we didn't do anything last night, I love you James, please don't leave and all the other crap you would expect. The drive home was very hard, my mind was spinning and I was trying very hard not to cry.
The next month was the hardest of my young life. And then Bobbie came back to haunt me at the end of the month. I'm don't think she planned it but she got to me one more time. Bull Bollinger was her unwitting messenger
Bill (Bull) Bollinger was a transfer to our school. He had a class with one of my buddies and started to hang around with us. Actually he was a pretty good guy, funny, friendly, and interesting to talk with. On Friday afternoon after our last class, six or seven of us were sitting around having a beer or six and talking about our plans for the weekend. BBQs, water skiing, picnics at the lake and several normal activities were discussed.
"What are you going to do this weekend Bull?" One of my friends asked him. Now I'm sure that if my buddy knew what a firestorm he was going to bring on, he would have never asked that question.
"You know, I may just get screwed to death this weekend," Bull said. "I gave a girl who missed her ride a lift home on Tuesday and as a thank you she gave me a blow job that made me think she was trying to suck my brains out. It was the best I've ever had. Then she said wait until Saturday night and she would give me a proper thank you."
There were a chorus of "yeah sure" and I bet and other sounds of disbelief. "You're telling us about one of your dreams Bull," someone told him.
"No, I swear. In fact she said she knows all of you and even mentioned you by name several times, James."
"Oh, what's her name?" I just had to ask, didn't I?
"She said her name was Barbara Ann something, wait she said she goes by Bobbie, yeah Bobbie Johnson, that's it," Bull said.
Did you ever notice that every once in awhile you run into someone you should never have messed with? That's Bull Bollinger. He was blond, blue eyed and a damned Adonis. At 6' 3 or 4" and 250 pounds he was cut and chiseled like a marble statue. This was the guy that I punched.
Proactive not reactive remember, well I didn't remember. I forgot all about proactive and reacted and hit the guy. It was like a bug got into his eye, he blinked and retaliated. Lying on the ground I heard him asking the other guys why I hit him. As I was shaking my head to clear it, they told him that Bobbie and I had been engaged until a month ago.
"Oh shit James, I didn't know. I'm sorry. I wouldn't have said anything if I had know," Bull responded to the information.
I forgot all about that discretion is the better part of valor bullshit as I got up. This time I manage to get in three punches before finding myself on my back again. Bull kept saying he was sorry and I kept getting up and trying to hit him.
The only reason he didn't win the fight by TKO was that I refused to stay down. He knocked me down seven times but I got up eight. The last punch I threw he just ducked and watched me go down all by myself. I think he was afraid he was going to break his hands on my face and that's why he left. It certainly wasn't anything I did to force him to leave.
I guess it was pretty funny; Bull hit me I hit the ground and I got up to start all over again. Nobody was laughing though, least of all me. Not only was my face broken, my broken heart was back to punish me some more. I couldn't and didn't want to believe that Bobbie had become such a slut. Maybe I felt responsible because I had introduced Bobbie to sex. I don't know, but the way I hurt before was nothing compared to the way I was hurting now. Not my face, but my heart.
On Monday my face was swollen in several places and a rainbow of colors, none pretty. The reaction was probably similar to what the Frankenstein monster got, people turning away in horror. At least that's how I saw it. No one wanted to look me in the eye and when they talked to me they looked anywhere but at my face. I don't blame them; it even scared me that morning when I was trying to shave.
That afternoon after my classes when I got to my Chevy, Bull was leaning against the front fender. He held up his hands as I approached.
"I don't want any trouble James. I came to apologize again. If I had known about you and Bobbie I wouldn't have said anything. I'm sorry. If it makes any difference I called Bobbie Friday night and canceled our date. I wouldn't take her out on a bet." Like I said before, Bull was actually a pretty good guy.
"I was going to find you sometime this week and apologize to you Bull. I shouldn't have gone off the deep end like that. I never really believed that stuff about seeing red, but when you talked about Bobbie that's what happened. I'm sorry if I hurt your hands," I said to him as I started laughing.
He cracked up and laughed with me. We sort of got into a giggling fit; we would stop laughing then look at each other and start all over again. A suggestion was made to retire to a nearby bar and continue our discussion.
"I know just the place Bull. You want to ride with me or follow me?" We jumped into my car and I drove us to Tulley's. That was where the crap with Bobbie started; maybe this could be the place it ended too.
Two months later Bobbie took one more shot at me. I hadn't talked to her and only saw her around school once in awhile as our classes didn't coincide. She surprised me by calling me at home. Bobbie's sorority was having a casual dance and she asked me to go with her.