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Friday, July 09, 2004
How Things Can Start, Part II
Part I is here.

So, Michelle ended up getting engaged to the guy. And, eventually, I got back together with the girlfriend I’d been neglecting. Michelle and I planned to remain friends.

Over the next couple years, our “friendship” would occasionally drift toward something more than platonic . . . when things weren’t going so well with her “fiancé,” and I was otherwise un-involved. Her fiancé, meanwhile, started to take a firmly black-and-white view of my relationship with Michelle (probably not wholly unfounded), and this is how he earned the title of “The Antichrist.”

The resulting conflict of opinion meant that my relationship with Michelle vacillated between flirtatious exchanges of notes and poetry, and no contact at all.

In the Spring of 1994, things were going great for both of us. Her engagement was all wine and roses, and I’d started a very wholesome relationship just before college graduation. So, of course, a few months later, my wholesome relationship was more or less over. I don’t remember what Michelle’s situation was like at that point, but she helped me get my bearings. And sometime after that, her fiancé stopped by my work (the video store). He confessed to me that he was being a little over-the-top about my friendship with Michelle and promised that he’d try to lighten up.

A few months later, while I was ricocheting from one unwholesome relationship to another, she had a fight with her fiancé (who, at that time, was living a few hours away) and drove home. They wouldn’t talk again for several months. The engagement was effectively over.

We started somewhat dating in the Spring of 1995, which I remember to be quite turbulent. We were both in fairly rigid “relationship” patterns that caused a lot of friction. Soon, she’d sorted out her place with her ex-fiancé (closure issues) and we began dating in earnest. We had our first, um . . . physical interaction around that time. We took our first road trip together that Summer. We had more conflicts of opinion (and interest) than I can probably remember. But we were both fighting to stay together because there was something binding us. Eventually, the opportunity arose for us to move in together, which we did.

That lasted for about three or four months.

We were fighting. A lot. She moved back in with her parents, and I declared that when the lease was up, I was leaving town.

A few months before the Exodus was to occur, our on-again-off-again relationship was on again, and the realization set in that we’d have to decide our future very soon. I went on a reconnaissance mission to Albany, New York, with my mother as part of a family reunion in Connecticut. While I was gone, Michelle house-sat my apartment.

While I was away, I came to several realizations. I was sure I wanted to live in Albany but, more importantly, I missed Michelle and wanted her to be with me (always). Upon my return, we talked about her moving up with me, which she’d only do if we were married. At the time, we were two months away from my projected departure.

We began planning to leave together and in December, right around her birthday, we went to dinner. When I dropped her off, in the middle of an argument (of course), I asked, “So, do ya wanna get married some time?” And I gave her the ring.

We moved to Albany as planned and wed in Tallahassee a year later. We continued living in Albany for another 20 months or so until I was laid off. (We were in the process of planning a return to Tallahassee when the layoffs were being planned, so we knew it was coming. We used my severance to move back to town.)

The whole journey has been a constant learning experience. Yes, there have been rough patches, as you’d expect in any marriage. But I’m certain that I love my wife, and we’re much closer now than we were on our wedding day (and subsequent honeymoon at Disney World).

Thank you everyone for reading. I’m still battling Internet-accessibility issues at work, but I’m going to try and catch up with everyone soon. If I haven’t stopped by to see you in a while, that’s why.