We’ll kiss the first of a million kisses
and let the past fall away
~From Allelujah by Fairground Attraction
…then I did the simplest thing in the world.
I leaned down… and kissed him.
And the world cracked open.
~Agnes de Mille
Julie1 and I needed eight years to get from our first meeting to our first kiss.
To get from our first kiss to our first home together took four months.
Well, it was a pretty good kiss.
In those four months before we were finally moved in together,
- I had (another) I want a divorce confrontation with my wife, filed divorce papers, and moved into an apartment.
- Julie gave notice at her job, arranged to end the lease on her apartment, packed the belongings essential to her (i.e., clothes and books), and sold or gave away the rest.
- Julie and I spent a couple of hectic, wonderful weekends together in Chicago.
- We called every two or three times a week and exchanged letters (in that benighted pre-email era) daily.2
Of course, a series of bullet points cannot convey the anxiety, guilt, frustration, excitement, and happiness we experienced during this time. Everything was happening and happening fast.
Julie still had job responsibilities until she actually left her position at the end of this period, and the demands of my residency were unabated. Because my wife and I had no children and no money the legalities of our divorce were relatively simple, but there were tears, mutual insults, accusations, and counter-accusations aplenty. My soon-to-be ex-wife’s obligatory suicide threat was followed two days later by a polite, if urgent, request that I talk to the movers who were insisting that it was physically impossible to move a large sofa from her apartment to the moving van.3 I needed money so I was working extra hours in my part-time job at a halfway house for recently discharged state hospital patients. That such arrangements were officially forbidden but traditionally winked at by the residency added one more unit of ambiguous risk. Yada, yada, yada, …
Neither Julie or I ran this gauntlet unscathed (that’s not how gauntlets work), but we were sustained by our belief that we were, finally, destined to succeed. This conviction was, I now realize, a fallacy, albeit a fallacy with anodyne properties for which I’m grateful.
And, that element of faith may explain my current difficulty describing this period of alternating (and sometimes simultaneous) angst and excitement in a way that communicates the experience. I’ve tried a half-dozen approaches to express the emotional roller coaster ride of those four months in this posting, but this effort has been unrequited. When all this was going on, my life was hectic and unsettled but – and this appears to be the key – never in doubt. I knew what I wanted was to be with Julie; everything else was secondary.
So, this is, I suppose, an apology of sorts.
You’re just gonna have to trust me on this one.
For more information about Julie Showalter and her writings as well as instructions for finding all of the Julie’s Story posts and downloading a PDF version of all the posts comprising Julie’s Story, go to Julie Showalter FAQ.
- Julie Showalter was the fiercely intelligent, sexy, and loving woman and prize-winning author, with whom I had a outrageously wonderful 20 year marriage that ended with her death in late 1999 from cancer diagnosed the week of our wedding nearly 20 years earlier. Many posts on this blog are about her, our unlikely romance, and our life together, and still others consist of her writings. Information can be found at Julie Showalter FAQ. [↩]
- The built-in USPS delay resulted in three or four parallel mail conversations. The response to a joke mailed today would arrive perhaps four days later; in the meantime, two or three notes responding to other letters would arrive. One had to be on the ball. [↩]
- I pointed out to the workmen that they were the same crew that had moved the sofa into the apartment and that the sofa had not grown nor had the apartment doors shrunk [↩]