I grew up in an upper-middle-class slash upper-class northern suburb of Chicago in the 1960s and 1970s. I was odd as a kid. However, I was with the same group of kids from kindergarten through eighth grade, so I avoided the mess that middle school can be for many odd kids. I wasn’t weird, I was just Jack, as far as my elementary school classmates were concerned. Then high school came along, and a huge school full of strangers, and suddenly I was weird, and wrong, in so many of my choices and the way I talked about things and…
We want to hear those Three Words
because they validate and
give us hope
putting them out there
opening our heart to pain
because we get
(sadness with regret)
(patience with irritation)
(I like you as a friend, but)
Those Three Words
frighten us when we speak them first
those Four Words
delight us when heard
delight us to speak
that it’s all going to be okay now
that it’s all that we’d hoped for
that it’s all getting better from here
My first wife, Linda, was a lesbian.
Still is, hopefully — I’m sure her wife, Carol, would appreciate that! Deb (my current wife) and I got invited to their wedding last year, and they’re a wonderful couple.
Thirty years ago, however, Linda and I got divorced because it turned out Linda was not, as she’d assumed, a bisexual who just had not met the Right Guy yet. (I was supposed to be the Right Guy. Turned out there was no such person. We are not the first couple this has happened to, nor the last.) Since I had just gotten…
K was finishing setting the dining room table as Jenn arrived home. His sister surveyed the table at a glance before asking, “So, we’re not to be graced with the presence of Lady Dork tonight?”
He gritted his teeth and took a breath. She’s baiting you, she’s baiting you, don’t fall for it. “We have chem lab tomorrow, so there’s no homework to work on together. Not that it’s any of your business.”
Jenn gave him her phony smile. “Ah, yes, because if you don’t work on school stuff, why spend time together? That’s why I never have a boy…
We’re standing at our bedroom window, all the lights off, facing south toward the township park about half a mile away. Deb is nearest the window; I’m behind her, with my arms around her. Fireworks are booming, this being the 4th of July and all.
The local fireworks are just far enough away that the sound takes a couple seconds to catch up to the visuals. Meanwhile, the next town over to the south has started their display, the town to the southeast has joined in, and occasionally over the south ridge that parallels the northern ridge on which our…
I look over and see Deb scanning around where we’re sitting on our porch. Whatever it is, she isn’t finding it. She looks at me.
DEB: Can I borrow your — never mind, I can go get something.
ME: No no, what do you need?
DEB: Can I borrow your handkerchief? I just need to get some schmutz off my glasses.
ME: (after no more than a millisecond of hesitation — okay, maybe several dozen milliseconds, whatever) Sure!
And I reach into my back pocket and give her, my beloved wife of more than two decades, my handkerchief. Happily. Willingly…
James Knight wrote a story about why he doesn’t plan to retire any time soon. (Spoiler: he almost did.)
His story reminded me of similar things in my life, and my planned (and actual) retirement.
Jim loves to teach. Me, too. I got hooked back in eighth grade, when I and a few of my classmates were asked to skip our English classes (we all had “A’s” anyway) to help first graders read by listening to them read aloud and assisting as needed. Helping somebody figure stuff out was cool!
DEB: So you would be okay going on a ski lift on the Kentucky trip?
ME: (mentally reviewing; yes, the trip to Kentucky is in June, when the chance of snow is really low, so…) Um, sure. Ski lift? Is there something about Kentucky I should know?
DEB: There’s a ski lift up to the top of the Kentucky Natural Bridge.¹ So we won’t have to climb up there with a pregnant woman and two people with gimp legs. But with your history…
I have a history with ski lifts. Okay, just one. Once. In my mid-twenties. …
“Gentlemen, these will be your female partners this class. Ladies, you will be playing badminton with these fine young men. I will leave you all to it. Boys, remember to be gentle with the ladies.” The boys' gym coach walked off to snag the next pair of girls for their first-ever co-ed high school PE class.
E looked through the badminton net to the other side of the court. Holy crap, it’s K! I didn’t even know he had PE this period. Well, fine, makes sense, until somebody decided Title IX meant gym classes should be co-ed, why would we…
Husband & retiree. Developer, tech writer, & IT geek. I fill what’s empty, empty what’s full, and scratch where it itches. Occasionally do weird & goofy things.