girl Scout skirt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There once was a young boy who met a young girl and they fell in love. Or something like that. They thought they were in love but really what happened was a young boy met a girl. The girl was very flirty and very sure of herself. Or so he thought. The boy was tall and had great hair. The girl knew her only way out of her father’s house that was filled with poverty, abuse, and no love, was to fall into another man’s house. And so these two kids who thought they loved each other very much, probably really only loved the idea of being in love and being married and having their own house. In fact, now that we look back on it, we can see that it was not meant to be and that must have been so obvious even way back then. But hindsight is as they say, 20/20.
They met in a small town. Not really a town. It was more of a 4-way stop type of town. Small and easy to pass through. And keep on going. But they met. She was probably being asked to leave class because her skirt was too short and you really couldn’t keep that woman down. Couldn’t tell her what to do. No one was the boss of her so she would gladly be sent home with a too short skirt. That must have caught his eye. That boldness. That sass. That je ne sais quois. That short skirt. He must have been different too. In his own way. Super tall, lots of dark hair. So much hair, it looked like you could live in it. If you wanted to. His eyes weren’t quite. Right. One was this way and one was that way. I bet she wondered why they were that way. But was too polite to ask. I bet he asked her out and knowing her, she said no. The first time. Played hard to get. The first time.
Eventually she must have said yes. Because even though she was playing hard to get, she wasn’t. He probably felt lucky because she was a looker and even that far back, he felt unloveable for some reason. Because of some comment. Because of something someone did or didn’t do. Because he was born. They must have looked kinda funny. He being so tall and her being not so tall. And I wonder if it was hearts and flowers or if they fought even that far back. Like if there was a sign. Or an omen. I bet it was fun in the beginning. Like Jack and Diane, two kids in the heartland. Doing the best that they can.
A small blip or a planned wrinkle I’m not sure, she wanted more and they told her she couldn’t have more so she said, I’ll show you. She joined the Women’s Army Corp. She made the cut. Short skirt and all. She wasn’t there long. Just long enough to prove she could do what they said she couldn’t. And then maybe she thought she better get back to marry that tall young man with all that hair. Or maybe she just didn’t know where else to go. Maybe there wasn’t anyone else to love in that 4-way stop town.
And maybe there were others. Men that is. But maybe something drew her to the tall one. Or maybe he asked first. We’ll never know because she is gone now and too far away to ask and even if we asked, we would never hear her answer. And wouldn’t it be nice if people only got married because they loved each other. Cherished each other. Trusted each other. Wanted each other. Needed each other. But when she was asked years later why she got married, it wasn’t any of those things. It was, “Because everyone else was doing it.” How romantic.
And so there they were, two kids in some sort of heartland. She was 19 and he was 20 and she had a baby in her belly. But they didn’t know that until later. After their wedding. Not like a wedding in a church or a hotel ballroom or on some grand mesa overlooking whatever grand mesas overlook. But in a small house. The size of a postage stamp. And not a big airmail stamp like in the old days, but a small one. They got some nice plates and silverware to start their “happy” life. And I guess the next month or maybe the next month, she must have said, “Honey, I’m pregnant.” I’d like to think it was a happy time. Since I was the baby in her belly.
But I imagine my parents as two hearts. One is bigger than the other. One has longer eyelashes than the other. One has eyes that don’t quite line up. But two hearts nonetheless. And then, there was a third heart that was much much smaller. That was me. And the way I see the two bigger hearts is full of love. But it’s almost like they needed a road map for love and life. And they didn’t have one. Because they didn’t quite know how to do it. How to love each other. How to be a family. And even after one more very small heart was added to our family, they still couldn’t do it.
I still see them as two big hearts. Full of love. Full of sadness. Full of insecurities. Full of pain. They just couldn’t let the love out. It’s like it got caught up in the top where the two sides of the heart meet. And so I see it as a wasted opportunity. Like they just couldn’t do it. Not totally wasted, because they produced two little hearts. But partially wasted. And I feel sort of sad for them. And for the two little hearts.