The Road Taken

Circa 1979, in front of the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.

CHAPTER 1:  Broken Hearts & the Road Not Taken

This is how I broke my mother’s heart:  After graduate school, I announced I was leaving New York for good and heading out west, just so I could be with G, the man who had, by then, already broken my heart once…

CHAPTER 2:  The Bluest Sky

When I arrived in Seattle, I had two suitcases, $100 in cash and little else.  Just five hours earlier, I had been standing in the JFK terminal, where my parents, older brothers and younger sister had all gathered to see me off. Of course, my parents didn’t want me to go, and I could see it in my mother’s forlorn face. But in the end, they supported my decision, though my papá did buy for me a round-trip ticket…

CHAPTER 3:  Harry Truman and the Real World

Here’s what the Northwest was famous for around the time I moved there: Mount St. Helens, the Green River Killer and coffee. The Green River Killer came on the scene in 1982 and, for the next two decades, he murdered at least 48 women. Ted Bundy, whose own killing spree had ended, on account that he’d been caught, helped paved the way for interest in any news about the Green River Killer…

CHAPTER 4:  The Artful Dodger

“First time?” asked the girl in the navy suit. “You look lost.”  I had just arrived at the University of Washington’s HR office, and was feeling overwhelmed by the task of job hunting…

CHAPTER 5:  Ingmar Bergman & a Cookbook

One dinner.  That’s all I wanted. To plan one dinner for my new friend, Lia, and her boyfriend, Miles. Plus G and me, of course.  My way of thanking Lia for helping me get the job at the TV station. My first, welcome-to-the-work-world, job!

CHAPTER 6: Living Amid Demons

They say it rains more in Seattle than just about anywhere else, but that’s not true. After G moved to Seattle he became an expert of sorts about the city and would often enjoy telling me how, drop per drop, it rained more in New York each year, than it did in the Northwest…

CHAPTER 7:  Where it Begins

After the chocolate peanut butter pie incident, I’m sure you’re thinking, what kind of a guy is G? Why didn’t he ever stand up for me against the housemates? Well, he did in his own way, believe it or not…

CHAPTER 8:  Flying the Coop

On the night of our fourth anniversary of dating, G and I spooned.  Which made me reflect on the day, four years earlier, when it happened. When I was hit with a two by four. Smacked, really. Some might say, struck by Cupid’s arrow…

CHAPTER 9:  Mr. Woo’s Tree House

Flying the coop didn’t necessarily mean all would be cozy and perfect. After all, this isn’t a story about living happily ever after. Just a series of events, some good, some not so.  The good news? We did find a place of our own that more or less met all our criteria, which consisted of…

CHAPTER 10:  Swimming Upstream

It sucks to be me. That’s what I kept telling myself when the happy wanderers arrived at our doorstep. Joanie and Spock. Only Joanie wasn’t so happy. She was practically in a tailspin from having driven seven hours straight without stopping…

CHAPTER 11:  The Writing on the Wall

This is how my marriage ended. There was a bang, but first a series of whimpers, which, at the time, I did not recognize for what they were.  In retrospect, I can see clearly. Hindsight is 20-20, after all…

CHAPTER 12: The Reluctant Camper

One Friday night, G and I were heading to Greenlake for a quick bite, when the phone rang. It was Spock, wanting to see if we had plans…

CHAPTER 13: Road to Paradise

The road to Paradise, on Mt. Rainier, is paved with bumps, narrow inclines, sharp turns, and some potholes. But if you look closely, you’ll also see, strewn across the road, my frazzled nerves and spit…

CHAPTER 14:  Hello, Gorgeous!

He is beautiful.  Not handsome. Handsome is too plain a word for him. Beautiful. Adonis beautiful. Jan Michael Vincent beautiful–though I never could figure out what kind of name for a guy was Jan…

CHAPTER 15: A “True Love” Wedding

Fate. Timing. Fate. Timing. Fate. Bad timing. G and I married during one of the coldest January’s on record, in minus degree weather, in a reform synagogue somewhere in Northern New Jersey…

CHAPTER 16: Slipping Away

Did I say that? Did I really say that? Did I tell him I was married? I don’t know what happened. I don’t know how I got here.  I had all of two hours to think of what I would say if we ever spoke…

CHAPTER 17: Strawberries on a Blue Plate

The following week, I was ready.  Ready to sit as far from Rick as possible. Ready to pretend nothing had happened the week before—and really, nothing did, except, maybe, in my head. No sparks, no hearts on fire. I was pretty sure it was simply my wild imagination, getting the better of me…

CHAPTER 18:  Running

When I think of Rick, we’re holding hands. Holding hands and running. And smiling, too…

CHAPTER 19: The Here, The Now

I hated the in-between days when we didn’t have classes. For, seeing Rick couldn’t come fast enough, and no matter what I was doing, all of my thoughts kept drifting to him. Yet, the thought of seeing him outside of class seemed insurmountable. I didn’t dare suggest it. I had no right to ask…

CHAPTER 20:  Poetry Session

I love poetry and, in my youth, I was quite prolific. I wrote these poems during the time I was taking a creative writing class with Rick. These poems can each stand on their own. But, they do have a back story…

CHAPTER 21: Euphoria

I have a plastic container. I keep this container burrowed in the back of the closet that I share with G. It is mine.  One of two filled with letters, poems and countless journal entries. G and I have been married almost two years now…

CHAPTER 22: The Married Widow

Some people can’t stand being alone. It makes them feel lonely. It makes them want to climb the walls, as if they are unable to do anything, without someone to do it with them. I am not like that. Early on, growing up in a household with seven others, I learned to be on my own…

CHAPTER 23: Girl on the Run

Pam and I worked at the station, though in different departments. At first, I didn’t know what to make of her, but if I had one word to describe my first impression of her, it would be, intimidating. Add to that, a deep, throaty laugh, reminiscent of Cruella De Vil…

CHAPTER 24: Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

When I was young I wanted to be a cowgirl. I wanted to live on a farm and ride horses all day long, milk the cows and chase after the piglets…

CHAPTER 25:  Christmas with Pam

It was that time of year again and I was dreading it.  The holidays. I’d been living in Seattle a few years and still couldn’t get used to not having the family around at this time of year. But they were all in New York and I missed them immensely…

CHAPTER 26:  Bosses – The Good, The Bad & Gleda Balls

When it comes to bosses, I’ve had my share.  The good, the bad and the in-between. Thankfully, my current boss, is not only good, she’s GRRREAT!! She possesses the perfect combination of skills: leadership, generosity and diplomacy…

CHAPTER 27:  The Undoing of Gleda Balls

Like many things in history, the undoing of my boss, Gleda Balls happened by chance. It began with an incident that, in and of itself, would give you no reason to suspect that a shake-up was imminent.

CHAPTER 28: The Other Shoe Drops

The downward spiral of Gleda Balls, continued, but I wasn’t privy to the details. There were closed-door meetings, of which I was not included in a single one. It was all very hush-hush. As were the wringing of hands, the pacing in the hallways, and occasionally, the sound of an unanswered telephone coming from Gleda’s office.

CHAPTER 29: The Forgotten Diaries

Yeah, that thorny path to love, marriage, joy, despair, and finally, the growing-apart thing. Maybe it’s like watching a train wreck. Seeing how I gave up the life I had carved for myself, to join a man who was so far away from me, in more ways than just distance.

5 thoughts on “The Road Taken

  1. Pingback: The Other Shoe Drops « Monica's Tangled Web

    • Not sure as yet. I’m mulling it over. When I actually started working on a memoir, I changed focus to my childhood, so I’ve been concentrating on that. But, stay tuned, as, with enough inspiration, I might add more!

  2. Pingback: Heading Back to the Emerald City– « Monica's Tangled Web

  3. Pingback: The Road Taken Returns: The Forgotten Diaries « Monica's Tangled Web

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