Phase 3: The Girl 

When I was 15 I met Carrie. She was quirky and beautiful. She had just shaved her head to declare herself a pariah at school, which in its own weird way appealed to me. A shaved head didn’t affect how beautiful she was. She was a smiling, mysterious siren and I was instantly hooked.

Like most sirens, it led to disaster. After two solid attempts to ask her out, each met with a gentle but firm denial, I determined that I was barking up the wrong tree. Because she was always so kind and so gentle I never quite gave up hope. I just liked her from afar. I used to bother her friends all the time asking about her. They knew I was fixated on her but they just rolled their eyes.

I brought her a single rose when I asked her out. I think I felt, even then that she was special. I’ll always remember being that awkward kid holding a rose behind his back and waiting to hear that she liked me back.

Eventually she moved away to Georgia for a few years and I just went on with my life. But I would always find myself thinking about her and wondering how she was doing.

She came back eventually and somehow I got word. We probably never would have even started to hang out but her sister was intent on playing a match-maker.

What’s a little odd is that she was IN a relationship when she came back. She was dating a guy who sounded like a wreck of a person. He was the manager of a small semi-successful band, he was gone all the time, he had hit her, he had been cruel to her. My heart went out to her and I wanted desperately to take her away from that. I didn’t really think she would just abandon her relationship for me. But it seems eventually he kind of dragged things to a stopping-point himself. Maybe me waiting in the wings helped her, maybe it made it harder. But I just tried to be kind, supportive and to help her regardless of whether or not it helped me. Which is a little odd for me.

The breakup happened, this guy had a meltdown in a major way. I feel more empathy now for him. At the time all I could see is that he had hurt her, emotionally and physically on more than one occasion. I’m sure he was unhealthy for her and I’m glad it ended. Of course it opened the door for me as well so it may have been selfish too. Carrie turned to me for help. I did everything I could to cheer her up and make her see that she deserved better. Quietly, inward, I believed it was me, that she deserved.

A few weeks later we were dating, and a few weeks after that we were moving in together. It’s the kind of quick rushed rebound that you would assume would blow up in everyone’s faces 100% of the time.

We made it work. There was some difficulties, some doubts and some problems. I remember that I was heavy back then but not nearly where I’m at now. For a time, I was so in love and so happy with how it all worked out that I didn’t even care how I looked. If she liked me, loved me even, I looked good enough.

Eventually when things slowed into a routine, I felt comfortable. Happy. We didn’t pay much attention to how we ate and she was very fit and could even afford to gain some weight and not be much the worse for wear. I remember several years in – her going on a diet – exercising, making an effort to step back from the reckless way we were both gaining weight. At the time I think I tried, made a few efforts and kind of lapsed back into just supporting her and not worrying about myself.