US: Chapter 3


Earlier in the week,
I mentioned that this story
would be woven in four parts.

So in theory,
this part should be the final installment to our story.


I also said that this section would be shorter...
but it's actually pretty lengthy.

But if there's anything you should have learned by now...
it's that I'm someone who breaks the rules.

Gird your loins, friends...
because this story just took a turn
and we dove headfirst into the uncharted land of love triangles.


May 5 - 12, 2006

For years to follow,
references to this week would make Lauren sick.

In a very literal way,
a knot would tightly wind itself up in the pit of her stomach
when her friends or family would question the timeline of events.

In so many ways, it was such an exciting time...
at last, they were finally together!

But in every other moment, 
it was obvious how terrible things really were.

Like the moments they would be laughing together in Tyler's car
interrupted by the beep of a text message from Dallas.

The phone calls with her parents 
to plan a luncheon after graduation
with her family... and her boyfriend's family.

Having to answer Tyler's sister's questions
about her boyfriend's plans for grad school 
over Tyler's birthday lunch.


Yes, it was all wonderful
until reality would remind them
that Lauren was still another guy's girlfriend.

Tyler was doing his best to stay calm and play it cool.

He wouldn't talk bad about Lauren's boyfriend,
because this wasn't about trying to make someone look bad 
and him look better.

Tyler knew the only way she could really let go
was if she could see how good they could have it...
and trust it would be worth untying the promises she'd made.

Editor's note: And as a chronic over-committer, 
there had been some big promises made.

And he tried to remind her that in the grand scheme of things...
stories like this really aren't that uncommon.


In fact, it makes for great material for grandparents to tell their grandkids.

For as calm and together Tyler may have appeared,
Lauren was a complete wreck.

Beyond the normal stress of graduating college 
and moving into the real world,
she was now an adulterer.

Well, not really...
but you wouldn't have been able to convince her otherwise.

She had cheated on someone...
and as wonderful as it felt to be with Tyler,
it felt really crappy to do so with such guilt.

Because the truth was,
Lauren actually really loved her boyfriend.

No, she didn't want to marry him.

She actually hadn't really wanted to date him for a while.

But after you invest so much time into a person...
you get the privilege of learning who they really are.

And most people, 
regardless of their compatibility for marriage, 
have really good things about them.

And Lauren's boyfriend was no exception.

He wasn't a schmuck.
He was a really nice guy.

She wanted him to have the best...
he deserved it,
but at that time, 
what he wanted most in life was her.

Up to this point, Lauren had happily obliged.

She wanted him to be happy...
and even if that didn't feel like a fairy tale to her,
she enjoyed the idea of letting him live one.

And while she loved her boyfriend for many reasons, 
Lauren had never been able to see him the way she saw Tyler.

So what did Lauren do?

She did what any girl would do in this scenario...

She made out with Tyler like it was her last week on earth
and then wept for the remainder of her waking hours.


Friday, May 12, 2006

The day before graduation arrives,
and Lauren needs to drop off her car at the airport
so that her boyfriend can use it when he lands later that night.

She's coordinated with her parents to meet at the airport
as they pass by on their drive in for graduation.

And, naturally, Tyler comes along.

Even though her parents have never met Tyler.

In fact, they've just assumed he's a dorky fellow who follows her around...
because why else would she spend so much time with another guy?

The drive back from the airport is loud and busy.

Lauren's sisters are harassing Tyler in a way that only sisters can do,
her dad pecks away at his Treo while peppering in random jokes,
her grandmother begins an inquisition on the religious history of his family tree,
and as Lauren laughs at one of Tyler's responses...
she catches her mother's eye in the rear view mirror.

Her mom just glances up, raises one eyebrow, and looks back to the road ahead.

And while nothing is said,
Lauren can feel her neck and face start to burn red.

Editor's Notes: Moms know everything. 
It saves a lot of time to just tell them the truth up front. 

Her boyfriend arrives in town late that evening,
comes by her apartment to say "Hi,"
and then heads to the house where he is staying with her parents.

After he leaves,
she calls Tyler 
and he comes to pick her up.

As they sit at a red light
and Ray Lamontagne's "Trouble" plays,
Lauren realizes how ridiculous this has all become.

By this time tomorrow, she will be back in Dallas
and might not see Tyler again...

As the light turns green, he squeezes her hand
and, for the hundredth time,
 she feels tears fill her eyes.


May 13, 2011


It's graduation day.

This day has been dreaded for a long time.

Lauren is not ready for the real world...
 not ready to leave college...
 not ready to leave her friends...
 not ready to leave Tyler...
and not ready to get engaged to her boyfriend.

This mark on her life's timeline has been one
she has desperately tried to resist for a long time.

But it arrives...


... and it passes.


And before she knows it,
Lauren is cutting into a spongey sheet cake 
from the grocery store up the street
 in front of her and her boyfriend's families.



Their families have finally met after three years of dating.

It's all going really well
... except for her brother violently spilling a venti drip 
down the graduation bleachers
and destroying her boyfriend's mom's white dress.


Normally something like that would stress a girl out...
but when you've been cheating on her son all week,
your guilt level is so far beyond a coffee spill-
 you most likely won't even flinch when you hear about it.

As the chatter buzzes around her
 all Lauren can do is sink into the couch 
and stare down at the phone in her lap
After lunch, goodbyes are said...

plans are made to meet for Mother's Day brunch tomorrow in Dallas,

and Lauren and her boyfriend head to her apartment one last time.


The apartment is already packed up and cleaned out.
All they need to do is pick up the last bits, head out,
 and start their life together.

For three years, they've been waiting to get here...
this day marks the beginning of what they had always talked about.

And as Lauren has explained to Tyler,
she owed her boyfriend this time...

He had, after all, moved his life to be with her.

In spite of everything that had happened in the past week, 
it was the only solution she could resolve that was fair.

But as he closes the front door of her empty apartment 
and wraps his arms around her...
something inside snaps.

She watches in terror as her boyfriend leans into kiss her
and is suddenly disgusted at the idea of kissing anyone other than Tyler.





* Do you feel awkward yet? Like you are witnessing a train wreck? 
Or watching a woman walk around with her skirt tucked in her pantyhose?
** I can finish this story in one or two more posts. Put your preference below!

Posted on December 2, 2011 and filed under "Kiss", "TK", "youth".