US: The Final Chapter


A promise is a promise...
and while I might be tripping out on cold meds
with a head so congested it might explode...
I've got to finish this saga.

I just re-read the last portion and it is like a soap opera...
and I'm realizing,
it's time to bring it to a fairy tale ending.

(Spoiler alert? Nah, you already knew that.)

May 13, 2006

Lauren slips out of the dress
her friend, Laura, had leant her for the day.

After an entire morning, lunch, breakup
and the mattress-sob scene...
it's starting to look less like silk & more like crepe paper.

She changes into a t-shirt, jeans, and hoodie
looks in the mirror and realizes that her squinty eyes 
have practically disappeared into swollen oblivion.

To an outside observer,
she might as well have no eyeballs...
just giant, puffy skin flaps that overcrowded her sockets.

Lauren grabs her biggest pair of sunglasses
and heads downstairs 
just in time to hear Tyler pull up.

Before he has put the car in park,
she is sulking out the door 
and collapses in the passenger seat.

Hi.

Hi.

And they drive.

Lauren pulls her legs up to her chest,
crosses her arms around her legs,
and looks out the window.

Tyler drives aimlessly,
waits for her to speak,
and does his best not to notice her new ring.

He just enjoys the last few minutes 
of something that he thought was really special.

After a while, he pulls into Sonic 
and parks in a parking space 
on the back side of the lot.

He turns the car off 
and adjusts himself to face her...

"So... what happened?"

He waits to hear what he predicts 
will be the end of their story...
but as Lauren begins to recount the afternoon's events,
Tyler realizes it's not their relationship that ends today. 

She just couldn't do it, she explains.

Her boyfriend had started to hug her...
and when he did,
she just decided she couldn't wait all summer 
to make up her mind.

She already had.

It was obvious... 
and it's over,
and her (now, ex)boyfriend was so sad.

For all she knew, 
her (ex)boyfriend was somewhere on a highway
dragging his roller-suitcase behind him.

And she feels terrible.

And she cries again.

Tyler rubs her back
and doesn't say much 
as he digests the news.

Eventually, they realize how long they've been parked there
and decide to move along.

They drive around for a while...
and slowly, the conversation begins to shift 
from her old relationship 
to what lies in store for theirs.

And while there are some fresh wounds-
it's immediately as if a weight's been lifted off Lauren's shoulders.

It feels as if her life just started over.

It's just the two of them- 
together at last!

It's the beginning!

As they work their way past the city limits...
the late spring sun pours through the window
and, for the first time,
they're free to be who they've been wanting to be.

 By the time they reach the country hills,
there's an electric pulse running through them.

Editor's note: I'll never forget that car ride for as long as I live.

That night they go out with their friends one last time.

And when they arrive, 
no one has to explain a thing.


It was like everyone had known all along...
maybe even before they had known themselves.

note: residual puffy eye 
And everything felt right.

May 14, 2006

Editor's Note: This section is here just for your enjoyment...
and for a warning that, indeed, karma is real.

The next day,
Lauren says goodbye to Tyler...
though she knows she'll see him again soon.

Her brother & her head to Dallas 
 for Mother's Day brunch,
 are leaving later than they should have.

As they drive, she spills the big news.

She tells her brother everything & guilt washes over her again.

Her brother tells her it's okay...
 she made the right choice,
but she still feels awful.

As they cross the state line,
Her brother gets pulled over for pushing 90.

The country cop yanks her brother out of the driver's seat
 forces her brother to "spread 'em" against the car hood,
and gives him a Texas-sized frisking.

Lauren just stares blankly at the scene.
At this moment, she is so emotionally drained,
that nothing is registering.

As they arrive at lunch,
she tells her family the news:
she broke up with her boyfriend...
and now she's dating Tyler.

As gifts begin to parade across the table, 
Lauren continues to sob.

my four year old nephew took this picture at lunch. from the lens of babes, the truth speaks.
 In the midst of the chaos,
her mom opens a card from Lauren's older sister:

She's pregnant!

Everyone chokes back their words of comfort 
and expresses their excitement at the news.

A baby!

surprise! we're pregnant! not the atmosphere they had in mind...
As the conversation shifts to due dates & gestational stages,
the sound of Lauren's grandmother slapping her grandfather's back
turns the focus of the conversation across the table once more.

Her grandfather is choking.

He has had a stroke 
and is confined to a wheelchair
which proves to be a tough predicament 
when administering the Heimlich.

In an effort to not traumatize the entire restaurant, 
full of families gathered for Mother's Day, 
Lauren's grandfather ("Papa") is quickly wheeled
 out the front door of the restaurant
and into the flower beds by the parking lot.

Immediately, her dad, brother, and a startled bus boy 
work to hoist her grandfather up,
hold him upright,
& dislodge food from his throat.

Editor's Note: I am not making this up. What kind of person could?

Her grandmother stands on the sidewalk
next to Lauren, with tears rolling down her cheeks.

"Well, you're not that bad of a person," her grandmother says.

"I wasn't crying because of (my boyfriend)... I'm crying because of Papa!"

As the first signs of her grandfather pulling through...
 Lauren's dad pulls rank and reroutes the chaos.

He tells Lauren's younger sister to take Lauren home,
he tells her brother to go pay the bill & have valet pull up the cars,
and he tells her older sister to go find her mom...

...who at this point, 
is sitting alone at a table for 11, on Mother's Day 
with everyone's purses &  abandoned food.

Editor's Note: Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

The Weeks To Follow
(as told by myself)

I eventually stopped crying,
but I felt bad for a really long time.

Tyler came in town a few days after Mother's Day...
and my family got to meet him as more than just a friend.

They liked what they saw.

Three months later,
we booked a honeymoon,
I got fit for a custom wedding dress,
& ordered a wedding cake for 750 guests.

Three and half months later,
Tyler proposed.


And four months after the engagement,
we got married.

January 6, 2007.

I've been thankful every single day since.

Some people were really mean after all of this happened.

And honestly,
it's okay.

Well, no.

It's actually not okay to be mean to anyone.

But ultimately, it never mattered,
because I am with the right person.

It was worth every bit of worry,
every tear (of the millions) that I shed that week,
and every judgmental remark ever made about us.

Yup, it was worth it because every day I get to be with Tyler.

It might sound cheesy,
but it's true....
a little tribulation is nothing
when two people who are perfect for each other get to share their lives together...
it's worth working and fighting for. 

No matter how hard I knew it would be to amputate a part of my heart
and walk completely away from someone I cared for...
I knew it wouldn't be as difficult 
as living the rest of my life knowing I had settled.

And how will you know when it's the right person?

I can't tell you...
but I don't need to.

When you meet the right person
-and it really is the right person-
you'll know.


Posted on December 4, 2011 and filed under "Kiss", "TK", "youth".