Baylee and I were in the furniture store, finally ready to purchase a sectional for our new home. While we were sitting on the one we chose, waiting for the salesperson to finalize the deal, he asked me a question.
“How did you meet Dad?”
I forget how young Baylee was when Roger passed, and that he missed out on many of the stories and facts because he simply doesn’t remember. I cleared my throat, snuggled deeper into the cushy couch, and began.
“I met him around Christmas of 1994. I was engaged to someone else, and I was committed to that relationship, but I did think Dad was handsome.”
The person I was engaged to was Roger’s sister’s boyfriend’s brother. Confusing, yes. Roger’s sister, Sherry, and I hit it off right away years before. We were close and I was excited to finally meet her brother she spoke so highly of.
I remember that night. Roger was so friendly and looked good in his jeans and white button-up shirt. Sherry had him show us his nipple ring so he undid his shirt a few buttons and shyly showed the room his piercing. We all cheered and I looked away.
Roger showed me photos of some of his deployments and we talked about music. He also asked me about me. I will admit there were times when others in the room seemed to vanish. The holidays passed and Roger went back to NC where he was stationed, and life went on.
Months after that, I came home to my apartment I shared with my fiancé and Tye, and there was no TV in the living room. In vain, I checked the dresser drawers and saw the emptiness I knew would be there. I knew he took off and that we were better for it, but it still stung.
Sherry and I remained close after the breakup. One month after that, Roger came home for Memorial Day, and they all stayed with me and Tyler at our apartment in Southampton. I cooked dinner and we all had drinks, played cards, and called into the radio station. Everyone went to sleep before me and Roger . . . and that’s where we began.
We were officially together on June 4, 1995, and married on December 16, 1995. Our relationship was long-distance, him being at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and me still in Southampton, Massachusetts. We physically were together for about fourteen days scattered here and there. He came home once for a wedding in October, for the Marine Corps. Ball in November where he proposed to me, and for Thanksgiving.
The next time we saw each other was in December, the day before our wedding where I surprised him with my plaid sneakers. I was twenty-one and he was twenty-three. We stayed through the holidays and left for NC the day after Christmas.
It’s fun when the boys ask me questions like this. I also love writing about them because they will forever be in virtual ink at an accessible place for their reference. It brings me back to that innocent, young love we had when our world was full of light, when we lived only for the present and oh-so-bright future, and when there were stars in my eyes for a young marine with a nipple ring.
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