After our first few chats, she found more and more excuses to find reasons to speak by phone instead of email, and eventually began to steer the conversation off-topic on a fairly regular basis. She’d start with a seemingly innocent inquiry, like, “How was your weekend?” and soon began hanging on every word of all the gory details.
I learned about the struggles of her relationship, and she enjoyed living variously through my escapades at the House of No Pants (a social setting on which the story behind the second half of my fictional madam’s Diary-of-a-Day was loosely based).
She and her partner had traveled to
I didn’t mean to paint a picture of a better way of life… I was just open and honest about the life I was living at the time.
She wanted it.
As soon as the first opportunity rolled around – a meeting for which team members at her site were scheduled to appear on location at our office – she made arrangements to visit me during off hours, and perhaps even make a stop at this exciting location she’d heard so much about. I didn’t actually live there, I was just one of a dozen or so who carried my own key, and could freely come and go as I pleased. I thought nothing of it… most people who knew about it (and I was selective about that number) wanted to see it, and I was always bringing new interests there… putting them to the litmus test of the judgment of friends who felt more like family was, I thought at the time, the best way to determine how well we’d connect long-term. She ended up canceling her hotel the second night, and spent the rest of the weekend there, sacked out in one of the extra spaces.
For the next few weeks after she got back, though, she couldn’t get it out of her head, and eventually decided she needed to make a clean break from her situation. She told me she was leaving her wife for good, bought a new car, transferred her home-base with the company from
At the time, I was renting the lower half of a house from a nice couple with a young child. They had a bit more space than they needed, and they could use the extra money, and I had arranged for a short-term agreement of just a few months until I got my own place. It was a nice situation for me. With my own entrance, I had what nearly amounted to a two-bedroom mother-in-law apartment – just lacking a private kitchen – and the price was excellent. The company was good, too, at first… they both adored me, but, their relationship was clearly on the rocks, and when it became obvious that they hoped I would be the mediator who bridged the communications gaps between them, and the glue that held them together, and then asked me if I wouldn’t be willing to extend my stay another two, maybe five, maybe ten years… I knew it was time to start looking elsewhere.
When Cam got into town, she took my other bedroom for a month or so, and counted on me to help her get settled in, as after 12 years in residential property management, I had a number of resources to hook her up with, which could help her find a new place. At the time, though, if one could figure it out, the market was bursting with opportunity to buy instead of rent. I agreed that I would handhold her through that process. I knew a mortgage broker who guaranteed if she found the house, he’d make it happen, and I knew a realtor who had a very intuitive understanding of how to get you into everything you wanted in a place. I connected her to both of them, and she asked me to help her look, since I knew the area better. I did, and got an idea for her “style” of home, and we narrowed her search to those criteria.
But, soon, she wanted more… she wanted me to not just be helping her look for her place, but for ours. I agreed that sharing half a home with one other person who was getting to be a friend was a better living situation than a one-bedroom apartment on my own, or half a house with a family who wanted my soul, and so we included me in the picture. But, that wasn’t enough either… she said because of my experience in the industry and my familiarity with the area, I knew better than her what was a good buy, and we really should be looking at my preferences, not hers. I tried to find a happy medium, but, in the end, the best house for the money was the one I chose. She made the deal, and we moved in just 4 weeks after she arrived in town.
I guess I should have known better than to let her bring a U-Haul.
At that same church, the preacher was a man who had the growth of one arm stunted in development, where the fingers were only the size of a child's, and the arm was only as long as to the length of his elbow on the other side. Needless to say, this man could not play the guitar.
His name was Bruce, and he and his wife Becky had a daughter named Amanda, whose middle name was Lynn, so, she was Amanda Lynn.
Funny she never had a brother they called Luke Alay Lee.
And, then of course, there was the little old lady that wandered into a church potluck with one of the more regular members, last of the great family matriarchs to the Berberich's at 97-yrs-old. Her name was Myrtle, but, that's not the funny part. Of ALL the men in the world that she could have met and fallen in love with... she had to marry a man whose last name was Ertle. Yep, she was Myrtle Ertle. And, that's not all! No, it gets WORSE... this madame, in her youth, had bore her man ELEVEN children. That's right... she had been known as Fertile Myrtle Ertle.