In Uncategorized on February 14, 2005 at 7:30 pm

not quite what saint valentine had in mind

“i’m a dog and you’re a cat,” she said. what she said was true, on so many levels.

it was the fall of 2000. i had just moved to massachusetts and was, admittedly, on the rebound. over the past two months i had fallen in love with the L’Arche Daybreak Community in Toronto. at L’Arche i learned the spirituality of cleaning toilets, the beauty of clothing the body of Christ and the overwhelming importance of being an incarnation of Christ. while my time at Soybean Bible taught me about my faith, it was my time at L’Arche that empowered me to embody such faith. spending my free time eating borscht and lounging at the beach with a beautiful ukranian woman wasn’t half-bad either.

about a month after i arrived in massachusetts, while i was readjusting to the abstractions of seminary and realizing that long-distance relationships with foreign women weren’t all that plausible, i met another girl. on the surface, she intrigued me. her father was an english professor at a well-known college, she was an aspiring children’s author and she had found a beautiful way to integrate the Jewish faith of her youth with the confessing life that she had embraced as a young adult. as we talked about books, listened to jazz and savored micro-brews at seaside pubs she began to grow on me. in fact, i enjoyed spending time with her so much that i thought it would be interesting to see how she interacted with my family. so, against the advice of a close friend and the limitations of my checking account, i bought her a ticket to tulsa so she could join us for thanksgiving.

by late october i was beginning to suspect that these plans were a mistake, but did not know how to disinvite her. since breaking off the relationship after the trip seemed to be the path of least resistance, it was the one that i chose. so when thanksgiving arrived, we boarded a plane for tulsa, i subtly flirted with the boston university student sitting behind us the whole way there and then cringed when we encountered my family at the arrivals gate. as we made our way home, my prayer was that the weekend would at least be bearable. as it turned out, it was far from.

the first day we were in tulsa, she sat on my father’s lap. now let it be said that my father is not a shy man, he is the type that wears a flashing red rudolph nose into candle-light christmas eve services, moreover, as a long-time elementary school santa claus, he is not unfamiliar with strange people sitting on his lap. however, when a strange yankee that he just met hopped on his lap and called him “daddy jim” you should have seen him squirm. that was strike one.

the second day, while we half-heartedly watched the macy’s parade and prepared for the noon meal, she tried to win over the other woman in my life, my dog Katy, by French kissing her. needless to say, that was a shiver-inducing strike two.

then, on the third day, at my great aunt and uncle’s fiftieth anniversary party no-less, she had not one, nor two but three glasses of champagne. now i have been known to have a drink or two myself, so i had no problem with the drinks. however, after she sat down on my eighteen year old cousin’s lap and tried to answer his unease by saying, “don’t worry, jealous is not a jeff kind of guy,” we had to ban her from the bar from the rest of the evening. steeeeriiiiike three. she was out. i knew it, my family knew it, hell, even kate, the unwitting object of same-sex attraction, knew it. the night before we left, while she was sleeping in the next room, my dad looked at me and said, “the girl?” and i responded immediately. “oh yeah, she’s yesterday’s news.”

to get back to boston we had to connect through o’hare. since we had a little time to kill before our flight, we stopped at the starbucks that is nestled between the k and j terminals and i overpaid for a couple of cups of coffee. as we were sitting around a little two-top and looking out the window at a couple of large men who were fueling a 737 and doing their best to damage passenger’s luggage, i had a stunning realization: airports are a perfect metaphor for transition. this, coupled with the fact that this cat did not want to be leashed to that dog when my feet touched massachusetts soil, led me break it off right there at the starbucks between gates k and j.

as i look back on that relationship i am ashamed that i dated her and abhor the fact that my family and friends incessantly tease me about her to this day. however, i can attest that even this relationship bore good fruit, for it left me with one hell of a story to tell.

happy valentine’s day!


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