Different as Corn and Watermelon – A Torrent Love Affair

When I was young and still a hillbilly, I had a torrent love affair with an Anglo-Saxon Greek named Michael Angelo.  He was older, wiser, and towered authoritatively over my tiny 5’3” frame.

It was the Anglo side of him that made him physically big.  He was 6 foot 5 and about 225 pounds.  When he entered a room, everyone would stop to stare, waiting for him to do something important.  He said that this expectation that people had of him was a curse.

It was the Greek Orthodox side of him that made him a chauvinist.  He insisted that any wife of his would stay home and iron his button down shirts.  We fought about this.  There was no way I’d be someone’s slave.

Still, I worshipped his intelligence.  His confidence was wildly sexy and irresistible.  And though he was extremely conservative and didn’t believe that women should have many rights, he had a fun side to him.

Once he flew me to Florida from my small hometown in Maryland.  He was already at the tropical airport, anxiously waiting my arrival.  He was wearing khaki shorts and Wafarers  and driving a rented convertible Mustang.

We zipped around West Palm Beach, hair flying in the humid air, while drinking White Russians from a 7-11 cup.  I don’t remember much else.  We were always drunk.  He didn’t worry about the risks of drinking and driving.  He was wealthy and had connections.

He thought he was cool.  We’d “walk like an Egyptian” in his living room while swigging hard liquor.  We’d dangerously drive the back roads of Virginia and steal signed Neil Armstrong portraits right off of the wall from Your Father’s Mustache Restaurant in some little backwards town.

Once he bought me flowers.  Then I said that I wanted to travel the world, see Europe, splash through the warm waters of Bali.  He threw the flowers into the fire.  He was so emotional.  And controlling.

If I smiled too broadly at a retail clerk, he’d accuse me of flirting.  He didn’t understand why I wanted to take a weekend trip with my girlfriends up to the mountains.  He thought that was improper.

One day I accidently found out that he was still seeing his ex-girlfriend, the school teacher.

I stopped by his house one day to find her standing in the drive-way, classy yet tired looking.  I knew it was her because she was dressed like a school marm, proper skirt down to her ankle boots.  She didn’t wear makeup.

I was 19 and fresh from the fields.  My tight jeans were worn, my eye makeup too black.  We were as different as corn and watermelon.

I grieved the betrayal then moved to California.  Two years later, he tried to bribe me to come back by offering to put me through college.  He knew that was what I dreamed of – going to school full time.  But the offer came with strings; it had to be an all female college.  And I’d have to live by his rules.

I said no thanks.  I opted for freedom instead.

He later married when he was well into his 50’s.  Over twenty five years later, he still has the same phone number.  Sometimes I’ll call it and hang up.  It’s my message to him that I still think of him sometimes.  I hope he knows what a great life I’ve come to lead.

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