As I said last week, when I was seventeen I carefully put Roddy McDowall away in the deepest, darkest corner of my heart. I moved on like he wasn’t a part of my life anymore, although he was still there each and every moment.
Is it any wonder that I so strongly identified with Helen Reddy’s song “Angie Baby,” the story of a girl who has imprisoned a secret lover? At least Roddy was only metaphorically locked up!
I began keeping a journal that fall, and I continued it for nearly twelve years. As I began to write about my activities, more interesting activities became a part of my life. Sometimes it read like fiction, even to me who was living it.
I still preferred the fiction I’d written and imagined though.
After high school I moved into an apartment with a girlfriend and got a crummy, dead-end, fast food job. I had a short-lived, yet rather wild, period before my roommate met Mr. Right and moved to another state.
I still thought of Roddy all the time, but it was the late ‘70s, the era of drugs, disco, and Studio 54, so I figured he was doing similar things, but with a more sophisticated crowd. I understood by then that he’d probably had MANY experiences that thirteen-year-old girl could have never imagined. But the eighteen-year-old did! I had all those years sitting and pining in my bedroom to make up for.
And I did my damnedest!
I tried college for a couple semesters, but didn’t really know what I was doing there. A boy I’d dated had joined the military, and since I’d become so good at letter-writing during my mid-teen years writing to Roddy, I wrote to this boy when he went away to boot camp and then his first duty station.
I think mostly due to my letters, his loneliness, and his desire to be out of the barracks, he asked me to marry him.
I think mostly due to my not knowing what to do with my life, my loneliness, and my desire to be away from Kansas City (and my mother), I said yes.
NOT good reasons to marry, any of them!
I made my wedding vows to love and cherish this boy with someone else residing in my heart.
Those sweet, innocent feelings I had for Roddy in early 1973 had grown and changed as I’d grown and changed. They weren’t so innocent anymore. I packed up all my scrapbooks and stories, as well as the photograph I’d slept with for most of my teenage years, and moved on to my new life.
I spun all new fantasies…
And I was alone, far from home, in an unknown place nearly always, so I had TIME to create such phantom daydreams. Not only did I feel like I’d moved to the Edge of the Earth, and my new husband wasn’t very attentive, but shortly after we were settled into our new home in North Carolina he began seeing another girl.
So I even had the RIGHT to be thinking of, the right to be wanting, someone else.
I was a good wife though, and I don’t think he ever realized he wasn’t the one in my thoughts. If he’s reading this now though, he knows, and I’m not quite sure how I feel about that.
He and I have made our peace with our marriage, and we’ve both admitted that it was as much for convenience as anything else. Perhaps I could’ve been more forthright though.
But I couldn’t have then!
I wouldn’t be able to for many more years.
This has been rather gut-wrenching, and I’m not sure I should be so candid, but I have lived for the past eight years on the advice to not be afraid to show my soft underbelly. So that’s what you’re getting, even if it is somewhat uncomfortable, and even embarrassing, for me.
See you on Saturday!