The Catt Box

'Bittersweet'

 

Well, Johnny was released from the rehabilitation hospital and coming home for good, so, Darlene planned a big cook out. A big 'welcome home' party for Johnny. This party was on August 21, 1982.....the weekend after the car wreck. And Ron and I would be there, too. 

Ron and I spent the day flirting with each other, and just having fun...and looking forward to our next date. We could never stop grinning at each other.  Ron couldn't stay long into the evening, he had to go on a truck run, but I was going to stay for a while. Robin took a picture of Ron for me. I hadn't received a picture of him yet. 

But later that night, another bad thing happened to the three of us. We were all gathered around a big campfire on the drive-way. Some of us were sitting on chairs, others on benches or the ground... and we were all just talking. Then, suddenly, the campfire exploded and I went sailing through the air and onto my chest, where I got scraped up really bad across my breasts. My shirt went up just before landing. I remember thinking how Ron was going to laugh at me for this...every time we're apart....bad stuff. More boo-boos to kiss (giggles).

Well, we all composed ourselves and sat back around a newly built fire. Before too long the same thing happened again. This time some hot wood and coals got on my arm, and to this day I have the scars from it. Darlene, Robin's sister, had a bunch of her hair burnt off...and she had extremely long hair. How horrible!

Come to find out, the fire was built right on the drive-way, which was 'concrete'...you can't build a fire on concrete like that...it doesn't expand...IT EXPLODES!  So, we all 'blew up' twice before we figured it out. Duhhhhhh.....

So, that makes two weekends in a row that something 'bad' happened to us....lol...we began to suspect a pattern.

And, once again, Ron spent our dates kissing all my boo-boos.  The dates continued...the daily phone calls....and the growing love I had for him. I had not told him the words 'I love you'...I was too scared. Scared I'd frighten him away. Scared of me...scared of love... but regardless of how scared I was, it was there. I felt it. And it was implied every time I saw him...every time I touched him...every time I loved him.

But I wasn't saying anything. And I was not going to rush anything. Five years before Ron met me, his first wife and five year old boy were killed in a car accident. He was as scared as I was...I knew it. I gave him all the space he needed. I more than understood. Not to mention my own bad relationship...I was in no hurry to get in a serious relationship with anyone.

On August 25th, 1982 Ron called me up and asked me if I would like to go on a truck run with him to New York City....Oh, yeah! I loved New York! I only lived about two and a half hours from the city. And, I had never rode in a big truck before. This was going to be great. He said he'd come to pick me up around mid-night, and I could hardly wait. How exciting!

I packed a little bag and I heard his truck at the end of the drive-way....the motor running...and the hot night heat hanging in the air....I felt the butterflies in my belly...all the senses were alive in me. He spoke to my parents and as I left I told them I was running away with a handsome truck driver. He swept me up in his arms again and carried me down the drive-way to my awaiting 'chariot'. Now...before you people begin to think I can't walk, I can walk...very well, but Ron was a 'romantic'...he just enjoyed doing things like this...he loved spoiling me and 'mothering' me....bringing me little treasures from his travels in the truck.

We got in the truck and I felt like I was sitting on a building. Oh, my, but we are high up! It was majestic...it was as though we had a view unlike anyone else in the world. He warned me of how 'bumpy' the ride would be....and it was. I was not as 'endowed' in my chest area at that age and I 'felt' every move we made on that road...who knew? But the ride was wonderful, in that big red Kenworth truck. 

We reached the New Jersey area and he told me that he couldn't  bring his shipment into that particular area in New York City until 8:00 in the morning, so we spent hours talking...and snuggling, and....well, you know....And the entire time, we were right in front of the beautiful city of New York...all lit up and glowing, just for us. It was stunning. We laid in each other's arms, in the 'sleeper' section, and watched the sun rise and wake New York City up for the day.

When the time came we dropped the shipment off and then went for breakfast. I loved riding in that truck. I was scared to death of that darned ol' Delaware Memorial Bridge....(shudder)....being up so high, you see a lot more...and it's a lot scarier. 

We took our time on the ride back. We dropped the big truck off and then got into his little Datsun pick-up truck....wow...what a difference. It felt so cramped and tiny and low to the ground. I don't know how he ever got used to that....

Ron lived in Harford County and I lived in Cecil County, Maryland. The truck was parked in Havre de Grace and we headed on back to my parent's house. There is a back road a person can take to go back to Cecil County....and you can go across the Conowingo Dam, if you don't want to travel down Route 40. He wanted to take the more 'scenic' route to my house...so he chose the back way...and I wasn't paying any attention to it until he seemed to be unsure as to which road to take when we reached a fork in the road.

I asked him where we were going and he said he wanted to take me across the dam. "Well, sweetie...the dam is shut down for repairs and no one can cross it." He had forgotten all about it because he doesn't go that way. We were on Lapidum Road....and though his cousins live on it, he rarely travels that road...so, it was easy to see how he could forget that. 

But, he took this opportunity to pull over and 'have a talk' with me. My heart felt heavy and I was scared he was going to tell me we have to 'cool it'....we both were feeling so strong for each other and I was scared that he was scared of it....I know I was. It was evident to anyone who saw us that we were getting deeper and deeper into each other. (don't hurt me...)

I can't even remember how he got into the conversation about it now, but I do remember when it ended up with him crying...and he had to turn away from me...he hung his head and in a barely audible voice, he told me 'he loved me...he was falling in love with me....he loved me'. (I love you, too....)

He looked back up at me and his tears were streaming down his face. His chin was quivering and he kissed me in that very moment....I tasted his tears on my lips and felt his still-quivering chin on mine. I was stunned. I was scared. I believed him...but I couldn't believe he was actually telling me this...but he was telling me. And I said nothing for a long time. Then I told him that I had felt the same way. (I love you....)

FELT THE SAME WAY? What the hell is that? Why can't I say the words to him? Why? He just said them to me....why can't I just say it? But I couldn't say the words...I couldn't make myself say them. (I love you....)

But he knew it...he did know I loved him, too. We kissed for an eternity....very softly...and he cried the entire time. I am not easily given to tears...and I felt bad that I could not cry. Inside of myself I was screaming...I was elated...I was shouting and professing my own love for him....but on the outside I sat with complete composure. (I love you....)

We talked for a while longer....he explained his difficulty in letting someone into his heart again because of the last time he did that....they were 'taken' from him...his wife and his five year old son. I had no idea what that must have been like for him, but I knew it was bad enough to cause doubt in anyone to ever trust love again. (I love you...)

But he was letting me in...I was in. And I let him in....after all the hell and horror I endured with Brute, just ten months before, I was amazed anyone could get through the wall I built up against love. But mere words were the only things bridled in our growing love for one another.

He took me home and we loved a few hours away....

 

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August and September 1982 and January 22, 2001 Copyright Cathy Palmer-Scruggs / Catt Alexander

 

Background by Whisper