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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Kissing the Frogs, to Find the Prince

Now I guess the spot light shines to me. I always had trouble with friends. Maybe I should rephrase that – I wasn’t a very good friend when it came to girls. A lot of great people came into my life, but I was such a shithead and needed a lot of growing up to do. I never felt like I was smart enough or pretty enough to ever really fit in. My siblings always made fun of me, so I felt it was appropriate to pick on other’s insecurities to cover my own. Which, thank God, I’m not like that anymore. However, I would fit in with the boys perfectly. One of my best friends of all time was Daniel. I was so comfortable with him and could talk to him about anything.

When it came to dating, well … that was a whole other story. My first love was Justin Noe. We met sophomore year of High School. He was so funny and seemed head over hills for me. And I won’t lie; I fell hard for him as well. Eventually, we came to our “bump” in the road. At first, my friends felt he was controlling and that I was ditching them for him. Then, my heart was truly shattered when I found out he cheated on me. I spent most of my energy terrorizing this girl and eventually found myself alone without my boyfriend and no friends. I dusted myself off, started hanging with a new crowd of people. Before I knew it, Oscar Smith came into my life. He wasn’t my normal type, but we clicked. I learned my lesson on “ditching the friends for the dude” and was able to balance that out more appropriately. Since we went to the same High School, we had a lot of mutual friends. However, in that relationship I think I created my own “bump”. I asked him how many people he had been with. Two years down the road, I asked the same question and the number had changed. I guess it was an ego thing, because now that I look back I don’t believe he cheated. He was genuinely a good guy. Since I didn’t want to feel the same hurt Justin inflicted on me – my shields went up. I started nick-picking on stupid things like “he’s a mama’s boy” and went into “get even” mode. At the time, I was working at a manufacturing company and was surrounded by available, good looking guys and started to stray from the relationship. I was about to turn 21 and was ready to go crazy. We broke up on good terms and still remain friends to this day.

The bar scene entered my life full time at that point. I would get up, go to work. After work, went out for drinks and then ended up at the clubs. And sometimes I was lucky to get a couple of hours of sleep before I would wake up and do it all over again. I was wild as hell and would do anything to make my friends laugh. I had learned to become a better person and enjoyed the true meaning of friendship.

Now, here’s where the story takes a strange twist. I was in Florida on a family vacation. My brother-in-law, Michael, received a call from his son.

Michael was married before he married my sister Janelle. Out of that marriage, he had two sons. Oddly enough, Keith, the oldest was around the same age as Janelle. And the younger one, Eric, was about the same age as me. Just in case you are trying to figure that out – Michael is roughly 20 years Janelle’s elder.

Now, back to the phone call … Eric was having marital problems and decided to take the next flight out and join us in Florida. I was excited because now I had someone to party with. The first night, the two of us started drinking A LOT. The details are kind of blurred, but we took on Orlando by going through some maze, riding go-carts, did bumper boats – in which, I was so drunk I fell in the water. In between that time we talked about our relationships and how badly we failed. We ended up getting lost, but eventually found our way home in one piece. The next day, we left for St. Pete Beach, where at the time my brother was living. Of course, we hit up the party scene with him. The funniest thing happened that night. Michael let us use the rental car. When we left Kevin, we didn’t realize we had to go thru the toll booths. Neither of us had and money … and yes, the tow was only fifty cents. We had to stop off in the hood to use the ATM. To our surprise, both of our cards were declined, so we had to end up going back to the bar we were at earlier that night and borrow the money from a total stranger. After all that, we became really good friends and hung out a lot on our return to Louisville. His best friend was Josh Stevens – they were always together. My sister, Elizabeth and I were always together, so there you have the Josh and Elizabeth story. Now as for Eric and I … we were really good friends, but everyone else seemed to think there was more to it. But, I was starting to feel comfortable in my own skin and wasn’t too concerned of what other’s thought. Life was going my way and I wasn’t going to let anything or anybody stand in my way. I had just received word that I got the job at an automotive industry that I had really wanted. And even got more then expected on salary negotiations. But, due to prior commitments, a cruise, I wasn’t able to start until my return.

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