"D"

In the Spring of 1997, I got a job at a book store in Portsmouth NH to help pay for my graduate school tuition. Most of the people I worked with were easy to get a long with, but there was one person that I could never seem to impress no matter how hard I tried....my supervisor, D. Being the great supervisor he was, he always seemed to catch me just as I made a mistake, and I could tell he thought I was the ditziest woman alive. He seemed to be able to smile and joke around with other employees, but when it came to me he could never crack a smile. I would frequently try to make light of things, but he would always maintain a serious expression on his face. I found myself really wanting to make him smile....I thought he was quite handsome.

One day on my lunch break, being the clutz I was, I spilled my lunch all over the white shirt I was wearing. I managed to cover it up with the smock I wore for work, but D could tell that I was hiding something. I was too embarrassed to tell him, but agreed that I would tell him if he told me something about himself. D seemed to like this game, and we would take turns telling each other something embarrassing or not so embarrassing about ourselves, as we were walking around the store straightening up the shelves. We got each other to laugh several times, and realized we had some things in common. D had graduated from UNH two years before me, and we both liked to reminisce about our college years. Somehow we managed to make a date for a day we both had off from work. D told me later that he had wanted to ask me out for a while, but because we both worked togther we had to be somewhat discreet about it. So he waited until he thought I was interested in him before he asked me.

D and I met for our date at the UNH football field. We sat and talked in the bleachers for a while, and then went for lunch at Benjamin's just off campus. I realized that he had quite a sense of humor, and a knack for telling interesing stories. I remember hardly noticing that several hours of talking had gone by. It was getting dark, so we decided to go to Hampton Beach, one of my favorite places because it was always so beautiful at night. We were like two little kids as we ran down the moonlit beach, chasing each other, into the tingling cold water, and then back onto the sand. When we were out of breath, we dropped to the sand and that was the first time D kissed me. For a minute I forgot about my broken heart and saw a possibility of a new relationship.

I wasn't quite ready to jump in head first into something new, I was still in love with someone else (see this story). Although there was no possibility of getting that person back (if there was, I wouldn't be on this date), I needed time. D, however, had not been in a serious relationship for a few years. It would be an understatement to say he was anxious with me. When we got back into his car after walking on the beach, it was obvious he wanted more than another kiss. He told me that it had been a long time since he had been intimate with someone, and really wanted to experience that again...and right then was apparently a good time for him. I felt very pressured, and when he noticed I was hesitant, he expressed disappointment. But because I liked him, I was still thinking of someone else, and didn't want to "go all the way", I decided to please him in other ways. I had never gone down on someone on the first date, that act was something I usually reserved for someone I loved. On this occassion, it wasn't my idea of romance, but it happened. As he drove me back to the apartment I was living in for the summer, I wondered to myself if I should go out on a second date with him.

As much as I thought how he treated me was a little selfish, I guess I was being a little selfish myself. I wanted someone to help me forget about losing someone I loved. I was tired of crying myself to sleep every night, and feeling unworthy of love from the only person I wanted it from. D made me feel attractive and wanted. Everything I did seemed to turn him on. We were very attracted to each other, and maybe that was just what I needed to get over the pain.

So D did get a second date, and before long we were going out a few times a week. We would go out to dinner and a movie, or to the beach, and our dates tended to end the same way - in a car and acting like two horny teenagers. This was unlike me, and it got to the point where we didn't seem to care if we were in close approximation to people who could see what we were doing. Since I had roommates and he lived at home with his family, there was no where else for us to be intimate. After we had been dating for almost two months, we decided we had to find a place to be together more privately. We had not yet made love, and there was a sense of urgency all of a sudden - we had enough! Thinking of that night still makes me laugh, because we plainly threw discreetness out the window. I never thought I was the type of person to be inside a convenient store checking the yellow pages for hotels to call and check for rates. D purchased a box of condoms, and I purchased a toothbrush and toothpaste. It was obvious we weren't going on a picnic. We settled on the McIntosh Inn, and in the excitement of being naked with each other for the first time, I left the keys in the door of our hotel room. Even after all we had done to and with each other, I wanted all the lights off. There was hardly a prelude before our clothes were on the floor and I had already had two orgasms. It was clumsy, and neither one us gave it our best shot. I felt like I was seventeen again, on prom night at a hotel in Cape Cod with my boyfriend. I would never experience again with anyone else the same carefree attitude toward love and sex.

D told me he loved me after we had been dating for several months, but I think he felt he had to. I don't know at exactly what point he actually meant it, but it may have been the night of what I considered our most romantic date. He called me to tell me he was taking me somewhere nice, and that I should dress "formal". Our dates were never formal, so that was surprising to me. He asked me if I had a dress to wear, and I told him I did. He arrived at my dorm looking very handsome in a suit and tie. He took me to dinner at Rosa's in downtown Portsmouth, which was a very fancy Italian restaurant. I remember trying very hard to keep a straight face, as his demeanor was so serious and composed. After dinner he took me to the Seacoast Repertory Theatre to see Man of La Mancha. I don't think I had felt before that night that D and I were actually in a serious relationship. And I don't think I ever realized before then that I was in love with him.

I was nervous meeting D's traditional Irish family, they seemed old fashioned and I doubted they would like me. I am partially Irish, and was told by D that was a plus, but because I wasn't actually born in Ireland I may be out of luck. However, his parents were very pleasant, so if they didn't like me I never noticed. And it seemed to go unnoticed that we would frequently make love in the guest room when they were asleep.

On our one year anniversary, D took me to the Governor's Inn in Rochester for dinner. I had never had anything in a "berry reduction sauce" before in my life, so it didn't take much for me to be impressed. Although it was a happy occasion, I wasn't anxiously awaiting D's move to Newark NJ to attend law school. I knew that long distance relationships never worked out, because I had a few in my life, but I wanted to believe that an adult relationship could handle the strain. I blocked out my thoughts of impending doom with the thought of us sitting at the same table at the Governor's Inn, as an old married couple. D was the first man I ever pictured myself married to.

D moved to Newark, and I missed him greatly. I remember going to a store and stocking up on stationary, because I knew I would want to write to him a lot. But he called me a lot, which made me feel better and made him feel not so far away. He came home to New Hampshire a few times, and our relationship seemed to be intact and as comfortable as always. However, one night in October of 1998, he drove me back to my dorm, and I could tell something was wrong. He started the conversation by saying he was worried about me. I was lonely in graduate school, I didn't have any friends in the immediate area and D told me he wished I had friends to spend time with. He also said that he wanted to meet people at school, and feel free to date if he was interested enough in someone. I was shocked and upset, because aside from the distance, our relationship still seeemed the same to me, and if we still loved each other - breaking up didn't seem to make much sense. Then I felt sad and started to cry, because I realized that maybe he didn't love me anymore, and that's why he was breaking up with me. Maybe he just wanted to do this as nicely as he could. I never asked him, because I didn't want to know. I just opened the car door, and walked to my dorm.

D came home another weekend in October, and wanted to see me. We both still wanted to be friends, but I felt very bitter toward him. I think I selfishly wanted him to be as lonely as I was, and envied that he already seemed to have made a lot of friends in Newark. Even more upsetting to me was that he wanted us to still be intimate. I tried to be angry with him, and not give in. But I was still in love with him, and missed him, so that wasn't easy. I think I feared not seeing him again, or that it would be the last time, so I was completely caught up in the moment when we made love. So caught up, that neither one us used any protection. We both knew that may be a huge mistake, and it wasn't a mistake I had ever let myself get away with before. I wasn't letting myself think about the consequences.

Six weeks later, after buying a test and seeing my doctor to make sure, I found out I was pregnant. I knew that I couldn't have it - D and I were both still in school, and we were no longer in a relationship. But I never imagined that I could ever have an abortion. I loved kids, but even more importantly, the baby was mine and D's. I hoped that when I called him, he would understand and tell me I didn't have to have an abortion if I didn't want to. But I knew better and knew what his answer would be - he wasn't ready to be a father, and he reminded me that we had broken up and that my being pregnant wouldn't change that. He denied at first that he was the one who got me pregnant, because he didn't think he had seen me on the day the baby was conceived. I was hurt that he would think I had been with anyone else - I hadn't dated anyone since I met him. Luckily I was able to jog his memory and he realized he was definitely the father.

D asked me the realistic questions I didn't want to hear...how will you take care of a baby by yourself? How will you stay in school? Confiding in my sister had turned out to be a big mistake, because she told my mother. D didn't want to tell his family, and my mother called his father and got him upset. My mother made an appointment for me at an abortion clinic and told me that if I didn't go through with it, she wouldn't love me anymore. She treated me like a teenager who had gotten knocked up. She made a point of letting me know that I lacked support, I lacked resources, and I had no choice. Even adoption (what I preferred to do, since there are so many couples who want babies) was not possible in her eyes, because that left things uncertain....I could still decide not to give up my child before it was born. I thought of going away somewhere on my own, but I had nowhere to go without any support from anyone. I didn't want to end up like the women I counseled at homeless shelters, who were pregnant with no husband or boyfriend, or family to turn to. My sister had her first child a year before, and she and her boyfriend were barely getting by and required constant help from the rest of the family. No one in my family was ready for another child that couldn't be properly cared for. My family was important to me, and I didn't want to risk being unloved by them. And I didn't want to risk D never speaking to me again.

I know I could have had the baby and legally gotten D to send child support - but that wasn't me, I didn't want to make D flunk out of law school, and I didn't want to ruin his life because I loved him. So on December 4, 1998, when I was about two months pregnant, I kept the appointment and went through with the abortion. I knew it was going to take me a while to cope with it, but I found myself unable to keep up with my classes and internships. I planned to withdraw only temporarily from the counseling program and return again in the Spring or Fall. I never did.

D and I have managed to remain friends over the years. When neither of us were dating anyone, and sometimes even when we were, we ended up in bed together more than once. Until D was in my life, I never had the experience of barely being able to wait until my clothes were off before making love with someone. And until I fell in love with my future husband Jeff, I wasn't able to let go of D completely as a lover. When I told D I was in love with someone else and couldn't sleep with him anymore, he said that he never got to to tell me how much he cared about me. A year and a half later, he refused to come to my wedding because he still had feelings for me.

D has been the anchor in my life. We talk to each other almost every day. When we need advice, we ask each other. When we have the desire to reminisce about college or the people we knew at the book store, we take each other back. He reminds me of when love was playful and crazy, and that we were once like children, running on a moonlit beach...catching each other to steal a kiss.

Revision, 2006

I put off revising this story, but unfortunately I have had to face the fact that I have lost D's friendship. After asking him repeatedly if he would mind if I wrote our story, and getting his permission, he did not like it. The original draft of this story included his first name in the title instead of an initial. So after I realized he was upset over the story, I changed it. Apparently, that wasn't enough either. He was afraid that his "adversaries" would read the story, or that someone in his family would actually seek out my tiny little web site and happen upon the story. Since D was ashamed of me and some things that happened during our relationship, he did not want his friends or family to know anything about it.

Although our friendship was close, my firm belief is that publishing this story was not wrong. There is nothing untrue in it, and there is a balance of blame - I do not attribute our failed romantic relationship as having been his fault alone. It was my hope that this story would be seen as a true story of two people who once loved each other. Instead, he saw it as a betrayal, and something a "true friend would never do." Unfortunately, I disagree, wholeheartedly.

I could take this story down, but I will not mainly because it would not rectify our friendship if I did so. If someone wants to end an eight year, close friendship over something like a written story about it, that, to me, is not something a true friend would do.

That being said, I miss him. We confided in each other, talked almost every day, were always there for each other, and we had a history. I cherish that history, which is why this story is here. It is my tribute to him. I only find it a shame he doesn't see that.

Des, I miss you and always will.


A picture of Des with my niece Stephanie, taken in 1997.

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