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One Big Happy Family (standard:drama, 4816 words)
Author: Bobby ZamanAdded: Nov 29 2002Views/Reads: 1883/1149Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
It's good to be real.
 



ONE BIG HAPPY FAMILY ­ Bobby Zaman 

We’d been dating two months and Madeline was feeling self-conscious
because we hadn’t been naked together yet.  I liked her very much and 
had ample evidence that she was on the way to falling in love with me.  
We’d met at a time when our romantic life mirrored the Sahara and 
remnants of our respective previous relationships had taken up much of 
the conversations that had passed. 

We made fun of our exes, while some recollections brought back pain.  We
saw eye to eye on many things, and differed heinously on others.  
Madeline was a strong believer in friendship surpassing all.  She and 
her ex, Steve, were still on talking terms and occasionally got 
together for drinks.  At first this made me a little uncomfortable, but 
being that it was during our third date that she revealed this to me, 
for the sake of civility ­ and liking her ­ I didn’t pursue the matter. 
 I was on the opposite end of this spectrum.  In my world and ex is an 
ex is an ex.  When something ends, well, that’s what it does, it ends.  
Especially a romantic relationship, and no matter how Madeline put it, 
I refused to accept that former lovers could put a lid on history and 
go on like old pals. 

It was, however, a good thing.  We were honest and comfortable from the
get go.  We had in common our love for theatre, traveling, daydreaming, 
the blues, Al Pacino, sleeping in, and breakfast at IHOP in the middle 
of the night.  We also shared an equal loathing for “dating masks” and 
conventional pleasantries. 

The passion, when sparked, had power.  In hindsight, it’s a bit
confusing: not her, me.  I tried hard to pinpoint what about her kept 
me from wanting to be intimate with her.  My guy friends had met her 
and found her attractive and sexy.  The more I searched the less it 
worked, the more it made her uneasy. Madeline and I met online in a 
chat room called “The Chicago Lobby.” 

There were good things.  We were way past the ages of torture where sex
is the be all and end all, what we really mean by wanting to be 
romantic.  It wasn’t a mystery.  It was something different.  It was an 
adult thing, and we had both experienced it.  We both liked low-key 
forms of passing time. Entertainment was fine coming from the TV and 
DVD player.  Since the second date our get togethers became confined to 
each other’s apartments.  We’d met in the midst of a blazing summer, so 
once in a while we’d get in my car, pick up some ice cream and sit by 
Lake Michigan at the edge of the Northwestern University campus in 
Evanston, and feed each other Breyer’s Chocolate with plastic spoons.  
We would do the cutesy couple stuff without knowing or caring to know 
what we were doing. 

Madeline treated me to a gargantuan Italian dinner for our two-month
anniversary.  After that we went for a drink at the Webster Wine Bar, 
and surrendering to our appetites for a second serving of dessert, 
stopped at a Ben & Jerry’s.  She worked hard as a CPA and stretched her 
wallet even harder to reap the rewards.  Our relationship had become 
the ultimate investment of joy for her.  You’d think I’m a retard for 
not falling head over heels for this woman without a second thought.  I 
searched, searched for the missing pulse, the skipped beat between me 
and the desire to embrace Madeline, all the way.  It was and it wasn’t 
about being naked together. 

“Is everything alright?” Madeline asked as our two month anniversary
celebration meshed with history and we sat in air-conditioned bliss in 
my car. 

“Everything’s fine,” I said. 

“Then what’s the problem?” 

“Nothing.” 

“You’ve been quite all night,” she probed. 

I gave her a bold faced lie: “I think I’m coming down with something.” 

Madeline squinted like a suspicious mother and blew any effectiveness
that excuse could have right there. 


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