The Price is Right: How a Game Show Reflects Real Life

How a Game Show Reflects Real Life.

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I write a lot about the twisted crap in my past.  The longing for what never was, or the abuse I have encountered and endured.   One might take a peek at some of it and assume that this poor girl was never loved.  But that just isn’t true.  There would be a plenty of men in my life who would respect me and treat me the way I should be treated.  God bless them!

But dating and relationships are often like being on The Price is Right.  You have these three doors in front of you, and you know one of them is for sure a dud.  The other may or may not be something relatively nice, and yet the other, a FABULOUS prize!  In your hand, Bob Barker has place five hundred dollars and you can go back and take your seat, knowing you for sure have a least five hundred dollars and won’t go away having chosen wrong and leave empty handed.  (I guess now it’s Drew Carey or Wayne Brady.  I forget who, since I stopped watching it.  But since I’m old school, and it’s what I know; we’ll just let good ole Bob Barker keep playing his role.)

When it came to dating and boyfriends, just like anyone else, I had choices to make, I think.  Problem is, sometimes I chose wrong.  Others, I got it right.

Victor was a guy who I got it both right and wrong with.  How did I manage that?  You might wonder.  Well, let me just tell you!  I love Victor and would love to tell you about this pretty awesome guy.

I moved to a Lander, Wyoming right as I started my seventh grade year.  Nestled at the foot of the Wind River Mountains, this was heaven as far as my dad was concerned.   We had gone to Yellowstone not long before on vacation, and dad declared to mom that he loved that trip so much, he wanted to move to Wyoming.  Then, he just went out and did it!  Lander wasn’t a huge place, but it was bigger than the small town in Kansas we had just come from!  I was happy to find there were two radio stations and I wasn’t stuck listening to Kenny Rogers every night at ten p.m. before they signed off with the National Anthem.   I could actually listen to top forty music, and that was all she wrote!  I was a happy camper!

Speaking of camping, I am now finding it interesting that as much as my dad loved the mountains, we did very little camping or hiking or anything like that.  Well, actually, none.  I need to ask him about that!  Maybe just being able to see them was enough for dear ole dad.

If you have ever been to Lander, you would know there is nary a place you could go and not see the glorious view.  If  you drove a mere five minutes outside town, you were basically smack dab in the middle of them.  A short trip more and further up Sinks Canyon, you could take the switch backs up to several lakes, both big and small.  If you kept going up top the mountain, you would reach one of the few thoroughfares into Lander, and drive back down into town through South Pass.

We did spend many a day doing this as a family in the early years after we moved there.  Then, it was done as a way to hang out and spend the day with a friend or a boyfriend as I got older.  Sometimes, me and the fam would even stopped to have a picnic.  I would not really grow to appreciate the mountains more for many years.  I don’t know if it’s because of my parents’ attitude about them or something else. I knew they were there and loved them, but I wasn’t really sure what to DO with them.   Maybe it was because I never really got to experience them in the way so many of my other Landerite cohorts had.  If they did go camping and all those things I can only assume they did, I was obviously not invited along.  I didn’t have the equipment even if I had been.

My dad had a really good sleeping bag, and a small tent I may have been able to borrow, but honestly who knows.  Those were for his bike trips he would take with his buddy Ken every summer.  My dad has been all over the country and parts of Canada on his motorcycle.  They always stayed in a camp ground, so he wasn’t completely object to the idea of camping.  Maybe it was mom?  She made no qualms about being a “city girl” whenever she got the chance.  She hated Lander.  Good shopping meant a trip to Casper and she felt like there were not enough options for pretty much everything.  She also hated that bitter cold in the winter time.  I was with her on that one.

Regardless, I was happy to be there, even if the other kids said I talked funny and didn’t like me calling their ranch a farm.

The summer before school started my freshman year, I met Victor VanDergrift.  He was about my height or a little taller maybe.  (I’m 5’8″ tall.)  He was on the skinny side, with dark sandy blond hair and blue eyes that were sometimes rimmed by glasses.  He was older than me, and looking back, most likely too old FOR me.  I had known who he was before that time, but had only started talking to him and hanging out with him.  He had already graduated and I knew my dad would never go along with that.  Even with boys that WERE my age, it didn’t matter who I brought home or how good of a guy he was, my dad was always saying I could not go out with them.   I was told I couldn’t date boys who weren’t Christians.  Okay, fair enough.  When I brought home a guy who was a Christian, dad said no because he was Catholic.  In my young mind, he was always going to find something wrong and refuse to let me date until I was thirty, just like he had said.  I thought he was teasing…was he?

So, I started hanging out with Victor on the sly.  I wasn’t really lying about where I was.  I was with Alexa, just like I said, and we were dragging main, just like I said.   We just also happened to be in Victor’s sometimes purple looking truck, too.

Aside from the “grown up factor” he provided, which many young girls wanted to feel more grown up at that age; I really liked Vick a lot.  Alexa and I would go riding around with him in the evenings and just talk and joke around.  Vick also teased me endlessly, and made me laugh hysterically all the time.  We really had a lot of fun, and I enjoyed hanging out with him.  We would drive out to Government Draw and he would shoot his new pistol and let us watch, or we would go to Dairy Land and get a coke.  (This was terminology for any soda type beverage; not just a Coca-Cola.)  We never had a shortage of things we could come up with to do.  He played softball, so me and Alexa might go watch him play and then go riding around with him after the game.   It was a time of comfort and happiness in my life.

Although we kissed some, Alexa was always around, so there was never any time I didn’t feel safe-as far as having to be concerned about the issue of sex.  He never got “handsy” with me or inappropriate in any way.  I honestly believe Vick respected me very much. (Plus he didn’t want to go to jail!?)  We just spent time hanging out, usually driving around, and then he’d drop me off around the corner when it was time for me to go home.   This went on for a couple of months and then Victor left my life.  But not for good.

He went off to California to live with his grandmother and made no commitment as to when (or even if) he’d be back.  Somehow Alexa knew before I did and when I got to her house she told me I needed to call Vick because he had something important to tell me.   I was pretty crushed by the news.  He would not come over to say goodbye in person-he said he thought it was better that way.  He told me over the phone and I tried not to cry.  He did write me a few letters and sent me a picture of himself sporting a new cowboy hat.  I would go over to Alexa’s and have her take pictures of me using a whole roll of film so I could send them to Victor.  (Times have really changed in THAT respect!)  Her mom loved roses, so there would be pics of me in front of the trellis of red roses in back, or near a bush of white roses in front.  Hanging upside down from the jungle gym….I did my best to make him laugh, too.

I did not want him to forget me.  Alexa and I were into Elton John at the time, and I must have listened to “Blue Eyes” a million times and thought about Vick and his blue eyes and wondered if he was as sad as I was; or if he was going to be back home soon.  Over time though, I begin to fear that he had done just that.  Forgotten me.

School starts and Alexa decides I need to go out with a senior named Bob but I am reluctant.  I tell her I don’t want to and I’m not attracted to him.  She says, “Who cares, he’s got a hot body.”  That’s Alexa for ya!

So, one day after school, Bod-I mean Bob, asks to walk me home -Alexa’s doing, of course.  I agree and we start walking down Main Street.  As we walked in front of the local grocery store called Mr. D’s I see this purple pickup coming and I have to keep looking because I am not sure I am really seeing what I think I am seeing.   I hadn’t heard from Vick in a while and he said nothing about coming back.  But there he was, looking right at me…walking down the street with Bob.  “Let’s go inside the store.”  I quickly tell Bob and start all but running through the parking lot for the doors.  He follows along and we walk around the isles of food joking around about produce until I think it might be safe to leave, and I tell Bob I need to get home and left him there.

Bob was a very athletic, alpha male type, good looking guy.  He admittedly had a hot bod and a killer smile. ( I have blogged about Bob before as well.)   I am sure people think I would pick him over Vick; and unfortunately, even Vick thought this.  But I chose Vick.  It did not, however, appear as though Vick chose me.

I rush home thinking that he is bound to call me at any moment.  I had no way of knowing where he was or how to call him, or I would have.   All I could do was wait.   He never called.   I was a little upset.  Had he assumed I was going out with Bob?  I wasn’t holding that guys hand or anything.  We were just walking together.  We could have been going to church, you know?  Nothing happened!  I had to find a way to talk to him!

The next day at school I started talking to anyone and everyone I could think of to see if they knew where Vick was staying.  I found out he was staying with a relative over on Second Street, right by City Park.  Then began the somewhat arduous task of finding someone who could drive and would take me over there to see Vick!  I was offering money for gas and everything, and was having a real hard time finding someone, because it meant they would have to skip a class.  Which I was all too willing to do myself!  Finally, it was agreed with Kent, who was a neighbor and dating a gal I knew, that he would take me over lunch.  Since we had open campus, this would be acceptable and no one would have to skip a class.  I could barely wait!

Lunch time finally arrives and I meet Kent out in the parking lot.  We get into his red and white mustang and it seems as though the drive is taking forever as we drive up Ninth Street, up the big hill and stop at the stop sign.  We then turn left and  take Fremont over to Second Street and by the City Park.   I point him to the house I believe is most likely to be the house where I will find Vick, but I’m not sure.  I get out of Kent’s car and walk up to the door anxiously, as he leaves the engine running and waits for me.   I am not sure what I will find, if anything at all.  You know how rumors can be.

An older lady with short blonde hair wearing jeans, a sweater and matching red socks answers the door.  I am so afraid I almost don’t get the words out of my mouth.

“Is Victor here?”  I asked with a tremor in my voice.

She at first seems a little shocked or confused maybe, but immediately her face softens and she smiles.

“Sure.  Come on in.  I’ll go get him.”

She opens the door and lets me pass by the red door, which matched the red painted wood outside.  She motions me to a little alcove near the front door where I can have a seat.  There is a big window there and I can see Kent is still waiting for me outside in the drive.  This makes me feel a little better; but not much.

Finally Vick emerges from the back of the house and looks a little hesitant himself.  He walks up to me and gives me a quick hug and asks me what I am doing there.

“I wanted to see you.”  I said with a big smile.  “I missed you.”   I said.  He did not reciprocate.

“Is that Kent’s car out there?”  He says looking past me and out the window.

“Yeah, he was the only one I could find at school who had a car and would bring me over here.”   I said casually.   He did not seem upset.  Just confused.

The next few minutes were filled with small talk.  Catching up type questions and a distant feel from Victor I could not understand.  He did not really seem all that excited to see me or happy about my visit.  Was he mad because I came to see him at his relative’s house?    Or was it something else?

“Well, I hate to keep Kent waiting too long since he was nice enough to give me a ride.  I should get back to school anyway.”  I say almost apologetically.

Victor gives me another short, stiff hug, and sees me to the door.  We never talked about anything I really wanted to know and the whole situation not only felt awkward, it was uncomfortable.  I felt like I was unwanted there, but he was being kind.  He treated me pretty much like an acquaintance and I was confused by that.   I had left with even more questions than I had when I came.

I go back to school thinking that surely he will call me soon and we would sort it out.  I mean, after all the trouble I had gone through to see him, and everything…he had to know I still cared for him and wanted to resume our relationship.  Didn’t he?

Nope.  Never heard from him again.  I would not see him again except in passing on occasion for almost two years.

So, let’s flash forward here a bit.  I am with Alexa and haven’t seen her or hung out with her in months.  My sophomore year I started going to a private school over in Riverton, and so we had lost touch.   Alexa has a new boyfriend, and his name is, you guessed it, Victor.  MY Victor!  I mean, where’s the respect here?!?!  But, I play it cool.  It’s a small town.  Everyone has dated almost everyone’s ex at some point, I’d imagine.

When you think about that whole concept…it’s just weird, if you ask me.

But I digress.

He is living in an apartment up on the hill, off of Dillon Drive, and we are going to go say, “Hi.”  If I recall correctly, Alexa did have the decency to ask me if I was comfortable with it.  By that point I was engaged to Bob and saw no reason why it should bother me.

I have already blogged a lot of the story of Bob, but for the purposes of this blog I will say this.  Bob was a senior when I was a Freshman, and despite attempts to find a good job in Lander after graduation, was having little success.  He had joined the Marines and was now away in San Diego for boot camp.  It was summer, I was engaged, and so my parents pretty much didn’t ask me what I was doing or with whom any more.  I would be getting married on July 21st, when Bob got back.  It wasn’t much longer until my wedding day!  We had a short few months to plan the wedding, but we got it done.  I say “we.”  My mom did a great deal of it, bless her.

So, I don’t know if I brought up the whole business with one of Bob’s exes, Aileen, calling me after we got engaged in my former blog or not.   I don’t think I went that far in my blog about him.  Maybe I did, but I don’t recall.  So, to recap if I did, (but I really don’t think I did)  she was wanting me to confirm that we were getting married, because she had just heard from someone that we were engaged and she wanted to know if it was true.  She said she had seen him at a party in Riverton the night before he left for boot camp and he never told her that he was engaged.  She was a bit upset.

She and Bob were in the same class, and had been quite the item before my day.  Very serious, and he had it pretty bad for her, I guess.  He used to ride his bicycle to her house outside town all the time, and she lived out past Hudson on the way to Riverton.  It was a ride, to say the least.  Fifteen miles, at least.  Easy.

I remembered wondering what he was looking at so intently on the drive to Riverton to drop him off at the airport that day he flew away to boot camp…

Needless to say, she had asked me if I would be willing to talk and I timidly said ok.  I had run into her before and I was scared at first.

She had laughed and said, “I’m not gonna hurt ya, I swear.  I just wanna talk.”

She picked me up in her cute little blue sports car, and we went out that night and got drunk together.  She was actually a lot of fun and I liked her.  Weird huh?  Jerks always pick nice girls though, don’t they?  Who else would put up with them?  I think we both knew deep down that we were in the same boat and being played.  What else could we do but drown ourselves in our misery together?  Pass the 7Up and Strawberry Vodka please!  Or was it strawberry 7Up and vodka?  I don’t remember.   She brought it with her, and I was drunk.

She told me that the night before Bob left for boot camp she had run into him at a party at the college and that they slept together.  She was very upset because he had not told her that he was engaged to me.  I knew all too well that Bob had left with his buddies and headed for Riverton that night.  I was upset because I thought he should be spending it with me, and he said we had the rest of our lives and he may not ever see his friends again.  So, I reluctantly agreed.  He did not get back until the wee hours of the morning and was, of course, drunk.  We got up early to take him to the airport in Riverton, and I had noticed him seeming to be preoccupied with something on the side of the highway as we drove him there.  I now knew he was looking at Aileen’s house.

Despite numerous attempts to get a straight answer out of Bob about whether or not what  Aileen had told me was true, he would never admit or deny anything.   He wrote back (no phone calls) and said “I love YOU and I am marrying you.”   That was all I was going to get out of him.  Deep down though, I knew it was true.

And I married the man anyway.

He flew back into Casper, and I had gone to pick him up by myself.  I figured the time alone on the drive home would be good for us.  He was a stocky guy when he left and he was visibly thinner and cut.  I felt like I was engaged to a stranger.   He was wearing his uniform, as required, and it was the first time I had seen him look so refined.   Not only were there the physical differences, but as a person who would cheat on me like he had, he seemed like a stranger too.   I focused on his uniform. He would also be wearing a uniform on our wedding day.  Which was the following day!  Talk about cutting things close!

He asked if he could stop somewhere where he could change out of his uniform into some more comfortable clothes and we did.  He  got back into the car and after a few moments, he explained to me that they were told by their drill sergeants to be kind and gentle and take things slow and easy with their girlfriends and wives after being gone for so long.  That we women would need a little time to get reacquainted.  I was grateful for that.   I never brought up the issue with Aileen, and he didn’t either.  Go figure.

We made small talk and got caught up on the drive home, and then made the rounds visiting people and getting ready for the dress rehearsal.  The dress rehearsal was done and Bob and I went back to his parent’s place so he could pick up some clothes and other things.  We were in the front bedroom next to what used to be his old bedroom before he had gone to boot camp.  His dad was in his old bedroom now.   So as I sat on one of the twin beds he began to change his clothes and I was visiting with him quietly, because his mom was already in bed asleep.

“Shh!”  He had suddenly turned his head to listen.

“What?”  I whispered.  “I don’t hear anything.”

He climbed upon the top bunk bed next to the window, which was open, and looked out the window.

“Get out of here!”  I heard him say.  I assumed it must be a cat or a dog.

Then I hear a female’s voice.

“Bob,” the voice pleaded.  “Why didn’t you tell me you were getting married?”

Oh my God!  That crazy bitch!  I sat there frozen with shock.  This can NOT be happening!  Not the night before my wedding!  Are you kidding me?!?!  How the hell did she know he was even back?

My heart raced and I barely heard them argue with each other over the loudness of my blood pounding through my veins and into my head.  I felt like I was in slow motion in a really bad movie.  I could not move.  I could not speak.  I had no capacity to do anything but sit there and listen as she struggled to get an answer she wanted from him as desperately as I did.

Bob twisted his body around and looked at me with determination.  “Get up here.”  He said, and he held out his hand, so I could climb up.  I positioned myself upon the bunk so as to see out the window as well, but it was dark and I couldn’t make out much.

“See this woman here?”  He said pointing at me.  “This is the woman I am marrying in the tomorrow.” he said with a hiss to Aileen.  “You need to leave.”

I could barely make out her figure as I tried to see out the window.  I really didn’t want to see anymore anyway.  What I really wanted was to not be in this horrible movie anymore.

Long story short, she left; and the next day I married Bob.

You know how they say God always gives us a way out?  I really think that’s true.  We just have to have the courage to do it, because often times, it may not be this easy transition into bliss.  Often times it’s messy and it’s ugly.  One way or another, God will get you where he wants you, and in my experience, it’s NEVER easy.

God gave me four, count ’em, FOUR people to cross my path and tell me not to marry Bob.  His sister-in-law, (I don’t want door number one, Bob-Barker, that is.) and even his mom said if she were me, she would run as fast and as far as she could in the other direction!  Even though he WAS her son! (Passing on door number four, too, Bob.)  She was in our living room and both of my parents were there, and that was my golden opportunity to agree with her and admit she was right.  I needed to call the wedding off.  It would have been the most opportune time.  But how could I?  People had travelled from far away to be there, my parents had spent money they didn’t really have on this wedding, not to mention the effort my mother had put forth to organize things, and then there’s the whole embarrassment factor.  How could I ever face anyone again if I did that?  At the time, it never even occurred to me that given the fact that the man had cheated on me with his ex girlfriend after we were engaged would have meant I was completely justified and most people would have understood.  All I saw was the embarrassment.  Did you hear about poor…blah blah blah.  Yeah, Bob cheated on her so she called the wedding off the night before she was supposed to get married.  She’s such a loser.  That was the tape that played in MY head.

So, now it’s down to the last two doors, Bob.

Next, I had an encounter with a very attractive guy I knew of, had never really talked to before.  Now, when I say encounter, I don’t mean sexual encounter.  But although I knew who this guy was, and had seen him driving around in his lifted blue pickup with giant tires; I had never had a conversation with him and didn’t really know anything about him.  Now, there I was, at the drive in, in his truck with him visiting, and liking him…quite a bit.

“Where did your friends go?”  I had asked, thinking I had seen  two or three other people hanging out around his truck earlier.  Aaron Hooper was almost always alone when I had seen him, as good looking as he was, I found this interesting.  He was kind of a short guy with a full head of gorgeous, full, blond hair and large, stunning blue eyes.  Everything about this guy was simply gorgeous, in fact.   He had a sister that was a year ahead of me in school and I thought was extremely sweet and super pretty.  Everybody loved her, and rightfully so.  She was nice to me and we would visit a lot in school, but outside of school, we didn’t really talk.  Their back yard butted up against ours, but I rarely saw them out.

“They ditched me” he said with a smile.  “Get in and keep me company,” he said reaching over to open the door a bit for me.  “You look a bit lost yourself.”

“Yeah, I came with Melissa, but she’s busy with her boyfriend.  I got bored.” I said, explaining to him.

“How come you never talk to me?” He asked in a playful tone.  “I am your neighbor, after all.”

“How come you never talked to ME?”  I playfully said back.

We sat and visited for quite a while, as the movie played in front of us.  Neither of us were even watching it.  Eventually he got around to asking me why I was marring Bob.  He didn’t run Bob down or anything, but insisted I should not marry him.

“Go out with me instead.”  He said.  I wasn’t sure if that was a question or a statement.  He sat there waiting for my answer expectantly.  I sat there a minute staring at the blue lights on his dash.

“I don’t even know you.”  I replied, trying to laugh it off.

“That’s the point.  You get to know me.”  He said.

I sat there shaking my head.  “I can’t do that.”  I mustered.

“Why not?”  He asked.

I didn’t really have a good reason.  He and I BOTH knew it.

“You’re crazy.” I said, incredulously.  “We just met!”

“So?”  He said, gesturing with his left hand, as it hung on top of the steering wheel.  “You have been here a couple of hours now, and I like you.  I want to get to know you better.  There is nothing crazy about that.”

“I can’t just do that.”  I said quietly and apologetically.  “I think you’re great.  I really do.  You’re a good looking guy and all that stuff…”  I paused.  “But that’s just not how I do things.  I just can’t.”   I started to open the door to his truck and he looked a little disappointed.  “Thank  you so much for sharing your coke with me and for letting me hang with you, but I should probably get back to my friends.”

“If you change your mind…”  He said, without really finishing the sentence.  I climbed down from his truck and closed the door behind me.  I walked away kicking the gravel beneath me,  feeling a bit bewildered about what had just happened and why I had said no.

I won’t be choosing door number two either, Mr. Barker.

But this story is about Victor!  Did you think that I forgot?!  No!  It just took me a minute to get here, that’s all.  I wanted to be sure you completely grasped the gravity of the situation when I tell you what is about to happen, as I encounter Victor again with Alexa after so long.

Like I said, I had not seen Vick in a while, or Alexa either.  She was now going out with Vick and we are going to his apartment to hang out.  It turns into a little party.  We are all sitting around the little kitchen table and drinking and maybe playing cards or a drinking game or two.  A few other people show up, but only a few.  We are having a good time and Victor starts acting kind of weird.

He asks me if we can go outside to talk.  I look over at Alexa not knowing what to say.  Awkward.   She says it’s fine and she doesn’t care.  I’m not sure I believe her, but she insists again that she doesn’t care.  So, Vick and I head outside.   We are walking along and he sits on the edge of the sidewalk and motions for me to sit down beside him.

“What’s up?”  I asked him.

He didn’t take very long to get to the point.

“Don’t marry Bob.” He said.  “Marry me instead!  I still love you.  I have always loved you and you just can’t marry him.”  He begged.

I sat there not knowing what to say.

I sat there a minute bewildered, and finally I found my voice.

“Dude…you LEFT and went to California!  You gave me no indication whatsoever when or IF you would even come back;  and when you DID come back, you didn’t even bother to call me!  I went through a lot of trouble to go see you and you acted like I was nothing!  I never heard from you again!  Now you think I should marry you?!?!  You’re insane!”

He started to cry.

“I saw you and Bob walking down Main when I got back into town.”  He began.   “That night, I went to a party and Bob was there too.  So, I asked him what the deal was with you two and he said you were goin’ out.”

Wow!  That guy had a LOT of nerve!  I thought.  I had spent almost two years madly in love with Bob and he would never commit…at least not to me, or to half the other girls in town.  But if another guy asks about me, he tells them we are a couple.  Brrrillllllliant! 

“No Vick.  We weren’t.  Maybe he wanted to be, but that was the first time I had ever really spoken to the guy.”  I said with my head down and began to hug him back.   Not really knowing what to do, but feeling like I should try to console him.  Vick was sobbing now.

He continued.  “After Bob told me that, I just assumed it must be true and that I should leave you alone.  I had no idea why you came to see me.  I was hurt and a little mad, and didn’t understand why you were there.”

“How could you not know?!?!”  I asked incredulously.   “Why didn’t you just ASK me?!  I would have told you the truth!  I hadn’t done anything wrong!  I had nothing to hide!”

Vick continued to heave with sobs, his body convulsing, his chest rising and falling rapidly as he buried his head in my neck.

“Why were you even with him?”   He asked.

I took a deep breath.

“Vick, I honestly don’t even know.  He asked to walk me home and I felt bad if I were to say no.  I had not heard from you in a while.   I had no idea what was going on with you or if you were ever coming back.  I admit I was losing hope.  What girl wouldn’t?  But the minute I saw you, I went running to YOU!”

“So, don’t marry him.”  Vick replied, firmly.

“Vick…you are going out with my friend, now.  I am not doing that to her.”

“I don’t care!”  He blurted out.  “She’ll be fine.  She’ll get over it.”

I took another deep breath and waited for him to calm down a little.

“I’m sorry, Vick.”  I said softly after a long pause.  “I won’t do that to my friend, and you DO care.  That’s not who you are.   I won’t do that to Bob, and you should not do that to Alexa.  I have people counting on me.  I have made a commitment.  One that I intend to honor.  I can’t just up and marry you instead.”

“Why not?”  He said, almost indignantly.

“Well, I thought I just told you, sweetie.  I have made a commitment to someone and people are making plans and buying gifts and making travel arrangements and reserving motel rooms.  I can’t just break up with him like that.”

“Yes you can!”  He said between sobs.  “He cheats on you and treats you like crap.”

He had me there.  He and I both knew it; but I only knew it superficially.  It had not sunk in, I had not allowed it in.  It was an ugly truth I could not face.  Though maybe, I could have.  Maybe I would have.  I certainly did my due diligence trying to find out what happened the night before he left for boot camp.  I was questioning his friends that were with him that night and everything.   (By the way, guys practically never rat each other out, no matter what.  So, don’t waste your time.)   Truth was, I was pretty sure I knew the truth, and I was mad.  I was just having the “proof” carrot dangled over my head.

You know, the old standby cheaters like to use?  They tell you that you’re crazy or ridiculous and demand you prove they did anything wrong.  Which you can’t do, and they know it.  I’ve come to believe now that even if you catch them on top of someone else with their naked ass bobbin up and down, they will still deny it was even them.

But I digress.

I would like to think that maybe, just maybe, I was mad enough that had there not been an impending wedding and I did not have to feel bad about cancelling plans and the money my parents had spent, I might very well have dumped Bob.  I just honestly don’t know if I would have had the guts or not.   I would like to think so though.  As it stood, there was a wedding being planned.   One I was expected to show up for.

I sat with Vick a short time longer, and we hashed things out while he calmed down.  I told him stupid stories so he wouldn’t cry and told him I still loved him too, and I always would.  We just couldn’t be together.

I looked up to see Alexa coming towards us and felt a bit of panic.  I tried to scoot away from Vick and get him to stop clinging to me so she wouldn’t get the wrong idea.   I had not asked for this, nor was I going to do anything about it!

“It’s fine.”  She said, matter-of-factly.  “I already know he still has a thing for you.  He’s drunk.”  She looks over at Vick and says,  ” Come on Vick, you guys have been out here long enough, let’s go back in the house.  You’re drunk and you need to go to bed.”

Door number three is not my choice either, Mr. Barker, but be sure to spay and neuter your pets.

AS I mentioned before, door number four would present itself in front of me and my family in the form of Bob’s mom, and I would not choose that one either.   Yes, I was a stubborn one!

I went back to Lander not all that long ago and I saw Alexa while I was there.  Astonishingly enough, she now works with Vick’s step daughter!   Turns out he married a gal who had at least one child, and he has been an amazing dad to her.  It made me both proud and happy to hear her speak so highly of him and with such love.

Alexa had no recollection that I had gone out with Victor at all when I mentioned it.  I didn’t bring up what transpired that night behind the apartment complex-she probably forgot that too.  It’s funny the things we remember, I guess.

Vick and I are friends on Facebook but we don’t talk.  He’s married and that’s fine.  I don’t ever want any woman thinking that I would do something inappropriate with her husband.   He isn’t even really on there much, but every once in a while, I will get on there to find he has made a comment on one of my posts.  I know before I even open it that he will be razzing me about something, and he will make me smile.  I will always love that about him, no matter what.

Sometimes, I look back on that night, and wish I had taken Vick up on his offer.  I think we could have been happy.  Even if he didn’t marry me, it would have been good for me to get away from Bob, and be with a man who loved me so much that he was willing to bare his soul to me.  Even if it was on a sidewalk out by a garbage bin behind an apartment complex!  I mean, come on!   Who does that?!?!

I have to say that was probably one of the most sincere moments of my life, and it was precious to me, even if I couldn’t do anything about it.  It’s a moment I have always cherished during times of struggle or pain, or feeling like I wasn’t loved.

I could look back on that and remember that, yes!  Yes, I was loved!  I knew what that was like and how it felt and just how much a man who really loves you will do to make sure you know it!  Even if it means crying in front of you!  He was more of a man that night than most men I have ever met.  Men can and should cry during emotional times.  Any man who refuses to cry is not healthy.  I know this because I have dated practically all of them.  It’s true.  Trust me.  Just take my word for it. You don’t want those guys.

I think back on all the times in my life I have felt trapped or like I didn’t have any choices.   Even today, I try to tell myself I don’t have a choice but to do this or that.  The truth is, that we almost always have one.  We just may not like our choices.

And sometimes, the choices we have in front of us are kind of like being on The Price is Right.   Sometimes we have very little information about what lies behind each door. (or choice)  We know one of them is definitely a dud, and that one is going to make us very happy.  Sometimes, we let the crowd around us (in the audience) pressure us into a choice we don’t really want to make.  Sometimes, we choose the wrong one all on our own, or Bob Barker has put five hundred bucks in our hand and told us we can walk away knowing we have five hundred bucks.  How many of us just want a little security?

My mom has always quoted that old saying, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”   There’s a lot of truth to that and many of us are fine with knowing we at least have a guarantee, something in our hands, even if it’s not what we really want.

At least we don’t have to be alone, we reason.  Or it’s better than nothing at all, we tell ourselves.   Why risk ending up with nothing, when we at least have this tiny little morsel in our hands?  We have all these reasons why we settle for less than what we deserve or what we really want.  I am no stranger to this, even to this day.

I think the key though here is this; that we are to learn from such “mistakes.”  Was it really a mistake to pass Vick by?  I will never know.  But it was definitely a mistake to marry Bob.   We can all learn from this.  What can we learn?  You might ask.  Well, I will tell you what I learned!  Maybe you will get something else entirely.  I’d be curious to know.

This is what I’ve learned.

Sometimes we reach a crossroad or have a door open in front of us for a reason.  I don’t think it is wise to take this lightly.  I think that making a rash decision is a poor decision, and most certainly the worst decision is the one we make out of fear.  I know this, because I have done it.

We are not on The Price is Right, and Bob Barker, is not around to temp us or tease us.  But we are faced with these kind of decisions all the time in this thing we call life.

The thing is, that God, our heavenly father, always wants something good for us, and he always gives us a way out.  I want you to understand this.  He ALWAYS wants what’s best for us and he ALWAYS gives us a way out.  ALWAYS.

The thing is, that he may not always do it the way you hope he will.  I think God has a sense of humor and he likes to keep us guessing.  I think there are times when he wants us to know beyond the shadow of any doubt that what just happened was him.

I don’t think God is in the rescue business like we little girls dream of.  You know, there isn’t going to be a knight in shining armor, or a prince on a mighty steed.   There may not even be a Wyoming Cowboy who rides up on a white horse and you ride with him off into the sunset!  We can’t grow if he does all the work for us.  So, while fairy tales are fun, I think it’s best we remember what they are.

Here’s the kicker.  Sometimes, even when he DOES give us those things.  And what do we say?!?!

“Oh, no thanks, God.  I Got this, and I don’t like that option any more than what I am stuck with now, so I’ll just be over here continuing with my struggling and living in strife.”

Yes, sometimes we do!

I think God was trying to bless me, or at least give me a way out.  I had two that summer.   Both times I passed, and both times, I think I was wrong.  Even though God was gracious enough to give me someone who would go through it with me and I didn’t have to go through it alone; I was too afraid to deal with calling off a wedding and all the repercussions that would inevitably go along with it.

The thing about getting it wrong?  Is God is always able to turn it into something good.  I have one of the most beautiful daughters in the world because I married Bob.  I would never had have the pleasure to know her if I had passed him by.   And even as hard as it was, I would not have learned all the many lessons I did either.

I would go on in life to find that there would be plenty more struggles and complications that I would have to go through completely alone.  God was always there, though.  I think sometimes he was just watching, and waiting to see what I would do.  I like to think he did, anyway.  He always gave me a way out, and sometimes, working through it was just TOUGH!

Bob kept cheating on me and we had a little girl a couple of years later and he was not really there for either one of us.  She was fatally ill and hundreds of miles away at a hospital in Salt Lake City, and I wanted to be with her as much as possible.  I slept on couches and chairs in waiting rooms for four months, because I wanted to be with her, and there was just no money for motels or a short term rental.  The Ronald McDonald house was full and had a waiting list a mile long.  Besides, they mostly gave first dibs to parents of children who had Cancer and things like that.  Bob had gotten kicked out of the Marines for smoking pot, and work in Lander was scarce.  Even when he found something, he pretty much did it half-assed.  (At least that’s what I heard.)

So, while I chose to stay in Salt Lake, he stayed back in Lander, supposedly to work.  Though there wasn’t very much money for me when he would come up on a weekend.  Sometimes I didn’t even know what I was going to eat.  I was painfully and dreadfully alone through almost all of this ordeal.  This went on for a few months and then one weekend Bob showed up with a huge hickey on his neck.   It was in that very moment I knew that I was done; and I had made the wrong choice so many times in trying to work things out with him.  He was not a man who was able to work things out with me.  He was not like Vick.  He would never cry.  He would never allow himself to be vulnerable to me.

You know what?  I never went hungry.  I never had to sleep out in the cold.  Despite the situation, I still made a couple of friends.  I still managed to laugh and smile once in a while.  Yes, the stress was incredible; but somehow God even managed to see me through that too.

They say a wise man learns from another man’s mistakes.  An average man learns from his own.  But a fool never learns.  So, if you are young or at a crossroads, take my advice. I am making this really easy for you!

When you aren’t being treated very well by a man you are with, and a man from your past pops up and professes his love for you has never died?   And he’s crying and begging you to leave the piece of crap you’re with?  When you have tried more than once to talk the issues out and they close up on you and refuse to even give you a straight answer about anything?  When you aren’t even married and it really ISN’T too late?

Pick door number three.  You won’t be sorry.  Even if you end up alone,  you still have you; and that’s no consolation prize.

 

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