My First Wife

We dated when we were kids. She was fifteen and I was eighteen. She was one of the ‘nicest’ girls in our social circle. She came from a shy, simple, working-class family. I came from a bold upper-middle class family. My car cost about the same as their house.

We dated for a while, and we each dated others from time to time. Eventually we drifted apart and didn’t see each other for a while. I went to Miami for a while with my closest friend, and life went on. I was bribed to go home. My mother’s anxious tone when she tracked me down dulled the edge of pleasure, so I went home.

I got a job in a warehouse in the heart of the city’s garment district. My future wife worked in the office of a dress manufacturer near the warehouse, although I didn’t know it at the time. She apparently learned that I worked nearby, and perhaps saw me parking my car. One day, as I was leaving work there was a drenching rainstorm. As I was about to emerge from the alley where I’d parked my car, my future wife scuttled by in front of me, bent against the slaking rain. On course I had to call to her to get into the car.

I had heard that she was sometimes going out of town, to fraternity parties and so on. I found myself babbling that she should be careful, that she needed somebody to take care of her, to look after her. By the time I dropped her off at her parents’ house, she had my school ring, and we were going steady.

She was a very pretty girl, nicely dressed and well mannered. My mother urged me to marry her. I had done a lot of adventuring and experimenting in my young life, and thought perhaps I should marry her. And I did. She was 19 and I was 22. My father paid for the wedding, of course, because the bride’s family was not wealthy. My mother wanted a big wedding, and it turned out to be enormous. It would be worth about $100,000 in today’s dollars.

I truly loved her, and we did alright for many years. We had a daughter after 2 years, and another 2 years later. The second girl died in infancy from birth defects. 2 years after her, we had a boy.

My wife was simple and inhibited, just like her parents. Meanwhile, within a few years I was out of the warehouse and on the road. Then I moved to an office job in a large company, went through a couple more sad, loser jobs and then began to write.

I got into television commercials and series. My life changed as I moved into a show business, bohemian sort of life. My wife feared and obstructed it, so I left her behind, but stayed close to the kids.

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