I was a newly divorced 27 year old mother of two small children. Bitter and hurt by the betrayal I felt from my first husband, I was not in the mood for love. As a matter of fact, I was determined to never love again. Day after day, I walked aimlessly, severely depressed and lonely, quite certain that God had forsaken me in the area of marriage. My life wasn't supposed to be like that.
And Monk? He was a certified bachelor. 34 years old and content in his singleness. His companionship came from a few friends and his dog, a chow/collie mix named Bear. He owed no one, paid cash for everything and most of the time had a few bucks to burn (oooooh, foreshadowing).
One of my very best friends from college was getting married. She was marrying one of Monk's old roommates - a friend from church. She knew the state of mind I was in and even though I wasn't in the wedding, had asked me to come to the rehearsal dinner. She knew Monk was going to be there (he was part of the wedding in some way - he's so old he can't exactly remember his part) and she was attempting to see what I thought of him.
Interestingly enough, the day of the rehearsal I found out that my husband had been seeing another woman for several months. It was a week before our divorce was final and I had prayed and prayed that God would change his heart. It was not to be. I was crushed. I called my friend's fiance crying and told him I couldn't come, not after what I had just heard. He encouraged me, for my friend's sake, to come anyway. And so I did.
Honestly, I have no recollection of even seeing Monk at the rehearsal, nor does he recall seeing me.
We are nothing if not astute.
My friend went on to get married and go on her honeymoon to Disney World. Monk was the one watching over their apartment and taking caring of their dogs while they were gone. One day, while at their apartment the phone rang. It was my friend on her honeymoon (in Disney World) on the other end of the line. She asked him (from her honeymoon, y'all!) if he would be willing to date a divorced mother with two small children. Monk thought for a moment and then said yes. He figured it was a win-win situation. His mindset, at the time, was that he wouldn't marry a woman who had been divorced (especially with children), but it might be fun to have another person with which to hang around with our mutual friends and not feel like the third wheel. There would be no strings attached.
After returning from their honeymoon and some time had passed, my friend called and asked if I'd be willing to go out with them and a friend of theirs. It was after Christmas by this time and a local amusement park was still having their holiday hours and shows. After making sure that there were no strings attached and that this wasn't a date, I agreed. After all, I wasn't in the mood for love, remember?
I should have known it was a sign when Monk showed up at my front door on December 28, 1996 and we were both wearing Tigger sweatshirts. I mean really, how many people wear Tigger sweatshirts? We went to the amusement park with our friends and had a really good time. What was funny was that we seemed to have nothing in common. But we had a good time. I said black and he said white. But we had a good time. We enjoyed laughing and that seemed to be the only common thing we shared.
We ended up getting together with our mutual friends again a few days later. This time at my house. We all had a great time talking and laughing. We did this many, many times over the next few weeks. We watched movies, played Uno and ate more pizza than I care to remember. What was great was that my kids really enjoyed him and he had a ball with them.
We didn't go on an official date until February. We then began to see one another without our mutual friends. Bless this man's heart. I had more baggage than Samsonite. I was still suffering from depression and still trying to deal with the emotions from my divorce and yet this man still wanted to be around me. After a particularly difficult event in March, when any sane person would have ditched me, he was still there. He realized he had fallen in love with me and was in it for the long haul. Me? I was barely surviving and not in the mood for love.
The very next month (April '97), while sitting in a Sunday evening church service, I did the unthinkable. I wrote a note to this man, IN RED CRAYON Y'ALL, telling him that I was not in the frame of mind to be dating and broke things off with him.
I broke up with the man, during church, through a note, written in RED CRAYON.
I am the picture of class, let me tell you.
What happened next? Did we get back together? Did he fall to pieces? Did I go insane, writing bad poetry about broken love in red crayon all over the walls of my house?
Well, you will have to come back later today to find out.
It is nothing if not a thrilling tale.